How to Have Gmail Display Remote Images for Safe Senders

Automatically see images from people you trust

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 safe senders list, let Gmail do the authorization and display the images automatically. You can have Gmail show images in those emails and be protected from malware and privacy infringement.

This guide covers the web version of Gmail, but you will find similar options on the mobile apps.

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. Go to the General tab.

  4. If you want the images to display automatically, go to the Images section, then select Always display external images. This enables external images in all messages, regardless of the sender.

    Always display external images checkbox in Gmail Settings
  5. To display images on a per-message basis, select Ask before displaying external images. Remote images show automatically only in messages from senders for whom you have enabled remote content.

  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then select Save Changes.

    Save Changes button in Gmail Settings

Inbox by Gmail will always display images automatically for emails from senders it deems safe.

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

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

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 profit from Gmail scanning for malware.

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