Google has announced improvements to Gmail that make it easier for users to view images in their emails.

Up until now Gmail users have had to manually display images in their messages, but no longer, according to a Google blog post.

Google said the restrictions were in place to begin with to protect users from potentially harmful images, but that precaution is apparently no longer necessary.

"Thanks to new improvements in how Gmail handles images," images will now be automatically displayed by default in Gmail on desktop, iOS and Android, Google Product Manager John Rae-Grant wrote.

Out with the old, in with the images

Google will now serve images to Gmail users through its own secure proxy servers rather than the images' original external hosts.

"So what does this mean for you?" Rae-Grant posed. "Simple: your messages are more safe and secure, your images are checked for known viruses or malware, and you'll never have to press that pesky 'display images below' link again.

"With this new change, your email will now be safer, faster and more beautiful than ever."

Users who want to go back to the old way, to save on data or just to be cautious, can select "ask before displaying external images" under the "general" tab in the settings menu.

And if your images still aren't displaying after this improvement rolls out, check to make sure that box isn't already checked - for some users it will be on by default.

The changes to Gmail images should arrive on desktop starting today and on mobile platforms beginning in early 2014.