Email Tracking

Quick guide to blocking options for email tracking in eM Client

Email tracking is a method of email delivery monitoring. It allows the sender to get a notification or log of the time the email is opened and viewed by the recipient. Unlike with Read receipts which only sends one confirmation that the email has been opened (and is usually purely optional), email tracking can provide details such as which app the email was opened in, if it was a phone or a PC, or even details about your actual location, IP address and other personal details about you and your device, so it’s a bit more invasive and you should be able to choose whether you want to share such data or not.

That is why eM Client now offers options to block Email Tracking in the mail privacy setting and if detected, will not by default download any content that could be used to track you.

You will see this confirmation in the information bar under the message header:

Allow email tracking. <Mail tracking provider> email tracking was blocked to preserve privacy.

How does Email Tracking work

Email tracking is usually accomplished using standard webtracking devices, such as web beacons. When an email message with tracking is sent, it will contain a usually invisible tracking image (also known as tracking pixel) or elements like hyperlinks or custom font within the content of the message. Once the message is opened and the content is displayed, the tracking image is accessed and therefore confirms the message was opened. Clicking a link or an external attachment can also activate different tracking codes that give the sender more details about your interaction with the message.

When is Email Tracking used

These tracking technologies were originally designed and are mostly used by companies and individuals in email marketing. Tracking can provide a lot of useful information on metrics on user responses about how often the marketing emails are actually opened or if anything in the message caused the user to click on the links and come to the marketer’s website.

However, the same techniques are easily misused by spammers and phishers to verify that their emails are actually read, the email addresses that they used are indeed valid and active and that their emails made it past spam filters. When used maliciously, email tracking can be used to collect confidential information and create more efficient phishing schemes which is dangerous to both individuals and businesses.

Tracking pixels are able to show your actual IP address every time you open the message and nowadays with GeoIP services that means that the sender can find out your location very accurately, down to the street or even a building you were in at the time, opening you up to dangers not only online but in real life as well.

How to block Email Tracking in eM Client

You can find all settings for Email Tracking in Menu > Settings > Mail > Privacy.

In the Email Tracking section, there are three options to choose from:

  • Always ask
    With this option, you will always be asked if you want to have your emails tracked each time a mail tracking pixel is detected in a message. The option to allow download of the mail tracking pixel will be offered in the information bar under the message header in the message detail view. The tracking pixel is of course not downloaded until you confirm the choice.
    This allows you to filter out which emails you want to load fully or keep the tracking pixel blocked.
  • Always block detected email tracking content
    With this option, email tracking will automatically be blocked, and you won’t be asked if you would like to allow or restrict email tracking for any message. This can save up space when viewing the message as the information bar will not pop-up, but you won’t be able to easily change your mind about it.
  • Always allow detected email tracking content
    By selecting this option, email tracking will automatically be allowed so all detected tracking pixels will be downloaded, so the sender will get all information about the tracking each time the message is opened.

“Always ask” is the default option, so if you decide to change it, make sure to click the “Apply” or “Save & Close” button at the top so your preference is used next time an email with Tracking pixel is detected by eM Client.

Even with the option being set to always block or allow you will be able to see which messages have tracking code by the target icon in the message list after you open the message.

Target icon in the top right corner of the message as shown in the Message list.

You can also use the Quick filter in the top right corner of the message list to filter out messages where Email Tracking was detected.