Article

Communicating Using the Private Email Relay Service

Communicate with users who opted to use an anonymous email address with Sign in with Apple.

Overview

Users often want to communicate with a developer, but may be concerned that their private email information will be sold or used to send them spam. To facilitate communication between users and developers, Sign in with Apple gives users the ability to use an anonymous email address. When a user provides such an address to your app, the private relay email service routes all emails between you and the user.

Private relay email addresses have the following characteristics:

  • They end in @privaterelay.appleid.com.

  • They route emails to one of the Apple ID’s verified email addresses.

  • They’re the same for a user across all apps written by a single development team, and different for the same user across apps written by different development teams.

  • They’re active whether or not the user is signed into a device, and whether or not your app is installed on the device. You may send and receive email to the private email address at any time.

After the user has shared a private relay email address with your app, they can find, view, and manage it in their account settings at Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security > Apps Using Your Apple ID.

The following sequence chart shows how the private email relay service works:

A sequence diagram that describes how a user sends and receives an email through the private email relay service.

Register Your Email Domain

To send emails to users with private email addresses, you must register your outbound emails or email domains and use Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to authenticate your outbound emails. These mechanisms ensure that only you can communicate with your users through this channel, and they prevent spam from getting through.

Send and Receive Emails

After you register your outbound email domains, you can send emails to users through the private email relay service. When they reply, the relay server routes the replies back to the email address used in your original email. To enable this functionality, the relay server transforms your email address so it’s readable to the user. For example, sales@xyz.com may become sales_at_xyz_com_<something>@privaterelay.appleid.com instead of a random email address. Replies from the user are still routed back through the service to preserve the user’s privacy.

If a user chooses to stop receiving email from your app, the relay server rejects all future emails sent to that address. Because the address is the same for all apps written by a development team, disabling the relay service will inform the user of all the other apps that will be affected.

See Also

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