How to setup Gmail on Mozilla Thunderbird email client?

How to setup Gmail on Mozilla Thunderbird email client
What is an email client and what are its advantages?
Email client is a desktop application that enables configuring one or more email addresses to receive, read, compose and send emails from that email address(s) through the desktop interface. It provides a central interface for receiving, composing and sending emails of configured email address(s). We are basically using a "webmail" when we access Gmail, YahooMail etc. on our web browsers.

If you are looking for free email clients to use Gmail with, then Mozilla Thunderbird is a very popular and free open source email client. Thunderbird is a very popular Outlook replacement email client. In this post, we will see how to setup Gmail on Mozilla Thunderbird email client.
While most email accounts are accessed using a web browser, email accounts can be setup on email clients also. Perhaps, one of the biggest advantage of using an email client is "Office Access". Once the emails are synced, those email can be accessed on the computer or mobile devices even without internet. But we cannot do that through a web browser even if you just want to check an old email. To send or receive emails, however, you need internet access.

What are the advantages of using email client with Gmail? To mention a few:
  • The major advantage is offline access (already synced emails).
  • Gmail has some features lacking- sorting features that you find in most email programs, such as sort by sender, date, attachments etc. To reap the benefits of such features, you may integrate Gmail with email clients such as Thunderbird.
  • Another advantage is that with email clients you do not need to go online each time you want to check emails as they are already downloaded.
Basic of settings up email accounts with any email client: 
While setting up any email accounts with email clients, we will come across the following three basic terms - IMAP, POP3, SMTP and Microsoft Exchange. Discussion on what these are is out of scope of this post but simply put:
  • IMAP: Retrieves emails from server, leaves a copy on the server and has options to sync with email client
  • POP3: Moves emails from email server to the client, and usually has option to leave messages on the server. Does not sync with server.
  • SMTP: Protocol used for sending and receiving email. SMTP settings are usually required for setting up outgoing server details, while IMAP and POP3 details are required for setting up incoming server details on email clients.
  • Microsoft Exchange / MAPI: Microsoft's proprietary technology for email. One need to have email accounts on Microsoft Exchange servers. Example: Office / Work emails.
Note: IMAP is the recommended protocol to use for setting up email clients.

Setting up Gmail with Thunderbird Email Client: 
Before we start setting up IMAP access for Gmail using email client, we need to check if IMAP access is enabled on the Gmail account.

1) Enable IMAP access on Gmail:
  • Open Gmail in web browser
  • Click on the “gear” icon on top right corner, then settings
  • Click on “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”
  • In “IMAP Access”, check “Enable IMAP”
  • Scroll down and save changes
Enable IMAP access on Gmail

2) Download and Install Mozilla Thunderbird on the computer
3) Setup Gmail with Thunderbird Email Client
  • Open Thunderbird
  • Tools > Account Settings > Add Mail Account
  • Enter: Name for the account
  • Enter: Your full Gmail email address
  • Enter: Your Gmail password
  • Click “Continue”
  • Thunderbird will automatically get configuration details from Mozilla ISP database. Choose IMAP instead of POP3
For some reason, if Thunderbird cannot get configuration details, then click on “Manual Config” and use the following:
thunderbird account setup imap smtp settings

    • IMAP:, SSL, Port: 993
    • SMTP:, SSL, Port: 465
    • Username: use fill Gmail address. Eg:
  • Re-Test/Done
  • Thunderbird will download your emails and you can start using.   
Additional Settings in Thunderbird:
A) Settings for Thunderbird where sent, draft, and archives are saved.
Set it on GMail’s respective folder so that they are also available when you check Gmail from web browser.

  • Open Thunderbird
  •  Right-click on the email account > settings
  • “Copies and Folders”

    • When sending messages, automatically, Place in
      • Choose “Other” > set to “sent mail on gmail”
    Do the same with draft and archives: select “Other” and set to draft and archives on Gmail account.

    Additional Settings in Thunderbird copies and folders sent archives junk

    B) Junk Settings:
    • Enable adaptive junk mail controls on this account
    • Destination and retention: select “Other” and set to “junk’ on Gmail
    C) Synchronization and storage:
    • Set how many days messages to synchronize
    • Set email download limit to save bandwidth

    That is all. Enjoy using Gmail with Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Comment with Facebook