Enhanced tracking protection

Reading
4 mins
Category
Receive and read emails

Proton Mail(new window)‘s enhanced tracking protection is enabled for all users by default on the web, and on the Proton Mail app for iPhone and iPad. This feature protects your privacy from snooping email senders and gives you greater peace of mind.

What are spy trackers?
How Proton Mail protects you
Using Proton Mail on the web
Using Proton Mail on iPhone and iPad

What are spy trackers?

Companies often include an email tracker in newsletters and other marketing material they send you. 

This is a powerful marketing tool that involves inserting an image into an email in the form of a remote image URL. When you open a message containing a tracker, the linked image is loaded from the source server, and sensitive information can be sent back to the sender. This can include:

  • Whether the email containing the tracker has been opened
  • Date and time of opening
  • Device type and operating system
  • In some cases, even your IP address and geographic location

This information can then be collected and used to profile you and target you with personalized ads. 

Some email trackers are almost invisible — they come in the form of small transparent images that are solely used to collect additional information about you.

Infographic showing how email trackers work
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How Proton Mail protects you

With tracking protection, we remove known email trackers every time you receive an email, and pre-load other remote images on your behalf using a proxy with a generic IP address and geo-location. This hides your personal information and the exact time you opened the email. Images are also cached for a few days for faster, secure access.

When you open an email containing blocked trackers, you’ll be notified. Just look out for the tracker icon.

Using Proton Mail on the web

Email tracker icon showing the number of emails blocked
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You can click on the tracker icon to find out more about the blocked trackers. 

Modal showing the number of email trackers blocked
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This feature is enabled by default. To disable it, click Settings → Go to settings → Proton Mail → Email privacy and turn off the Block email tracking switch. Note: this switch is synced across our apps.

Using the Proton Mail app for iPhone and iPad

Tracking protection is gradually rolling out for everyone. If you don’t have it yet, you can manually update the Proton Mail app from the App Store.

When reading an email, the shield icon at the top right will turn purple if trackers have been found. Tap on the tracker icon to find out more about the blocked trackers.

This feature is enabled by default. To disable it, tap Settings → Account settings → Privacy and turn off the Block email tracking switch off. Note: this switch is synced across our apps.

FAQs

If Proton can intercept remote images inside my email, does it mean Proton actually reads my emails?

To protect you, we now load remote images in your emails using our servers as we receive them, rather than when you open them.

This applies to emails you receive that are not end-to-end encrypted, such as most newsletters and promotional emails. These emails have already been checked for spam, phishing or malware before arriving in your inbox, so we simply added tracking protection to existing automated filters.

Afterwards, emails are stored in your inbox with zero-access encryption and we are no longer able to access them.

Learn about end-to end-encryption when using Proton Mail

Should I still prevent remote content from loading automatically?

It is safe to automatically load remote content when email tracking is blocked. This allows you to enjoy the extra context provided by images, while staying safe from trackers.

Note: This is now the default setting. But if you’ve disabled it, you can re-enable it again by following the steps in the article linked below. This switch is not synced across our apps, so you can choose the preferred setting on each of your devices.

Learn more about images in Proton Mail

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