What iOS 15 means for email marketing

This June, Apple announced their upcoming iOS 15 release, and with it comes changes that will significantly impact email marketing. For marketers, a huge takeaway is that email open rate tracking will most likely be disabled by users.

Here are key things you need to know about iOS 15 and how you can prepare your email campaigns the update that is set to be released on September 20th.

What is happening to email with the iOS 15 update?

Apple will be introducing Mail Privacy Protection with the iOS 15 update, which will make it more difficult for marketers to get insight into Apple users’ email behaviors. With iOS 15, users can now:

  • Disable open tracking – Marketers will no longer see whether an iOS 15 user has opened their emails.
  • Hide IP addresses – Marketers will no longer be able to implement IP-based segmentation in their email campaigns.
  • Hide email addresses – Users can opt to use randomly-generated email addresses for signups.

When is this happening?

The update is expected to be released on September 20, 2021.

What You Can Do Before and After the iOS 15 Update 

A/B testing subject lines

Get your email campaigns right by starting with a well-strategized and compelling subject line. For every campaign, create variations of your email subject line and do A/B testing. As open tracking will no longer be relevant to Apple users with iOS 15, you can measure the effectiveness by their click-throughs.

Clean your lists

Weed out inactive contacts and invalid email addresses from your list as early as now. It’s also considered best practice to regularly evaluate your lists to avoid high bounce rates, which could affect your overall deliverability.

Back up your channels

Start utilizing Waterfall to use backup channels for your marketing campaigns. With our l technology, you can set up preferred channels for your campaigns based on what works best for your customers. You can also protect your campaigns even further by using automatic backup delivery through Waterfall to ensure that your messages are actually delivered. 

How will I know my audience is engaged going forward?

You can gauge the performance of your email campaigns by the number of clicks in your call-to-action (CTA), as well as unsubscriptions and conversions.

We will discuss more on this in the next section.

What Metrics Matter Now


The click-through rate (CTR) is the most common metric in determining the effectiveness of your email campaign. It actually provides far more insight than email open rates, because you will know how your contacts are engaging with your content. 

Top Tip: Be sure that your email has actionable content (a CTA) so that your readers will have a clear guide on what to do next. 


While unsubscriptions can be a negative metric, they can still be used as a good baseline for creating your email list growth strategy. 

It can also help in cleaning up your email lists and improve the quality of email recipients. This is more preferable than continually sending emails to uninterested parties and increasing the likelihood of being reported as spam.

Top Tip: Include a feedback option on your opt-out landing page. This gives you a prime opportunity to learn what worked, what doesn’t, and what you can do to improve your campaigns.


On a similar note to click-throughs, conversion rates give you insight into how customers complete specific actions through your emails. Whether it’s completing a sale, signing up for a free trial, or making an inquiry, conversions tell you the progress users make from your email campaigns.

Top Tip: Provide something of value in your CTA so that email recipients are more compelled to take action, increasing your conversions in the process.

Final Notes

It’s important to note that since the update will only apply to Apple-related products, users who use other email apps (e.g., Gmail or Microsoft Outlook) on an iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or macOS Monterey device are not affected for now—that is, marketers can still gauge email open rates.

However, it’s safe to anticipate that other email providers will likely follow Apple’s lead in protecting email users’ privacy in the future. It will be practical for marketers utilizing email marketing to take precautions as described in this article as early as now. 

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