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About Apple Mail Privacy Protection

We’ve got answers for you about how Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection features might affect marketing emails you send to your customers.

What is Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection setting?

Mail Privacy Protection is a setting that gives people the ability to hide actions they take inside their Apple Mail app. This feature was part of a press release announced June 7, 2021 and released October 25, 2021.

In the press release, Apple explains: “In the Mail app, 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.”

Apple Mail users had this ability before, but it was more difficult to find. Now it’s easier for them to find and use. Other email clients like Gmail and Outlook also give their customers ways to block the invisible pixel.

What's an invisible pixel?

Like other email marketing providers, we use an invisible pixel to know when your emails are opened.

The pixel is usually 0x0 or 1x1 pixels in size. It’s not visible to the recipient but can be used to send information back about if the email is opened, where the recipient is located, what kind of device the recipient is using, and other data.

How does a pixel blocker work?

Apple Mail Privacy Protection and other pixel “blockers” activate the invisible pixel whether or not the individual recipients are actually opening and viewing your emails.

By opening every pixel regardless of if the email was actually opened or not, they “block” any meaningful data from being returned to the sender.

Is this just people who have Apple emails?

No, it’s any customer who opens their email through Apple Mail.

This may include anyone with an Apple domain address. However, it can also include anyone who uses the Apple Mail app to open their Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, Outlook, or other domain address emails.

Are my customers still receiving my marketing emails?

Yes. Your customers still receive and open your marketing emails as usual.

The only difference is in your email open rate data. Because more people will be activating Apple Mail Privacy Protection (or other pixel blocking service), it'll look like all your emails to those people are opened, whether they actually open the email or not.

If an email to a customer is blocked, bounced or otherwise undelivered, it’s for other reasons like spelling the email address wrong or the recipient having a full mailbox.

How does this affect my marketing email statistics?

Because all pixels are opened automatically, even if the recipient doesn’t open or read your email, your Opened rate might look higher than it actually is.

However, automatically opening the invisible pixel does not affect any other statistics:

  • Clicked: Tells you if anyone clicks a link inside your email.
  • Forwards: Tells you how many people sent your email to someone else.
  • Delivered: Tells you if the email made it into the recipient’s mailbox.
  • Bounced: Tells you if the email was undeliverable for any reason. For instance, the email address is wrong, or maybe the email address is correct but the recipient’s mailbox is full.
  • Unsubscribed: Tells you how many people removed themselves from your email list.

You can still tell if a marketing email is successful or not, even without an accurate open rate. For example:

  • Focus on all your stats together, not just one statistic alone.
  • In every email, provide one call to action to a product or service using links and a buttons. Look at the link click rate.
  • Look at site traffic or traffic to a product mentioned in an email and see if there are any changes.
  • Ask people to reply to a question or start a conversation with you.

More info