Thunderbird: how to use it with Gmail

Back to the homepage

Use Thunderbird for your Gmail address

Mozilla Thunderbird is a fine ligthweight email client. In most editions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint, it's present by default. If not, you can easily install it with a few mouseclicks, by means of the application Software (Ubuntu) or Software Manager (Mint).

You can easily configure Thunderbird to receive and send e-mails with your Gmail account.

Below you find a how-to for setting up Thunderbird in such a way, that it hardly influences the web mail. So you minimize the risk that you permanently delete e-mails or contacts in Gmail by accident.

1. Ensure that you have internet connection.

2. In your Gmail account, enable POP support. POP is in this case a safer choice than IMAP, because then you won't touch the e-mails in Gmail itself, when you throw away e-mails in Thunderbird.

You can do that as follows:

Launch Gmail in your web browser. Then click the small gear-wheel in the upper right corner of the Gmail window - Settings - tab Forwarding and POP/IMAP.

POP Download: select the following option:
Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on

That's usually the best option, because otherwise Thunderbird will pump an enormous amount of old e-mails onto your hard disk. That's normally not what you want....

Click the button Save Changes.

3. Launch Thunderbird.

When you haven't used Thunderbird before, click the button:
Skip this and use my existing email

4. Then you're being presented with a window called Mail Account Setup. Fill out your data and tick: Remember password.

Click the button Continue.

5. Unfortunately, by default Thunderbird will use IMAP. Regrettable, because many people definitely do not want that. With IMAP, Thunderbird will influence your web mail rigorously, which is usually undesirable....

So select: POP3 (keep mail on your computer)

Now improve two wrong default settings that Thunderbird wants to use. So click the button Manual config.

6. In the next window, correct the following two settings: should become: should become:

7. Click the button Done. Now you'll receive the following two error messages:

Username or password invalid

Configuration could not be verified - is the username or password wrong?

That's an incorrect error report, that has to do with the security settings of your Gmail.

Launch Gmail in your web browser; you should see a new message from Google in your Inbox, notifying you that a login attempt has been blocked.

In that message, under the header "If this was you" (or similar words), click the hyperlink that ends with lesssecureapps, in order to make your security settings less restrictive.

In the window that you get to see then, you enable the access for apps with lower security.

Did you get no such email? Then click this hyperlink:

8. In Thunderbird, click the button Done again: Thunderbird should now be configured to use your Gmail address. But the settings can be improved, so please read on!

(continued in the column on the right)

This website is being sponsored by Google Ads.

Are you using an ad blocker? Then you're also blocking my earnings from advertisements....

If you wish to support my website, you can configure your ad blockerto make an exception for this website.

Thanks in advance....

Improve the settings

9. Right-click with your mouse on the name of the new email account in Thunderbird (in the left pane) - Settings - Outgoing Server (SMTP)

Click on - click on Set Default
Click OK.

Then repeat the right-click on the name of your new email account in Thunderbird - Settings - Server settings

Header Server Settings: remove the tick for (deselect):

For at most 14 days

and for

Until I delete them

Click OK.

Reason: your web mail should remain untouched, so all messages should remain on the server.... Throwing away emails in Gmail itself, is unnecessary.

Now you're done! If you have more than one Gmail account, you can add those others as well in Thunderbird.

Want more?

Do you want more tips and tweaks for Ubuntu and Linux Mint? There's a lot more of them on this website!

To the content of this website applies a Creative Commons license.