How to create burner email accounts with iOS 15

Apple has expanded Hide My Email for certain users.
A person in silhouette using their phone.
What creating a burner account feels like. Warren Wong / Unsplash

If you love handing out fake email addresses to every app and online community that asks for your contact information, Apple can make things a little easier for you. Well, as long as you’re using Sign in with Apple or paying for iCloud storage.

When iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 hit devices last week, it expanded Hide My Email, a feature that allows you to create countless burner accounts that all forward to your iCloud inbox. That means apps won’t have your personal address, but you’ll still see what they send you and can deactivate individual burners at any time.

To be clear, the ability to shroud your email address has been part of Sign in with Apple since iOS 13, but the company has expanded its reach for the 15th version of its mobile operating system. The feature is still free if you use Sign in with Apple, but you’ll be able to create burners for more apps and services if you pay for iCloud Plus (even the lowest tier of 50GB for $1 per month).

How to use Hide My Email to full effect

You can use Hide My Email in a couple of ways. The most practical is when you’re actually signing up for something. If your iPhone or iPad recognizes that something wants your email address, you’ll see Hide My Email as an option. Tap it, and you’ll get a randomly generated name. If you hate it, hit the refresh button to get another one; if you’re cool with it, select Continue. From there, you can add a Note so Future You remembers what that burner account was linked to. Finally, select Use to lock it in.

[Related: You should get a burner phone number (even if you are not a spy)]

To manage your ever-growing list of addresses, open the Settings app, find your name at the top of the screen, go to iCloud, and choose Hide My Email. From there, you can select existing burners and add notes to them, or deactivate them so you won’t receive any more forwarded messages. You can reactivate them from the Inactive Addresses option on the same screen.

There’s also an option to create burner accounts from the main Hide My Email settings page, but you may find this less useful—you’d have to remember the fake accounts you set up or go back to this page to copy them for later use. We think it’s easier to generate them on the fly.

By default, these accounts forward to your iCloud address, but there’s a Forward to option that allows you to choose from a list of other inbox options.

How to use Hide My Email for free

If you don’t have a paid iCloud account, but you have an Apple ID and at least iOS 13, you can still use the Hide My Email function with Sign in with Apple. If you open an app that allows you to use this feature to sign in, you should see two options: Share My Email and Hide My Email. Choose the second, then hit Continue.

As mentioned above, you won’t be able to use it in as many places as you would with iCloud Plus, but as they say, every burner makes you just a little bit hotter. They don’t say that? Well, we’re saying it.