The Impact of App Privacy Protection in iOS15

As part of iOS15, Apple are introducing App Privacy Protection. This will impact the validity of email open statistics in Quoox (and other products/apps that attempt to track email opens)

Mail Privacy Protection is a new option located in the Apple device settings of iOS 15. When users open the Apple Mail app for the first time after downloading iOS 15, they will be prompted to choose what data is shared when using the Apple Mail app. Users will be able to decide whether to hide their IP address and location information and/or enable image caching which anonymizes open tracking from email senders.

By anonymizing open tracking, the Mail Privacy Protection prevents email senders from fully understanding how MPP-enabled recipients are engaging with their businesses’ emails. While senders can still look at click tracking, it will be more challenging to recognize unengaged contacts or evaluate the success of an email campaign without open tracking data.

MPP impacts engagement data from recipients who have configured their email account within the Apple Mail app on any of their devices and enabled MPP from iOS 15.

It is difficult to predict MPP’s impact on overall engagement numbers. It is likely that any message sent to a mailbox that is configured with Apple Mail will be “opened” by Mail Privacy. This means that even gmail.com or yahoo.com mailboxes could generate false opens if they are connected to the Apple Mail app. Even if the recipient usually uses the Gmail app or a Chrome browser to view their emails, simply having the mailbox configured with the Mail app could result in non-human opens.

Twilio SendGrid data shows 7.7% of all opens occur in the Apple Mail application, while Litmus shows a 37% email client market share for Apple iPhones and a 10% market share for Apple Mail. This percentage varied even more in conversations with other email service providers – some believe their Apple Mail volume to be as high as 30%.

It is part of Apple’s quest to make the collection of user data impossible, and there is no current method for circumventing these tools.  Besides, any method for achieving such would likely be short-lived as Apple will promptly “plug the hole”.

It should therefore be noted that, from the release of iOS15, email open statistics within Quoox should be taken with a larger “pinch-of-salt” as the statistics will start to include higher numbers of “false opens” (triggered by the Apple Privacy servers).  Presently click stats will remain relatively reliable, as these use a different method of tracking – although these remain susceptible to “false positives” caused by some over-exuberant anti-virus/anti-malware tools.

Source: Twilio SendGrid

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Chris Windram | Co-Founder

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