Getting Rid of Blue Question Mark Boxes in Mail

If you receive an email in Mail that has blue boxes with question marks in them, this is for one of three reasons:

  1. You have no Internet connection, which prevents Mail from downloading the images.
  2. The message is in your Junk Mail folder. Mail refuses to grab images for these messages as a safety measure. In this case, you must take the message out of your Junk Mail folder (or click “Load Images” at the top of the message while viewing it).
  3. The option to display remote images in messages is turned off in the Mail preferences.

If your problem stems from scenarios #1 or #2, you know how to fix this. You either need to connect to the Internet (at which time Mail will automatically download the messages), or you must take the message out of your Junk Mail folder.

To fix the problem follow these steps:

  1. Select Preferences from the Mail menu.
  2. Click on the Viewing tab in the Preferences window.
  3. Make sure that you check the checkbox next to Display remote images in HTML messages. If this box is not checked, Mail will not load your images, and you’ll see blue boxes with question marks instead.

That’s it! These solutions should solve the question mark boxes on your end. If you continue to have problems, there is one more possibility: it might be the image server’s fault. Whenever you see these images in an HTML message, you are really viewing a web page, which means each image has a web address associated with it. If the address is incorrect, or if the image has been pulled from the server, you will see a blue question mark box because Mail cannot load the image. For example, you receive an email with the subject saying something about a special offer from a writing service. When you open it, instead of the intended image, you see a question mark box containing the link to The thing is, the sender changed the URL of the image or removed it from the server – and now you can’t get details about that special offer. There is nothing you can do about this but contacting the person or company who sent you the message to see if they can correct it.

Did this tip help you with Mail? Have you found another work around? What other problems have you had viewing images in Mail? Share your thoughts in the comments section.