Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hide my email: protect your privacy online

A couple of years ago, Apple started a policy of privacy protection of the user. A way to establish yourself as an alternative to Google or Amazon, which they make business of all the data and information that we give them directly or indirectly. That privacy protection included tools like a VPN called private relay and others not so publicized. Two of them have to do with email: Hide my email and Custom email domain. And to use them you only need iCloud+.

By simply having Apple devices, such as an iPhone or a Mac, you will have given the jump from iCloud to iCloud+. Mainly, because Apple’s cloud offers 5 GB of online storage for free. Very little for the use we make of it today. So to increase those 5 GB to about 50 GB or more, you have no choice but to subscribe to iCloud+ at a cost of €0.99 per month.

And to give more value to iCloud+, we find the privacy tools mentioned above. Today we will dedicate a space to one of them, designed to protect your email on the internet. A communication system that we all use at work and/or at home and that can give us some problems if we are not careful.

What is ‘Hide my email’ for?

The short explanation of what it is for Hide my email is for keep your email address private staff”. Nowadays, in addition to sending and receiving email messages, your email address is used to register in all kinds of services and websites. This can be a privacy problem because someone with bad intentions is capable of linking your address to disreputable sites. Or from a password, enter your social network profiles or other services where you used the same password.

Apple allows you, with this function, to “generate a unique and random email address that forwards messages to your personal email account, so that you don’t have to share your address of real email when filling out forms or subscribing to newsletters on the Internet or when sending email. So compartmentalize and keep separately all the profiles and accounts you create on the internet. And you will prevent anyone from being able to relate one to the other.

What devices can I use this feature on?

As is usually the case, many of Apple’s exclusivities are usually linked to its ecosystem of devices. On this occasion, Hide my email can be used directly from iPhone, iPad and Mac. And if you also use Android and/or Windows, you can access it from the iCloud website.

On the other hand, this function is linked to official applications such as the browser Safari and the mail manager Mail. Basically, it is in these apps where you are going to enter your email address and where you are going to check the received messages. Although it also works for compatible third-party apps.

Set up ‘Hide my email’

As we saw before, to use the function Hide my email you need to be subscribed to iCloud+. From there, on iPhone and iPad, you will find a dedicated section if you are going to Settings and you enter your Apple profile after signing in with your ID. Within iCloud go to the section iCloud+ and you will see several options. Between them, Hide my email. Once inside, if it is the first time you access you will only find the option Create a new address.

From Mac, you will have to follow a similar route: System settings > your Apple profile > iCloud > iCloud+ > Hide my email. When you click, you will see the menu for Create a new address and thus use that email instead of your real address. Finally, from iCloud.com, you will have to enter the website, sign in with your Apple ID and go to iCloud+ features. Inside, you will find Hide my email.

To start using this privacy feature, we need to create a first email address. So we just have to follow the route that we have seen before and press or click on the link Create a new address. You will see a random address with the iCloud subdomain, a fully functional address that redirect received and sent messages with your real email address.

If you are already satisfied with the first proposed address, click on Continue. If you don’t like it, you can change it by clicking on Use another address. Or if you prefer to discard this feature for now, choose the option Not for now. Once you find the right address, you can label it and add an optional note to remember what the address is for.

First steps with your new address

Hide my email

Now that you have your first email address to protect your real address, you can choose which email to redirect messages to that you receive. If you have multiple addresses configured, of course. You can also edit and change the label and note. Or directly, click on Deactivate email address if you no longer want to receive messages sent to that address.

From now on, if you want register on a website or online service, use that address instead of the one you usually use. As with temporary emails, it is a functional email address. And as we saw before, you can use the function Hide my email from applications like Mailto send or reply to a message, or from Safari, to register or fill out a form. Forget about junk mail or spam and protect your privacy by separating your online accounts with different random addresses. You can create more addresses as we saw above.

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