Thunderbird mobile application is coming soon

Martin Brinkmann
May 3, 2022
Thunderbird
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Users of the open source email client Thunderbird may soon install it as an application for use on mobile devices.

thunderbird mobile app

Thunderbird is a popular desktop email client, but it is not available on Android or iOS at the time of writing; this limits its use to some users, who want access to their emails on mobile devices as well and use a single client on all their devices.

Right now, many use different clients, which is not the most comfortable option for a number of reasons. For one, syncing is not supported between different programs, which means that tasks such as modifying the address book or saving tasks are not synced between clients.

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The release of Thunderbird for mobile devices would change that for Thunderbird users who install it on their tablets and mobiles.

Thunderbird product and business development manager Ryan Lee Sipes confirmed on Twitter that a Thunderbird mobile app is coming soon. The product manager did not provide specifics, only that the mobile app is the second priority after fixing the user interface and user experience in Thunderbird.

In another tweet, Sipes refers to the release of an APK file specifically. APK files are for Android-based devices. While that does not exclude the creation of an application for Apple's iOS ecosystem, it seems likely that the Android app is the first to become available for users.

Additional information is not available at this point. It is unclear if the initial version of the app will be released in 2022 and what functionality it will include. It is almost certain that it will include a core set of features right from the get-go; this may include syncing between mobile and desktop clients, support for multiple email accounts, and an address book.

Some features may be on the to-do list, but it seems unlikely that the first mobile app version of Thunderbird supports all the features of the desktop client. It is also unclear if it will be based on Firefox mobile. If that is the case, it could support extensions.

Now You: would you use Thunderbird mobile? Which features would you like to see in the mobile app?

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Thunderbird mobile application is coming soon
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Thunderbird mobile application is coming soon
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Users of the open source email client Thunderbird may soon install it as an application for use on mobile devices. 
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Comments

  1. motang said on May 3, 2022 at 12:47 pm
    Reply

    About time, there should have been an Android version (iOS as well) from day one like Firefox. But I wonder how it will differ from the likes of K9Mail, which is excellent. Maybe it will have calendar and contacts integrated. Now that would be awesome.

    1. kuro68k said on May 3, 2022 at 2:41 pm
      Reply

      I wonder if it will inherit the bugs from Firefox for Android though. Font sizing is still broken on Pixel devices.

      1. marshal said on May 3, 2022 at 3:47 pm
        Reply

        Bugs? the telemetry and tracking type too, its Mozilla and the desktop client behaves as so. 0-days and cosmetics, why not. Judge by pattern of behaviour with their other product. US gov employees such as from homeland security (now head of trust and cso at Mozco), or whitehouse deputy cto + google vp and member of the us hamilton 68 disinfo arm (on the board of directors at Mozco), amongst other spokespersons will say trust it, so lets keep trusting, and hoping they will improve ;)

    2. notauser said on May 18, 2022 at 9:18 am
      Reply

      Firefox for Android has very harsh bug with tab memory clearing, literally you can have about 4 tab opened at the same time, if you have more than 4 tab then other tabs can be unloaded and you will lose its page forms’s content. It depends on what device you have because all of them have different Android configuration but mostly it is a universal bug.

  2. Franck said on May 3, 2022 at 2:12 pm
    Reply

    This is great news!

    Yes, I would be glad to use it since it will be open source and I’m already using it in Desktop.

    The feature I would like to see: support for Exchange protocols…

    1. Juraj said on May 3, 2022 at 2:20 pm
      Reply

      I wish for a full dark mode (including email) and extensions support :)

  3. guest said on May 3, 2022 at 3:11 pm
    Reply

    Gonna stay with FairEmail on android.

  4. Eric Moore said on May 3, 2022 at 3:48 pm
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    I think its a bad idea. There are plenty of good email clients for Android such as FairEmail.

    I’m concerned it will distract them from making the desktop version more competitive, and run the risk of dumbing down the desktop version as they decide to follow smartphone conventions in both products. They have a lot of money in the bank right now, but donations are dropping and the team has gotten pretty large. I’m not convinced they have the finances long term to actively maintain a smartphone version without hurting the development of the desktop version.

    Before they decide to support new platforms they should enhance the WebExtensions API so that it provides an equivalent for many of the mail features that used to be available under XUL/XPCOM and try to rebuild the add-on community. One of the main features of Thunderbird used to be the very healthy add-on eco-system.

    1. Barry said on May 8, 2022 at 8:17 am
      Reply

      Those are very reasonable concerns. However, as a Thunderbird user, I’m looking for things from a mobile email app that no app that I know of will give me. As much as is feasible, I want a mobile app that’s like taking my desktop app with me. For me, that means having my message filters and mailbox alerts (via the Mailbox Alert extension). For other users, it may mean other features. If this is what the Thunderbird team has in mind, then I think it’s worth doing, because without it, Thunderbird on the desktop doesn’t make much sense in an age of mobile and cloud computing. But otherwise, I agree that simply creating an Android app is a poor decision when the desktop app is badly in need of attention.

  5. Dallas said on May 3, 2022 at 7:07 pm
    Reply

    No reason to use this instead of K-9 Mail.

    1. Frankel said on May 4, 2022 at 10:55 am
      Reply

      Based. K-9 Mail has now reached the highest level of software maturity in v6.00 and I really don’t miss any features anymore. With a crypto API as separate app even PGP works smooth as silk.

      1. John said on May 4, 2022 at 12:32 pm
        Reply

        Fairemail is the android email client that beats all the others and most probably anything Mozilla will release for Android. Developed by a one man army over several years, releasing updates and maintained very well as a standard, it is truly an amazing project. It is unfortunate it is often overlooked. It has an adundance of features and tweaks to be applied. And while there is a learning curve if you wish to completely make it your own with all its rungs and beeld, out of the box it functions amazingly.
        Perhaps only what it doesn’t do is assist you in preparing your morning coffee, all the rest it does and very well. Even I was always never considering otherwise always returning to K9, but that battle the barking dog lost. As a long time Thunderbird user, for me on android I really don’t need it.
        John

      2. kim said on May 6, 2022 at 9:39 pm
        Reply

        Completely agree…. K9mail is like a smal and dumb puppy compared to FairEmail.

    2. ryuk said on May 4, 2022 at 12:21 pm
      Reply

      I second that.

    3. NeonRobot said on May 5, 2022 at 11:15 am
      Reply

      Yeah, k9 is supa cool.

  6. bismillah said on May 3, 2022 at 7:27 pm
    Reply

    FairEmail FTW!

  7. Andy Prough said on May 3, 2022 at 7:47 pm
    Reply

    No thank you, Thunderbird is a bloated mess and is missing many key features that I use every day.

    Instead of bringing Thunderbird to mobile, someone should bring FairEmail to the desktop – now THAT would be useful.

    1. Anonymous said on May 4, 2022 at 1:43 am
      Reply

      What key features are you missing? I only use web client so I’m curious about that.

      1. Andy Prough said on May 4, 2022 at 4:55 pm
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        There are so many. One of the nice features of FairEmail is it will ask if you want to strip out all the anti-privacy url referral headers when you click on a link in an email. It’s got other privacy features that you can only get through poorly implemented settings or extensions on Thunderbird, or which aren’t available at all. If you are using webmail you can get some of these features through browser extensions.

  8. They/Them said on May 3, 2022 at 9:27 pm
    Reply

    Why would he/she use this when the likes of Gmail and Outlook exist?

    Open source they say, privacy guranteed. What do you have to hide. They are being spied/tracked everyday. Privacy is an illusion, and that is a FACT.

    They would not use this, as it does not bring anything new to the table. They would continue to use Gmail.

    1. ryuk said on May 4, 2022 at 12:35 pm
      Reply

      Absolute privacy is an illusion, privacy per se is not. Give as little as possible data to all the big corps.

    2. Anonymous said on May 4, 2022 at 3:16 pm
      Reply

      When you go to the toilet, you close the door, right? Even if you aren’t doing anything illegal there! This “what do you have to hide” argument is bullshit.

  9. Henk said on May 4, 2022 at 10:32 am
    Reply

    Well, it seems to me it’s just to early to vent any opinion here. We’ll just have to wait and see until Tbird Mobile is actually out. Only when we know what it actually has to offer, we can tell if it’s a useful new addition.
    My hunch is is that if you don’t really use your email contacts sync and calendar options, then mobile Thunderbird may not be better than the several excellent mobile email apps that we already have.
    But let’s keep an open mind, and see if they can come up with something surprisingly good,

  10. anona said on May 4, 2022 at 4:49 pm
    Reply

    Could be useful if it supports the same features, including calendar and tasks.

    In fact, there is no great tasks app with CalDAV sync for Android.

  11. Guest said on May 5, 2022 at 12:46 pm
    Reply

    Thunderbird has barely changed in a decade and I find it lacking by modern standards. It was lacking (and a mess) ten years ago, which is why I stopped using it. It’s no wonder Moz Corp decided to cut ties with the dev team.

    I tested all the well-known desktop email apps recently and eM Client was the only desktop email software that met my very resonable expectations, so I’d say the state of desktop email apps in general isn’t good.

    Thunderbird 2 is still the last version that can handle moving millions of emails without crashing. What’s with that?

  12. Abdulah Mohamed said on May 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm
    Reply

    I sure would, i have been waiting for the mobile version of thunderbird for a long time, so happy that they are even talking bout it. Can’t wait bring it on.

    Abdulah

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