How to Prevent Outlook From Downloading Images Automatically

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Emails with images are a nice thing to see in Outlook—as long as they're sent from legitimate sources. Newsletters that look like websites are not only more attractive but also easier to read than their plain-text counterparts.

Images that are downloaded automatically when you preview or open an email message can be a threat to your privacy, however. Some content can even put your computer's security at risk.

Given the proliferation of viruses, scams, and other online threats, it's generally a good idea to set Outlook up to download images only from trusted senders. Better yet, you can always retrieve remote images manually.

How to Stop Outlook From Downloading Images Automatically (Windows)

Protect your privacy and your computer with just a few simple steps:

  1. Click File.
  2. Select Options.
  3. 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.
  7. 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.
  1. Optionally, also check Permit downloads from Web sites in this security zone: Trusted Zone.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Click OK again.

In Outlook for Mac

The process is slightly different for Outlook for Mac:

  1. Select Outlook > Preferences.
  2. Open the Reading category under Email.
  3. Make sure Never is selected under  Automatically download pictures from the Internet. You also can select In messages from my contacts instead to have Outlook for Mac download images in emails from senders whose addresses are in your address book. Note, however, that forging a From address is quite easy; a sender could simply use your email address (which is, of course, in your address book) in place of his own to fool Outlook for Mac into downloading a dangerous file.
  1. Close the Reading preferences window.

In Older Versions of Outlook for Windows

In Outlook 2007:

  1. Select Tools > Trust Center from the menu.
  2. Go to the Automatic Download category.
  3. In Outlook 2003:
  4. Select Tools > Options.
  5. Go to the Security tab.
  6. Click Change Automatic Download Settings.
  7. Make sure Don't download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail is checked.
  8. 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.
  9. It's safe to check Permit downloads from Web sites in this security zone: Trusted Zone.
  10. Click OK.
  11. In Outlook 2003, click OK again.

These steps have been tested with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2016 for Windows, as well as Outlook for Mac 2016.