External Image Display in GMail for iOS

I know it's probably a super tiny thing to most people, but nevertheless it's a super tiny thing that absolutey drives me crazy about the GMail app for iOS. So what is this thing about the GMail app for iOS that drives me crazy, you might ask? If one opens an email using the GMail app for iOS and that email contains an image, the image automatically downloads and displays. You're right, you may observe. That does sound like a pretty insignificant thing. Who cares? Three words: email tracking beacons.

Granted, the images in emails that are opened with the GMail app for iOS are first scanned by Google. This does three things:

  1. The sender of an email can’t use a loaded image to get information about one's location.
  2. The sender of an email can’t use the image to set or read cookies in one's browser.
  3. Google makes sure the email does not contain anything malicious.

However, while a sender who places a tracking pixel in their email might not be able to know the exact location of the recipient,they would still know that the recipient opened the email, since the image automatically loaded. In Gmail on the web and in the GMail app in Android, Google gives one the option as to whether to load images or not, thus giving the user the option of letting the sender of the email know that they opened it. However, on iOS, this option has mysteriously not been available.

Until now... Google has finally fixed this in iOS, giving the user the option to load all images automatically or block them if they would like. Again, I know. This is probably not a big deal to you, but it made my day. 🤓

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