How to Install Thunderbird on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04 or 20.04

Thunderbird, a premier email client, is a beacon of open-source communication tools. It merges the flexibility of email management with features like news feeds, chat, and calendar integration, making it a go-to solution for personal and professional communication. Its compatibility with various operating systems, including Ubuntu, amplifies its appeal to a broad audience. The application’s support for multiple email accounts, robust privacy features, and customization options through add-ons and themes enhance user experience, offering more than just email functionality. Thunderbird’s commitment to security, with features like phishing protection and automatic updates, ensures users operate in a safe digital environment.

When considering Thunderbird for Ubuntu, it’s essential to understand the benefits:

  • Open-source nature ensures transparency and community-driven improvements.
  • Cross-platform support allows for a unified experience across devices.
  • Extensive customization options through themes and extensions.
  • Integrated calendar and chat functionalities enhance productivity.
  • Support for multiple email accounts simplifies email management.
  • Strong privacy and security features protect against common threats.
  • Automatic updates keep the software current with the latest features and security patches.
  • User-friendly interface caters to both new and experienced users.

Transitioning to the technical aspects of installing Thunderbird on Ubuntu, the process is streamlined and accessible. Now, let’s move into the specifics of the installation methods.

Method 1: Install Thunderbird via APT

Update Ubuntu Before Thunderbird Installation

To ensure you have the latest packages and dependencies for your Ubuntu system, run the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

This command updates the package list and upgrades any outdated packages on your system.

Select APT Installation Method

There are two options for installing Thunderbird using APT. The guide will cover both.

Option 1: Install Thunderbird with Ubuntu Repository

Thunderbird is available in the official Ubuntu repository. This method installs the version provided by Ubuntu, which might not be the latest version available.

To install the Ubuntu version, run the following command:

sudo apt install thunderbird

Option 2: Install Thunderbird via Mozillateam PPA

For the most current Thunderbird version, use the Mozillateam PPA (Formerly). This method delivers faster updates than the Ubuntu repository and is recommended.

To import the Mozillateam PPA, execute the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa -y

This command adds the Mozillateam PPA to your system’s repository list. Next, update your package list to reflect the new PPA:

sudo apt update

Now, to install the latest stable version of the Thunderbird email client, run the following command:

sudo apt install thunderbird -y

This command installs the latest version of Thunderbird from the Mozillateam PPA.

Method 2: Install Thunderbird via Flatpak and Flathub

This section will explore an alternative method to install Thunderbird using the Flatpak package manager. Flatpak is a versatile package manager similar to Snap, designed to distribute applications on Linux systems. It offers some benefits, such as easy updates, sandboxing, and access to a broader range of applications. Installing Thunderbird with Flatpak ensures you have the latest version and a more secure, isolated environment.

Note: If your system does not have Flatpak installed, please refer to our guide on How to Install Flatpak on Ubuntu for step-by-step instructions on installing the most recent supported version of Flatpak.

Enable Flathub For Applications such as Thunderbird

Before installing Thunderbird through Flatpak, you must enable the Flathub repository, a primary source for Flatpak applications. To enable Flathub, execute the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

This command adds the Flathub repository to your Flatpak configuration, ensuring you have access to various applications, including Thunderbird.

Install Thunderbird via Flatpak Command

With Flathub enabled, you can now install Thunderbird using the flatpak install command. Run the following command in your terminal:

flatpak install flathub org.mozilla.Thunderbird

This command installs the Thunderbird email client from the Flathub repository, providing you with the latest version of the application.

Method 3: Install Thunderbird via Snap

This section will explore the final method of installing Thunderbird using the Snapcraft package manager. Snap is a versatile package manager that offers easy installation, automatic updates, and secure confinement for applications. It comes pre-installed on Ubuntu systems unless removed previously.

Install Snap Core

Before installation on Thunderbird, ensure your system has the snap core installed. The snap core, essential for adequately functioning snap applications, prevents potential package conflicts. Install the snap core with the following terminal command:

sudo snap install core

Install Thunderbird on Ubuntu via Snap Command

Once you’ve installed the snap core, install Thunderbird as a snap package. Snap packages, being self-contained, are easy to manage and update. Run the following command in your terminal to install Thunderbird via Snapcraft:

sudo snap install thunderbird

This command installs the Thunderbird email client as a snap package.

Launch Thunderbird on Ubuntu via GUI Path or CLI

CLI Commands to Launch Thunderbird

If you installed Thunderbird using the APT or PPA method, type the following command in your terminal to launch the application:

thunderbird

For those who installed Thunderbird via Flatpak, you will need to use a different command to start the application. Execute the following command in your terminal:

flatpak run org.mozilla.Thunderbird

If you installed Thunderbird as a snap package, the following command will launch the application:

snap run thunderbird

GUI Method to Launch Thunderbird

In most cases, you may prefer to launch Thunderbird using the desktop environment’s application menu. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Activities button (or press the “Super” key) to open the overview of your desktop.
  2. Click on Show Applications (usually represented by a grid of dots) to display the list of installed applications.
  3. Find and click on the Thunderbird Mail icon to start the email client.
Adding an email account to Thunderbird on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.
How to add an email account in Thunderbird on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.
Overview of Thunderbird’s user interface on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.
A look at Thunderbird’s user interface on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.

Additional Thunderbird Commands

Update Thunderbird

To keep your Thunderbird application up-to-date, use the appropriate command based on your installation method:

APT Update Method For Thunderbird

If you installed Thunderbird using the APT package manager, run the following command to update your system packages, including Thunderbird:

sudo apt upgrade && sudo apt upgrade

Flatpak Update Method For Thunderbird

If you installed Thunderbird via Flatpak, use this command to update all Flatpak applications, including Thunderbird:

flatpak update

Snap Update Method For Thunderbird

For those who installed Thunderbird using Snap, update your Snap packages with the following command:

sudo snap update

Remove Thunderbird

If you no longer need Thunderbird and want to uninstall it from your system, use the appropriate command based on your installation method:

APT Remove Method For Thunderbird

For users who installed Thunderbird with the APT package manager, run this command to remove the application:

sudo apt remove thunderbird

To altogether remove the Mozilla team PPA, execute the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:mozillateam/ppa -y

Flatpak Remove Method For Thunderbird

If you installed Thunderbird using Flatpak, remove the application and its associated data with this command:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.mozilla.Thunderbird

Snap Remove Method For Thunderbird

To remove Thunderbird from your system if you installed it with Snap, use this command:

sudo snap remove thunderbird

Conclusion

Throughout this guide, we’ve walked through the steps to install Thunderbird on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, and 20.04 LTS, exploring three different methods to get you started. Whether you chose the straightforward APT method, the MozillaTeam LaunchPAD PPA for the latest updates, or opted for Snap or Flatpak, you’re now equipped with a powerful tool for managing your emails, calendars, and more. Remember, Thunderbird thrives on customization—dive into add-ons and settings to make it truly yours.

Joshua James
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