Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, otherwise known as DMARC, is a protocol and best practice for email deliverability that continues to grow within the email marketing world.

Email mailbox providers continue to update their DMARC policies and we want to make sure email senders are aware of these changes and what it means for their programs. Yahoo and other inbox providers have done it previously, and Apple is the most recent inbox to take this step.

This update it one of many more that will continue to occur as major mailbox providers attempt to steer senders away from sending email from the providers’ own domains.

What did Apple change and how does it affect senders?

This week, Apple advanced their DMARC policy to an enforcement level of quarantine. Any commercial email sent from an @mac.com, @me.com, and @icloud.com email address will be sent to the SPAM folder unless it is being sent by Apple’s infrastructure.

Quarantine protects against phishing and spoofing attacks and improves sender email domain reputation.

If you 1) send email from an @mac.com, @me.com, or @icloud.com domain, and 2)take no action, the email you send from these domains with SendGrid may be placed in the spam folders by inbox providers who honor DMARC policies. As a result, your open and click rates will decrease.

If Apple moves to a strict DMARC policy, email you send from these domains through SendGrid will bounce at inbox providers who honor DMARC policies, and your delivery rate will decrease.

What action should I take?

If you don’t already have one, acquire a custom domain that you control. Begin sending from your authenticated domain as soon as possible. You may want to transition your sending slowly over the next 2-3 weeks.

Planning Ahead

Other inbox providers, such as Yahoo and AOL, implemented quarantine DMARC policies and then advanced to the most strict DMARC policies. We also suspect Apple will do the same. We’ve also discussed how Gmail and Microsoft will eventually make this move (though continuously delayed) with their respective DMARC policies. This is another great reason to send from your own controlled domain and not that of a mailbox provider.

What else can I do to optimize my delivery?

  1. Authenticate your private domain with SendGrid. See our documentation for detailed instructions.
  2. Setup Reverse DNS for your IP address with SendGrid.
  3. Warmup properly. As always, with any major changes to your sending infrastructure, we recommend a proper warmup.

If you would like in-depth assistance with the above steps, consider leveraging SendGrid’s Expert Delivery Services to ensure optimal DMARC setup. And other email delivery best practices read through SendGrid’s 2018 Email Deliverability Guide. 



Jacob Hansen
Jacob comes from a background in technical account management and delivery analysis for the last six years, and has been with SendGrid's Deliverability Consultant team for the last two years. He enjoys spreading knowledge to help the email community send more "wanted email" and to help senders realize their full potential. Originally from Nebraska, but living in Colorado long enough for it to feel like home, Jacob enjoys a lot of what the Denver restaurant, bar, brewery and music scenes have to offer.