I am trying to send an email marketing campaign and my email file size is 32K (HTML markup only).

When I open it in the native email client on my Android device (Sprint HTC running Gingerbread 2.3.5) it gets truncated with a message that says "Download Remaining 12K". The button is way below the fold so it's easily missed and 1/2 of my email doesn't even show up in the reader.

I found a setting in my (POP) email account under:

menu → more → settings → Send & Receive → Mail size limit

But the default was set to 25K. That seems EXTREMELY low. I assume this is to keep the total downloads to a minimum since most people don't clean out their inboxes very often.

However, is this the new standard? That emails need to be kept at a minimum of 25K? I am wondering how many other devices running the Android OS are configured this way by default and if I should re-think all of my email marketing campaigns moving forward.

I checked my Kindle Fire and I don't see an option to change the incoming file size and my email does not get truncated on that device.

I am hoping to learn:

  1. Is this an Android version specific? (ie Gingerbread)

  2. Is this a configuration one makes when setting up a device with the Android OS regardless of the version? Meaning every device is different?

  3. How many devices are set with a max file size this low, what's the standard setting out of the box?


Is this an Android version specific? (ie Gingerbread)

No, this has nothing to do with the Android version, I have several close to me and none have such option. It's probably a carrier-specific setting on the stock app.

bahamat answer easily justifies the reason as to why carriers would prefer such low limitations and how this benefits users.

Is this a configuration one makes when setting up a device with the Android OS regardless of the version? Meaning every device is different?

It may vary depending on the device and carrier, but what usual happens with settings like this is that they are silently applied, but as you've found out, the user can update the value to a more desired one.

How many devices are set with a max file size this low, what's the standard setting out of the box?

There's no standard about the size for an email that goes this low. What actually exists is a general conception regarding the emails maximum size that accounts for the sum of the message's body and the encoded attachment.

Since a message will often pass through several mail transfer agents to reach the recipient, and since most of them have to cache messages for a certain period of time, this brings storage issues that need to be addressed. Since the early days, 10Mb was considered to be more than acceptable for an email.

You can read all about this at Wikipedia.

  • I see no such setting on my Android 4 tablet either (stock email app). But I don't have a mobile data contract.
    – MrWhite
    Aug 31 '12 at 20:10

This is done to conserve battery life. Downloaded data means active radios, which means electricity drawn, which means battery drained.

Your one email, might be fine. But people often get hundreds of messages per day. If every message I got were that size and my phone downloaded the full content of each one the battery would be dead very quickly.

If it's an email that is important that I need to read it's probably going to be only a few lines. Messages that are large are usually things I don't need while I'm at the grocery store or interrupting me while I get a haircut. It can wait until I get back to my desk.

Conversely, without a reasonably small limit you could DoS someone by sending them several large messages, forcing their phone to download all of that data. You can both chew up their data limit and drain their battery.

  • Also think of those attachments -- just imagine that .bmp Screenshot embedded in some MS Word document attached to some HTML mail, as it comes from some Windows users... =:-0 Especially on smaller devices, people could run out of storage quite fast with those.
    – Izzy
    Aug 31 '12 at 18:24
  • Yeah I understand your comments, seems you are against email marketing in general. Though I don't blame you, email marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry because people respond to discounts and special offers via email. Our list is legitimate and optional. If this size limitation is the new standard due to the popularity of the Android and device file size limitations it will be good to know.
    – marcy23
    Aug 31 '12 at 19:38
  • ...and to save mobile data usage as well I would have thought?
    – MrWhite
    Aug 31 '12 at 20:08
  • @marcy23 I'm not against it in general. I quickly unsubscribe from anything I don't want. But even for things I do want any email marketing can wait until I'm at my desk and doesn't need my attention while at the deli.
    – bahamat
    Aug 31 '12 at 21:39

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