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Apple: 1, Spam: 0? How a new email feature aims to keep spammers off your trail

Hide My Email, a new privacy-focused feature in iCloud Plus, wants to beat email spam at its own game.

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Apple's new Hide My Email feature lets you create random email addresses so you don't have to give your real one away to every site. 

James Martin/CNET
This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Some spam is sent with malicious intent, but a lot of it boils down to harmless email clogging up your inbox, creating a cacophony of advertisements you don't want to see, and plenty of time-consuming work to delete or unsubscribe. Apple is taking aim at email spam with a new tool called Hide My Email, which aims to thin out your inbox by keeping email spam from showing up in the first place.

The feature, called Hide My Email, is part of a trio of new privacy-focused services for iCloud users under iCloud Plus. To take advantage of it, you'll have to pay for the new premium upgrade that ranges from $1 per month up to $10 per month. 

Hide My Email lets you generate random email addresses when you fill out an online form or sign up for a website, so you don't always have to give out your real address. In effect, you're scrambling your tracks. We'll walk you through how Hide My Email works. We'll continue to update this tory as we get more specifics from Apple. 

How does Hide My Email shield me from unwanted spam?

With Apple's new Hide My Email feature, you can generate random, unique email addresses when you need to provide your email address on a website. It will then forward mail to your actual inbox, while reducing the number of lists your legitimate email address appears on. 

Hide My Email also allows you to create and delete as many addresses as needed at any time, giving you more control over who can contact you. This is similar to Sign In with Apple, which uses your iOS device to verify credentials instead of your social account logins (which could make you vulnerable to being tracked online). 

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Hide My Email helps you keep track of all the random email addresses you generate. 

Apple

Here's how it appears to work, based on the WWDC presentation: When you reach a field online where you need to enter your email, you can tap the field and tap Hide My Email. A box will pop up with a random email address, allowing you to add a note so you remember what you're using it for. When ready, tap Use. To manage these email addresses, go to iCloud > Hide My Email, and you can see a full list. 

Where will Hide My Email work, when will it arrive?

Hide My Email will be built directly into Safari, Mail and iCloud settings. It will arrive as part of the fall software update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, MacOS Monterey and iCloud.com.

For more, check out how to download iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

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