Turns Out, Apple’s Hide My Email Feature Is Pretty Great

Double-secure, and infinitely more private

  • Apple’s Hide My Email and equivalent services are essential to online privacy.
  • Hide My Email is seamless and future-proof. 
  • Never use your real email to sign up for anything ever again.
Someone holding a smartphone that's displaying an email account.

oatawa / Getty Images

Apple’s Hide My Email feature has turned out to be one of the best things in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey. 

We all know that we’re supposed to create a strong, unique password for every login we have, so why do we use the same email address over and over? It’s like locking the front door but leaving an upstairs window open. Apple’s Hide My Email—and similar features from DuckDuckGo and Fastmail—lets you create a unique email for every login, newsletter, or mailing list. It turns out to be an amazing way to avoid spam and stay safer online. 

"As digital privacy is the key concern for everyone nowadays, this is a great step towards securing your email privacy. Sorting your important emails from all the spam and promotional emails is both time-consuming and annoying," network security engineer Andreas Grant told Lifewire via email. 

Hide My Email

Hide My Email is available to anyone who pays for an iCloud+ plan, and it is built into the Mac and iOS operating systems. It works like this: Whenever you are confronted with a new account signup, your Mac, iPhone, or iPad will offer to Hide My Email. If you accept, it will create a new, unique email address and paste it into the form. You can also add a note to remind you of any important details in the future.

"We should use disposable emails when communicating with people whom we do not know yet know. For example, we should use disposable emails when contacting someone from outside of our contact list," Touro College Graduate School of Technology Professor Jeremy Rambarran told Lifewire via email. "If the person is not whom they say they are, this can protect the sender from revealing their personal email and being bombarded with more emails, or possibly phone calls."

There are several advantages here. One is that an attacker needs to get both your unique email and your unique password to access your account. If you use the same public email for all your logins, half of their job is already done. 

The other big win is that marketers cannot use your email address to track you across accounts. Nor can they effectively spam you. A major feature of Hide My Email is that you can switch it off and never get email from that address again. This also works for one-off logins where a site may force you to create an account to buy a ticket, say. With Hide My Email, you buy that ticket, then abandon the email. 

Fastmail’s Masked Email and DuckDuckGo’s Email Protection do the same thing, although it’s less smooth to use because it isn’t built into your computer. DuckDuckGo’s service also sanitizes any incoming email, removing trackers, and acting as a go-between for any images, so tracking pixels don’t work. All of them are fantastic, but Apple (and DuckDuckGo) have one advantage. 

Future Proof

Most people should have their own email domain name so that their email address is something like youvegotmail@kathleenkelly.com instead of kkelly1998@gmail.com. If you ditch Gmail, you lose your email address and any future emails sent to it. 

If you own your own domain name and move to a new email host, you can take your address and that future mail with you.

Someone holding an iPhone in front of a MacBook with email icons overlaying the image.

anyaberkut / Getty Images

As an email provider, Fastmail is perfect for hosting your domain, and it is tempting to use its Masked Email. But if you switch away from Fastmail, you lose access to those masked emails. 

DuckDuckGo and Apple simply forward emails to your chosen address, so they are more future-proof. And while Fastmail lets you reply from the Fastmail app or the web interface, if you reply from any other email app (including the built-in Apple Mail app), the reply will come from your regular email address. This doesn’t hurt security, but it does compromise privacy.

There’s one scenario this doesn’t cover—when you have to write down an email on a paper form.

"Remembering these throwaway emails can be difficult if you don’t have your device with you all the time," says Grant. 

For this, you might consider learning one of your throwaway addresses and then discarding it after a while. But for everything else, disposable email is totally essential.

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