The Impact of Apple iOS 15’s Email Privacy Protection on Email Marketers

How Apple’s Email Privacy Protection Feature Works

After the rollout of Apple iOS 15, email marketers are facing a new challenge: the email privacy protection feature. This feature aims to protect users’ privacy by hiding their IP addresses and preventing senders from tracking when and if their emails are opened. When users update their iOS devices to iOS 15, they will be prompted to select the “Protect Mail activity” option, which routes their emails through a proxy server to pre-load content, including tracking pixels, before it reaches their inbox.

How Email Marketers are Responding

Apple’s new privacy features have forced email marketers to rethink their strategies and adapt to the changes. Here are a few steps that email marketers can take to adjust their strategy:

1. Take stock of current processes

Before the iOS 15 changes went live, email marketers audited their existing email programs to understand the potential impact of these changes on their business. They used email reporting tools to assess the portion of their database that uses Apple Mail clients and documented subject lines that resonate best with each persona. Benchmarking email programs and documenting email metrics enabled them to measure the impact of the iOS change.

2. Open up email reporting

With open rates becoming less reliable, email marketers will need to shift their focus to stable metrics like clicks, click rate, and conversion rate. While open rates will still be important to track over time, marketers can optimize their programs based on clicks and conversions to drive real engagement.

3. Stay the (automated) course

HubSpot’s email team relies on behavioral segmentation and personalization rather than open rates. This allows them to connect with their audience based on their actions on the website or within the app. By focusing on behavior over email interaction, email marketers can continue to provide a personalized experience.

4. Understand the impact on strategies

Apple’s privacy protection features will render some strategies ineffective, such as cohort segmentation based on the last open date or A/B testing subject lines using opens to determine the winner. Marketers will need to re-engineer automated flows and journeys that rely on email opens and find alternatives to elements like countdown timers and location-specific content.

5. Weigh alternatives

While some elements of email marketing will be more challenging with iOS 15, marketers can explore creative alternatives to send subscribers interesting and engaging content. Manual analysis of email performance based on send time and using zip code information for location-based content are some alternatives that can still provide a somewhat personalized email experience.

6. Explore additional tools

Email marketers can leverage additional tools and integrations, such as Litmus, to track the effectiveness of their email campaigns. These tools provide insights into reliable opens and the impact of Apple’s privacy changes.


While Apple’s iOS 15 and its email privacy protection feature present challenges for email marketers, it does not mean that email marketing is going away. Email marketers need to adapt their strategies and focus on stable metrics like clicks and conversions. By staying informed and adjusting their strategies, email marketers can continue to provide value to their audience and navigate the evolving landscape of data protection.