Apple iOS 17: What Does It Mean for Email Marketers?

Written by
David Inman

September 22, 2023

Apple has recently rolled out its iOS 17, and there are a few items to note for the email community.

This has a familiar feel to many of us: In 2021, Apple rolled out iOS 15 with the new Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), which changed the landscape of email reporting. Stats like open rate, which marketers have been relying on for years to measure campaigns’ success, were no longer reliable. It also meant that Email Service Providers (ESPs) needed to up their game and find ways around those new changes to ensure accuracy in engagement data.

Even though plenty of marketers thought Apple’s announcement in 2021 meant doomsday, we’ve found creative workarounds and relied even more on hard metrics like action rate. And maybe that’s a good thing. Smart marketers knew how to adjust to the change and use engagement data as a directional metric instead.

Now that iOS 17 is here, a few of us may have a little post-traumatic dread. This time, Apple is focused mainly on link tracking. 

Here is what we know so far:

Link Tracking Protection (LTP)

Many websites add information to their URLs to track their users’ actions after leaving the email, but LPT will be removing the following additions:

  • URLs with specific parameters
  • URLs that point to redirection servers

But it’s important to mention that at least for now, that new removal protocol won’t apply to all of your subscribers. LTP is currently only applicable to iOS users who are reading emails through the Apple Mail app, the Safari Safe Browsing Mode or those who have manually opted in within standard Safari. This will not affect the majority of iOS users for the time being. 

What to be aware of

As always, it’s going to take a while until most Apple users will update their iOS, which gives marketers time to learn and adjust accordingly. 

For now, you need to know that the following parameters are already automatically removed for those who already use the apps mentioned above:

  • Facebook Click ID
  • Google Click ID
  • Microsoft Click ID
  • Various tracking parameters of the ESPs

Email service provider impact

ESPs like HubSpot, Mailchimp, MailerLite and Marketo may be impacted directly from the new update. Marketers who use those ESPs will, once again, have to find new and creative ways to adapt to this new reality.

Other ESPs may also be affected, but the scope of those effects are still unknown.

What the future holds

As the meaning and implications of iOS 17 on the email marketing world continue to unfold, it’s important to keep in mind:

  • Apple has no intentions of backing away from its positioning as the “protector of user privacy.” It will continue to roll out updates that have the potential to impact the email marketing space. 
  • This is a move to protect Personally Identifying Information (PII) and it can be a positive for consumers! It also places more importance on the so-called zero party data that consumers offer up with brands that they trust. 
  • That means that marketers will have to remain agile and informed, and continue to maintain good deliverability as well as healthy relationships with their subscribers.
  • You can rely on the Inbox Monster Professional Services team to stay on top of industry updates, helping our customers adjust amid new technology and privacy advancements.  We got you! 

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