How to Stop Emails from Loading Remote Images in Mail for iPhone, iPad, & Mac
Sometimes emails include formatting and images to make an email look better or more presentable, like an email newsletter. But did you know that some of those remotely loaded images can also serve as trackers that let the sender know the email was opened? If you were not aware of this, you’re certainly not alone. But, no worries, as we’ll help you prevent this in the future.
Many emails that you receive in your inbox may contain images or trackers in them. While most images are obvious, trackers are less so, and you won’t be able to see them in most cases as they’re typically hidden as a tracking pixel within a link or a signature image. If an email includes trackers, when you click on the email to view the message, the tracked data is sent to the person or company who added the tracker to the mail. This functions as a read receipt of sorts, letting the sender know the email was opened. To prevent this from happening on your Apple devices, you can change a particular setting that’s available for the stock Mail app.
How to Stop Emails Sharing Opened Data from iPhone & iPad
We’ll start off with the instructions you need to follow for the iOS/iPadOS version of the stock Mail app.
- Head over to “Settings” from the home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
- In the settings menu, scroll down below and select the Mail app to access the app-specific settings.
- In iOS 15 and newer, tap “Privacy Protection”, then choose to disable Protect Mail Activity” to reveal additional options, then toggle the switch for “Block All Remote Content” to the ON position
- In iOS 14 and earlier, under the Messages section, you’ll find an option called “Load Remote Images”. It’s turned on by default. Use the toggle to disable it and you’re good to go.
That’s all you have to do. There’s no need to worry about the trackers in your emails anymore, but you’ll also find all remote images are no longer loading automatically in emails. This means you’ll have to choose the “Load Images” option if you want an email to load like it was intended from the sender.
How to Stop Tracking Pixels in Emails on Mac
Now that you’ve configured this setting on your iPhone/iPad, let’s take a look at what you need to do on your Mac.
- Open the stock Mail app on your Mac, and then click on Mail menu -> Preferences to view your Mail settings.
- In macOS Monterey and newer: choose the “Privacy” tab, uncheck the box for “Protect Mail Activity”, then toggle the setting “Block All Remote Content” to the ON position
- In macOS Big Sur and earlier: click on “Viewing” from the row of options at the top to proceed further.
- Here, you’ll find the “Load remote content in messages” setting that’s enabled by default. Uncheck the box and exit the menu to finish the procedure.
There you go. Now, you know how to stop email tracking on your Mac too.
In simple terms, what this particular does is prevent the Mail app from automatically loading images on your screen. By doing this, you’re essentially blocking trackers added by email senders, advertisers, and spammers from loading up too. You don’t have to be paranoid while going through the emails in your inbox anymore.
Some popular email providers already limit this kind of tracking emails by using proxy servers to route the images, which helps in hiding your location details. However, the sender may still be able to see if and when you clicked on their email. Hence, it’s always best to block these tracking pixels altogether if you want that privacy.
Note that preventing the loading of tracking pixels can throw off email newsletter subscription services (like ours), because how most of the email newsletter providers function is by loading a pixel to notify the service the email has been delivered, received, and opened by the recipient. By disabling the images from loading, all of that data is blocked, and could result to some dysfunction or decline in the email newsletter service.
We’ve covered this tip before from a different angle for iOS and Mac, because doing so also allows you to reduce data usage
If you’re also concerned about advertisers trying to track your activity, you may be really interested in taking advantage of the app-tracking privacy feature that was added to iOS 14 and newer just recently. You can use it to block apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc. from monitoring your browsing activity to display relevant ads.
There you have it, one less thing to worry about when it comes to safeguarding your privacy. Has changing this particular setting impacted your email viewing experience in any major way? Do let us know what you think, drop your feedback, and voice out your opinions in the comments section down below.
Why does apple always mess with a good thing?? I agree w/ Alex above that the “load remote images” should be deafaulted to “off” but it’s not at all available in iOS 15 as an option! It’s apparently “couched” in the privacy part, where the info on that “on” toggle is absolutely unclear…
The article details how to do this in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 as well. Why it was changed apparently is because of another feature. Anyway:
In iOS 15 / iPadOS 15 to disable remote loading images, go to Settings > Mail > Privacy Protection > uncheck “Protect Mail Activity” to reveal additional options > toggle “Block All Remote Content” ON
This option is not available in Monterey.
It’s been moved in Monterey to the Privacy tab in Preferences.
Disable “Protect Mail Activity” then enable
“Hide IP Address” & “Block All Remote Content”.
Shout-out to the fabulous MailTrackerBlocker plugin for Mail.app developed by Aaron Lee: https://github.com/apparition47/MailTrackerBlocker
This is different now for the recent update for mail on the Mac and the same for iPhone.
This has changed in iOS 15
I knew about this but Apple should be aware of and set Mail to don’t load remote images by default.