Gmail drops “display images below” message, previews all pictures automatically

David Beren

– Dec. 12th 2013 10:33 am PT

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Perhaps one of the most annoying though security-laden features inside of Gmail is the ever-familiar “dis play images below” link. Gmail has always provided this message in order to protect its users against compromising the security of the device or computer. Well, no more as Google has announced some changes across the board for its Gmail app. 

Now, thanks to “new improvements in how Gmail handles images,” that warning label is no more. Gmail will automatically display images in your messages across the desktop, iOS and Android. Gmail will now service all the images through their own proxy services, rather than the images original external host servers.

So how does this affect you from a security point-of-view? Google says your “messages are more safe and secure, your images are checked for known viruses and malware…with this new change, your email will now be safer, safer and more beautiful than ever.”

An option will still be available for those who wish to continue to leave this feature under the general tab and settings.


Have you ever wondered why Gmail asks you before showing images in emails? We did this to protect you from unknown senders who might try to use images to compromise the security of your computer or mobile device.

But thanks to new improvements in how Gmail handles images, you’ll soon see all images displayed in your messages automatically across desktop, iOS and Android. Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.

So what does this mean for you? Simple: your messages are more safe and secure, your images are checked for known viruses or malware, and you’ll never have to press that pesky “display images below” link again. With this new change, your email will now be safer, faster and more beautiful than ever.
Of course, those who prefer to authorize image display on a per message basis can choose the option “Ask before displaying external images” under the General tab in Settings. That option will also be the default for users who previously selected “Ask before displaying external content”.

Similar to existing features like default https access, suspicious activity detection, and free two-step verification, image proxying is another way your email is protected. This new improvement will be rolling out on desktop starting today and to your Gmail mobile apps in early 2014.

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