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Edge browser feature sends images you view back to Microsoft

A relatively new service provided by Microsoft’s browser Edge sends images you’ve viewed online back to Microsoft. A new feature labelled Enhance images in Microsoft Edge has raised some privacy concerns. The feature is designed to upscale low resolution images, making them sharper, and improving the lighting and contrast.

Unlike the Video Super Resolution which uses local resources to enhance the quality of video viewed in Microsoft Edge, the pictures submitted to the Enhance images service are sent to Microsoft for processing as Edge loads them. This is enabled by default, so users have to opt out if they don’t want their images to be sent.

Observant Edge Canary users spotted a difference in the description of the feature after an update. Under Enhance images in Microsoft Edge in settings, it now says “Image URLS will be sent to Microsoft to provide super resolution.”

Microsoft offers Edge users different update channels. The Canary Channel ships daily and is the most bleeding edge of all the channels. If you want access to the newest updates, they’ll appear here first. The downside is that it also comes with a certain amount of bugs.

This recent update also came with the option to have a more granular control about images from which sites should be enhanced.

screenshot of choices for Edge Canary uesrer

Image courtesy of Neowin

How to disable the service

If you prefer to turn of the Enhance image service, here’s how to do it:

  • In Edge, open the Settings menu and select Privacy, search, and services (edge://settings/privacy)
  • Scroll down to the Services section and find the Enhance images in Microsoft Edge entry
  • Switch the toggle to Off.

And while we have your attention and you are in the Privacy menu anyway, if you scroll up a little bit, you may see the Show Collections and follow content creators in Microsoft Edge. If you are not actively using this feature you may want to disable that as well. The feature was found to track every single URL you visited and send them to Microsoft.

Reportedly, Microsoft is working on resolving this unintentional behavior.

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Pieter Arntz

Malware Intelligence Researcher

Was a Microsoft MVP in consumer security for 12 years running. Can speak four languages. Smells of rich mahogany and leather-bound books.