The last major update of this document was on February 17, 2022.
What are the changes with Apple iOS 15?
Apple announced the latest updates to iOS 15, which was released on September 20, 2021. This update blocks the tracking of email opens in the Apple Mail app. This affects the Emarsys email channel and email tracking; however, we are currently working on adjusting to the changes.
The following is a summary of the changes:
- Open tracking prevention: Apple prevents the accurate tracking of email opens by downloading remote content in the background by default - the update prevents Emarsys from tracking email opens in the Apple Mail app. Also, it masks the users' IP addresses, making the open location not detectable.
- IP protection: All remote content downloaded by Apple Mail on iPhone are routed through multiple proxy servers, preventing the sender from detecting the IP address.
- Redesigned notifications: Notifications now display contact photos for people and larger icons for apps to make them easier to identify.
- Hide my Email: Users are able to create unique, random email addresses. If they sign up for a store purchase, for example, they can use a random Apple-created email address to do so.
- iCloud+ Private Relay: (paid service) It allows users to hide their IP address and Safari browsing activity.
Timeline and what to expect
Here is the release date and our estimation on the expected adoption rate.
This is the breakdown of the last few release dates and the adoption rate of the last major version compared to the previous one.
How can I identify opens by iOS 15?
Traditionally, user devices have returned some data about the user’s device called the "user agent". You can always look at the "user agent" field to see who is using Apple mail in your current customer if you have access to Open Data.
The current iOS version would return something like this: "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 14_7_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/605.1.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/15E148".
According to our tests, iOS 15 opens the emails using a generic user agent, "Mozilla/5.0" to mask the device of the user. The location of the opens is also masked and it returns a generic address, for example: "America/Chicago" or "Europe/Berlin".
If you would like to know the historical share of your engaged contacts that may be impacted by this change, please reach out to us.
What iOS 15 reminds you that you need to do anyway
This update is a timely reminder to do some of the things that you should be doing anyway:
Sort your deliverability!
- Quality of leads, your reputation as a sender and the cleanness of your contact lists are key.
- Contact data health check while opens are still there - Review the engagement health of your contact list now and clean out all disengaged users.
- Maintain your contact data base by performing opt-in cleanups regularly.
- 1:1 personalization is key! You need your customers to appreciate you as a brand, to trust you and to engage with your communication.
- Clicks, conversions and other metrics push the needle, opens do not.
- Don't panic - take this as a good opportunity to take a step back and look at your email sending habits.
Tracking iOS 15 email opens
Privacy Opens in email behavior segmentation
Privacy Opens are automatically generated email opens for contacts using Apple's Mail Privacy Protection (opened on an iOS, MacOS or iPadOS device). You can manage Privacy Opens flexibly when using the Email response (open or click) and No email response (open or click) email behavior filters. For more information, see Privacy Opens in email behavior segments.
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