How to Have Gmail Display Remote Images for Safe Senders

Automatically see images from people you trust

What to Know

  • Select the Settings gear, go to See all settings > General, then scroll down to the Images section.
  • Choose Always display external images or Ask before displaying external images, then select Save changes.
  • Messages from addresses that are in your Gmail safe senders list will display images automatically.

This article explains how to always display images in Gmail messages. Instructions apply to the web version of Gmail in any browser.

Have Gmail Display Remote Images for Safe Senders Automatically

To make Gmail show remote images and display them automatically in emails from senders deemed trustworthy:

  1. Select Settings (the gear icon ⚙).

    The Settings gear in Gmail
  2. Choose See All Settings.

    The "See All Settings" button in Gmail
  3. In the General tab, go to the Images section and select Always display external images to enable external images in all messages, regardless of the sender.

    To display images on a per-message basis, select Ask before displaying external images. Remote images show automatically in messages from senders you manually approve.

    Always display external images in Gmail settings
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then select Save Changes.

    Gmail settings with the Save Changes button highlighted

Now, Gmail will always display images automatically for emails from senders it deems safe.

Why Can't I See My Gmail Images?

When you open an email that contains images, those images may not display until you authorize Gmail to show those images. If the senders of those messages are in your Gmail safe senders list, Gmail displays the images automatically. You can have Gmail show images in those emails and be protected from malware and privacy infringement.

Will My Computer and Privacy Still Be Safe With Automatic Image Loading in Gmail?

Remote images in emails can be used for tracking, so they could potentially reveal your approximate location and install malware. These are reasons not to enable automatic downloading of images in arbitrary emails.

Gmail has several safety measures to protect you from these risks even when automatic downloading is turned on:

  • Gmail scans all messages for potential threats to privacy and data. If an email is from a source that is not trustworthy, or if Gmail suspects malicious intent, remote content is not loaded.
  • The images in emails from reputable senders are not downloaded from the sender's server to your computer. Instead, Gmail inserts itself as an image proxy. It requests the image, saves it, then shows its copy to you. All the sender learns is that Gmail downloaded the image.
  • Senders cannot use images to set cookies in your browser or determine your location. They can know you opened a message, though, when an image unique to your email is downloaded by Gmail.

These security measures only protect your data and privacy if you use Gmail in a browser. Email programs that connect to Gmail using IMAP or POP have privacy settings for remote images, though, and you will still benefit from Gmail scanning for malware.

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