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How to block email tracking pixel on iPhone, Android, and iPad

How to block email Tracking Pixel: It’s has been a long tradition that companies and ad agencies track emails they send to you. This is how these companies are able to serve you targeted ads because they know when you open their emails, monitor your email engagement, and in some cases your online searches.

These companies are able to do all these with the use of what is known as email tracking pixels. Email tracking pixels are not all bad but they can be too extreme. Sometimes, these companies know more than they should and some of the data they collect from users are not used wrongly. So, the best way to be safe and secure is to block these email tracking pixels.

sample code of email tracking pixel
sample code of email tracking pixel

Thankfully, Apple and Google have taken steps to beef up privacy with the release of Apple iOS 15 and Android 12. But, there are steps you need to take to make sure you limit or block these email tracking pixels. However, before we get to how to block these tracking pixels, what are they and how do they work?

What is email tracking?

Email tracking, tracking pixel, or spy pixel are small images created using an HTML code that is embedded into a mail. This HTML code is sued by companies that are into email marketing campaigns to track the activities of the email receivers and engage them.

The main aim of this short HTML code is to alert the sender when you open an email or webpage. The size of the tracking code is very small (usually in bytes) hence it can be downloaded in milliseconds.

Why should you block email tracking?

There are a few reasons why you might want to block email tracking

  1. Privacy: You need to know what is been shared and to who. But email tracking does not give you details of these records.
  2. Consent: If someone wants to access your data, they should at least allow you to consent to it. But email tracking does not.
  3. Use of data: You don’t know who else will use the data these companies are gathering from you.
  4. Untrusted Source: Sometimes SPAMMERS and SCAMMERS can send you emails with tracking pixels. It’s better to block these emails.

These email tracking pixels violate users’ privacy (your privacy). It allows the data company to collect a variety of information about your online behavior that you might not be aware of. The data they collect can include

  • The type of operating system you use will help the company send you targeted ads based on your mobile’s OS.
  • Your website visiting time or email reading time.
  • The type of email or website you use.
  • Your IP address which most times reveals your location to these companies.

You can see that if unchecked, these companies will probably know more about you than you might want. If you don’t like the things listed above, here is how to block email tracking on iPhones, Android, and iPad.

How to block email tracking pixel in Apple Mail

Luckily, Apple provides a privacy feature that helps you wade off tracking emails. This feature is effective for preventing email trackers on the iPhone and Mac.

For iPhone and Mac users, Apple has provided a privacy feature that helps prevent email tracking. Just follow the steps below to turn it ON.

For iPhone users:
  1. Open the Settings app and go to Mail.
  2. Click Privacy Protection.
  3. Toggle or turn off Protect Mail Activity if active.
  4. Then go and activate Hide IP Address and Block All Remote Content.
block email tracking pixel on iPhone
Steps to block email tracking in iPhone Mail App

When this setting is turned on, the Mail app won’t load external images. But, you can tap the Load All Images option at the top of an opened email to load its images. This action won’t change your previous settings but be sure you trust the email source before you tap on the Load All Images button.

How to Block email tracking pixel in Gmail

If you’re using iPhone and you also have the Gmail App installed, you should also disable email tracking for the Gmail App. Note that the settings above will only work on your iPhone Mail App. Android owners can follow this step to also turn off email tracking on their Android devices.

Remove Mailtrack from Gmail mobile app (iOS or Android)

  1. Open the Gmail App
  2. Click the Three Horizontal Bars at the top-left of your inbox.
  3. Tap Settings from the options.
  4. If you have multiple Gmail accounts signed in, select the one
  5. Scroll down and tap Images.
  6. Select the Ask before displaying external images option.
  7. Once this is done, you can now decide to allow images from trusted sources displayed by tapping Display images at the top-left to load images for that specific email.
block email tracking pixel on iPhone
Steps to block email tracking in Gmail App

Note that you have to do this for all the Gmail accounts you have signed in on your Gmail App.

Stop email tracking pixel on the Outlook mobile app

If you also have the Outlook mail mobile app on your iPhone, you should also check the settings and make some changes. Follow the steps below

  1. Open the Outlook Mail App
  2. Click your profile icon at the top-left of your Outlook inbox.
  3. Click on the settings or gear icon at the bottom-left.
  4. If you have multiple emails, select the email address from the list.
  5. Toggle or turn on Block External Images.
block email tracking pixel on iPhone
Steps to block email tracking in Outlook Mobile App

To load images for a specific email, open it and tap Download Images at the top of that email. Only do this for emails you receive from trusted sources.

These are some of the ways to block email tracking pixels on your iPhone, Android, and iPad. If you’re using Android 12 and iOS 15, you can also use the dedicated Privacy Dashboard to check which apps have access to your data and how often. This will help you know which apps to restrict and/or install I you feel they have access to data too often.

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