What Apple’s privacy changes mean for your deliverability

Deliverability Podcasts

You’ve probably heard about Apple’s latest privacy changes taking effect in September. Apple’s new OS will have a significant impact on email senders.

For anyone using the Mail app to view their emails, all open tracking pixels will be automatically loaded, causing open rates to become even more inaccurate and unreliable.

Privacy is paramount, and we aren’t advocating that senders are entitled to a recipient’s open data. However, we can’t deny that open rates have long been the metric that email senders most heavily rely on to determine the performance of their email marketing and deliverability. Unfortunately, as we covered in season one, opens have never been a perfect metric and have become more and more unreliable over time. With Apple’s updates, though, it’s time for email marketers to officially rely on other metrics to measure success.

In this episode, we explain how to get creative and reach subscribers in Apple’s new world, why ignoring the update is your worst marketing move and the new north star metric for measuring email success.

Email metrics

What you need to know:

  • This change will impact any subscriber on your list who uses the Apple Mail app on their iPhone, Mac, iPad, or Apple Watch. This means the subscribers’ email addresses don’t have to be Apple email domains to be impacted (icloud.com, me.com, etc.). Instead, the affected subscribers will have all sorts of different domains such as gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc., and there won’t be a way to tell which subscribers are impacted by this change just by looking at their email address.
  • The new iOS will be available in September 2021, so this is when we expect to see changes in open rates start.
  • Apple will automatically load all open tracking pixels, which will likely cause elevated open rates for most senders.
  • In other words, the subscribers on your list who use the Apple Mail app to view their emails will appear to open every email you send, regardless of whether or not they actually opened your emails.

Our recommendations moving forward:

  • Start to rely more heavily on other email marketing metrics to measure success. For example, clicks will become a much better indicator of subscriber engagement and the performance of your email.
  • To incentivize clicks, consider embedding “like” or “thumbs up” buttons into your emails.
  • Include crystal clear calls to action in every email.
  • Consider sharing less than you usually would in the email itself and instead add a “read more” button for recipients to click on to view the full content of your message.
  • List cleaning is still critical. To remove unengaged subscribers from your list, you’ll want to regularly (every 6 months or so) send opt-in confirmation emails to subscribers who haven’t clicked or purchased in the last 6 months.


(27:10) “Although Apple’s recent announcement might seem scary, it presents an opportunity for senders to start focusing on metrics that are better indicators of engagement than open rates.” ~ @alyssa_dulin


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Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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