How the Apple iOS 15 update will change Email Marketing forever

How The Apple iOS 15 Update Will Change Email Marketing Forever

Apple iOS 15 & Email Marketing - All You Need to Know & Do to Keep Rolling

The fine morning of the 7th of June, 2021 pinged in quite a few notifications into the tech world. “Apple advances its privacy leadership with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8” was one among the news with privacy features and better security of data as its earmarking feature.

The iOS 15 release in September, is spotlighted the most for the level of impact it is expected to (and envisaged to, by Apple) bring forth shortly. The beta-version was available, and we tested it while grabbing as much information as we can to understand how the iOS 15 updates will reverberate into the lives of both common users and Email Marketers in eCommerce.

Here’s our take on the iOS 15 updates, and their direct impact on marketers; email marketers in particular.

What is the upcoming iOS 15 Update Apple bringing?

  1. Hide My Email – Mail Privacy Protection
  2. App Privacy Report
  3. Process Audio of Siri Requests on Device
  4. Enhance Internet Privacy with iCloud+
Apple Putting a Stop to Email Tracking Pixels With Mail Privacy Protection in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

This is, of course, the news only to the iOS users. But what do these updates implicate to Email Marketers? Why are we here discussing this? Does this insinuate something particular?

Why is Apple bringing on the iOS 15 Update?

Because, who doesn’t want privacy? There’s no blaming Apple for being dour about it.

After all, as ethical email marketers, we are not after anyone’s data; we just want to endorse our brands to the right people without spamming the possible 4 billion internet users out of the 7.8 billion world population!

We’ll find a way around to do our job – that’s what we’ll do.

How will the iOS 15 Update directly impact the Email Marketers?

The answer in one line would be – iOS 15 updates will call for emphasis on good send practices.

More lines? Well, Apple Mail app users will be able to hide their IP address and privately load emails and the emails will be rerouted to a proxy, reload, and back into the Mail app. Once iOS 15 is on the job, tracking pixels will be rendered out of job, putting a kibosh on email tracking (Intelligent Tracking Prevention).

Apple advances its privacy leadership with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8 - Apple

This would mean that although email marketers now have data on when the users open their mails, this update pushes this advantage quotient right off the table. Emails will now be opened by the proxy first.

Location data too will be inaccurate as a whole since IP addresses will henceforth show different states or broader regions. IPs will, to be sure, continue to tell you the country to which the receiver end belongs, but Email Segmentation that pivot on open rate data or location-based geo data may no longer work. Location-based emails, strategies and technologies as a whole might not be applicable once iOS 15 is in play. (We have to admit – this used to be an amazing personalisation tactic that helped many of us in the past to deliver more relevant email marketing to subscribers based on their geographic location, interests, purchase history, and such other nuances.)

Furthermore, you can still segment based on email domain, or, but not the app itself, that is being used. This would mean that segmentation criteria that depend on user behaviour and/or email address shall pass.

Apple's iOS 15 Will Change Email Marketing

The facts we discussed may seem to condense to the verdict that metrics based on open rates and/or open rate data (campaigns, flows, re-engagement campaigns, automated nurture flows/programs, send-time optimisation, real-time personalisation, subject line testing, etc. to name a few) will not be anymore the best modus operandi – but we have something that will make them work for a while; we will be discussing how to use ‘opens’ to your advantage temporarily until you have a new plan of action. (Stick around till the good part, because depending on your niches and fortes, the trick we’ll discuss could save you the bother.)

With the new iOS 15 proxy working, email marketers may be unable to get past it to obtain reliable data or metrics regarding what kind of device the user is on – no more desktop v/s mobile percentage. Ultimately, email marketers and designers will be required to create emails that work well for all kinds of devices.

Something rather interesting about this update is that clicks, inbox locations, inbox placements, clicks and conversions, and other data crucial to SMS marketing will become more important in email performance and its measurement.

What can Email marketers & Designers do to be safe after iOS 15?

Before the iOS Mail Privacy Protection Update is in effect and at large, analyze and collect as much data on your current open rates, email pre-headers, subject lines, ‘from’ lines etc., to be specific. Test them and create before and after benchmarks for ‘time of the day’ and ‘day of the week’ as well. We’ll see why, without any further ado.

iOS 15 - Immediate Measures for Email marketers & Designers

To be on the safe side, stop listening to sources that say that open rates are vanity metrics (at least for a while if you have an absolute dislike for them and have a reason to. Open rates work and we’ll show you how.

Open rates can clearly show you how relevant your emails are, and how well they are being engaged with by your target audience. When it comes to measuring performance open rates act as a key indicator in list health and deliverability. Open rates may not impact your revenue directly, but since they have a fair share of say in list health and deliverability, we think it is downright unfair to classify and bar them “vanity”. Even if you have a good deliverability rate can you ever be sure that the people on your “deliverable list” (the mail ids to which the mails are reaching and not being piled up in the spam folder) are opening them? Without the open rates, you’ll be left in the dark, already; even more so when the iOS 15 update comes up – then you’ll be absolutely blindfolded in the dark – you won’t even know you’re in the dark fumbling emails to people who don’t open them.

All that aside, let’s set up your business ready for the time being. This technique works like a charm for most Email Marketing Service providers for eCommerce platforms including the acing big names like Dot Digital, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, and SendinBlue and many more.

Start by documenting your segmentations as much as and as soon as possible. Be thorough about this, because you stumble upon something you never realised before about your listings and segments, which might prove itself to be all the more valuable while your campaigns and strategies take off unscathed by the iOS15 changes

Define your strongest target audience, segments and cohorts that lean upon open rates and open rate data. This way, you will have a narrower, but a shining new, viable group of people you can still market to, for a while.

Once this is sorted, move on to using tools that help you find the users under your new segments that do not use Apple Mail. Now, you will arrive at a rough framework of how and how much this update will impact your programmes.

This is where you start testing your experimental tactics to figure out how revolutionary they can be – think outside the box to find new ways that work. At this point, revise your campaigns from the past campaigns and split tests to find what works best for your brand and campaigns. Aim at compiling the ones that are proper and fit for the un-impacted segments and target audience demographics you found out.

Next, you can start testing to estimate the results once you start working with new segments you have built that rely upon clicks and delivery over only open rates. You can also choose to go the extra mile by further segmenting the segments you have built from ‘open’s, based on recent clicks for a past while as well.


  1. Stay true to your ethics:
    Transparency always had been one of the most fundamental ethical stands an email marketer required to be successful, reliable, and reputable. This will become all the more important once iOS 15 is in action.

  2. Be Responsible about Customer Data:
    Email marketers will receive lesser customer data henceforth, but being responsible with whatever you can get is another story. Responsible handling of customer data will pay off.

The Take-Away

So there you have it – both the long-term solution and the emergency response plan for an email marketer in the event of the Apple iOS 15 update release.

If your brand wants assistance in implementing the above within your business or require a more holistic approach to digital marketing then get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.


Cover Photo by: Howard Bouchevereau
Author: Graham Paffett

A seasoned luxury goods & services digital marketer with over 20 years Exp. A specialist in developing "disruptive" digital campaigns and strategies for FMCG brands both within the UK and International. • Paid Social (inc. Facebook/Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn & Pinterest) • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) • PPC (Pay Per Click) • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) • ASO (App Store Optimisation) • Direct To Consumer & B2B Digital Strategy Specialist • Social Media Marketer