How to Block Email Tracking and Disable Hidden Read Receipts

KAJAL THARWANI

2nd Feb'22
How to Block Email Tracking and Disable Hidden Read Receipts | OpenGrowth

All those unnecessary marketing emails that have filled your inbox are not just filling the space or promoting a product. They are tracking you! Yes, you read it right. The senders get the information if you have read the mail or not, or the place where you opened the email. 

The software senders use to send bulk emails has a hidden tracking pixel. Through that hidden pixel, the sender gets an ample amount of data from you. The details include how many times you have opened the email, at what time, and the location where you opened the mail.

It is important to secure your devices from hackersToday, we are getting tracked enough through our smartphones, favorite applications, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The tracking raises the question; is it safe to use a smartphone? 

 

How to Block Emails from Tracking?

There is only one way to stop yourself from getting trapped. Stop your email client from automatically loading the images. Most of the tracking pixels are hidden below the email signatures. You can stop those tracking codes by blocking those images from loading. It will not avoid all the trackers hidden in your email, but you will stop many of them. 

 

How to Disable Image Autoloading 

Here is how you can disable image autoloading in the major mobile email apps and desktops. 

 

Gmail 

It is available on the web, windows, Mac, and on mobile devices. There are quite different settings to block pixel tracking. 

Gmail on the Web 

  • Click in the upper-right corner and select “See all settings” from the drop-down menu.

  • In the “General” tab, scroll down and click on “Images”, in the left-hand column.

  • To the right of “Images,” check the box next to “ Ask before displaying external images.”

  • Scroll down to the button on the page and click “ Save Changes.”

Gmail for Android 

  • Tap the three lines in the upper left corner. 

  • Scroll down and select “ Setting.”

  • Scroll down and select “Images.”

  • Tap on “ Ask before displaying external images.”

 

Gmail for IOS

  • Tap the hamburger menu in the upper left.

  • Scroll down and select “ Setting.”

  • Select “Images.”

  • Tap on “ Ask before displaying external images.”

 

Apple’s Mail App 

Apple is known for its privacy and security features. Apple mail has its security features. 

 

Apple’s Mail on the  Web 

  • Click on “ Mail” on the toolbar at the top of your screen.

  • Select “ Preferences” from the drop-down menu.

  • Uncheck the box next to “ Load remote content in messages.”

 

Apple’s Mail on Phone 

  • Open “Settings.”

  • Look for “Mail app.”

  • Find the “Messages” section.

  • Tap on “Privacy Protection.”

  • Make sure to “Protect Mail Activity”, Is toggled on.

Apple's Mail

Microsoft Outlook 

Like Gmail, Outlook is available on the web, windows, and mobile devices. Therefore, it has different ways of changing the settings. 

 

Outlook for Web 

  • Click on the upper right corner to open “Setting.”

  • Click on “View all Outlook settings.”

  • Scroll until you find “External images.”

  • Select “Always use the Outlook service to load images.”

This option will not block the pixels from the sender open data, but it will run your actions through a Microsoft service first. It will lead to sending a less-specific location to the sender.

 

Outlook for IOS and Android Mobile apps 

  • Click the top left-hand corner of your screen.

  • Click on the “Setting.”

  • Find the “ Under Setting” option.

  • Make sure “Block external images” is toggled on.

 

Outlook for Windows app 

  • Click on “File” in the app’s top toolbar.

  • Select “Options.”

  • Click on “Trust Center.”

  • Click on “Trust Center Settings.”

  • Check on the box “Don’t download pictures automatically in standard HTML email messages or RSS items” and Don’t download pictures in encrypted or signed HTML email messages.”

 

Outlook for Mac 

  • Click on “File.”

  • Select “Preferences.”

  • Click on “Reading.”

  • Select “Never” under “Automatically download pictures from the internet.”

 

Anti-Tracking Extension 

You can also use the following third-party tools to save yourself from tracking. These tools exactly know where tracking pixels are hidden in the mail. 

 

PixelBlock 

PixelBlock is a highly rated Gmail extension designed for Google Chrome. It detects and blocks tracking software in your inbox. If the tool detects a tracking pixel, it will show a red-eye icon next to the sender's name in the email. The extension works locally in your browser and does not collect or store any of your information.

Anti tracking extension

Ugly Email 

Ugly Email works similar to PixelBlock.Whenever the tracking pixels are detected, the extension shows a little eyeball icon in your inbox. It has extensions for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. 

 

Thunderbird 

Thunderbird blocks remote images by default. It allows you to download the content on an individual basis. It is a powerful email web-based application that is easy to use. Thunderbird allows images from the contacts that you trust and has no hidden code in their images. 

 

Conclusion 

Today, email is a valuable entity. Businesses are using mobile technologies to market themselves. Most of our professional work is done through emails. In this digital era, the above steps can help you stay protected and make receiving and sending emails safe. Unwanted hidden pixel codes can sometimes be dangerous for your privacy and security. Also, always make sure not to sign in with your mail on every site you visit. They may contain unwanted viruses that can harm your privacy and security.


We at OpenGrowth, are committed to keeping you updated with the best content on the latest trendy topics from any major field. Also, both your feedback and suggestions are valuable to us. So, do share them in the comment section below.

An explorer who takes risks and learns from her mistakes. An aspirational content writer, studying social work. Kajal loves trying her hands in different crafts.

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