What Apple's upcoming email privacy updates mean for marketers: 7 things to know 

Jackie Drees -

Apple is launching new privacy updates for its mail app this fall, which will change advertisers and publishers' ability to see whether consumers open their emails. 

Seven things to know: 

1. Apple's updates, announced in June, will let Apple's mail app users decide whether they want to enable tracking pixels, the small images that email marketers use to tell if someone opened an email. 

2. The update will also include a new feature named "Private Relay," for subscribers to Apple's iCloud+ storage service, which would hide IP addresses. The company's new "Hide My Email" tool will let users share "unique, random" email addresses that can forward to their personal inbox, which they are able to delete to control who contacts them, CNBC reported Aug. 10. 

3. In an analysis of 3 billion email opens between January and March, email marketing company litmus found Apple on iPhone held the biggest share of email opens at 38.9 percent. Google's Gmail came next at 27.2 percent and Apple Mail (on desktop) at 11.5 percent, according to CNBC

4. Once the updates are rolled out, emails to consumers who use Apple mail products and opt into "Mail Privacy Protection" will appear like they were read as soon as the message was sent. 

5. Apple missed an "obvious opportunity," with the privacy updates, wrote Jason Grunberg, marketing automation company Sailthru's marketer chief, in an Aug. 30 report in The Drum. Instead of accounting for the unique relationships that each mail user has with each email sender, Apple created a privacy system that can either be turned on or off. 

6. Mr. Grunberg compared Apple's mail app to downloading individual apps from the App Store; users can turn various privacy settings on or off for respective apps, but the mail app's new privacy system is generalized to be "on" or "off" for all mail recipients. 

"Within a Mail app is not just a single relationship with the company that created the app the way a weather app works. Rather, the Mail app represents an entire universe," Mr. Grunberg wrote. "Email represents a long list of unique relationships, from friends to coworkers to brands, schools, doctors and much more. Yet, Apple only provides a single switch to turn data tracking on or off for all of them." 

7. Companies with a focus on email should be just as vocal about Mail updates as developers are with Apple's App Store design, Mr. Grunberg wrote, adding that companies should ask Apple to change its mail privacy approach and incorporate sender-level controls.


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