What is an email tracking pixel? How to block them on iPhone

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If you’re new to digital marketing or reading about how data tracking works, you’ve heard that the terms “tracking pixels,” “mail tracking pixels,” or just “pixels” have recently been abandoned. There should be. This is a (new) flashy way to track users, sometimes referred to as “spy pixels.”

Introducing the modern yet trivial world of digital marketing and explaining what email tracking pixels are and what you can do to block them on your iPhone.

What is a tracking pixel?

Companies that use email marketing campaigns to attract audiences need to know if the emails they send are being read. That’s where tracking pixels come in. Tracking pixels are small images created using HTML code (see below).

What is a tracking pixel?

As you know, the images displayed on the web are stored on servers all over the world. When you open an email or web page, the image (pixels) is downloaded to your PC and displayed through your browser.

This helps It returns a “flag” to the server hosting the image, tells the sender if a web page, email, or document has been opened, and collects more data. Use this “flag” as a trigger. This is triggered when you open the email.

In addition, tracking pixels are often in bytes in size, so they are also downloaded in the slower zones of the Internet. It occurs in milliseconds, so it’s not easy to prevent. It’s simple yet effective.

There is also an advanced version of tracking pixels called “conversion pixels”. This works when you buy an item from an email that contains tracking pixels. It’s much more sophisticated and is generally responsible for tracking sales from a particular advertising campaign.

So why do you need to care about it?

Well, first of all, privacy, of course! Second, I agree.

Tracking pixels are often embedded in emails and web pages that end users probably don’t know about. It violates your privacy and allows data companies to collect information about your online behavior, such as your shopping patterns and what you want to see.

The latest European GDPR law prohibits businesses from inserting tracking pixels in emails and web pages. And even so, users must be informed that the website collects data through it. The user must have the right to oppose tracking.

European GDPR law that prevents companies from tracking pixels by email

For other regions, it is specific to the laws of each country. For example, at least at the time of writing this article, there are no declarations a company must make for Indian readers.

What data does Email Tracking Pixel collect?

If you have any questions about tracking the data that pixels collect, see the following list.

  • The type of operating system used — You can target ads based on your mobile OS.
  • Website Visit Time or Email Browsing Time — Indicates your intent.
  • The type of email or website used (desktop or mobile).
  • Client type to use (email program or browser) — You can target different pricing for each user.
  • IP Address — Potentially Location.
  • Activity on the site during the session — Shows interest in the landing page of the site.
  • Client screen resolution.

How to find out if an email has tracking pixels

You’ve never seen a tracking pixel, at least with the naked eye. As mentioned above, these pixels are small in size. Even 1px X 1px is cleverly embedded in emails such as sender signatures, flashy fonts used, and web page headers.

In addition, the technology available today enables transparent tracking pixels, making them virtually invisible. But there is a loophole! You can block those pixels.

How to block tracking pixels on iPhone

There are several ways to block tracking pixels on your iPhone. Start with the easiest way and move on!

1. Change DNS settings

This way you don’t have to change your surfing settings. To set up a dedicated DNS server for iOS, such as Cloudflare’s WARP, follow these steps:

  1. Move to Configuration..
  2. Tap Wifi And yours Wi-Fi network..
  3. Then tap ‘Me’ The button next to it.
  4. Scroll down to select Configure DNS..
  5. Change to manual Enter the desired DNS address.

    Change iPhone DNS settings
    Cloudflare is one of the privacy-focused DNS services and we recommend using it to prevent tracking pixels from tracking you.

  6. select Add server And add
  7. Please select again and enter

2. Turn on private relay

Apple has introduced a new feature in iOS 15 called Private Relay. This is a feature for iCloud + subscribers that protects your iPhone from pixel tracking as well as other tracking activities. Here’s how to turn on Private Relay on your iPhone:

  1. Open Configuration..
  2. yours Apple ID section.
  3. select iCloudPrivate relay..

    Select iCloud from your iPhone settings

  4. Switch on.

    Turn on private relay on iPhone

3. Turn on privacy protection in your email settings

As mentioned above, tracking pixels are pushed into the iPhone’s email app via images. Blocking the automatic loading of images in the Mail app can block some of your tracking pixels.

In iOS 15, Apple has enhanced its privacy game. Now blocks tracking natively.

  1. Open iPhone Configuration..
  2. Scroll down to select Post..
  3. Now, Privacy protection Section, turn on Protect your email activity..

    Turn on privacy protection in your iPhone's email settings

This protects your iPhone from pixel tracking as well as other fish tracking activities.

This article is just the basis of what tracking pixels can track. This technology is much more sophisticated and could be used by more people.

We hope you understand what tracking pixels are and how to block them on your iPhone. If you have any other questions about pixel tracking, please leave a comment below. We will be happy to help you!

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