The Ultimate Showdown on Email Privacy

For many people, email has become a chore. From unwanted promotional messages and spam to newsletters that pile up to the point of becoming unmanageable, the inbox can quickly turn into a dumpster.

Worse yet, emails can fall victim to invisible leaks and follow-ups. To combat these issues, three similar but separate email privacy services from three companies: Apple, DuckDuckGo, and 1Password. Explore the pros and cons of these services and find out which one is right for you.

The benefits of anonymous email addresses

Gmail on laptop

Your email address can be linked to dozens or hundreds of online accounts, from shopping sites and forums to banks and tax filing services, and a leak in one place can have widespread effects on your online security. Between data breaches, hidden scans, and tracking pixels, email security is both more important and weaker than ever.

Enter Apple, DuckDuckGo, and 1Password: three companies that offer similar but distinct services, each aimed at protecting your data from leaks and keeping you from endless spam.

All three services focus on generating random email addresses that automatically forward messages to your primary inbox. Instead of providing your personal email address for multiple sites and accounts, you can create a new one for each, both anonymous and disposable.


This way, you can reduce tracking and just turn off email addresses if you start receiving spam. Here’s how the services stack up against each other.

Apple iCloud + Hide my email

One of the privacy features of iCloud + in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey is Hide My Email, Apple’s anonymous email service. By using Hide My Email, you can generate random email addresses right from Safari and use them anywhere you would use your own address. The service forwards all messages to your personal iCloud inbox.

The benefits of iCloud + Hide my email

The first benefit of using Hide My Mail is integration. Because it is integrated with iCloud +, Hide My Email is directly integrated with Safari on iOS and macOS. You can easily create a new random email address using the autofill feature on a web page and save the new sign-in information to your iCloud Keychain.

Another advantage is the ease of use. It’s just as easy to view, manage, and disable or re-enable the anonymous addresses you created in the Settings app. You can also use the iCloud website to create and manage your addresses from any device.

Hide My Email also works well with a separate feature, Mail Privacy Protection, which tries to prevent tracking by downloading content remotely through multiple proxy servers, masking your IP address. Mail Privacy Protection is free, but it is disabled by default. You can enable it on any device running at least iOS 15 or macOS Monterey in the Mail section of the Settings app.

The disadvantages of iCloud + Hide my email

To use Hide My Email, you will need to use iCloud Mail as your primary inbox. Plus, it’s only included with iCloud + accounts, which means you’ll have to pay for an iCloud + subscription. iCloud + starts at $ 0.99 per month.

Like many features in iOS and macOS, the Hide My Email feature’s tight integration with Safari comes with the caveat that its smoothest experience is only for Apple devices. While you don’t need to own an Apple device to pay for iCloud +, you’ll miss out on the benefits of autofill and have to manage your addresses through Apple’s iCloud web interface.

DuckDuckGo Email Protection

DuckDuckGo brings a little more personalization with its Email Protection service. The feature allows you to generate random email addresses like iCloud +. In addition, you create a personalized “@” address.

You can use your “” address (or one of your anonymous addresses) in place of your personal email address, and DuckDuckGo will forward all incoming messages to your primary inbox.

Before forwarding messages, DuckDuckGo removes hidden trackers. It does not save them at any time; it just forwards them to your primary inbox.

The benefits of DuckDuckGo email protection

Email Protection from DuckDuckGo is free and compatible with all platforms and email providers. This means that you can easily forward your emails from the DuckDuckGo service to Gmail or whatever email service you use.

In the DuckDuckGo app (free on iOS and Android), you can see exactly which trackers the service has deleted from your emails and manage the random addresses you create. The app and browser extension also unlock autofill features on supported devices.

The Cons of DuckDuckGo Email Protection

As a cross-platform service, Email Protection might not be able to compete with the system-level integration of iCloud +. However, the benefits of being free to use any device, web browser, and email provider may outweigh this minor inconvenience.

Until its full release, Email Protection requires you to sign up for an invitation through the DuckDuckGo app. Then you will have to wait for your invite code or the full version of the feature to start using the service.

Hidden email from Fastmail and 1Password

Photo of a person working on their computer

Fastmail and 1Password’s hidden email is like a combination of the previous two services. This is a cross-platform feature available on the web and in the 1Password app. There are two requirements though: you will need to use both 1Password and Fastmail.

By using masked email, you can generate random and anonymous email addresses and use them on the web. This service automatically forwards all incoming messages to your Fastmail inbox.

The benefits of 1Password hidden email

1Password and Fastmail both offer free tiers that include the hidden email feature, so you can use it for free once you’ve created accounts for both services.

1Password will also show you which accounts and services shared your email addresses, so you can see how your email ended up in junk spam or promotional lists.

Both 1Password’s browser extension and system integration on iOS are robust. Plus, its autofill capabilities are almost on par with iCloud Keychain. Your email addresses will be just a few clicks away for autofill on your desktop or mobile device.

The disadvantages of 1Password hidden email

While both 1Password and Fastmail are available on many devices and operating systems, you’re still locked into these two services. Therefore, you cannot use Gmail as an inbox for forwarding hidden emails.

The verdict: which email privacy service is better?

The best email privacy service of the three above depends on your device usage, existing email provider, and whether or not you want to pay.

If you are happy with the Apple ecosystem, iCloud + Hide My Email is a good choice. However, if you don’t already pay for iCloud + or don’t want to pay, the other options will still provide good experiences on iOS and macOS.

Protect your email from spam and data leaks

Discussions about online privacy often center around creating strong passwords and avoiding phishing messages. Another important aspect of your information security is strengthening the privacy of your emails.

Anonymous email addresses and services that remove trackers from inbound messages provide additional layers of protection against spam, promotion overload, and account detail leaks. If you are looking for even more privacy for your email, explore the best email providers dedicated to providing a private experience.

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About Sandra A. Powell

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