The new Proton Mail Bridge is a major improvement
Proton released an update for Proton Mail Bridge that promises major performance improvements over previous versions. It is also the first version that is optimized for Apple Silicon on macOS.
Proton Mail users who want to use the secure email service with traditional email programs, such as Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird, need to use a dedicated app, called Proton Mail Bridge, to do so.
Proton Mail Bridge, which we mentioned in 2017 for the first time here on this site, adds end-to-end encryption support for Proton Mail to desktop email clients. Proton Mail is one of the few email services that uses end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption all the time. The company can't access emails of its customers. This encryption is automatic when Proton Mail users use the web-based version or the Proton Mail apps.
It is a problem if customers want to use other desktop programs, as these do not support the required functionality to decrypt the messages. That's were Proton Mail Bridge comes into the picture. It bridges the gap by introducing the missing support.
Note that Proton is working on a dedicated Proton Mail app for the desktop operating systems Windows, Mac and Linux.
The new Proton Mail Bridge
Proton engineers have developed an improved version of Proton Mail Bridge. It includes "major performance and stability improvements", according to the company's announcement on the official blog.
Proton Mail Bridge is available for Windows, macOS and Linux to all paying Proton Mail customers, but not to Proton Free users. Proton Free is an introductory plan that is free of charge, but limited in functionality and capabilities. It is limited, for example, to 1 free email address and 150 messages per day.
The first commercial plan, Proton Mail Plus, starts at €3.99 ($3.99 US) per month, with options to save up to 24% when subscribing for a two-year period.
Proton claims that the new Proton Mail Bridge application synchronizes inbox data up to 10 times faster when compared to the previous version of the application. Additionally, the sending of emails with large attachments is now up to three times faster than before. Another major benefit introduced by the update is that emails may now be composed and sent right away. Previously, the inbox needed to be synced first before that was possible.
Setting up Proton Mail Bridge on new devices or logging in after a time of absence should now be much faster, according to the announcement.
Behind the scene, Proton engineers developed a new IMAP library, which they called Gluon. This app uses a snapshot-like system, that assigns each email app its own snapshot of the email inbox. Bridge uses the information that is provided to handle all email activity more efficiently. Gluon is open source, and the code is available on GitHub.
Proton has started to roll out the Proton Bridge Update to customers on February 20, 2023. Customers who do not want to wait and new customers, may download the latest version of Proton Mail Bridge from the official website right away to update to it immediately.
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