How is this possible?

Doesn't the circled part of the screenshot below seem false given that there is then an image in the body of the email?

enter image description here

UPDATE in response to comment: When I inspect the HTML, I see this tag (but I've censored the long query params that appeared at XXXXXXXXXX in case there is something sensitive there):

<img width="700" style="vertical-align: middle; margin: 0px auto; border: none; text-align: center; width: 700px;" src="https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0?XXXXXXXXXX" alt="Scanned image of your mail piece" data-image-whitelisted="" class="CToWUd a6T" tabindex="0">
  • it can be signature
    – user0
    Feb 20, 2019 at 17:34
  • @MARKMYANSWER I doubt USPS is using that as their signature.
    – Ryan
    Feb 20, 2019 at 17:37
  • so what does it say when you inspect it? is it in table style="border-top:1px solid #d3d4de"?
    – user0
    Feb 20, 2019 at 17:45
  • @MARKMYANSWER I updated my question with the HTML.
    – Ryan
    Feb 20, 2019 at 17:49
  • Is it attached to the email? The "images are note displayed" message only applies to images loaded from an external URL.
    – John C
    Feb 21, 2019 at 0:04

1 Answer 1


Images can be sent with in one of three ways with an email:

  • Attached - the image is attached to the email message and the paperclip icon appears in Gmail.
  • Inline embedded - the image is encoded and sent with the body of the message. In this case Gmail will decode the image and it will be served from the Gmail domain (as seen above).
  • Linked remotely - a HTML tag references an image on a remote server. This cuts down the size of the email, but is the main mechanism that mass email senders track read rates.

It is the last case that Gmail's "Images are not displayed" message is protecting against. Images sent either as an attachment or inline are still shown since there is no privacy implication in doing so. From the Turn images on or off help page:

Google scans images for signs of suspicious content before you receive them ... Sometimes, senders may know whether you've opened an email that has an image. Gmail scans every message for suspicious content. If Gmail thinks a sender or message is suspicious, images aren’t shown and you’ll be asked if you want to see the images.

The image that is displayed in the question example is likely embedded inline (possibly because USPS are aware that blocking of remote images is common).

  • Even though it’s using a normal-looking src instead of a Data URI? en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_URI_scheme#Web_browser_support
    – Ryan
    Feb 21, 2019 at 13:18
  • I'd guess the email is decoded on the backend and the src tag is what gets sent to the browser. If you click the three dots next to the reply button at the top of the email then select "Show original" you can see what was actually sent.
    – John C
    Feb 22, 2019 at 4:52
  • Hmm, this is from "Show original": <td align=3D"center" width=3D"700" colspan=3D"2" style=3D"padding-bott= om:20px;padding-top:30px; border:none;vertical-align: middle;margin: 0 auto= ;margin-bottom:20px;text-align:center;width:700px !important;"><img width= =3D"700" style=3D"width: 700px !important;vertical-align: middle;margin: 0 = auto;border:none;text-align:center;" src=3D"cid:1000463388-017.jpg_15050154= 6722148" alt=3D"Scanned image of your mail piece" /></td>
    – Ryan
    Feb 22, 2019 at 15:55

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