How to Fix Images Not Downloading Automatically in Outlook


By default, Outlook will not automatically download images from emails that are received externally. Additionally, you will get a message in the header saying “Click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of some pictures in this message”.

Although you could click on the message and click “Download Pictures”, when you have to do it for every single email, it gets a bit tedious and old after a while.

How to Automatically Download Images for All Incoming Messages


In Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010 simply go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Automatic Download and then uncheck “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items”.

If you’re using Outlook 2007, go to Tools > Trust Center > Automatic Download and then uncheck “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items”.

For Outlook 2003, go to Tools > Options > Security tab > Change Automatic Download Settings > and then uncheck “Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail”, and also uncheck “Warn me before downloading content when editing, forwarding, or replying to email”.



In Outlook for Mac, go to Outlook > Preferences > Reading > under the Security heading > Automatically download pictures from the Internet > select “In all messages”.


When you uncheck this setting, all future emails that you receive will automatically download images. Before disabling this feature, you should probably keep reading to find out the risks involved and why this security feature is enabled by default.

How to Allow Automatic Image Downloads Only for Some Emails

If you trust the sender, you can allow all pictures and content to be automatically downloaded when you receive emails from them. You can either allow their whole domain (eg. or just their email address.


Right-click on the message header and click “Add Sender to Safe Senders List” or “Add the Domain to Safe Senders List”.



Click on Outlook > Preferences > Junk > Safe Senders tab > Click “+” symbol to add a safe sender.


Note: This feature only works for POP and IMAP accounts, not for Exchange accounts. Please see this Microsoft thread for more information.

Why does this happen?

Outlook has a security feature which prevents images and also some HTML elements from being downloaded from external emails until you allow it.

Although this feature can be annoying, it actually exists for a very good reason.

Imagine that you receive an email from an unknown sender, and you open it. The images in the email are automatically downloaded from the sender’s server. If the sender is monitoring that server, they can easily find out that you opened that email by checking if you downloaded the images. This will instantly tell them that your email address is valid. This is one of the many tactics that spammers use to find out if an email address is valid.

This security feature stops spammers from snooping for email addresses – which is great. However, it’s not so great for email signatures as it doesn’t download the images automatically.

Advantages of Blocking Automatic Image Downloads in Emails

Most of the time when a large company such as Microsoft decide to implement a security feature, there’s usually a good reason behind it.

When you block automatic image downloads in Outlook:

  • You’re making it harder for email spammers to get your email address.
  • You’ll use less bandwidth downloading the emails because the images aren’t downloaded unless you allow it.
  • Your mailbox storage will be smaller because you won’t be storing un-needed images. This reduces the overall email infrastructure costs for your company.
  • You won’t be exposed to potentially insensitive or hurtful images.

Which versions of Outlook have this feature?

This security feature was first introduced in Outlook 2003 and has since been used in all subsequent versions, including Outlook for Mac.

25 Replies to “How to Fix Images Not Downloading Automatically in Outlook”

  1. This still does not work. Everyone shows the exact same method, yet it still does not work for me or thousands of others.

      1. Hi Gordan,
        Jim is correct.
        At least in Outlook 2013.
        I do not want to automatically download images for All Incoming Messages, but instead only from Safe Senders.

        Only SOME emails from Safe Senders domains/emails display the “(i) Click here to download pictures” note in the header (and hence the “Download pictures” option). Those emails also show the “Download picture” on the right-click menu on any picture mark.

        However OTHER emails, also from senders in the Safe Senders list, will never display these notes and options, neither in the Reading Pane nor in Open emails. Even unselecting File -> Options -> Mail -> Message Format -> Use Cascading Style Sheets… option has no effect.

        Both types of e-mails show a difference. While the first ones display this note in every picture placeholder: “Right-click here to download pictures.”, the later ones display this note: “The linked image cannot be displayed. The file may have been moved, renamed or deleted.”. However this email can be displayed with all its pictures in other e-mail clients.
        This could indicate where the problem is originating from. Maybe Content-type related.

        1. Hi Jorge,

          Wow, thanks for the insightful response. I didn’t realize there was this issue with Outlook 2013 and I am sure others are experiencing the same problem. I’m personally using Outlook 2016 and haven’t come across this issue myself. Either way, hopefully your write up will help others understand that there is an issue there. As for the resolution, when I have some free time, I’ll take a look to see if I can find anything about it, perhaps from Microsoft.

  2. For several months my Outlook 2016 email has not been displaying images. I have tried everything I can find on the internet and nothing worked. I’ve reinstalled Outlook and it didn’t help. I use iCloud so I can sync my calendar and contacts with my iPhone. An iCloud update was failing when I tried to download and install the update. So I uninstalled iCloud and reinstalled it. Then my Outlook email images started displaying correctly. However, this only lasted a few days before Outlook reverted back to not displaying the images. There has to be a relationship between iCloud and Outlook but I can’t figure it out. Help!

  3. I’m using outlook 2019 and it suddenly stopped downloading images. I have followed the directions for unchecking the box in the Trust Center but the still won’t download. They did this morning with no problem but won’t download now. I have closed and reopened outlook, rebooted…still the same issue.

  4. I am using Outlook 2010 and have for years. Some time ago the option to download pictures in emails disappeared. I recently upgraded the OS from win7 to win 10 and there was no change (not that I was expecting any). Today I have unchecked the check boxes in the trust centre download and yet still the pictures do not download. I have checked out a number of help sites and there seems to be many with this problem without one solution being offered by anyone.

    1. Hi DW,

      I’m not sure what the issue could be there but have you tried restarting your Outlook since unchecking the “Don’t download” checkbox?

  5. I have this same problem also – have had it for a while now and cannot figure out how to get images to show. I do NOT have the option to mark as safe sender. I have unchecked the security options so everything should be allowed. I have Windows 10 and most current updated on outlook from office 365. It worked properly at some point. I can’t say when it changed, unfortunately. Has anyone found a cause/solution for this?

    1. Hi itcassy,

      It could be that your anti-virus software (if you have one) is blocking the image download. Have you tried disabling the software?

  6. I’ve tried everything from this post and then some. What I’ve found that’s unusual is the images do show up when I forward the message, but if I forward to myself, the images disappear again upon arrival. It doesn’t seem to respect the email provider either. I have GMAIL and Microsoft-hosted email; both behave the same.

    1. I am having the same issue. Emails show up with no photos. The proper security options are unchecked. When I forward the email, I see the images. When I receive it, no images.

  7. Outlook 365 email is not showing images.

    The “Don’t download… ” box has been unchecked for awhile & still no images.

    What’s more, images I try to insert in outgoing emails are blank. Just a frame with white inside.

    1. Hi Patric,

      In regards to your second issue, with the outgoing emails having blank images with just a frame around them, you could try checking the settings in Outlook Options > Mail > Under Compose messages “Editor Options” > Advanced > Cut, copy, and paste. I believe this issue is related to these settings. Make sure they are all set to the default options. Insert/paste pictures as should be “In line with text”.

      Hope this helps :)

      1. None of what is posted here has helped. Not even the advanced Editor Options did not work. I just stopped seeing images and downloads in the past 6 to 8 months. I keep asking the sender to resend the email and nothing changes. This is crap.

  8. Hi Gordan,

    off topic, I like to know if I can block external images on the Outlook app for iphone being used as third party application for my gmail. Despite talking to microsoft support, I do not get any clear concrete info on this? Any help would be appreciated.

    Best, Tom

  9. I have the exact problem as Aaron. outlook 365 is my client for hotmail, and gmail.
    images do not appear. option to view message in browser only. if I fwd I see the images, send to myself to/from hotmail/gmail when message is received, same issue.
    I have tried everything here and privacy settings in windows. I have shut off firewall and defender settings. removed other Anti-virus. has anyone found an fix for this

  10. It should be a solution except disabling “Dont Download pictures…” option. Adding safe senders list or forwarding mail to view pictures is not useful as well. Issues occurs when sender and recipients are internal. Pictures which linked to url is also internal. Any recommendations are welcome.

  11. I have had this problem for most of the time since buying a new PC and installing Office 365. Every so often there will be an update to the system and then the images reappear for a while, sometimes for a few days or a week or two, and then they disappear again. Every day I go through the palaver of going to the trust centre and ticking and then unticking the boxes, then have to restart the computer, which fixes the problem until I switch off again. Totally fed up.

  12. I tried all and some too. Impossioble to work like this .
    The trust center option does not work
    the download on the email in not available.
    I get info and dates for conferences that are included in a picture. all gone really UNPROFESIONAL featura, as if we users were all stupid kids

  13. I too have the same issue that pics don’t download. When i right click the “click here to download” it usually works, EXCEPT when i get emails from constant contact. Any reason for this? It’s quite annoying. I do get the pics i my iphone without any problem.

  14. Thunderbird is a Great email!
    I’ve had all the same issues and am switching.
    All pics from everyone show.

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