I have "Load Remote Images" turned off on my phone and "Load remote content in messages" turned off on my mac.

I got a suspicious message on my phone, but wanted to check it out because not many make it through my filter these days. I noticed that there was a .pdf attachment and that it was immediately downloaded (not ideal). The message was sent to a gmail account I was accessing through IMAP.

Then when I went to my mac to mark the message as junk (I can't remember why I didn't mark it on my phone) the .pdf showed up inline and it was definitely spam. At this point I was irritated and then remembered that my phone had downloaded the .pdf when I opened the message before.*

What setting keeps my phone from downloading attachments automatically? I know it would be better to not open messages that might be spam, but sometimes I can't tell from just the subject.

*I'm assuming because it was downloaded on my phone, the mac Mail decided it was ok to download, or possibly accessed a version that the phone downloaded. Otherwise I need to ask a separate question about how to keep macOS Mail from downloading attachments.

  • It is difficult because I can’t easily try something and check to see if it worked. I have to find a spam message with a pdf attachment.
    – dwightk
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 12:44
  • 1
    I'm pretty certain there isn't any way to do that with the default Mail app. If you were using something more customizable, like Airmail, Spark, or maybe even Outlook, you'd be able to stop automatic attachment downloading.
    – Jesse P.
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 12:51
  • You can toggle off Remote Images in emails but I doubt that has any impact on attachments.
    – Jesse P.
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


Currently there isn't such a setting on iOS Mail app (as of iOS 12.0.1, Oct 2018).

A workaround that may help with detecting some unfiltered spam messages would be trying to preview the message before opening it. It could help increasing the preview size: go to Settings > Mail > Preview and increase it to 5 lines. How to change preview lines

* image from https://www.imore.com/how-to-manage-mail-settings-iphone-ipad

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