In close conjunction with the sale of the iPhone 7, Apple also released an updated version of their mobile operating system iOS 10 last week, on September 13th. Among the updates therein was a new feature for the native email application that draws from the “mailto” portion of a list-unsubscribe that provides the user with a simple method of unsubscribing from email they’re receiving as a result of being on a mailing list that appears at the top of an email:

Technically speaking, it appears at this point that the native email app on the iPhone or iPad will honor any email that contains the “mailto” piece of the list-unsubscribe. This is in contrast to the similar header-unsubscribe seen through Gmail’s email platform, the inclusion of which depends heavily on sender reputation at Gmail before they allow that to appear to a list recipient.



Takeaways for Recipients

There are different takeaways for users and for senders that I want to quickly highlight. For users, this is simply a convenient and easy way to unsubscribe from a marketing list from which you don’t want to receive mail any longer. It would make sense that there would be an uptick in unsubscribes among iPhone and iPad owners due to this new feature, as many users could take advantage of this functionality by finally opting out of mailing lists whose mail they had just been ignoring before. Although we don’t have enough data to be conclusive, the data we have so far suggests that users are still primarily using the unsubscribe feature in the standard email footer.

Takeaways for Senders

For senders, it would be easy to be concerned that iOS 10 is seemingly wanting to prompt your users to unsubscribe from your list. This train of thought is fundamentally flawed. Giving your users an easy method of unsubscribing from your list not only leads to higher list engagement and improved sender reputation, but also to better overall list quality. There may also be a corresponding drop in spam complaints from campaigns that contain the unsubscribe in the content header, which should be monitored from the sender’s perspective.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t want users to even be on your list, let alone receive mail from you if they don’t want to. From a reputation standpoint, an unsubscribe is always better than a spam complaint, and the route for an end user can very well depend on what is easiest.

For SendGrid users who have enabled our sender authentication as well as our subscription tracking feature, this will automatically enable this iOS functionality. Our attitude towards this is that similar to how Gmail’s different tabs helped shape email marketing; it’s not something that should be struggled against but rather embraced as something that will allow your users to more easily interact with your brand.

*iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

An email nerd at heart, Seth has been working in the deliverability and marketing space for six years. He loves solving problems, helping educate SendGrid's customers, and being a part of the email community. As a sixth-generation Coloradan, he always enjoys being outside (especially if it means getting a round of golf in), and thinks John Elway should be the Emperor of Colorado.