You know the boring e-mails that clog our inbox? In addition to taking a few minutes of our days to be disposed of, they have an annoying function that may be unknown to most: finding out if and when we opened the email and where we were when we viewed it. This is thanks to software such as MailChimp that create tracking systems that are invisible to the human eye.
Often they hide in a single pixel , suitably placed almost always in an image or in a link . When the email is opened, the code contained in that pixel sends back the information described to the company’s server. But how do we prevent this from happening? Ugly Email and PixelBlock are two examples of extensions available for Chrome and Firefox developed with this purpose and, starting from 2014 , Google filters all images through its proxy servers, making these systems at least partially ineffective.
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But there is also a simple operation to block trackers : prevent automatic uploading of images to email. It is there that these ” malicious ” pixels mainly reside , so you will be able to evade if not all the trackers, certainly a good part of them. Now let’s see how to do it on the main web and mobile platforms.
Disable automatic upload to Gmail:
- Click on the gear icon to access the settings and proceed to ” View all settings“.
- In the ” General” tab , the first, go down to ” Pictures “.
- Click ” Ask before viewing external images“. We will be informed that this option also disables dynamic emails.
- Go to the bottom of the page and click on ” Save changes“.
Disable automatic upload to Microsoft Outlook (Office 365):
- Click ” File“> ” Options “.
- In the ” Outlook Options” window , look for ” Security Center “.
- Enter ” Security Center Settings“.
- Check the box next to ” Do not automatically download images in standard HTML messages or RSS tools” and “Do not download images in encrypted or signed HTML email messages” (you can add exceptions to the former via the indented possibilities).
Disable automatic upload to Apple Mail:
- Click ” Mail“> ” Preferences “.
- Then on the ” View” tab .
- Uncheck ” Load remote message content“
Disable Gmail autoload on Android:
- Tap the three lines at the top left to open the context menu.
- Go all the way down to ” Settings“.
- Select the email on which you want to make this change.
- Near the bottom of the page, tap ” Pictures“.
- Then: ” Ask before viewing external images (also disable dynamic emails)“.
Disable Gmail autoload on iOS:
- From ” Settings” select ” Mail “
- Look for the ” Messages”section and disable “Remote Image Upload “.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of alternative email clients such as Thunderbird which automatically blocks remote uploads, allowing you to choose to download content selected manually or if it comes from safe contacts you previously indicated.