All of these obnoxious advertising emails that crowd your inbox aren’t simply pushing a product. They’re additionally monitoring whether or not you’ve opened the e-mail, whenever you opened it, and the place you had been on the time through the use of software program like MailChimp to embed monitoring software program into the message.
How does it work? A single monitoring pixel is embedded into the e-mail, often (however not at all times) hidden inside a picture or a hyperlink. When the e-mail is opened, code throughout the pixel sends the data again to the corporate’s server.
There have been some makes an attempt to limit the quantity of knowledge that may be transmitted this manner. For instance, since 2014, Google has served all images through its own proxy servers, which might conceal your location from at the very least some monitoring purposes. And extensions reminiscent of Ugly Email and PixelBlock have been developed to dam trackers on Chrome and Firefox.
There’s additionally a easy primary step you’ll be able to take to keep away from trackers: cease your e-mail from mechanically loading photographs since photographs are the place nearly all of these pixels conceal. You received’t be capable of keep away from all the trackers that may conceal in your e-mail this manner, however you’ll cease a lot of them.
Right here’s do it within the main desktop and cellular e-mail apps:
Disable picture autoloading in Gmail:
- Click on on the gear icon within the higher proper nook to entry your settings, and click on on “See all settings.”
- Within the “General” tab (the primary one), scroll right down to “Images.”
- Choose “Ask before displaying external images.”
- Scroll right down to the underside of the web page and click on on “Save Changes.”
Observe that this may even flip off Gmail’s dynamic email feature, which makes emails extra interactive.
Disable picture autoloading in Microsoft Outlook (Workplace 365):
- Click on on “File” > “Options.”
- Within the “Outlook Options” window, choose “Trust Center.”
- Click on on the “Trust Center Settings” button.
- Test the containers labeled “Don’t download pictures automatically in standard HTML messages or RSS items” and “Don’t download pictures in encrypted or signed HTML email messages.” You may make various exceptions to the primary merchandise if you would like by checking the containers beneath it.
Disable picture autoloading in Apple Mail:
- Choose “Mail” > “Preferences.”
- Click on on the “Viewing” tab.
- Uncheck “Load remote content in messages.”
Disable picture autoloading in Android Gmail:
- Faucet on the three traces within the higher left nook.
- Scroll right down to and choose “Settings.”
- Faucet on the e-mail account that you simply need to work with.
- Scroll right down to and choose “Images.”
- Faucet on “Ask before displaying external images.”
Disable picture autoloading in iOS Gmail:
- Open Gmail for iOS, faucet the hamburger menu within the higher left, and scroll right down to settings.
- Faucet the account you need to personalize, and faucet into “Images.”
- Change from “Always display external images” to “Ask before displaying external images.”
Observe that for these wishing to do that on Gmail’s cellular consumer, it seems it should solely work for private accounts and never enterprise ones managed by means of G Suite, for now.
Disable picture autoloading on iOS Mail:
- Faucet on “Settings” > “Mail.”
- Discover the “Messages” part and toggle off “Load Remote Images.”
An alternative choice is to make use of an e-mail consumer reminiscent of Thunderbird, which blocks distant photographs by default; the appliance means that you can obtain embedded content material on a person foundation or permit photos from contacts that you simply belief to not ship hidden code of their photographs.
Replace July third, 2019, 3:47PM ET: This text has been up to date to incorporate extra details about e-mail purchasers.
Replace September third, 2019, 7:35PM ET: This text has been up to date to incorporate instructions for disabling picture autoloading on Gmail for iOS.
Replace February 17th, 2021, 5:30PM ET: Directions for Microsoft Mail have been eliminated, and some directions up to date.