Google said it would do it, and now it has. The latest update to Android's Gmail app has enabled images automatically, now made safe because Google is serving up the images after hosting them on its own proxy servers. Users will no longer need to tap the "show pictures" message above the email content.

2014-01-09 03.16.13 2014-01-09 03.17.39

Left: old style. Right: 4.7.2.

What's New

We're looking through the application now to see if there are any more changes - this thing is so fresh that Google hasn't even updated the Play Store description. If you find something new, feel free to mention it in the comments section. Of course Google's rollout method means that you might not get the app from the Play Store for a few days, so if you want to play with it now, check out the download below. There should also be a pop-up notice of some kind informing users of the change, as demonstrated in these strings:

<string name="preference_show_images_title">Images</string>

<string name="showImages_always">Always show</string>

<string name="showImages_askFirst">Ask before showing</string>

<string name="always_show_images_teaser_title">Images Now Showing</string>

<string name="always_show_images_teaser_description">"Loading images is now safer, so you'll automatically see all images within a message when you open it. %1$s."</string>

<string name="always_show_images_update_in_settings">You can update your preferences under %1$s in %2$s.</string>

2014-01-09 03.18.24 2014-01-09 03.30.22 THNNvhq

You can disable this functionality in the Gmail settings menu for your individual email accounts - see middle screenshot above. We'll update this post with any additional significant changes that are found. If you're wondering what's been added lately, you can check out our download pages for Gmail 4.7 (vacation responder and KitKat printing, among other things), Gmail 4.6 (more Card UI elements), and Gmail 4.5.2 (return of the delete button).


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File name: com.google.android.gm-4.7.2 (967015).apk

Version: 4.7.2 (967015).apk (Android 4.0+)

MD5: cc09aabcf06fceac022c06919e4669e8

Thanks, Iván Estévez, Kevin Kraft, Touseef Afzal, and Nathaniel Webb!

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Charlie Val

    Been a while!

  • Wazzifer

    This is why I love AP.

    • Karen Mitchell


      ✦✦✦ ✦✦✦✦✦ ✦ﴪ✦✦ ✦✦✦✦ ✦𐄱✦✦This is wasting memory and is a security risk. Please fix.

  • Shaun Hammond

    I thought this was done ages ago, was wondering why it never worked.

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      If by ages ago you mean about a month ago, it was... but only the desktop version.

  • vwbeetlvr

    I got this update a few hours ago.

  • http://www.tangcla.com/ Clarence Tang

    Installed this using ADB - got the following warnings, but it installed fine.

    2597 KB/s (4904345 bytes in 1.843s)
    WARNING: linker: app_process has text relocations. This is wasting memory and is a security risk. Please fix.
    WARNING: linker: app_process has text relocations. This is wasting memory and is
    a security risk. Please fix.
    pkg: /data/local/tmp/com.google.android.gm-4.7.2 (967015).apk


    • Nathaniel Webb

      lol did google not follow their own advice again? https://android.googlesource.com/platform/bionic/+/c908442

      • Mike Reid

        That's the reality of SW development. Warnings in the logs are seen all the time; even many "errors" too. Low priority compared to showstopper bugs.

        I could rattle off a dozen things my apps SHOULD be doing. It just takes time that is also competed for by new features mgmt/customers demand and the normal flow of "normal" bug fixes and adjustments that happen with new Android releases, things like ART, NDK/SDK updates etc.

    • Guest

      I've got this message for every APK since installing Xposed framework.

  • aney1

    Got it a couple of hours ago. German changelog was already up:
    - autoreply in settings
    - attachments (documents, pdfs, zips etc)
    - adding more than one attachment at once (4.3+)
    - printing (4.4)
    - performance improvements for low end devices

    • aney1

      Is that the old changelog?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      That's old.

      • Mayoo

        Who the f*ck downvoted this? It IS old.

    • Tim242

      That is the old change log.

    • black


  • BigTimmay

    Michael, pointless side note but your Twitter "Follow @twitter.url" hyperlink is broken in the About Me box at the bottom of the post

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      Huh. It's working for me - correct link and displaying my correct follow count. What browser/OS are you using?

      • BigTimmay

        IE 6

        Kidding. Never mind though. I just tried loading that page in porn mode, and it's displaying fine for me too. It's obviously one of my damn Chrome addons. Thx

        • Mike Harris

          I feel like I'm gonna regret asking this, but what the hell is "porn mode?"

          • james kendall


  • Tim242

    Maybe they fixed the awful stuck in outbox bug that has plagued it from day one. Emails with attachments get stuck more times than not. Sending from the mobile site always sends immediately.

    • johnforamerica

      YES! Why have we not heard more about this?!

  • Mike Harris

    Thank you. I just tried it out and it works perfectly. One nice side effect for me is that the images for emails in the spam folder are now shown automatically. I sometimes can't tell if an email is legit or not, so I have to show the pictures to find out. There have been a number of times where I did that and realized the email wasn't spam. Now that Google is hosting the images, I don't have to worry about inadvertently alerting the spammer that my email address is active.

    If I was forced to find a problem with this feature, I might say that the downloading of the images now seems a bit slow, but it's not that bad. It just feels a little slower than it was previously.

  • Sahil Chaturvedi

    Still no HTML signatures. :'(

  • G-MaN

    So the sender knows if and when I see his image but doesn't know my IP.

    • Mskina

      The sender will know nothing

      • G-MaN

        Does Google automatically cache the images when it receives my email or when I open the email? If it's the latter then the sender will know when I've read the mail if the images have personalized urls.

        • Mskina

          I understand that Google chache the pics when it receives the email, not when you open it

  • ElisabethThunderberr

    Cannot open gmail

  • Josh Meyer

    No "Only on WiFi" option?

  • Someoneelse

    A little bit disapointed that google didn't start to use (within all gapps) the new translucent status/nav bar introduced in 4.4 with this update of Gmail.
    They should lead the way to showcase the new options that android has to offer to developpers.

  • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

    “Now made safe” from the non-existent threat of viruses in your jpegs...
    And in the meantime, sacrificing your privacy by letting marketeers know you opened the e-mail (if it has a tracker image).

    • Lexster

      Considering the way Google is handling the virus prevention, it's very likely all the marketers will know is that Google opened the image, not the individual emailer. Or, you can just turn it off. That's still an option. Or, also...don't open email spam. All good alternatives.

      • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

        No, I tested it (when the change on the desktop web app was rolled out): the image is requested (by Google's proxy servers) at the exact time that you open the message. So, marketeers know that you opened the message.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          My tests agree with this. All they have to do is pass unique parameters with every image so that Google doesn't cache it between users, and they would definitely know when we open emails. Google should cache every image on receipt (though I imagine that can kill servers fast, so they should maybe use some throttle technique).

          • pfmiller

            If it's going through a proxy server how do you know the proxy server is sending a request along to the sender instead of just handling it itself?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I watched my own server logs to see what happens and when.

            At first, the same image url opened by 2 different email accounts each generated a hit to the Web server. A week later, the same test showed that the proxy started caching and only the first open email resulted in a hit. The same url loaded in another email account (in incognito to prevent browser cache) no longer pinged the server.

        • http://twitter.com/justingoldberg Justin Goldberg

          Most spammers don't give the images a unique parameter. I am not sure
          why they don't, since 100% of the links do have a unique tracking
          parameter, but after adding this feature to gmail, perhaps they will!

  • ncs

    you know what i've been waiting for GMail to add? The option to "Delete" an email from the notification bar (next to the options of "Archive" and "Reply").

    Is this too much to ask??

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      That would be nice... expect it in 2017.

      • ILTSAT

        That feature has been there for a long time. Your joke would be excellent if it wasn't for the fact that the feature has been implemented already.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Not if you use "show archive" and especially "show archive and delete" instead of just "show delete" in the setting for Achive & Delete actions, as @TxReplay:disqus pointed out.

    • Johnny5

      If you enable the swipe to delete instead of archive, you'll get delete options everywhere else instead of archiving - including the notification bar.

      • johnforamerica

        Can you tell me how you do that? The first option in my settings is to display archive, delete, or both. The next setting is just "swipe to archive" with a checkbox. Where is swipe to delete?

        • johnforamerica

          Nevermind, I had to change it from "both" to "delete", then "swipe to archive" got replaced with "swipe to delete"

          (no idea why my previous comment was done as "guest"...)

    • Jamie

      Still waiting for the option to mark emails "seen" from the notification.

    • TxReplay

      Gmail > Settings > General Settings > Archive & Delete actions.
      You can choose Archive, Delete or both in the notification bar when you receive a mail.

      • ncs

        THANK YOU!!

      • johnforamerica

        Don't think that works - at least not if you have "both" selected. I had "both" selected and only "Archive" and "Reply" show up in the notification bar. See attached screenshot:

        • johnforamerica

          Yep, that was it! You have to select ONLY "Delete", not "Both". Changing the setting to "Delete" gave me "Delete" & "Reply" (see attached).

          That's weird. That means the settings give you the following results in the notification bar:

          Archive - "Archive" & "Reply"
          Delete - "Delete" & "Reply"
          Both - "Archive" & "Reply"

          So instead of "Both" actually showing you both, it looks like it gives you only one - giving precedence to "Archive".


          • Lenbok

            Indeed that is dumb. It makes sense for the notification to have both Delete and Archive in preference to Reply, as they are both operations with no further action, whereas a reply is already going to be involved enough that it is no biggie to tap to view the message in gmail first.

          • johnforamerica

            "It makes sense for the notification to have both Delete and Archive in preference to Reply, as they are both operations with no further action, whereas a reply is already going to be involved enough that it is no biggie to tap to view the message in gmail first."

            DAMN that was a good explanation!

    • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

      I'm still waiting for the ability to delete an SMS from the notification bar. Hopefully we can get that by 2027!

  • Nishanth

    Happy with K9 mail

  • Lucas Almeida

    Privacy got a little bit down.

  • james kendall

    has the boot loop been fixed? as every release since that one release that fracked with syncing has caused devices to bootloop

  • rmpbklyn .

    when will google place ALL mail on top!

  • http://www.webexplorar.com/ Sumith Harshan

    I unstalled the gmail app and reboot the phone. Then I tried to install the apk file. It is saying "There is a problem parsing the package".

    Here is the phone info.

    I'm using custom ROM.

    android 4.1.1
    kernal version
    Rom - OmarilzzMod9-GT-S7500-user 4.11
    Phone model - galaxy ace plus GT-S7500
    theme - ICE28

    Please help me. Appreciate that.
    Thank you