Images missing in weekly TidBITS issue (in Apple Mail)

Why are all the images in the weekly TidBITS email replaced by a small box with a question mark? (I’m using Apple Mail.)

Do you have Mail Privacy Protections turned on?

I have seen this elsewhere, not often, just once in a while.

There’s a setting “Load remote content in messages” (Big Sur, might be called differently in other macOS). You can click on “Load remote content” for each email to see such content.

And there is sometimes a failure to load this content, even when it should show, even when you did click on “Load remote content”. In that case it shows the question mark. I don’t know how to diagnose any further.

Is this happening each week or just once? We did change something a few weeks back to improve the quality of the images in email, but that increased the size of the downloads too.

FWIW, we looked into this when I reported the same problem several months ago. I don’t think we came to any cause or solution. However, I still have the problem, and it is exclusive to my TidBITS email. The workaround is simple enough: I turn off both “Protect Mail Activity”, and “Hide IP Address” in Mail preferences, then re-select the email. The images then load, and when I turn “Protect Mail Activity” back on, they persist. Clearly not the way it should work, but the process costs a few seconds once per week, so probably not worth any further effort to solve.

The images did show up this week.

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I disagree. I don’t want to fuss around every time I receive such an email, knowing that I have to do it over and over again.
I sometimes resort to clicking a link to read it in Safari.
I have this problem only with the TidBITS email. All other emails that I receive display fine.

Adam, I have the same issue, and it occurs only with Tidbits emails in Mail on my new Mac Studio running Monterey. I have the same Mail privacy settings as my old iMac running Catalina and do not have the issue.


After my original post in November, the problem seemed to be solved. But lately it is
reoccurring. What’s up?

I’ll admit, I’m completely at a loss. It seems that Mail sometimes gets a bee in its bonnet about images with the Protect Mail Activity setting, but I can’t imagine why, or how anything we do would affect that some weeks but not others.

I’m at a loss myself about Protect Mail Activity (setting), so much so I’ve gotten disgusted with it causing issues for all my email and have turned it off.

But may I suggest the effects it may have during some weeks but not others may be that it’s a moving target. Maybe Apple is fiddling with its filtering mechanisms at their server level, and it won’t stay consistent regardless of how TidBITS tries to correct for issues. If that’s so, then it seems everyone would have to wait until Apple decides takes a breather before everyone can see consistent remedies.

Because certainly opaque Apple isn’t going to release any helpful info on the matter.

Fwiw, I have protect mail activity turned on and never have issues with images not appearing. (My mail is on Fastmail; I wonder if this is more a mail server issue.)

Same here. Whatever options I chose I ended up at times getting garbled emails. Turned all of this off. Apple can fix their stuff first. Perhaps then I’ll give it another try.

I’m happy to report that TidBITS images are now all loading properly when I click the “Load Content Directly” button (I have “Protect Mail Activity” turned on). Sounds like that latest bit of fiddling with the image properties that Adam did also fixed this issue (sorry, can’t put my finger on that thread at the moment). Woo hoo!

Oh, interesting! So it must have been that loading=lazy attribute.