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Windows Phone 7, HTML email and images: download later (uggh)

Sigh. We hate to bring this info, but for those who hate the "feature" in Windows Mobile HTML email, whereby images have placeholders until you "agree" to download won't be pleased.

Evidently Windows Phone 7 uses the same approach, requiring an extra step and unsightly image placeholders until you sync up again. For those curious, this unique method is not present on the iPhone nor Android (Edit: Actually, you do have to hit "Show Pictures" on Android), both of which automatically just show the images.

The reason Microsoft chooses this system is security: opening an HTML email with inline images that is potentially malicious can send back information to the originating servers, hence the extra step.

We get that and totally like this ability as we understand the needs of enterprise can run pretty high. But we want it as AN OPTION not a default/you have no choice in the matter feature. Fact is, Windows Phone 7 is a consumer phone at this point and should therefore make email as transparent as possible--why not just give a simple initial warning sigh and give the use choice?  

C'mon Microsoft...

[via MobilityDigest]

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

22 Comments
  • Actually, I like that the WinPho7 team is staying consistent. Windows PCs are heavily targeted by various types of malware. Let's not make it easier for that malware to hit you phone. Check out the most excelent Wall Street Journal article series that investigates the way you internet use is being tracked. So, I'm all for the image blocking personally, as a default. You can change the setting.
  • > So, I'm all for the image blocking personally, as a default. You can change the setting. If it is instantiated like this, then I agree with you 100% But at least on WM6.x and evidently on WP7, there is no option to disable this feature--that is what bothers me and I'm betting others. If WP7 *does* have the ability to disable this, then WIN. But no one has demonstrated this feature yet.
  • You CAN currently disable this feature in windows 6.x. In your mail account setup, under the message download limit, you have to select "entire message". That will allow you to download the enire message automatically. You can also select "Headers only", or "all text, no pictures". For attachments, you can select all attachments, or "less than 25kb", "less than 50 kb", etc. !!!!!!!STOP THE MISINFORMATION!!!!!!
  • No, even then you still have manually click to display images.
  • >For attachments, you can select all attachments, or "less than 25kb", "less than 50 kb", etc. >!!!!!!!STOP THE MISINFORMATION!!!!!! Sorry Bob, you're confusing things. We all know about the download entire message option, but what we're speaking about in this post inline images in HTML email. Those do not download automatically, you have to allow them on a per email basis and then re-sync.
  • You're right...egg on face, foot in mouth...
  • This single article has finished my interest in Windows phone 7. What if (like ME) you are an eBay trader and you have to manually load the images every time you want to choose reply, click a link etc. Disaster. Meego it is then.
  • I'm satisfied if the approach is similiar to how Hotmail works. By adding the sender to your safesender/contact list...images are pulled down/displayed normally.
  • I block pics by default on outlook, and really, it's just one click away from getting them, really not a problem if all you have to do is double tap and all the pics in the email then get downloaded. I'd rather be safe then sorry, besides, from what I remember this is how the original iPhone got jailbroken, with a hacked tiff image in a html email file. Just think, if a image could jailbreak/root a phone what else can it do? If you can add senders to the safe list and then it'll show pics for only those if you want, that's the best option.
  • For goodness sake, will just one site repost this after thinking for just a second? If you don't want to see the "download later" thing just set it to download whole messages instead of setting a limit. Case closed.
  • >If you don't want to see the "download later" thing just set it to download whole messages instead of setting a limit. Vangrieg, thanks for the post but that is **not** what we are talking about. This is inline images that are part of HTML email--they do not download automatically *even if* you have the download entire email message feature enabled. We know what we are talking about here.
  • Also, judging by how ignorant everyone is on the subject, automatic downloading of images should never be allowed. People just don't understand the consequences.
  • >Also, judging by how ignorant everyone is on the subject, automatic downloading of images should never be allowed. People just don't understand the consequences. I understand the risk but it should be up to the user, not your, I or Microsoft how our email is handled. Can we agree on that? If not a global "allow" then how about a safe list for our known contacts? Seems like a fair trade off. These are smartphones, I want them to do smart things.
  • The group of users that need this the most are ignorant "consumers" as they have little to no idea what downloading images in a spam mail actually can result in. I think this is exactly the right thing for Microsoft to do.
  • "For those curious, this unique method is not present on the iPhone nor Android, both of which automatically just show the images." Not true, at least for Android. I have Android 2.1 on an HTC EVO. Images are *not* downloaded automatically in HTML email. I have to click on a "Show pictures" button first. I have not found an option to change this behavior.
  • Duly noted.
  • What I still want to know is, will HTML mail be supported on Exchange 2003? My WinMo 6.5 HTC TP2 will not do it. My iPod Touch works just fine. I have yet to see this verified. Anybody have any leads?
  • Looks like image display is not a problem then. But what about the correctness of html display? Could someone try the acid test at
    http://www.email-standards.org/
    ?
  • Ugh, this is the whole problem with MS' new-found interest in Apple-like totalitarianism and the only reason I'm still considering Android. Sure, make the defaults nice and stupid for all the morons out there. BUT GIVE ME THE OPTION! OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS! (to paraphrase Ballmer's infamous chant).
  • Listen you nimrod, stop cavalierly throwing about terms like "totalitarianism" in reference to a private corporation. To draw ANY sort of parallel between a company exercising its rights to build a software ecosystem (Microsoft's "walled garden") and an oppressive government regime is irritatingly offensive. Plus it casts you as quite the imbecile. You are not being forced to consume (buy) any company's products/services. Save your whining about lost freedoms for when you can no longer speak, write, act, or move for fear that a government henchman will be waiting. (it's closer than you realize, by the way)
  • I'm hoping we get a whitelist option. I'm fine with having to download images as a basic but important security measure. I'm not fine with having to do this with senders i trust. Again, I'm hoping they'll refine this as they did with UAC in Windows, another good security measure that wasn't implemented as well as it could've been initially.
  • So let me get this strait. You guys are angry because you have to press ONE extra button in order to see images? Almost all PC eMail clients i've used use this type of system. Remember, MSFT is trying to make sure that both CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES are protected from malware. Like it or not, wp7 is still based on windows, so it's still vulnerable to all malware. That is why they do this. Personally, I agree it's slightly annoying, but i'd rather be slightly annoyed than be vulnerable to malware on my phone.