Apple Mail and hidden tracking images

John Gruber:

In my piece yesterday about email tracking images (“spy pixels” or “spy trackers”), I complained about the fact that Apple — a company that rightfully prides itself for its numerous features protecting user privacy — offers no built-in defenses for email tracking.

A slew of readers wrote to argue that Apple Mail does offer such a feature: the option not to load any remote resources at all.


What Hey offers — by default — is the ability to load regular images automatically, so your messages look “right”, but block all known images from tracking sources (which are generally invisible 1×1 px invisible GIFs).

Consider Apple Mail’s nuclear option vs HEY’s nuanced, researched approach.

More from Gruber:

Apple should do something similar: identify and block spy trackers in email by default, and route all other images through an anonymizing proxy service. And, like Hey, they should flag all emails containing known trackers with a shame badge.

Great idea, fascinating read.