How to Block Automatic Picture Downloads

Morgan Little - Systems Administrator

by Morgan Little
November 2018

Regardless if it is your personal email or your work email, you have probably noticed an increase in the number of spam and unwanted emails being delivered to you. These messages could be harmless advertisements to malicious threats trying to obtain your login information or other sensitive data. You may also wonder why they keep re-appearing even after you have deleted the message from your inbox. One way these spammers are able to identify that you opened or read the message is by using the automatic picture download feature that your mail client may have configured. If your Outlook and Mobile Device is configured to automatically download the images, when you open the email a notification goes to the spammer informing them that you opened the email and you may be targeted more since you did.

So what can you do to protect yourself? A quick way around this is to delete any messages you don’t recognize the subject and sender. This might be not the best solution since its often to difficult to determine if the message was truly spam from the initial details. With that being said, another option we recommend is to disable the Automatic Picture Downloads in your mail client (Outlook and Mobile Device) to help limit this check in from the images in the email. Below are the steps on how this security feature can be configured within some common applications we have seen our customers use. Keep in mind, you can also apply these settings to your personal accounts to help mitigate threats; For example, Gmail has their own security options found here.

Outlook for Windows: Block Automatic Picture Downloads

Save Current View

  1. From the Outlook window, select the File tab, choose Options > Trust Center
  2. Under Microsoft Outlook Trust Center, click Trust Center Settings.
  3. Select the Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML email messages or RSS items check box.
  4. Confirm that the other check boxes below are selected. The settings should look like the image below:


NOTE: If someone is in your safe senders list, the pictures will continue to be downloaded for those emails. If you would like to add someone to your safe senders list, here are the steps:

  1. In an open message that was sent from the particular email address or domain, right click the blocked items.
  2. Do one of the following :
    1. Click Add Sender to Safe Senders List.
    2. Click Add the domain {@Domain} to Safe Senders List.

Outlook for Mac: Block Automatic Picture Downloads

  1. From the open Outlook window, go to Outlook >
  2. Open the Reading category under
  3. Make sure Never is selected under the Automatically download pictures from the internet.
  4. Close the Reading preferences window.

iPhone/iPad : Block Automatic Picture Downloads

  1. On the mobile device home screen, go to Settings .
  2. Tap the Mail Note : If you are using an older iOS version this might instead be called Mail, Contacts, Calendar.
  3. Scroll down to the Messages area and disable the Load Remote Images

NOTE: After this setting is disabled, you should now see a banner at the top of emails saying “This message contains unloaded images”. You can tap the Load All Images option to download the remote images if you know that the email is legitimate.

Outlook for Android : Block Automatic Picture Downloads

  1. Open Outlook on your Andriod phone, and navigate to Settings from the menu (three horizontal lines).
  2. Select your email address, and you will find a toggle next to the Block External Images that allows you to enable this feature.

Samsung Mail for Andriod : Block Automatic Picture Downloads

  1. From the Samsung Email App, select the Menu button (three vertical dots on the right) and choose
  2. Select the Manage Accounts
  3. Select your email address.
  4. Select the More Settings
  5. Confirm that the Show Images and Auto download Attachments options are not checked.

 Growing you’re knowledge with the best security practices is the strongest protection against malicious attacks.

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