Mozilla is Working on a Mobile Version of Thunderbird

Posted on May 4, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Cloud with 10 Comments

Thunderbird, Mozilla’s free and open-source email client is coming to mobile devices. The news was announced on Twitter by Ryan Lee Sipes, a product and business development manager for Thunderbird (via gHacks).

Sipes tweeted that the Thunderbird mobile app is “coming soon,” though that it “may take a while to get all the syncing stuff squared.” The Mozilla employee also added that the team’s number 1 priority was “fixing Thunderbird’s UI/UX”.

Thunderbird has been around for almost two decades, but just like Mozilla’s Firefox browser, it definitely lost some momentum in recent years. Not so long ago, the Mozilla Foundation also tried to uncouple Thunderbird from Firefox and switch to a community-driven model for email, only to bring back Thunderbird development in-house a couple of years later.

It’s certainly going to be difficult for Thunderbird to compete with established mobile email clients such as Outlook and Gmail. Both apps support multiple accounts just fine, and they also get new features at a regular pace.

In comparison, Thunderbird’s development on the desktop has really slowed down in recent years. On the desktop, Thunderbird also lacks support for Microsoft’s proprietary protocols to access Exchange servers or Office 365, and it requires users to use the IMAP and SMTP standards instead.

Do you Thunderbird coming to mobile devices is better late than never? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Mozilla is Working on a Mobile Version of Thunderbird”

  1. behindmyscreen

    I feel like the real news is "Mozilla cares about Thunderbird!"

    • Alex Taylor

      Yes, that's the great part.

      Thunderbird still has a search function better than anything, and on mobile there is definitely room for things other than Gmail and Outlook.

      I presently use Aquamail for its powerful feature set, but will definitely check Thunderbird out when it arrives.

  2. mclark2112

    And in my head the TMBG song keeps playing:

    Before you fall, you have to learn to crawl

    You can't see heaven when you're standing tall

    To get the whole sky

    On the ground you have to lie

    I remember now

    I remember now

    Why they called it Thunderbird

    Why they called it Thunderbird

  3. Aaron44126

    I used Thunderbird for a while, like a decade ago. It doesn't feel like it's changed much since then. Tiny UI improvements here and there but many of the "big issues" from those days are still present.

    Still. If they could put in proper and decent Exchange support, I'd be willing to give it a try again. (Outlook is one of a few apps keeping me from trying to make a go at using Linux as my main OS.)

  4. krusador

    Spark on Android and iOS has been my mobile email client of choice for the last couple of years, ever since Google nixed Inbox. Spark is a killer app. They just need a web app.

    • will

      Spark is also, or has been, working to bring the app to Windows. Honestly there needs to be something that will work for organizations besides Outlook. Microsoft does not really change much with Outlook because they do not have to.

  5. dftf

    The last-time I tried Thunderbird on Windows, it doesn't support 2FA/MFA, and so the only way I could add my accounts was to use the IMAP setup option and find-out where I could find an "one-time use app password", which wasn't in an obvious place.

    If they want to have any-hope of gaining any traction with this, they really need to get support for 2FA sorted first, so all users have to do is tap "Allow" in their 2FA app, or enter the numerical code sent in an SMS. Otherwise, why bother when Outlook and GMail offer easier setup?

    • the_sl0th

      Thunderbird has supported 2FA/MFA for Google accounts and the like for some time now.

  6. shark47

    This is great. My company won’t let me use Outlook for my personal accounts and the Mail app on IOS sucks. I tried Edison, but don’t like it.

  7. the_sl0th

    Shame its only for Android though.