how-to-block-email-tracking

How to Block Email Tracking – Manually and Automatically

Did you know 40% of all emails sent and received are tracked daily? The statistics, published by OMC, are shocking, to say the least. Email trackers enable senders to know intricate details such as when the email was read, the type of device used, and even the exact location of the receiver. It is an outright violation of the basic right to privacy.

How’s Email Tracking Done?

Mostly email tracking is done with the help of 1×1 image attached in the sent email or document. When the email is opened, the email server receives the image’s information including when it was opened, its location, type of device etc.

Also, the sender may send a link in the email and when you click it, your information is transmitted. In this case, the link itself serves as the email tracker.

Who Uses Email Tracking?

The most common users of email tracking are marketers as they want to know how many readers are opening their emails, where they are located, and their devices. This information is used to determine the financial standing of the receivers, their interests, etc.

Email tracking is used by individuals as well to see who is reading their emails and when. There are always scenarios where you want to respond to emails later and might want to use the excuse, “Oh, I didn’t get the chance to read your email”.  However, what if the sender already knows you have read it. Yes, email tracking can create such awkward situations.

How To Manually Block Email Tracking

There are two basic ways to manually block email tracking. They are:

  • Links In The Email:

Links in any email are always suspicious, especially if the content of the email can be viewed only by clicking them. You can open the links sent by trusted and known people. However,  we don’t recommend opening any links.

Solution:

There is no solution. But, be careful when it comes to opening links present in the email.

  • External Images In The Email:

External images can be tracked in the email. The problem with these images is that they are downloaded automatically by email services. You have to disable the option of automatic downloads to block email tracking.

Solution:

Disabling the automatic download of images is easy. You can do so for different email services as mentioned below;

For Apple Mail (Desktop)

  1. Open your email
  2. Go to preferences
  3. Select Viewing option
  4. Click ✓ on “Load remote content in messages”

For Apple Mail (iPhone)

  1. Open the settings app
  2. Scroll down to Mail
  3. Go to “Load Remote Images”
  4. Make sure it is disabled

For Gmail (Desktop)

  1. Open your settings tab in Gmail account
  2. In the general tab, you will find the images option
  3. Select ✓ on “Ask before displaying images”
  4. Click on save settings

For Gmail (Android)

  1. Go to Gmail app
  2. Tap on the menu and go to settings
  3. Select images
  4. Tap on “Ask before showing”

Stop Email Tracking Automatically

We have shown you the manual way of blocking email tracking, but it contains a fair share of doubts and errors. A link can be a tracker, but it may carry useful information and same is the case with external images. So, there’s no sure-fire way of knowing what’s a tracker and what’s not. That’s why we prefer the automatic way to stop email tracking i.e. via anti-tracker software.

Chrome extensions like Ugly Mail, PixelBlock and Trackbuster block email trackers for free. These extensions use technology to identify trackers in emails and block them instantly. You also get to know who is tracking your mailing activity unethically.

You May Try Pixelblock

Pixelblock is a chrome extension for blocking email trackers. It shows a small red eye against emails that might be trying to track you. It blocks trackers and tells you who is trying to spy on you via emails. Pixelblock Chrome extension is available for free on the Google Web Store. It is a guaranteed way of detecting and blocking trackers without any fuss or manual effort.

Here’s a screenshot of the Pixel Block;

Using Pixel Block to block email tracking

 

Conclusion – It’s Better to be Safe than Sorry

Email tracking is rampant and so are the options to block it. Email trackers not only broadcast the status of the email being read but also reveal sensitive information about your exact location. This invasion of privacy, no matter how harmless it may look, can cause serious damage. Someone can, and most probably will use it for malicious purposes. Regardless, you can opt for a solid email-tracker blocker and save yourself from unnecessary eavesdropping.

 

Bilal is a tech enthusiast who loves writing and creating awareness on various evolving technological trends including IoT, Cybersecurity and AI. You can connect him on twitter @bilalmunir91

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