Recently, Apple revealed its plans for its iOS 15 update (slated to launch in September 2021), which will include the option for users to block the tracking of their email opens in the Apple Mail app. 

While blocking opens will make understanding your email performance a bit trickier, we see this as another step in the right direction for user privacy in a world where your data has become an increasingly valuable commodity.

We’re also excited about the opportunity it creates to focus on what really matters most: building real engagement and serving your customers well (two things that Flodesk members do better than anyone else).

However, we know any change can feel intimidating, and we’re here to help set your mind at ease. Check out the top FAQs we’ve rounded up below. 

What is the iOS 15 update?

The iOS 15 update are changes that Apple’s making to its iPhone operating system slated to be released in September 2021. Part of the update includes the option for users to block the tracking of their email opens in the Apple Mail app.

While we won’t know for certain how it works until it’s released, our early testing of the iOS 15 beta shows that the Mail app will open all incoming emails via a proxy server and serve the already-opened content to their users.

What does that mean to me?

You probably have some email subscribers who use the Mail app to receive their emails. Emails delivered to subscribers who choose “Protect Mail activity” will appear as an open in your email reporting, even if they might not have opened it. These false-positive opens will affect open rates, making them seem higher than they actually are. 

Should I be worried?

Not really. Just like when your Instagram feed stopped being displayed in chronological order or when the home button on your iPhone quietly disappeared, we bet you’ll find it easier to adapt than you think. 

It might be intimidating at first, but we believe it’s another positive step towards giving everyone more control over their data, and more importantly, helping you re-focus on what matters most: building real engagement and serving your customers well.

How should I prepare?

  • Continue to serve your audience—It will become more important than ever to provide value and create impactful emails that your audience loves to read. By continuing to send your customers stunning emails with hyper relevant content, you’ll be set up for success and higher click rates. 

  • Always include a CTA—Add at least one button or link to every email so you can continue monitoring engagement via click rates. 

  • Use clicks as your new engagement metric—Evaluate your email’s performance through clicks, which we’ll still be able to track, instead of just opens.

  • Clean your lists—Clean out subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked in the last 6 months, or send a re-engagement campaign, using subscriber activity in Flodesk. This is your chance to remove or re-engage those who haven’t opened in a while.

  • Take advantage of our upcoming permission-based opt-in system, which allows your subscribers to tell you (through forms) and manage (through their opt-in preferences page) what and when they want to hear from you.

Who does this impact?

Anyone who uses email marketing and all email marketing service providers. 

Is this change specific to Flodesk?

No, this change is not specific to Flodesk. All email marketing service providers will be blocked from accurately tracking email opens from Mail app users who opt to “Protect Mail activity.”

What if my subscribers use another email app instead (like Gmail or Outlook)?

There’s no change to tracking email opens from non-Mail-app users. However, we believe other email apps and operating systems will soon follow suit as prioritizing consumer privacy becomes the norm.

 

Will any Flodesk features be impacted?

Features that rely on email-open data may be impacted due to false-positive opens from Mail app users, including: 

  • Email and Workflow analytics

  • Workflows (specifically open-based workflow conditions)

  • Resend to unopens

  • Subscriber activity

 

Without complete open data, how will I clean my lists in the future?

In the future, you can still clean your lists based on subscriber activity, but this will include false-positive opens. That means there’s a chance that you won’t be removing truly inactive subscribers. Alternatively, you can consider sending a periodic email to subscribers who haven’t clicked in a while, asking them to click a link or button if they want to stay on your list. 

Let's sum it up!

The planned iOS 15 update will include the option for users to block the tracking of their email opens in the Apple Mail app. 

Features that rely on email-open data may be impacted due to false-positive opens from Mail app users.

This change is not specific to Flodesk. All email marketing service providers will be blocked from accurately tracking email opens from Mail app users who opt to “Protect Mail activity.”


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