Thunderbird 102 Released: Lots of New Features and Improvements

Thunderbird 102 is now available. The new version of the popular desktop email client is a major new release that introduces several new features and improves others.

image credit: Thunderbird

You might want to check out our review of Thunderbird 102 beta features here, but expect a new look, new address book, improved account setup and migration, support for preview maps of links, support for multiple spell check dictionaries, and a redesigned message header among other new features.

Thunderbird 102: major changes

thunderbird spaces toolbar

Thunderbird is a major new release. It moves the mail client to a new foundation. The client has a new look, with new icons, colorful folders, and several other layout and design improvements.

Point: If you notice display problems, these may be caused by the selected theme. You may want to switch to another theme to see if it fixes these issues. Select Tools > Add-ons and Themes to do so.

When you first launch Thunderbird 102, you will immediately notice some of these changes. The Spaces toolbar, located on the left side of the email client, is one of these changes. It offers quick jumps to basic tools, such as Address Book or Tasks.

Keyboard users can use Alt-1 to Alt-5 to launch them directly without moving the mouse or finger near the bar. In fact, you can hide the Spaces toolbar and still use shortcuts to launch tools.

  • Alt-F1 — Mail
  • Alt-F2 — Address Book
  • Alt-F3 — Calendar
  • Alt-F4 — Tasks
  • Alt-F5 — Chat

Message headers

Thunderbird message headers

Message headers have received a serious overhaul in the new version of Thunderbird. You can switch between normal and full headers, but the real beauty comes in the form of a settings dialog that gives you more control over headers.

Select the More button when viewing a message, then Personalize to view options. There you’ll find options to expand the subject, make Thunderbird show the full email address all the time, show the sender’s profile picture, if available, and hide the label column.

Other changes in Thunderbird 102

  • Thunderbird 102 comes with a redesigned address book. Address Book is fully vCard compatible, which means you can import vCards from any app that supports it into Thunderbird. The address book has a new look and supports new information fields among other improvements.
  • Folder colors and new icons. To better distinguish the folders, new icons and colors are used. Even better, you can assign colors to folders simply by right-clicking the folder, selecting properties, and choosing a new color.
  • Improved export and import. The import tool has been improved, making it easier than ever to import data from other Thunderbird, Outlook or SeaMonkey installations. Also, support for importing SQLite address books and CSV address books with semicolon delimited files.
  • Support for multiple dictionaries. If you write in more than one language, you’ll benefit because you won’t have to switch email languages ​​every time you write in another language for spell checking to work.
  • Matrix chat protocol support. Still labeled beta at this point.
  • OpenPGP improvements. Too many to list, but highlights include the option to permanently decrypt OpenPGP messages, public key caching, an option to refresh key properties from a keyserver, and the fact that the key helper is enabled by default.

You might want to check out the full changelog – it’s huge! — on the official website.

How to Upgrade to Thunderbird 102

thunderbird 102

Thunderbird 102 is available as a direct upgrade for Thunderbird 91.x installations, but the update is not automatically installed on all devices right after release. The version will be rolled out gradually to the general population, and it may take weeks for the automatic update to start.

If you want to get your hands on Thunderbird 102, you have the following options to install it from scratch or upgrade an existing Thunderbird installation:

  • (Update: not yet activated) Force an upgrade to Thunderbird 102 in the client.
  • Download Thunderbird 102 and install/update using it.

(Update: not yet activated) Probably the easiest option is to run a manual check for updates in Thunderbird. Just select Help > About Thunderbird to do so. If you don’t see the menu bar, press the Alt key on the keyboard to display it. Thunderbird is running a check and should automatically pick up the new version of the email client. If you don’t see it offered yet, you need to manually download it to upgrade.

If that doesn’t work, or if you prefer to download the installer, you can do so from the official download page. Go ahead, find the right interface language and click on one of the download options to download the installer.

Now you: have you updated to thunderbird 102? What is your impression?


Thunderbird 102 Released: Lots of New Features and Improvements

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Thunderbird 102 Released: Lots of New Features and Improvements

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Thunderbird 102 is now available. The new version of the popular desktop email client is a major new release that introduces several new features and improves others.


Martin Brinkman


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