10/17/2021

How to Stop Email Tracking in Gmail

dawnsears.com - There are many services that allow the sender to keep track of emails, including when the email was opened, what links were clicked on, what device was used, and even the current location of the recipient. And all this without the consent of the reader.

Therefore, I believe that emails should be personal and consider email tracking to be a form of invasion of privacy. So the antidote I use for this is a bunch of tricks to track and disable email tracking. If you feel the same, I can also help you avoid email follow-up. Here are some ways to tell if your emails are being tracked and how to disable this feature for your emails.

How Email Tracking Works

Before we go into business, let's first take a look at how email tracking actually works. There are generally two ways to keep track of emails. Either the tracking software will attach an invisible trackable image called a pixel-beacon, or you will receive a link that you can click to view the email content.

In the first method, the traceable images are connected to the tracking software's servers to notify them of the interaction by email. And in the case of a tracking link, the interface where it reads the email is a tracker itself.

Detect emails manually

There are several ways to detect email tracking. Here are solutions for the most common tracking methods:

Method 1: find external images
All popular email services like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo do not display external images by default. Your email provider will automatically ask you whether or not you want to open external images, in case there is a traceable image. You can decline this request to cancel tracking of this email.

Of course, the email can contain an important image instead. However, you will have to guess for yourself whether the email contains a follow-up image or an actual viewable image.

Method 2: don't click the link
Opening links in an email is never recommended, and this is especially true for links that allow you to view the content of the email. If the email contains a link to view the content of the email, click it only when you agree that the sender knows that you have read the message.

Method 3: find third-party email addresses
Most of the server-side trackers send your email or website url along with the email, you can search it to check the tracking.

To detect if your email is tracked via this method, go to your email service and look for the Show original message option that shows the server-side data. For example, in Gmail, you can click More> View Original to access it.

How to Stop Email Tracking in Gmail


To see all the addresses in the original message, press Ctrl + F and type.com in it. This will reveal any email address or website mentioned there. If you find a third-party address outside of your email service, links in the message, or your own email address, look it up online to see whether or not it connects to a tracking service.

The screenshot below shows that emails are tracked by the popular Yesware email tracking service.

How to Stop Email Tracking in Gmail


With this method, you can also use the keyword hint in the original content. Sometimes a tracking service may not mention your address, but word tracking or tracking must be present.

Detect emails automatically

The above methods are good, but not very reliable. That is why I recommend using a third-party application that is more efficient. For this, I have been using Ugly Email since its inception. It is a Chrome extension that allows you to view tracked emails in Gmail. Unfortunately, it is limited to Chrome and Gmail users only.

Ugly Email has improved a lot recently and is compatible with almost all popular tracking services. You can detect and disable email tracking, and you can even find out which service was used for tracking. Once installed, it will simply display an "eye" icon next to the tracked emails.

How to Stop Email Tracking in Gmail


You can freely open the tracked emails because Ugly Email automatically disables the trackers. You'll see a notification every time tracking is turned off. In my experience, it can block many types of tracking methods. Even when all the above manual methods failed me; Ugly Email was still able to find and disable trackers.

How to Stop Email Tracking in Gmail


Summary

I must also warn you that, in addition to scanning, criminals also use email tracking to perform better phishing attacks. They can find out if the email is active and then track your activity to find your weak point to scam you.

Protecting yourself from tracked emails will allow you to respond to emails at your own pace and potentially save you from scams.