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Prevent Gmail for Android from loading images automatically

Gmail for Android recently updated to allow images in your e-mail to automatically display. Here's how to turn it off if you're not a fan.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

As you might recall, early in December Googled announced it was going to start displaying images automatically in received e-mails. The company promised that it had figured out how to maintain the same level of security by processing the images through its own proxy servers. At the same time, Google announced that the feature would eventually make its way to its mobile Gmail apps.

Fast-forward to the most recent update to Gmail for Android and the feature is indeed included. After updating on both my Moto X and Nexus 5, images were displaying automatically in e-mails I received. I didn't have to change a setting, or enable it.

For some the new feature is going to be welcomed, but for others displaying images can be a nuisance (and put a dent in your data plan).

Luckily, Google has included an option in the settings to change how images work. To require Gmail for Android to ask before showing any images in an e-mail, launch the Gmail app and navigate to the settings section. Instead of selecting General Settings, tap on the account you'd like to manage, then scroll to the bottom of the page.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

At the bottom you'll find a listing for "Images." Selecting it will give you the option to set it to always show, or ask before showing.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The image on the left is how e-mails will appear when you open them with the "always show" option selected, where the image on the right probably looks familiar and represents the "ask before showing" setting under Images.

While the feature makes it easier to view complete e-mails without taking extra steps to load images, it's nice that Google has made it possible to turn the feature off. The good news is while this setting syncs over to Gmail's Web site, if you still want to make sure everything is setup properly on the site, check out Matt Elliot's handy guide.