Pardot Users: Get Ready for Apple’s September 2021 iOS 15 Release

Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection has been generating a lot of chatter among marketers and rightfully so. This feature — included in the iOS 15 update, which is scheduled to be released between September 13th – 18th — will forever change the way marketers track their Pardot email marketing engagement.


Why is the Mail Privacy Protection included in the iOS 15 causing such a stir, and what do you need to know? 


A common way to track email opens is with transparent images known as tracking pixels. These images are embedded in emails and automatically downloaded upon opening (unless image downloads are blocked by the user or admin). When a tracking pixel is downloaded, an open is tracked.


Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature goes beyond blocking tracking pixels. According to Litmus, “Apple will first route emails through a proxy server to pre-load message content—including tracking pixels—before serving it to readers.” 


This change presents three major issues for Pardot email marketing:


  1. Because message content is pre-loaded before it reaches its recipients, email open rates for Apple users will show an inaccurate 100 percent.
  2. Since emails are first routed through a proxy server, location-based dynamic content can be skewed.
  3.  Location tracking could incorrectly report the locations of the servers instead of the recipients. 


Over half of consumers receive commercial and business emails on Apple devices, so iOS 15 will impact your email reporting and content customization. 


How can you get reliable metrics and deliver relevant content through Pardot email marketing when iOS 15 is released?


Throw Out: 

  • Open rates
  • Click-to-open rates
  • A/B subject line testing
  • Customized content or engagement program steps based on email opens



  • Click through rates on calls-to-actions in your Pardot email marketing including: 
    • Links clicked
    • Email replies 
    • Form fills


Remember, non-image-based actions within an email are not affected by Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.



  • Pardot Lead Scoring Models: If your contacts receive a score for email opens, you will be getting inaccurate scores. 
  • Optimal Send Times: iOS 15 users will show a 100 percent open rate, so your optimal send times could be a result of inaccurate data. 
  • Re-engagement Programs: If your recipients’ re-engagement is based on email opens, your iOS 15 users will show false activity.


What to Do Now: 

Move away from open rates in Pardot email marketing. Whether you found this blog post before or after the iOS 15 September release, the time to start updating your marketing automation programs and systems is now! We have a team of marketing automation experts ready to help you make all the changes necessary to accurately track engagement and deliver relevant content through your Pardot instance. 


As Pardot consultants, we can help you build marketing automation programs that rely less on open rates and more on true, measurable, call to actions. Contact us to find out more about Pardot tips and best practices.


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