What you need to know
- Mail Privacy Protection prevents email senders from getting your IP address, even when you load remote content like images.
- A new test appears to show that Mail on Apple Watch does not use Mail Privacy Protection.
New research appears to show that the Apple Watch Mail app is leaking people's IP address even when they have Mail Privacy Protection enabled.
When Apple released iOS 15 one of the new privacy features was something called Mail Privacy Protection. That includes a few things, but one facet is Apple's ability to route the downloading of remote images via its proxy network to hide your real IP address. That prevents email senders from getting it, and it's a good thing. But a new test appears to show that Mail Privacy Protection doesn't extend to Apple Watch.
Here's how Apple describes Mail Privacy Protection.
However, Tommy Mysk was able to send themselves an email with an image in it and then track the IP address used to download it. The IP address was their real one, not a random one assigned by Apple.
Heads-up: The mail privacy protection introduced in iOS 15 doesn't apply to the Mail app on the Apple Watch. Both the Mail app and the notification preview on the Apple Watch download remote content using your real IP address.#Cybersecurity #iOS pic.twitter.com/o0lh9rPQTdHeads-up: The mail privacy protection introduced in iOS 15 doesn't apply to the Mail app on the Apple Watch. Both the Mail app and the notification preview on the Apple Watch download remote content using your real IP address.#Cybersecurity #iOS pic.twitter.com/o0lh9rPQTd— Mysk 🇨🇦🇩🇪 (@mysk_co) November 15, 2021November 15, 2021
It isn't immediately clear whether this is a bug or if Mail is working as designed. Apple's documentation about Mail Privacy Protection isn't clear as to whether watchOS 8 is included — we've reached out to Apple for confirmation.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.