Apple’s Mail app is set to gain a new privacy feature that’s designed to protect emails similar to how App Tracking Transparency protects app data.
Apple is continuing its fight to protect user privacy through the addition of a new Mail Privacy Protection feature that’s coming to the Mail app. In recent years, Apple has significantly increased its user privacy protections, with one of the most recent and controversial being App Tracking Transparency. The feature launched earlier in the year and looks to stop apps from tracking iPhone and iPad users without their informed consent.
During the company’s WWDC 2021 event, Apple unveiled the latest updates and features coming to iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, with privacy playing a major role. For example, Apple is moving some of Siri’s processing locally to devices in a bid to increase privacy. At the same time resulting in the ability for Siri to perform some actions even without an internet connection. The company is also planning to launch a couple of subscription-based privacy features soon, including a VPN and the option for users to hide their email address when signing up to a website.
However, one of the features that will be available to all Apple users free of charge is Mail Privacy Protection. Similar to App Tracking Transparency, Mail Privacy Protection will look to protect Apple users from unwanted or unknown tracking, albeit at the email and not app level. The feature is rolling out as part of the iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey updates that are due to arrive later in the year. When available, it will greatly limit the amount of information email senders have access to.
What To Expect With Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection
Whether the average user realizes, promotional and marketing emails can include additional data that allows some extra information about to the user to be collected. It is this information that Apple is now looking to specifically limit. Essentially, Mail Privacy Protection will stop email senders from obtaining a user’s location and/or IP address, as well as stopping them from knowing if and when an email was opened and read by the iPhone, iPad and Mac user.
Considering these are analytics tools typically used to help deliver more targeted emails to potential customers, it is likely that the new Mail Privacy Protection feature will be met with a similar reaction to how some companies responded to App Tracking Transparency at first, most notably Facebook. This is particularly likely in an era where newsletters have seen a surge in activity and quickly emerged as a new way to target users and generate additional revenue. However, if App Tracking Transparency is anything to go by, any pushback from marketers is unlikely to deter Apple from rolling out Mail Privacy Protection with iOS 15 and its other operating system updates when they arrive later in 2021.
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