I turn off Mail Privacy Protection on my iPhone (13 pro max iOS 16.4.1(a)) so that I can block all remote content, and after every iOS update my privacy setting has reverted. This feels disrespectful, but mostly I want it to stop, unless someone can refute my reasoning:

Mail Privacy Protection downloads remote images, including images which by fetching may reveal that the message sent to my email address has reached a live host (and is therefore a current active email account).

Blocking all remote content does not load these images, and makes my email appear as no different to a blackhole (which is the standard email response on my domain).

Therefore, Mail Privacy Protection is less private than blocking all remote content.

Anyway, I've been looking for a good reason to leave the ecosystem and this might be it, any suggestions?

  • My understanding is that Apple pre-downloads remote images whether you use private relay or not. Any tracking pixel(s) on the message doesn't work due to the dual-hop technology so the sender doesn't know whether you opened the email or not.
    – fsb
    May 26, 2023 at 11:42
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    Mail Privacy Protection is a separate feature from iCloud Private Relay. The OS should respect the setting. That said, a sender can know the email address is valid without tracking pixels. What tracking pixels do provide (in the absence of Mail Privacy Protection or blocked remote content) is time of opening, and the user agent and other HTTP header info.
    – pseudon
    May 26, 2023 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


Apple does not currently provide a way to persist this setting across updates

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    Do you have any documentation of this? Were you informed by a support rep, an online posting or personal observation?
    – Allan
    May 27, 2023 at 18:38
  • @Allan personal interview, same date, some apple genius. insisted on informing me of why I shouldn't want what I want, rather than offering solution. if you have evidence to the contrary please post an answer
    – Mr. Dave
    May 28, 2023 at 21:02

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