Gmail IMAP (GANGA) Finally Supports Background Images in New Update

For those of you who are unaware, the Gmail App did not support embedded styles and background images when accessing emails through POP and IMAP.

The email community calls this GANGA for Gmail App for Non Google Accounts. However it looks like Google has finally added background image support for this client! This is a BIG deal because this means that background images are now supported across all major email clients – although as you know you’d need to jump through some VML gymnastics for background images in Outlook.


Emails within these accounts are rendered in “GANGA” mode

Background Image Support in GANGA

I’m seeing background images supported on both GANGA on iOS and Android. A quick way to see this update is to update the app through Google Play or the App Store but since most apps update automatically you should be able to see this without a manual refresh eventually.

That said it looks like there is a slight difference in the regular Gmail background image support and GANGA. Specifically GANGA does not support the background attribute in tables as well as the background-size CSS style (although it supports background size in shorthand).

table backgroundyesno
td backgroundyesno

* background-size supported in shorthand

Supporting Background Size

Since background size is an important CSS property when it comes to background images support, I was pleasantly surprised to see it supported in shorthand mode.

background:url([image]) [position] / [size] [repeat] [color]

background: url(‘image.png’) center / cover no-repeat #ff0000;

I haven’t tested other background styles so if you notice anything interesting, feel free to comment below! Here’s an article on the various background CSS properties.

Image Blocking Quirk

GANGA blocks images by default and displays a link to display images. However, if your email only contains background images, this option does not show up! So if you are intending to use background images, at least add a single regular image in your email.

Universal Background Image Support

As I mentioned earlier, this is a huge development because we can now rely on almost universal background images support. See this chart on CSS support across email clients.

I’m hoping that Google will update GANGA soon with embedded styles support (<style>) so we won’t have to inline our CSS anymore!

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