Gmail for iOS Gains Setting for Automatically Blocking Images

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Google today updated its Gmail app for iOS devices with a new image blocking setting for easier access to the option designed to prevent Gmail from automatically loading attached images.

Many email tracking clients use small, invisible images as a means of tracking when an email has been opened and viewed, allowing for invasive features like read receipts.


Gmail on the desktop has long had the setting that lets images be blocked by default, but now that setting is also accessible on iOS devices for personal Gmail accounts, so it's easier for those who primarily use iOS devices to activate it. From the release notes for the latest update of Gmail:

You can now choose to be asked before external images are displayed automatically. To enable this for new incoming messages, go to Settings > specific account > Images and select Ask before displaying external images.

As The Verge points out, this appears to be a response to a recent controversy with Superhuman, an email app that allowed users to track the location of a person who opened an email as well as what time of day the email was read.

Location tracking has been removed entirely and read receipts are off by default in Superhuman following public outcry, but the issue did raise awareness about tracking features in email apps, which may have prompted Google to expand the setting to iOS devices in addition to the web.

Gmail can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Google, Gmail

Top Rated Comments

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15 months ago

I don't care, give me push support for Gmail account in the native Mail app!!!

Never gonna happen. Google can't show ads in the native app. It used to be possible with Exchange ActiveSync before Google disabled it. This feature is still available for paid Google Apps, so it's obviously a business decision.

What you get for relying on a free service.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
Where is the dark mode though ?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago

They/their who? This article is about Google’s iOS mail app, and not about the Apple’s native mail app.

He knows the article isn't about Apple's mail app. He's wondering why Google didn't already have this feature in their iOS app. He's also stating that Google sometimes makes their iOS apps better than their Android counterparts... which is why he was wondering why Google's iOS app didn't already have the feature. To be fair, the excessive pronouns sans true context did make for a slightly perplexing read.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago

Edit: I looked it up and all you have to do is not use the categories tabs format.

Intresting. Why not use an iCloud email account? To get the full apple ecosystem experience. On my android device using the Gmail app, I've never seen ads.

Same here. Never seen ads in GMail.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
Gmail images are pre-loaded by Google’s server, which is a change they implemented a few years back to combat virus in mails. Because of this implementation, tracking pixels don’t get real user’s IP address (only Google’s) unless it’s clicked. The downside of this implementation is that one can’t individually block certain element from downloading because it’s all loaded from googleusercontent.com domain. If image loading is not blocked by default, as soon as one opens an email, the tracking service will know it’s been opened. I don’t use Gmail web or iOS client to open promotional emails for this reason because there’s no way to use my ad block which is enabled on a DNS level.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago

Never gonna happen. Google can't show ads in the native app. It used to be possible with Exchange ActiveSync before Google disabled it. This feature is still available for paid Google Apps, so it's obviously a business decision.

What you get for relying on a free service.

I've never seen an ad in the Gmail app. Do you have a screenshot of one?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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