Equals Sign showing up in Mac Mail Exchange emails with GPG beta suite active

Jason Schroeder's Avatar

Jason Schroeder

06 Mar, 2017 04:48 PM


After loading GPG mail beta to work with Sierra, some of the email I am receiving from my corporate Exchange/Office365 account is suffering the quoted-printable bug with the equals sign "=" in the line breaks. When I remove the GPGMail.mailbundle from my system, the issue goes away.

I've attached two screenshots of the same message body - one with GPGMail beta installed, one without.

  1. 1 Posted by Jason Schroeder on 06 Mar, 2017 04:57 PM

    Jason Schroeder's Avatar

    Please note the following:

    • I am seeing this primarily with emails with image attachments from Exchange ONLY. However, I am not a developer/programmer so I don't know the depth of what might be triggering this effect. If someone wants to reach out to me directly I can share source email code.
  2. 2 Posted by Jason Schroeder on 13 Mar, 2017 07:11 PM

    Jason Schroeder's Avatar

    Has anyone had a chance to look at this yet or need anything additional from me to investigate?

  3. 3 Posted by Jason Schroeder on 15 Mar, 2017 09:45 PM

    Jason Schroeder's Avatar

    Whomever is looking at this: I installed the latest nightly build and the problem still exists. Extremely problematic for Exchange emails.

    Some do this, some don't - problem completely goes away when I remove the GPGBundle from Mac Mail.

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Steve on 15 Mar, 2017 11:09 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hey Jason,

    welcome to the GPGTools support platform. Sorry you are having problems using GPG Suite.

    Could you send a test mail our way with identical structure to the mails showing with the unexpected "=" characters.

    Send your mail to team AT gpgtools DOT org

    We will then take a closer look and see what could be causing this odd behavior.

    All the best,

  5. 5 Posted by Jason on 16 Mar, 2017 06:11 AM

    Jason's Avatar


    Thanks - I'm going to get a safe test email to send you. I did a file compare of the email both with GPGTools enabled and disabled, and the two .eml file results were identical.

    As soon as I have a test I will send you.


  6. Support Staff 6 Posted by Steve on 16 Mar, 2017 08:17 AM

    Steve's Avatar

    So what we are looking for is any reliable pattern to reproduce the problem and create mails that are affected. So you could try sending yourself a few test mails with identical structure to the one affected by this problem.

    Then send a message our way. If it takes the same route through the company exchange server it should have a similar structure. And maybe (we'll have to find out) display with the same issue on our end. That would be great, because in that case we could try to find a workaround for that problem.

  7. 7 Posted by Jason on 16 Mar, 2017 05:19 PM

    Jason's Avatar


    I have an email I can send you. The trick was - I'm not using the image links that are apparently causing this, so I had to get another employee to shoot me a test email with them in it.

    I'm going to send it to you directly at the above email now instead of attaching it to this public forum.


  8. Support Staff 8 Posted by Steve on 16 Mar, 2017 05:29 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Thanks Jason. You send another problematic email as attached .eml file. Those show perfectly fine here.

    So what we need is a mail with identical structure to the mails that arrive broken for you. But that mail needs to be sent to team AT gpgtools DOT org directly. An .eml file will not help in debugging this since the error is not happening then.

  9. 9 Posted by j_12 on 16 Mar, 2017 05:41 PM

    j_12's Avatar


    I can get it sent absolutely - no problem there, I’ll get one sent to you and we can go from there.


  10. 10 Posted by j_12 on 16 Mar, 2017 08:28 PM

    j_12's Avatar

    Greetings Steve,

    I was doing a test where I was attempting to re-create the issue with an email I generated with the same body information sent directly from our Exchange service.

    In this process, for whatever reason, the issue’s consistency is now in question. I did several tests where I installed and uninstalled GPGTools and checked various emails. It seemed 100% consistent with a particular email body type, but now that I”m looking at it - might be related to the sender or Mac Mail settings. For example - the eml I sent you earlier absolutely had the problem, but after I did an uninstall and reinstall of GPG, it is now fine. However, earlier emails from this person are not formatted correctly.

    Until I can nail down a specific way to break this, I’m going to keep poking at it. Thanks for you attention to this thread, I’ll pipe up again if I find a solid way to re-create it.


  11. 11 Posted by j_12 on 16 Mar, 2017 10:16 PM

    j_12's Avatar

    Greetings Steve,

    I have some new information as I move forward I am totally not sure if this is a Mac Mail issue, or a GPG Tools issue, but here are the facts so far:

    - it only happens when I have GPGTools enabled, the issue is entirely non-existent with it uninstalled, BUT

    - only mail that is in the Mac Mail “Inbox” is affected, i.e. the mail directly synchronized with the server before I move it to local folders
    - only mail that has our wacky corporate signature with images that have links are affected, and so far only from this Exchange/Office365 source that I can tell
    - even if the above two conditions are met, sometimes it doesn’t happen
    - Messages that I move to a local folder or copy to my desktop do not show the problem, this would explain why you aren’t seeing it.

    I’m working to find the best way to get you a direct message from a suspected source, I’m still trying to determine the logic why some work and some don’t.


  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by Steve on 17 Mar, 2017 10:04 AM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hey Jason,

    thanks for helping to debug this problem and as you probably are very well aware, this stuff is quite complex to debug, sadly.

    Here are my thoughts and understanding of your additional findings:

    • the fact the issues is non-existent with GPGMail disabled / uninstalled would clearly indicated the problem stems from GPGMail usage / GPGMail behavior. sidenote: you can move the GPGMail mailbundle file temporarily out of it's folder to disable GPGMail. it is located at /Library/Mail/Bundles or ~/Library/Mail/Bundles.
    • your observation regarding local vs server storage of the mail makes sense and is indeed the reason, why we need a test mail in our inbox in order to reproduce the problem. the reason for that is the way mails are loaded and that may differ if the mail is already fully loaded locally. to make things exciting, apple has changed the way mails are loaded in macOS 10.12 sierra.
    • randomness of but appearance: that makes it even harder a) to reproduce and b) to fix the problem. that inconsistent behavior could be an indicator, that we are looking at a timing problem and that certain steps during the process of loading the mail have to hit certain timings for the problem to show
    • exchange factor: it would be very interesting to know, if you are able to manage to reproduce the problem without the exchange server. exchange has a history of doing quirky stuff to mails.

    So again, thanks for looking into this and trying to make sense of the behavior. It's appreciated. Hope we can get to the root of the issue.

    Have a great day,

  13. 13 Posted by j_12 on 17 Mar, 2017 04:03 PM

    j_12's Avatar


    - on your first point, that is exactly how I’m testing. With the bundle loaded in /Library/Mail/Bundles I’m identifying mails in my inbox that are “bad”, then checking them with the bundle removed.

    - I’m fairly certain that this issue is related with html mail, or specifically mail with images that are also hyperlinks. It only happens with email signatures that have them, and I even had it happen to me when I was invited to an Office365 group when I got a notification from the Exchange services (with the big splashy web-page style email full of over-zealous graphics and hyperlinked images).

    - I have had absolutely zero issues with any of my other email accounts, including gmail, me.com <http://me.com/>, and my clunky ISP email - all of which I’ve received emails with similar characteristics with no problem. I’m almost certain this is limited to Office365/Exchange only.

    - As I identified with you, this only happens in the “Inbox”, once the mail is moved to a local folder, the issue disappears. I think this is going to be one of the key clues, as you said macOS Sierra does weird things now.

    I’m going to be talking with one of the primary people in my company who has been sending me “broken” emails and see if I can’t get him to email you directly. It will come from him, not from me, but I will make sure he puts the above subject line as his subject for easy identification.


  14. Support Staff 14 Posted by Luke Le on 17 Mar, 2017 05:15 PM

    Luke Le's Avatar

    Hi Jason,

    as frustrating as it sounds, there's a big difference on how GPGMail handles a message before it was downloaded completely and is locally available, and the first time it's downloaded.

    So the difference you're seeing might be related to locally cached messages vs. fresh incoming messages

  15. 15 Posted by Jason on 20 Mar, 2017 06:01 PM

    Jason's Avatar

    Greetings GPG team,

    My coworker just sent an email directly to you with the subject matter of this thread. Let me know if you've received it and if you are seeing the equals sign issue.


  16. Support Staff 16 Posted by Steve on 20 Mar, 2017 07:23 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Should you be available, could you hop on our live chat here:

    We can't promise a solution, but we'd like to inspect this problem in more detail.

    All the best

  17. 17 Posted by Jason on 28 Mar, 2017 08:18 PM

    Jason's Avatar

    Please close this ticket, between your updates and Apple's latest 10.12.4 update, this appears to be completely fixed. I believe the majority of my email was fixed with your latest release.

Reply to this discussion

Internal reply

Formatting help / Preview (switch to plain text) No formatting (switch to Markdown)

Attaching KB article:


Already uploaded files

  • Screen_Shot_2017-03-06_at_8.47.29_AM.png 36.7 KB
  • Screen_Shot_2017-03-06_at_8.38.06_AM.png 31.5 KB

Attached Files

You can attach files up to 10MB

If you don't have an account yet, we need to confirm you're human and not a machine trying to post spam.

Keyboard shortcuts


? Show this help
ESC Blurs the current field

Comment Form

r Focus the comment reply box
^ + ↩ Submit the comment

You can use Command ⌘ instead of Control ^ on Mac