Tails includes Thunderbird for:

  • Reading and writing emails - Reading RSS and Atom feeds for news and blogs

To start Thunderbird choose Applications ▸ Internet ▸ Thunderbird.

To store your emails, feeds, and settings across different working sessions, turn on the Thunderbird feature of the Persistent Storage.

For more detailed documentation, refer to the official Thunderbird help.

Configure an email account

  1. When starting Thunderbird for the first time, an assistant appears to guide you through the process of configuring Thunderbird to access your email account.

    To start this assistant again in the future from the main window of Thunderbird, choose Menu ▸ Preferences ▸ Account Settings and then from the Account Settings dialog choose Account Actions ▸ Add Mail Account….

  2. Enter your name, email address, and password into the corresponding fields.

  3. Click Continue.

  4. The assistant tries to configure automatically the correct parameters to connect to your email provider based on your email address.

    If the automatic configuration fails, consult your email provider about how to configure your email account manually.

  5. If the automatic configuration succeeds, you might have to specify which protocol to use to connect to your email provider, either IMAP or POP.

    • With IMAP, Thunderbird constantly synchronizes with the server and displays the emails and folders that are currently stored on the server. IMAP is better suited if you access your emails from different operating systems.

    • With POP, Thunderbird downloads the emails that are in the inbox on the server and possibly deletes them from the server. POP is better suited if you access your emails from Tails only and store them in the persistent storage.

    To know more, see also this comparison between POP and IMAP by Riseup.

OpenPGP encryption with Enigmail

Thunderbird in Tails includes the Enigmail extension to encrypt and authenticate emails using OpenPGP.

To configure Enigmail for your email account, you can start the Enigmail Setup Wizard by choosing Menu ▸ Enigmail ▸ Setup Wizard.

You can also create an OpenPGP key associated with your email address as part of the Enigmail Setup Wizard.

If you are new to OpenPGP, you can read the following guides on getting started with encrypting emails using Thunderbird and Enigmail:

If you have GnuPG keys stored in your Persistent Storage since before Tails 4.1 (December 2019), you should update your OpenPGP keyserver configuration to use safe keyservers.

Enhanced privacy

Thunderbird in Tails is configured for additional privacy and anonymity.

For example, Thunderbird in Tails:

  • Removes information about the language of your session or spellchecker from the headers of the emails that you send.
  • Removes information that could identify you as a Tails user, like the version of GnuPG or Enigmail, from the headers of the emails that you send.
  • Only allows secure protocols and disables insecure protocols, like SSL3.
  • Disables tracking technologies, like cookies and JavaScript, when viewing emails or feeds in HTML.

Emails and feeds in HTML format are displayed in plain text by default and can become harder to read.

These enhancements are inherited from the former TorBirdy extension. To learn more about the security properties provided by this configuration, you can read the TorBirdy design document.

Using Thunderbird in your language

To use Thunderbird in your language, you can install the thunderbird-l10n-lang package using the Additional Software feature. Replace lang with the code for your language. For example, es for Spanish or de for German.