How to Set Up Gmail With Thunderbird in Quick Easy Steps

Set Up Gmail In Thunderbird Featured

If you use Gmail frequently, you must consider switching to a desktop client like Thunderbird or Outlook. Thunderbird is not only free and open source, but also a delightful way to manage multiple email accounts.

In fact, it is a robust email platform with superb features like rich text editing, encryption, digital signatures and message scheduling. The best thing is that you no longer have to type the password again or deal with Google’s frequent phone authentication reminders.

Follow the simple steps below to quickly sync your Gmail account with Thunderbird.

1. Download and Set Up Mozilla Thunderbird

Windows users can download Thunderbird from the official website. For Linux users, we have outlined the minimum steps at this link. Mac users can follow the instructions at Mozilla’s support page. If you need email alerts, check Thunderbird as your default mail application during setup.

Mozilla Thunderbird Setup Default Mail Application

Once the download is finished, simply launch Mozilla Thunderbird.

Mozilla Thunderbird Launch

If you were previously using Gmail with Thunderbird, you will see the welcome screen shown in the below image. Click “View settings for this account.” However, if this is your first time, click “Set up an account.”

Click View Settings For Account

2. Set Up Gmail with Thunderbird

Start entering your email credentials as soon as you see the window below. Share your name, Gmail account address and Gmail password. You don’t have to worry about security as Thunderbird’s emails are secure with SSL/TLS.

Set Up Existing Gmail Account From Account Settings in Thunderbird

Next, you will have to select IMAP or POP3. Select “IMAP” followed by “Done.”

Thunderbird Gmail Imap Settings

If you would rather choose the port settings manually, refer to Google’s SMTP and IMAP settings for Thunderbird as shown in the image below.

Imap Smtp Details In Gmail For Email Client

Next, you will be asked to sign in to your Google account with Mozilla Thunderbird. Enter your Google email address and password.

Sign In Gmail With Mozilla Thunderbird

After this, you must provide permission to Mozilla Thunderbird to access your Google account. These permissions include the ability to read, compose, send and permanently delete all emails from Gmail. Clearly, you have to ensure that the laptop does not fall into the wrong hands. In the event that there is such a risk, learn to remote wipe your data.

Thunderbirds Wants To Access Google Account

That’s it. Within minutes your Thunderbird account will be up and running. Welcome to the world of professional emails!

3. Start Using Thunderbird for Gmail Messages

Before you start to use Thunderbird, allow sufficient time for all your emails to download. Once done, you will have to tweak a few settings from “Order Received” so that the latest emails show first. You can search for any email and set up quick filters. One of the advantages of Thunderbird is that you can simultaneously view your emails across multiple tabs.

Emails In Thunderbird Viewed

Replying to your Gmail messages from your Thunderbird window feels extremely smooth. This is how emailing is meant to be. You can visit “Options” to add encryption or digital signatures. There are more options in “Format,” including six levels of paragraph headings, support for non-English characters, customized fonts and emoticons.

Writing Gmail Emails On Thunderbird1

To ensure that emails are smoothly received every time, go to “Settings” for your Gmail account. Here you can check for new messages every minute and review your junk settings.

Server Settings Thunderbird

Conclusion

Thunderbird is a brilliant email application loaded with all the features that you will absolutely love. There is so much to do including searching emails on the desktop or even setting up your own email server. The ability to access Gmail is bound to increase your productivity.

Are you facing any problems in following the steps of this tutorial? Let us know in the comments, and we will try to help you.

13 comments

  1. This is a good article but Thunderbird is extreme;y comfortable and easy to use. You don’t really need to explain detail steps in a step by step instruction sheet. You did not explain how you set up folders on Thunderbird which is number one concern if you have many folders in Gmail.

    1. Thank you for your comment. For Gmail folders in Thunderbird, you don’t have to do anything about “Inbox”, “Drafts”, “Sent Items”, “Trash”, “Starred”, “Spam”, “Outbox” and “Important.” By default all Gmail folders are displayed. You can create subfolders in your Thunderbird folder as well and it will take the property in Gmail Webmail interface. You can synchronize individual folders manually which was required in older Thunderbird versions. It is better to download the latest version from the official website.

  2. Your screen shot shows you set the server Authentication Method to OAuth2, not SSL/TLS as you say in the text.

    1. William Burton

      I just checked my Thunderbird/Gmail – it supports both OAuth2 and SSL/TLS. I went to “security settings” on “server settings” where the “connection security” by default is taken as SSL/TLS,. OAuth2 is also enabled since that is Google’s default authentication protocol.

      The basic principle of OAuth2 is that it requires the use of HTTPS for communication between the client and the authorization server.

      Here’s what it should look like (from a mozilla helpline page) – https://prod-cdn.sumo.mozilla.net/uploads/images/2018-01-24-07-09-26-618bc4.png

  3. thanks for the article, but i’m getting crazy trying to figure out why Thunderbird (60.7.1 latest version) doesn’t detect new emails received for Gmail unless i click on inbox , what’s wrong with this program ?

    1. See the screenshot right before “Conclusion.” You should enable “allow immediate server notifications for new emails.” Also “check for new messages every 1 minute.” Failing which delete your Gmail account which may have been installed incorrectly. Re-install using the steps shown in the article.

      1. Thanks, i already tried all that but didn’t solve the problem, i had to tweak this setting to make Thunderbird works properly:

        network.http.response.timeout
        the default value is 300 i changed it to 120 and now i get notified of new e-mails with no issues.

        1. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge on this subject. Highly appreciate it.

  4. Great article, until it doesn’t work. I’m filling out Set up existing email with:
    Name. J…. R……. the name on the google acct
    Email. …….@gmail.com
    PW…….. the password of the google account
    And am getting unable to login to server is username or password incorrect…which they are not
    For 2 days I have tried. I do have another google acct and email successfully linked
    Can anyone assist ..with thanks, barbara

    1. You said the other Gmail account was successfully linked. Google does suggest that all non-Google applications including Thunderbird are insecure for Gmail so it tries to block them.

      Looks like in your case, you might need to select the port manually.
      Refer this screenshot and try out the steps outlined in this article. If it still fails, let us know.
      https://www.maketecheasier.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/IMAP-SMTP-Details-in-Gmail-for-email-client.jpg

  5. I wanted to install 2 gmail accounts in Thunderbird. I am not succeding because the incomming server “imap.gmail.com” already excist. Is there a way to solve this problem?

    Thanks.

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    1. Are you getting a “server already exists” message? You have to make sure each Gmail account has its own unique description. Don’t call the other one “Gmail”. It can only be done if you set the outgoing server “manually” instead of automatically selecting them. There is a screenshot for manual selection which you can refer in this article.

  6. Dear Sayak,

    First of all thanks for your answer. I use the dutch version of thunderbird. So, I assume “server already exist” is te same message as “Inkomende server bestaat al”.I already have two accounts runnning on Thunderbird. The problem is that I have also a couple of gmail-mail accounts. I named them different. I think the pain lies in the fact that gmail uses the same server “imap.gmail.com” for all the accounts. And then thunderbird start to argue. If I try to push the manually button I get also the error “Inkomende server bestaat al”. When I go to “server settings” to change te imap.gmail.com in imap.gmail2.com it does not work also, but that was a try against better knowing :-). You can see from this note that my will is still not equal to the will of thunderbird. Do you have more options?

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