Why Apple is quietly getting rid of email open rates and how to get them back with Klaviyo

From affecting open rates to revenue attribution, understanding what Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is, how it works, and how to work around it is vital to achieving a successful email marketing strategy. 
Tzvi Balbin
March 28, 2022
Min read
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What is Apple's Mail Privacy Protection? 

Since its release in September, Apple’s privacy update to their email software,  known as Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), has posed a challenge for accurate data collection.

Introduced to protect users’ information from being accessed, Apple has declared MPP as the “latest innovations in [their] legacy of privacy leadership”. 

The software is designed to block the pixels which records when users open emails. 

They introduced MPP along with its App Tracking Transparency software, as the tech giant continues its strategy of positioning itself as a privacy-driven company.

When did Mail Privacy Protection go into effect?

The update began rolling out mid-September of 2021, first as an update with the iOS15 release. 

It is now available across all new operating software across Apple’s range of products, which includes iOS15, iPad0S 15, macOS Monterey and watch OS8. 

Which means that if a user is using Apple mail on their iPhone, iPad, Macbook, or Apple Watch, they can choose to activate the privacy setting.

How does Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection work?

MPP is a simple opt-in users can choose when opening the Apple Mail app, which can be configured to most email accounts. 

It has the potential to affect a large majority of customers, as, according to recent data published by email marketing software Litmus, Apple Mail pulls in more than 48 per cent of email client market share. 

When a user opts-in, Apple doesn’t deliver emails directly to users. Instead, the emails are sent through an Apple-managed proxy server, which preloads every email. 

Pixels, which are attached to emails, include a URL which tells the tracking system if an email has been opened. 

  1. When the subscriber’s Apple Mail app opens, it triggers a download of the email to their device from their email host (e.g., Yahoo or Google).

  2. Apple then downloads all of the images in the email. Once downloaded, it creates a copy of the images to a new location on the Apple Privacy Cache.

  3. Email content is sent through multiple servers, which hides the user’s IP address. The IP address you will have access to will be the Apple server’s.
  4. If the subscriber actually opens the email, it triggers a request to download and display the email’s images, but instead of coming from the sender’s web host or ESP server, they’re coming from the Apple Cache.
How to create new MPP-friendly audience segments: 

On opened email events labeled 'Apple Privacy Open' which, when used, will allow you to segment customers based on whether or not your opens came from MPP.

The thinking behind this system is simple: Only opened emails (ones that users manually interact with) will download the images and trigger this tracking process.

The number of downloads of that tracking pixel, then, represents the number of users who opened the email and the number of times they read it.

What you need to do:

Changing your conversion to 'Opened or clicked email (excluding Apple Privacy Opens)'


Change your settings to count only 'opened or clicked email'

Need expert advice for your email marketing? 

Talk to us. We love a chat.

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