What’s New in Thunderbird 78

Thunderbird 78 is our newest ESR (extended-support release), which comes out yearly and is considered the latest stable release. Right now you can download the newest version from our website, and existing users will be automatically updated in the near future. We encourage those who rely on the popular add-on Enigmail to wait to update until the automatic update rolls out to them to ensure their encrypted email settings are properly imported into Thunderbird’s new built-in OpenPGP encrypted email feature.

Last year’s release focused on ensuring Thunderbird has a stable foundation on which to build. The new Thunderbird 78 aims to improve the experience of using Thunderbird, adding many quality-of-life features to the application and making it easier to use.

Compose Window Redesign

Compose Window Comparison, 68 and 78

The compose window has been reworked to help users find features more easily and to make composing a message faster and more straightforward. The compose window now also takes up less space with recipients listed in “pills” instead of an entire line for every address.

Dark Mode

Dark Mode

Thunderbird’s new Dark Mode is easier on the eyes for those working in the dark, and it has the added benefit of looking really cool! The Dark Mode even works when writing and reading emails – so you are not suddenly blinded while you work. Thunderbird will look at your operating system settings to see if you have enabled dark mode OS-wide and respect those settings. Here are the instructions for setting dark mode in Mac, and setting dark mode in Windows.

Calendar and Tasks Integrated

Thunderbird’s Lightning calendar and tasks add-on is now a part of the application itself, which means everyone now has access to these features the moment they install Thunderbird. This change also sets the stage for a number of future improvements the Thunderbird team will make in the calendar. Much of this will be focused on improved interoperability with the mail part of Thunderbird, as well as improving the user experience of the calendar.

Account Setup & Account Central Updated

Account Setup and Account Central Updated, comparison between 68 and 78

The Account Setup window and the Account Central tab, which appears when you do not have an account setup or when you select an existing account in the folder tree, have both been updated. The layout and dialogues have been improved in order to make it easier to understand the information displayed and to find relevant settings. The Account Central tab also has new information about the Thunderbird project and displays the version you are using.

Folder Icons and Colors Update

New Folder Icons and Colors for Thunderbird 78

Folder icons have been replaced and modernized with a new vector style. This will ensure better compatibility with HiDPI monitors and dark mode. Vector icons also means you will be able to customize their default colors to better distinguish and categorize your folders list.

Minimize to Tray

Windows users have reason to rejoice, as Thunderbird 78 can now be minimized to tray. This has been a repeatedly requested feature that has been available through many popular add-ons, but it is now part of Thunderbird core – no add-on needed! This feature has been a long time coming and we hope to bring more operating-system specific features for each platform to Thunderbird in the coming releases.

End-to-End Encrypted Email Support

New end-to-end encryption preferences tab.

Thunderbird 78.2, due out in the coming months, will offer a new feature that allows you to end-to-end encrypt your email messages via OpenPGP. In the past this feature was achieved in Thunderbird primarily with the Enigmail add-on, however, in this release we have brought this functionality into core Thunderbird. We’d like to offer a special thanks to Patrick Brunschwig for his years of work on Enigmail, which laid the groundwork for this integrated feature, and for his assistance throughout its development. The new feature is also enabled by the RNP library, and we’d like to thank the project’s developers for their close collaboration and hard work addressing our needs.

End-to-end encryption for email can be used to ensure that only the sender and the recipients of a message can read the contents. Without this protection it is easy for network administrators, email providers and government agencies to read your messages. If you would like to learn more about how end-to-end encryption in Thunderbird works, check out our article on Introduction to End-to-end encryption in Thunderbird. If you would like to learn more about the development of this feature or participate in testing, check out the OpenPGP Thunderbird wiki page.

About Add-ons

As with previous major releases, it may take time for authors of legacy extensions to update their add-ons to support the new release. So if you are using add-ons we recommend you not update manually to 78.0, and instead wait for Thunderbird to automatically update to 78. We encourage users to reach out to their add-on’s author to let them know that you are interested in using it in 78.

Learn More

If we listed all the improvements in Thunderbird 78 in this blog post, you’d be stuck reading this for the whole day. So we will save you from that, and let you know that if you want to see a longer list of changes for the new release – check the release notes on our website.

Great Release, Bright Future

The past year has been an amazing year for Thunderbird. We had an incredible release in version 68 that was popular with our users, and laid the groundwork for much of what we did in 78. On top of great improvements in the product, we moved into a new financial and legal home, and we grew our team to thirteen people (soon to be even more)!

We’re so grateful to all our users and contributors who have stuck with us all these years, and we hope to earn your dedication for the years to come. Thunderbird 78 is the beginning of a new era for the project, as we attempt to bring our users the features that they want and need to be productive in the 2020s – while also maintaining what has made Thunderbird so great all these years.

Thank you to our wonderful community, please enjoy Thunderbird 78.

Download the newest release from our website.

32 responses

  1. Filipe Saraiva wrote on :

    Thanks for this great improvement! The Thunderbird future is brilliant!

    Now waiting for new features like minimize-to-tray in Linux 🙂 Cheers!

  2. Dean wrote on :

    Thank you! These new features look great.

  3. Terry Smith wrote on :

    Awesome! I love Thunderbird!

  4. Simon V.A wrote on :

    Wow that looks stunning ! Thank you for these features, the future is bright for this awesome project !

  5. Sylvain wrote on :

    When will we see support for google calendar? The provider add-on is broken with Tb 78.

    1. Ryan Sipes wrote on :

      Yes, this is one of those add-ons that is still being updated. Expect it in the near future.

  6. Grompf wrote on :

    Ans what about CalDAV ans CardDAV ?

    1. Ryan Sipes wrote on :

      You can add a calendar via CalDAV now. But we are going to try and improve how these accounts are added and managed in the UI.

  7. Spyop3 wrote on :

    That’s so great to see big modernization for TB ! Using it since 15 years and never wanted something else !

  8. Roney Ngala wrote on :

    Great improvements and awesome redesign. Asking, can this [download] be integrated on a VPS hosting to be used in Webmail?

  9. greg wrote on :

    Great!
    Any chance we could have dark mode in Windows and not in Thunderbird, or the other way around?

  10. Ed wrote on :

    “Calendar and Tasks Integrated” — Is there a way to disable those anyway, or to remove their UI elements at least? I use Thunderbird only as a usenet newsgroup reader and have no need for them.

    1. Ryan Sipes wrote on :

      There are a couple of workarounds detailed in this bug: https://bugzil.la/1614402 – but also mentioned there is that a patch is being developed to allow for disabling the calendar to be done easier.

  11. Walter Rizotto wrote on :

    Hello,

    In the new version you can only send an email to ONE recipient and CC the others, which in many cases will be kinda rude.

    This is definitely no improvement and I do hope it xill be corrected pronto.

    Best regards,
    Walter.

    1. Ryan Sipes wrote on :

      Walter, you can add more by simply hitting “Enter” after you have typed the email address and then enter another one the same line. This was done to save space and reduce the need to have to scroll for many recipients.

  12. Larry Stoter wrote on :

    Ever since Apple released Catalina and de-featured Mail, I’ve been looking for a replacement email client.

    The reviews of the latest Thunderbird release are looking very positive, so I’m giving it a go.

    What puts me off somewhat is the lack of a mobile version. This isn’t too much of an issue for email as all my email accounts are IMAP so will synchronise at the servers. However, I see problems with Calendar and Address Book. With Apple these are synchronised across all my MacOS and iOS devices – that isn’t going to happen with Thunderbird 🙁

  13. JJ Vastiau wrote on :

    Lightning is integratred but how to sync with google calendar and tasks?

  14. Richard Boltuck wrote on :

    When you say it will auto-update from 68 to 78 “in the near future”, do you have any more precise estimate as to when that will be? When it does happen, is it likely that major popular add-ons will be compatible (for instance, Remove Duplicates alternative and Provider for Google Calendar)? I think people are likely to feel the devil is in the details, and unfortunately a lot of details seem a bit vague with respect to both schedule and the reliability of valuable add-ons. Thanks!

  15. BelFox wrote on :

    A big thank you to the Thunderbird team for yet another great release! The ‘pills’ in the Compose Window are a big step forward IMO.

    I hope support for add-ons like CardBook will be maintained in the future. Please talk to add-on developers to see which APIs should be offered (also APIs that offer some UI customization).

    Thank you!

  16. R. Glenn Looney wrote on :

    Thunderbird 78 is a disaster as far as I am concerned. Dark mode is the biggest issue as it renders many emails unreadable. The account/folder bar is pretty underwhelming as well without some icons and color.

    If the dark mode isn’t fixed soon I will be moving on to another mail client although I have been with Tbird since back in the Netscape days.

  17. Vallabh wrote on :

    This is a major design improvement and now looks more up to date and more user friendly. The only problem I can see is that it is not validating SMTP server’s SSL certificates automatically as it does with IMAP. Otherwise Great. Thanks to the team.

  18. Vallabh wrote on :

    This is a major design improvement and now looks more up to date and more user friendly. Thanks to the team who worked on it.

  19. Mire wrote on :

    I really really really dislike the Folder Icons updates. I like everything else.

  20. Randee wrote on :

    Nice update, but expecting more add-on developers to flee the ever-changing constraints. This is tough on users, as we’ve come to cherish our add-ons.

  21. Carolyn Boyles wrote on :

    I don’t like the new revisions. It was so much easier to send mail to multiple recipients in the old version and I find this version harder on the eyes.

  22. MrMgr wrote on :

    In old version i can just pres tab to add recipients, now i cant, i only can add copy to or hiden copy. i cant add multipe recipients.

  23. Abir H wrote on :

    Hi,
    the thunderbird 78 looks amazing. I am using Thunderbird 68.10.0.
    Once I download the 78, will it replace the 68.10.0 automatically?

  24. John Webster wrote on :

    Thunderbird upgraded automatically from 68 to 78, which disabled all the extensions I was using. This proved very serious, and I was forced to uninstall, and reinstall 68. There is no mention in the list of installed extensions of any being incompatible as there was upgrading from 63 to 68. What is going on?

    1. Ryan Sipes wrote on :

      We didn’t push automatic updates and we have said a number of times that people shouldn’t update until later if they rely heavily on add-ons or Enigmail. Are you on Linux? Some distro maintainers have included 78 in their repos despite our warnings.

  25. Igor wrote on :

    Good afternoon. Please add the launch of Thunderbird with the system. Thanks.

  26. Anna wrote on :

    What is the easiet way to see a list of v78 compatible addons. I want to now how I can transition from 68.
    Thajk you.

  27. Gad Feldan wrote on :

    It’s time for add-ons like BiDi Mail UI [https://addons.thunderbird.net/…/addon/bidi-mail-ui/…
    ] and EasyRight2Left [https://addons.thunderbird.net/…/addon/easyright2left/…
    ] and ComposeRTF [https://addons.thunderbird.net/…/addon/composertf/…
    ] , to be an integral part of the official Thunderbird updates and not as add-ons. Writers from right to left also have the right to use Thunderbird and not be dependent on the kindness and desire of the add-ons developers. Without these add-ons, we right-to-left writers, could not use Thunderbird.