The iPad Gmail App Does Not Support Images


You heard correctly, the Gmail app for the iPad does NOT support images within HTML emails. Instead it displays them as if they are blocked and as far as we can see, there is no option for turning off the image blocking.

With an ever growing population of iPad users, this creates an interesting challenge for designers – especially when it comes to image heavy emails where the primary message is embedded within a table of sliced images.

So what happens when your images are blocked? The app will only display the ALT or TITLE text in place of your images if you include a width and height attribute or CSS property. If you don’t include the image dimensions, it will render as a small, grey outlined box. If you do include them, your ALT or TITLE text will display within a gray outlined box set to the original dimensions of your image. If you have included both ALT and TITLE attributes, it will display the ALT text.

For example:

<img src="" title="This is the image  description" alt="This is the image description" width="400" height="250">


<img src="" title="This is the image  description" alt="This is the image description" style="width:400px; height: 250px">

Here is an example of our recent November email campaign:

November email campaign on tablet

Most of our messaging is in text but you can see that we did not include a width and height in the image associated with the Android article. Therefore it did not display the TITLE or ALT text description.

In Conclusion

We recommend that you always include an exact width and height for each of your images as well as ALT and TITLE text.

Image dimensions are also important for Outlook 2003 and Outlook Express because by default, images that do not have them are automatically set 689 X 40 while images are blocked. This can have a drastic effect on your layout, especially if you are using tables. We recommend using ALT and TITLE text because many variations of email clients only support one or the other.
Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

6 thoughts on “The iPad Gmail App Does Not Support Images”

  1. Hey Michelle,

    Are you just visiting gmail in Safari on your iPad? I just confirmed myself that doing the same I was given the option to download images and they displayed fine.

    Perhaps you have told Gmail in the past not to download images for that sender? Or some other setting change?

  2. I had never checked our HTML emails in Gmail on an iPad and was concerned by your post. The first HTML email I looked at showed all images. I realized that might have been because I had already viewed that particular email on the desktop version of Gmail and had chosen to view its images.

    I then viewed an HTML email that I had not previously opened and did indeed see a “Show Images” link in a yellow box at the top of the page. See a screenshot here:

    After some googling, it seemed that this is a very new feature. But it does seem to be working now.

  3. Thanks Mathew and Jeff! You are indeed correct, the Gmail App for the iPad now supports images! We are putting together a follow-up blog article and our devs are fast at work updating our Acid Test results.

    Thanks so much for bringing this update to our attention.

    Cheers and happy testing 😉

  4. We launched ‘show images’ functionality on iPad & iPhone around the 17th of November. Hope that helps!

  5. The write-up was really interesting and informative about the Gmail application of iPad and this is really a drawback according to me that it does not support images. The apple crew was always keen in developing gadgets that is not so common and that has made apple a proud device

Comments are closed.

Free Email Goodies