"Download remote images in HTML messages" setting

Is “Download remote images in HTML messages” supposed to download the images in the email or just load them (using an internet connection) when the email is opened? I’d like to use DEVONthink to archive emails and have them display images even if the remote images are no longer available. This is how I originally interpreted the setting, but it doesn’t seem to save an offline copy.

Are you viewing the files via View > Document Display > Text Alternative?

Yes. As a test, I import a single email and turn off WiFi (after waiting a bit). I tried default eml view, text alternative, and converting to different formats like PDF, rich text, and Web Archive. None of them display the inline images in the email.

It’s unclear from your response, but did you try Best Alternative?

Yes. That’s what I meant by “default eml view”, though I didn’t know it was Best Alternative. I just tried it again confirming both Best Alternative and Text alternative, and neither display images. Best Alternative displays boxes with a question mark icon and Text alternative displays formatted text only.

I would test on several emails from different sources.
Yes, this option will attempt to download the remote images. I have emails that display the aimges

I’ve since tried 10 different senders. Still no luck.

Any further steps I can take to debug this?

Slightly off-topic but I personally would advise against automatically downloading unsolicited images from servers unless perhaps you know the source can be trusted.

Not only could images (in theory) contain data that might take advantage of an (unknown) vulnerability in your OS or obfuscate hyperlinks (even worse) but such remote images in e-mails are frequently used to track the recipient of e-mails for commercial purposes and might even be used against you in legal issues where the sender gains proof of the receipt of their e-mail for example.

In my opinion, the use of HTML in e-mail should be banned completely. There is nothing wrong with plaintext and I’ve never been interested in mails with a fancy layout. But that’s obviously me.

Thanks for the warning, and I largely agree with your points (although I do like images in some of my emails). I plan to selectively archive emails from trusted senders and I might even automate much of the process in a VM.

Any chance you ever resolved this? I’m having the same issue. Emails do not download images even though “Download remote images in HTML messages” is selected (and Document Display → Best Alternative)

No, unfortunately. It’s still on a someday/maybe list for figuring out my own solution but I couldn’t get it to work with DT3.

The default view is based on Quick Look and doesn’t load remote images (exactly like in the Finder, as far as I remember that was intended by Apple to improve the security). Try the alternate view instead.

Back when I first created this post, I had tried all view options. Just now, I was retrying to see if anything has changed but it’s crashing.

DT3 takes a couple of minutes to display the emails found in “Apple Mail > Inbox”. There are 35k read emails in the Inbox so maybe that’s why. After loading, I select to import unread only (~10 emails), and it crashes.

When I open DT3 again, the database prompts to repair and the emails are imported as orphaned files.

Try disabling the two options in DEVONthink’s Preferences > Files > Emails > Conversations and see if the crash persists.

Please choose Help > Report Bug while pressing the Alt modifier key and send the result to cgrunenberg - at - devon-technologies.com - thanks!

Thanks! Bug report sent.

Disabling these two options fixed the crash. Thanks!

I retried my remote images test:

  • Images display in “Text Alternative” view while online
  • If I go offline, images will only display in emails I manually opened while online
  • No images are displayed if I empty the cache or restart DT3 and remain offline

Again, I’m assuming the intended result is an offline archive available for posterity, with maybe a few missing images here and there. I’m getting no images unless I remain connected to the internet.

Emails are archived/imported unmodified (like all other file types), meaning that emails using remote images are not viewable while offline or if the remote images are not available anymore.

Ah ok. This is what I was trying to clarify in my OP. I contrasted Downloading vs Loading and interpreted later posts as suggesting it could save images for a complete offline archive.

So DT3’s “Download remote images in HTML messages” is more in line with Mail.app’s “Load Content” setting.

That might actually be a better name to avoid possible confusion: “Load remote images in HTML messages”