iCloud Mail is a dedicated email service available to users of Apple/Mac products. Considered by many users as a way of “de-googling” themselves, iCloud allows you to send, receive and organize emails using the Mail app on iCloud.com, Mac systems or other Apple products using iOS, like the iconic iPhone and iPod touch series.
An iCloud email addresses can end with @icloud.com, @mac.com or @me.com, depending on when a user started using iCloud. iCloud allows users to have a singular platform from which they can send and receive all of their emails, manage files, photos, videos and music, and create system back-ups. Staying true to the typical foolproof security features offered by all Apple, the iCloud is one of the safest email service providers, making it difficult for not just the spammers, but also ethical email marketers to find a way inside the recipient’s inbox.
FeedBack Loops (FBLs) are great at helping email marketers identify underperforming campaigns based on a variety of factors such as the number of complaints received by users. Unfortunately, unlike most in the industry, iCloud doesn’t offer FBL. They encourage bulk email senders to make sure their subscriber lists are well-managed and used in ethical manners, ensuring that only engaged, opted-in subscribers are receiving the emails. Apple recommends marketers follow the rules defined below:
- Review email lists on a regular basis and suppress any inactive or disengaged subscribers from the mailing list.
- Remove any email addresses that bounce consistently.
- Honor all user requests for unsubscribing as soon as possible.
Unlike the other leading email service providers, iCloud does not offer Whitelist functionality to bulk senders. In fact, according to their official website, they track the sender’s reputation using various mechanisms, including IP and domain reputations, user feedback and content checks. All filtering decisions are then made by their team based on the predefined list of characteristics.
The iCloud Mail Postmaster Information page is great resource for email marketers and bulk senders searching for additional information on the tools and features available from iCloud, as well as tips and tricks to better manage and optimize email campaigns. It touches on issues like email authentication, DMARC and delivery tips.
Best Practices for Bulk Email Senders
The iCloud Mail Team identified the following as their top best practices to keep in mind when sending emails to their customers:
- Send only to recipients you have explicitly given you the permission to reach out to them.
- Have clear and visible ‘unsubscribe’ button in your emails.
- Make sure that your emails are compliant with RFC 5322.
- Ensure that you publish reverse DNS with your domain to guide us in identifying your IP addresses.
- Use consistent sending IP addresses but do segment marketing and transactional streams.
- Make sure your subject lines, email content and email addresses reflect the business and its purpose.
- Make use of the DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to authenticate your emails.
- Track all temporary as well as permanent SMTP errors from the mail servers and take actions accordingly.
- Never reactivate unsubscribed users.
Apple iCloud also recommends visiting the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) website and have a look at their best communication practices.