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In the last few years, since Apple instituted its Privacy tools, many eCRMs have added a feature to exclude automated/machine opens from the true open rate. (For context, starting in 2021, Apple essentially triggers all tracking pixels sent to an email address that uses iOS or Apple Mail, in an effort to reduce behavioral tracking. More here and easily Googleable.)

Anecdotally, I have seen email open rates in the last year that are much higher than ever before (50% vs 20% or so before), which I assume isn't really because my audience is more engaged -- it's likely because of this change in email clients' behavior.

Is there a way to identify a true open rate using CiviCRM? I haven't gotten into the weeds about how other CRMs accomplish this, but I imagine it's not terribly challenging to identify which opens are machine opens. If it's not a feature available, maybe there's a way to do it via creative searching/grouping?

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  • I imagine they are just doing it by checking IPs of the requests. Is there a public list anywhere of those Apple servers?
    – Lars SG
    Sep 26, 2023 at 17:14

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If an email client defeats Civi's tracking, then it's probably defeated 🤕.

As the article you linked to says:

it’s looking like open rates may soon be a relic of the past.

Filtering out these machine opens is just another way of admitting defeat, it doesn't actually give you accurate stats, just replaces them with a question mark.

However, Civi does provide link tracking, so if your email includes enticing links for users to click on, you can still track their engagement that way.

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