iOS 15 and Email Open Rate Changes


With the release of Apple iOS 15 there are email privacy changes that will change email programs. Apple will automatically present the choice to “Protect Mail Activity” to users the first time they open the Mail app after upgrading to iOS 15. Surprisingly, Apple’s change actually means that unique and total open rates will artificially go up, not down. This is because subscribers on iOS devices will appear as if they always open your emails, because Apple will always activate, from a remote server, the tracking pixels used to see who opens an email and who doesn’t.


A practical example of this, assume your average unique open rate is 25% and that 40% of your readers use Apple Mail. With the launch of iOS 15, your unique open rate will artificially change from 25% to 55%.


This privacy change will only affect actual Apple Mail users. It will NOT affect people who use Gmail, Outlook or another mail app on their iOS device. And many people will use a mail application like Gmail or Outlook on desktop but use Apple Mail on their mobile device.

As the Open Rate metric loses its meaning, we will be looking to click-through rates and donation rates to identify success.

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