Google's documentation says:

Images will always appear in the Gmail app on your iPhone or iPad.

(This is different from opening Gmail in a browser on a computer, where I see settings that provide a choice: either "Always show images" or "Ask before showing images".)

How can I read Gmail messages on my iOS devices if I want to ensure that my opens can't be tracked?

P.S. The page linked above interestingly does not say:

"Sometimes, senders may know whether you've opened an email that has an image."

even though the "Computer" tab on that page does. I can't tell whether this implies that Gmail opens are NOT trackable in iOS.


As of Sep 3, 2019, version: 6.0.190811, you can Choose to be asked before external images are displayed automatically.

To enable this for new incoming messages, go to Settings > specific account > Images and select Ask before displaying external images.

Gmail - Email by Google - Version History

Gmail App - Account Settings - General

Gmail Settings

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I suggest Outlook for iPhone. This mail client is mature, polished and has a key feature: a setting for users to toggle default image loading behavior:

enter image description here

Example of the control to load a message's images:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Microsoft or the Outlook engineering team in any way.

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UPDATE: you can now prevent opening images automatically! See @vincentlee's answer.

The documentation linked, says:

Images will always appear in the Gmail app on your iPhone or iPad.

Meaning there is no way to block showing images when opening a new email in Gmail on iOS - therefore you can't prevent tracking.

Here are some workarounds that I use:

  1. Send the message to spam (using the checkbox), where images aren't loaded, view the email there, and then move it back to inbox (if desired) and archive/delete from there.
  2. Use the built-in Mail app to specifically view the message which you don't want tracked and turn off "Load Remote Images" in "Settings" - "Mail".

Issue with Mail: If you're concerned about tracking and want to leave remote image loading on, Gmail is better as you may archive/delete an email in Mail and automatically be taken to the next email - resulting in the images being loaded. Obviously you can always take actions from the inbox view in Mail, to remedy this issue.

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