Monday, September 20, 2021

Hide My Email

Tim Hardwick:

At its WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple announced that iCloud is getting a premium subscription tier called “iCloud+,” which includes tentpole privacy features like Private Relay and Hide My Email. Another feature included in iCloud+ that wasn’t discussed in the keynote is the ability to create a custom email domain name.

I think it’s better to use another e-mail provider, but at least with a custom domain you can more easily change in the future.


Expanding on the capabilities of Sign in with Apple, Hide My Email lets users share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their personal email address private. Built directly into Safari, iCloud settings, and Mail, Hide My Email also enables users to create and delete as many addresses as needed at any time, helping give users control of who is able to contact them.

It appears that you can set it forward to a non-iCloud address. So you can improve your privacy by hiding your real e-mail address from sites, but you also reduce it by routing your mail through Apple, and add a dependency on iCloud.

Tim Hardwick:

The following steps show you how to create a new dummy email address with Hide My Email, for use in Safari and Mail.


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Kevin Schumacher

> It appears that you can set it forward to a non-iCloud address.

As it turns out, this is literally an extension of the exact same feature in Sign in with Apple.

Immediately after upgrading to iOS 15, under Settings > (your name) > iCloud > Hide My Email, I found a list of nine forwarding addresses that say "From Sign in with Apple". For these addresses, you cannot remove them directly; it links you to managing which apps can use Sign in with Apple (which is oddly titled "Apps Using Apple ID"). These addresses are all random strings of 10 letters and numbers.

By contrast, when you create a new address from that same location in Settings, the character set seems to be words, numbers, underscore, and period. It suggests an address immediately and then you get two additional options by tapping Use Different Address twice. Oddly, the same addresses appear if you cancel out of address creation and go back to it.

If you create an address, then go to create another one, you have the same two address choices you already didn't pick plus a new third one. This time, though, the screen looks different. Instead of Label and Make a Note being on a separate screen, they're on the same one, and instead of Use Different Address, Create, and Cancel being options at the bottom, there is just Back and Next at the top and Use Different Address in the middle. Other than the lack of a tiny bit of explanatory text on the second run, I'm not sure what the gain is in making the screens look different.

Sign in with Apple always forwarded to your Apple ID's primary email address. This new feature does tell you which email address it will forward to for each item, but it doesn't give you the option to change it, even if you (like me) have multiple email addresses on your Apple ID, including a mix of iCloud and non-iCloud.

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