Marketers need to know the impacts of the latest Apple IOS updates that crack down on their user’s data. The effects these updates will have on marketers may seem small right now, but will grow larger overtime. The latest IOS updates create disruptions in a marketers’ ability to dive deeper into analytics and target niche audiences of potential clients. In a more general sense, the latest updates make it harder for marketers to obtain information about visitors on their website or app.  As these updates continue to roll out, the limitations facing marketers will be more profound and will make it tougher to adjust strategy. Know that the sooner you start making adjustments to your marketing strategy, the better off your business will be in the long run.

iOS data privacy phone locked

Data Privacy Is A Growing Concern

“On the consumer front, people are becoming even more skeptical and wary about their data being collected. A full 86% of the respondents said they feel a growing concern about data privacy, while 78% expressed fears about the amount of data being collected. Some 40% of the consumers surveyed don’t trust companies to use their data ethically, and 13% don’t even trust their own employers.” (TechRepublic, 2021)

In response to the concern over consumer’s privacy data, a number of governments and companies have stepped in to ensure a more private network is created. To ensure a user’s data is protected, both national and local governments are implementing and requiring data privacy acts (CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA). These acts call for more transparency in what data is being used, how the data is being used, and gives people the power to opt-out of companies using their personal information. Since requiring businesses to implement these practices, companies have strengthened their data security and taken more precautions on data usage.

Email Privacy Protection

Apple’s Email Privacy Protection

“In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.” – Apple.

In addition to their privacy policy update, Apple is also rolling out the “Hide My Email” feature. Users will be given the option to have unique email addresses created so their personal email can stay private.

The Impacts on Email Marketing

Apple’s Email Privacy Policy will only effect iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8 devices. Meaning that the update will only affect a small number of devices to start, and more users later. With this in mind, expect your open rates and click-through rates to slightly vary from your typical campaigns since users enacting the update will not be trackable in your data.

What this means for your next email campaign is that you may not be able to see “who” opened your email. Many email deployment systems will allow you to see exactly who opened your last email, with the expectation that you will use that information to continually reach out. However, the new iOS users can have a decoy email in place, preventing your team from reaching these subscribers. Expect to run into some issues as the latest update has a number of “event” based limitations, especially if you use this tool as a way to launch future drip campaigns.

Social Media Privacy Protection

Apple’s Social Media Privacy Protection

“Social widgets embedded on websites, such as ‘like’ buttons, ‘share’ buttons, and comment fields, can be used to track you even if you don’t click them or use them. Safari blocks this tracking by default, and it prevents social widgets from accessing your identity unless you grant them permission.” – Apple

“Specifically, Apple will begin to require that apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as ‘tracking’ to show a prompt to iOS 14 users, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.”- Facebook

The Impacts on Social Media Marketing

The impacts the newest iOS updates will have on social media marketing include: a lack in the ability to show targeted ads, retargeting your ads to iOS users on Facebook, and event tracking. As personal data is less and less available to advertisers for targeting, this means that Facebook’s audiences will be more broad if they include iOS devices. This can affect a number of marketers who aim to target niche audiences within social media platforms.

Before the update, social media signals such as liked posts and comments, were used as a way to determine a user’s taste and interest in products, services or activities. Now, those signals have been removed from advertising and leave marketers with less niche-based marketing audiences. The latest update also affects retargeting, meaning these ads will only target followers of your social media page. Event tracking has also been affected and limited by the latest update. Facebook has limited the events available for tracking iOS 14 users that enter your website. Overall, it’s important to know that the latest iOS updates have placed a number of limitations on targeting users by interest and demographics.

Apple’s Approximate Location Privacy Protection

“With iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7, you can choose whether apps can see your approximate location — within an area of about 10 square miles — rather than your exact location. So you can use apps to find nearby restaurants or check the local weather without providing more information than you need to.” – Apple

How Approximate Location Privacy Protection Effects Marketers

Ad targeting can be drilled down as much as 1 kilometer, making it easy for marketers to show ads to nearby prospects or customers that have recently visited your storefront (or a competitors’ storefront). A 10 mile radius makes it very difficult for marketers to target ads based on location, knowing that the ad may be triggered at any point within this range. This could negatively impact your marketing campaigns.

The Overall Affect Of iOS Privacy Policy Updates On Marketing Analytics

Currently very few iOS users have the devices that are affected by the latest update, meaning the overall data shift in analytics will be minor. However, as more users update their devices and the version of iOS installed on their devices, the analytics could take a large shift over time. Some of the things affected by the updates would be the inability to track users interactions with a website or app and much more.


Analytics has provided useful reports based on what the user’s interests are, hobbies and online behaviors. Reports such as these, may become more limited and the information gathered about the user may be dwindled down to just demographics. Sadly, this makes it harder on marketers to know what content their users may be interested in and will have to speculate user interest going forward.


User location information may begin to screw as more users update their iOS devices. This is because, if they opt-out of sharing their location a general 10 mile radius will now represent them. Meaning they could appear to be in one city, but live in another. This is important to keep an eye out for, since many marketers use location information as a means to targeting and understanding their audience more.


Event tracking is going to be limited from any social media source. In the latest update, Apple products are limiting the number of events that can be tracked by marketers. This will make it difficult to advertise to iOS users, based on the actions they have taken and their behavior on your website or app. Luckily, major events such as form fills, phone calls and the like can still be tracked.



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