How to Adapt Your Deliverability Strategy in Response to iOS 15

iOS 15 Email Deliverability

Feeling like your marketing efforts are fruitless with the release of Apple’s iOS 15? Blueshift is here to help.

The update is here, and it has brought with it some impactful changes to push notificationsemail marketing, and — more specifically — how we should measure deliverability. While these changes are not groundbreaking, they will shift the climate of how we monitor engagement metrics now and in the future. So, with these changes in mind, what are the updates and how could they affect deliverability?


Mail Privacy Protection

The iOS 15 feature that is making all the headlines is the option to protect mail activity. Mail Privacy Protection is located in the mail settings on Apple devices. When enabled, all accessed emails will have IP data tracking blocked. Email blocking means open metrics, geolocation, and device type data are all kaput.

From our initial findings, it looks like Apple will load all the images in an email and cache them by default. Thus, the marketer reviewing their engagement reports will now see near-instantaneous opens for all subscribers using the Apple Mail app. However, it is essential to note that this privacy protection only extends to those using the Apple Mail app and not any other email applications on their device (such as Gmail).

Protect Mail Activity Privacy Protection setting


Hide My Email

As a marketer, I’m sure you’ve run into (and been plagued by) your fair share of self-destructing email addresses at some point. Users of these email addresses most often show up when there is a limited-time offer or coupon available. The Hide My Email feature will allow Apple users to create similar random email addresses in the iCloud tab to forward messages to their primary email address.

While these random addresses will not explode in five seconds like a scene from Mission Impossible, they can be deleted and created anew with a couple of taps. The primary food for thought here is that this could hinder building up subscriber profiles should some vigilant users create new addresses frequently — or if your long-time subscribers decide to take advantage of hiding their email.

Hide My Email can be used in more places notification


Private Relay

Last up is another exciting feature that is, in essence, a VPN-lite. Private Relay will mask your IP address while navigating in the Safari browser. Apple mentions that they won’t even know where you are navigating, given the two touchpoints of the “relay.” In a nutshell, your IP address is visible to Apple, and it gets to the first stop. At this relay point, your IP data is encrypted. Once you get to the second stop, a temporary IP address is created, which the website sees.

All this jargon means that you as a marketer will have a hard time identifying the details of users who visited your website. Accurate IP address information allows tracking platforms such as Google Analytics to get information (e.g., device and region data). That said, the IP masking has some limitations. A traditional VPN may allow a user to look like they are in a vastly different location. Private Relay offers only two options: Maintain General Location or Use Country and Time Zone.

Private Relay is included with iCloud+ notification



Hide My Email and Private Relay are both paid features that come along with subscribing to iCloud+. Recent studies show that there are roughly 850 million total iCloud users. Of that total, there are about 170 million that pay for the premium iCloud+ service. With that in mind, we can expect that around 1 in 5 people will have the ability to use those two additional features. As the adoption of iOS 15 continues, it will be interesting to see how a combination of these features will skew user data tracking.


Blueshift’s Hot Take

For so many years, marketers have relied on opens to be the primary indicator for success without really thinking about what a successful campaign truly is. From a marketing standpoint, opens loosely correlate to ROI, but do we care if an individual has opened an email but never clicked through to potentially make a purchase?

From a deliverability standpoint, opens do mean an individual is engaged and can help build a reputation. However, ISPs have been weighing clicks significantly more in that regard for years. My challenge to you all is to dig deep into your customer data. Use things like sign-up dates, click-throughs, previous purchases, website interactions, and anything else under the sun to keep personalizing content.

Whether you are a marketer, strategist, CEO, or just the person that hits send, we need to adapt and look at the abundance of other metrics to stay ahead of the game. I think someone famous once said, “If your emails aren’t forwarding, you’re bouncing back,” but someone more famous said, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling back,” and that’s what we should all plan to do.

For more deliverability knowledge on laying the proper framework for your email marketing, check out our Holiday Guide to Email Deliverability Success and contact one of our experts today.