How to Prevent Outlook from Downloading Images Automatically

Computer Graphics
Steven Puetzer / Getty Images

Stop Outlook from downloading images in emails automatically—and revealing you are opening the emails perhaps.

Good to See You?

Emails with images are a nice thing to see in Outlook and newsletters that look like web sites are often not only more attractive but also easier to read than their plain text counterparts.

But not all is well. Pictures that are downloaded when you open an email message in are a threat to your privacy.

Downloading any content from the web into Outlook also puts your computer security at risk.

It's best not to have Outlook download content automatically (unless it comes from a trusted source). You can always retrieve remote images manually.

Prevent Outlook from Downloading Images Automatically

To prevent Outlook from downloading images automatically:

  1. Click File.
  2. Select Options on the sheet that has appeared.
  3. Now go to the Trust Center category.
  4. Click Trust Center Settings… under Microsoft Outlook Trust Center.
  5. Open the Automatic Download category.
  6. Make sure Don't download pictures automatically in HTML email or RSS items. is checked.
    • Optionally, check Permit downloads in email messages from senders and to recipients defined in the Safe Senders and Safe Recipients Lists used by the Junk Email filter.​
      • Keep in mind that the sender is not verified. If somebody uses an email address that is not their own and on your Safe Senders List, images will be downloaded automatically.
    • Optionally, also check Permit downloads from Web sites in this security zone: Trusted Zone.
  1. Click OK.
  2. Now click OK again.

Prevent Outlook for Mac from Downloading Images Automatically

To set up Outlook for Mac so it does not download remote pictures automatically when you open an email:

  1. Select Outlook | Preferences… from the menu in Outlook for Mac.
  2. Open the Reading category under Email.
  3. Make sure Never is selected under ​Automatically download pictures from the Internet:.
    • You can also select In messages from my contacts instead to have Outlook for Mac trust emails from senders whose addresses are in your address book to contain only safe images and not violate your privacy. Note that Outlook for Mac may also download images in emails using forged addresses—your own, perhaps.
  1. Close the Reading preferences window.

Prevent Outlook from Downloading Images Automatically

To prevent Outlook from downloading images automatically:

  • In Outlook 2007:
    • Select Tools | Trust Center... from the menu.
    • Go to the Automatic Download category.
  • In Outlook 2003:
    • Select Tools | Options... from the menu.
    • Go to the Security tab.
    • Click Change Automatic Download Settings....
  • Make sure Don't download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail is checked.
    • Optionally, check Permit downloads in e-mail messages from senders and to recipients defined in the Safe Senders and Safe Recipients Lists used by the Junk E-mail filter.
    • It is okay to check Permit downloads from Web sites in this security zone: Trusted Zone.
  • Click OK.
  • In Outlook 2003, click OK again.

(Tested with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2016 as well as Outlook for Mac 2016)