Gmail for iOS can now prevent remote image tracking

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Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The official Gmail app on iOS can now prevent tracking via external images.

A new update to the app brings the ability to disable automatic image loading. This makes it harder for message senders to establish whether you actually opened an email.

The images you’ll find embedded into many emails — especially marketing and spam emails — aren’t just images. They can also be used to find out whether a recipient actually opened a message.

How? Well, those images are stored on remote servers, and the sender has the ability to find out exactly who has accessed them, and even where they were accessed from.

Lots of email apps and providers help users avoid this kind of thing by disabling remote image loading. And now Gmail for iOS is finally doing the same on iPhone and iPad.

Gmail’s new remote image setting

After installing Gmail’s latest update, you’ll have the option to disable remote image loading by default. Gmail will ask you whether you want to load remote images when you open an email.

Gmail will continue to load remote images by default, so you’ll need to toggle this setting yourself if you want to take advantage of it. You can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Ensure you have updated to the latest version of Gmail for iOS
  2. Go into Gmail’s Settings menu and choose an email account
  3. Select the Images option
  4. Choose Ask before displaying external images

Not yet ready for GSuite

Note that you will need to do this for all of the mail accounts you have set up inside Gmail.

Sadly, the same functionality doesn’t appear to be available to GSuite accounts just yet — only regular Gmail users. It’s not clear when or if this will change, or why it isn’t available to everyone.

You can download the latest Gmail update from the App Store now.