Google will finally allow you to block the automatic upload of images in Gmail for iPhone and iPad. With the new option in its iOS app, the service is able to prevent senders from using photos to track information about recipients.
The feature, which has been available for the longest time in the Android app and the web version of Gmail, can be enabled in the settings area. After selecting the account, look for the item “Images” and choose between “Always display external images” and “Ask before displaying external images”.
The second option will cause all photos in the received messages to be blocked. The measure prevents trackers hidden in the email from identifying, for example, when and where you opened the email.
With the update, Gmail also helps users who are accessing their inbox over a slow connection. With no images to display, the device consumes less data, displays messages faster and saves battery power.
Hiding images is not the only measure that Google takes to prevent tracking in emails. The service adopts a solution that does not forward the message directly to the recipient. Instead, it is sent to an intermediary server, which then forwards it to the correct address.
The goal is to prevent the authors of the email from using the IP address of the moment the message was opened to identify the user’s location. Image blocking in the iOS app has been released for individual accounts, but it is apparently not yet available for G Suite users.