On Monday, Sept 20th Apple released iOS 15 in an effort to maintain user privacy. What does that mean for you? 

For years, marketers have relied on information gathered from emails to help build their marketing strategies. Open rates and all the data that goes with them have helped marketers shape not just their email campaign strategies but their social media pushes and sales offerings.

To date, email marketing data has served as a cornerstone for marketing strategies. However, access to that information also leads to privacy issues. iOS 15 is Apple’s way of maintaining user privacy.


What is in the iOS 15 update?

The iOS 15 update includes several improvements from Apple. Most of them won’t affect your marketing strategy. The one that will impact you is Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.

Apple announced details of Mail Privacy Protection in June. “Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location,” said the Apple press release.

That means the information you gathered about the people who open your emails won’t be available to you anymore.


How big of a deal is Mail Privacy Protection?

You may say, so what? How many people use Apple Mail anyway?

The answer is a lot.

According to the site Email Client Market Share, 37% of people open their emails on an Apple iPhone. The report further says that 10% of people use Apple Mail, and approximately 1% of people use their Apple iPad to read their emails.

Add all those numbers up, and you’ll find that Apple has its fingers in nearly 50% of the email market.

That means 50% of your marketing numbers have changed because of Apple’s iOS 15 rollout.


How will iOS 15 affect my marketing data?

We will not know all of the effects of the iOS 15 rollout for a few months when we can analyze the data. However, we understand that everyone will feel the impact in one way or another.

Vivek Sharma, the CEO of Moveable Ink, told Tech Crunch that one of the first signs you’ll see is a lack of data, and that may mean that it takes longer for you to realize that a marketing campaign is not working.


The Silver Lining

There is a silver lining to the rollout of iOS 15.

Ad Exchanger points out that this offers businesses the opportunity to take the pulse of their audience on the issue of privacy protection.

“Marketers need to ensure that they’re only requesting absolutely necessary permissions and communicating with transparency around how they’re going to use those permissions to enhance the user’s experience and maintain trust,” Will Crocker Hay, VP of Customer and Partner Marketing at Braze, told Ad Exchanger.

The bonus is, checking in with your customers will let them know you care about their privacy as much as they do.


How do I prepare for this change in email marketing?

Since you can’t stop the rollout of iOS 15, you need to prepare for it, which means making some changes to how you operate your email marketing campaigns.

DigiDay suggests that you use the rollout as an opportunity to clean up your email lists and remove unresponsive contacts and use opt-in messages when possible. You should start performance testing for your emails and use personalized messages to trigger more interaction with customers.

For tips on how to personalize the customer journey, check out this previous post here.

Meanwhile, Sharma also told Tech Crunch that personalization as a source of engagement is critical for email marketers. He also suggests that marketers “Focus on down-funnel metrics like clicks and conversions — that’s what it really comes down to and it’s the truest indicator of engagement.”



While this change to iOS 15 will impact your email marketing significantly, it’s not the end of the world. If you can adjust to the changes, you can still gain insight into the state of mind of your customers.

In the end, these changes could lead to more structure within your email marketing and ultimately bring about better results.


Written by Erika Towne