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A better way to handle HTML image downloads in Mail Apps
I am annoyed with the limitations in the way Mail displays the HTML images in messages: you can either enable or disable the display of HTML images, but that's it. If you enable the display of images, well, you are vulnerable to all the malicious spam out there ... but if you turn them off, you have to always go to the Load Images button for those messages whose images you do want to see. Add in that there's no keyboard shortcut for this button, and this becomes a major annoyance. There's also no way to turn on the display of HTML images only for known email addresses.

If you feel the same way, I have come with a sort of solution using Little Snitch:
  1. Turn on "Display Remote Images in HTML Messages" in Mail.
  2. In Little Snitch, remove the option to access by default port 80 for the Mail application.
Now each time there's a remote image to load in a Mail message, Little Snitch will ask you to confirm the connection. But if the image is coming from a known site, newsletter, etc., you can tell Little Snitch that it's OK to connect forever to that site, and forget about clicking the Load Images button again. Most importantantly, you will be protected from the malicious spam from unknown addresses.

Maybe not the best solution, but it saves me a lot of clicks!
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A better way to handle HTML image downloads in Mail
Authored by: palahala on Apr 07, '09 08:37:19AM
If you enable the display of images, well, you are vulnerable to all the malicious spam out there

This might depend on the definition of "vulnerable". Mail classifies most of the spam I get as Junk, and once a message is in the Junk folder, images will not be loaded even if you allow loading all other images. But yes, this does allow some tracking (web bugs) to occur.

(In fact my mail server removes any web bug it can find, but that's beyond the point here. My server does, however, also add spam score headers, which Mail might use and which then may explain the success of the Junk filter on my Macs.)



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A better way to handle HTML image downloads in Mail
Authored by: robogobo on Apr 07, '09 10:05:50AM

excellent idea.



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A better way to handle HTML image downloads in Mail
Authored by: marksch on Apr 07, '09 01:17:45PM

I feel safe by turning off image display and, what's more important, the sender can't count how many spam mails went through and were viewed by the receiver. (If I really want to see the images in an HTML e-mail, I press the Show Images button, but I despise HTML mail and demand text mail with attachments.)

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A better way to handle HTML image downloads in Mail
Authored by: alderete on May 06, '13 12:05:13PM
I use and like Little Snitch, but given my volume of email, if I used this technique to block web bugs I would be getting 100+ notifications a day. It doesn't scale. I prefer to disable Viewing > Display remote images in HTML messages preference, and manually load images for messages that have them. For a long time it drove me nuts that the [Load Images] button didn't have a keyboard shortcut, but I figured out how to add one using an AppleScript. Here's instructions: Add a Keyboard Shortcut to Mailís Load Images Button

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