Get Thunderbird on Chromebook
You just move to Chromebook but you still want to use your favorite email application, Mozilla Thunderbird? Here are 3 different ways to be able to install it on Chromebook.
Mozilla Thunderbird is an email client made by Mozilla, the foundation also behind Mozilla Firefox, one of the most famous web browsers. It’s a very lightweight email client and can be used with any email address, focusing on privacy first and open-source as every other application made by Mozilla. I loved Thunderbird and wanted to use it on my new Chromebook, in this article I explain if you can run it on Chromebook and what are the different ways to do it.
Can you run Thunderbird on Chromebook?
Mozilla did not make yet any application specifically compatible with ChromeOS, the operating system running on your Chromebook. So there is no official way to install Thunderbird on Chromebook, but it does not mean you can’t use it. There are 2 ways you can use to be able to install and run it.
So yes, you can run Thunderbird on Chromebook. You will have to install either the Android version, the Linux version, or using Wine. I’ll describe the steps to install Thunderbird in each different way, with the pros and cons each time. Depending on your need and your expertise you might want to use one specific way.
As there is no official way to install Chromebook, I also found another email client application that you can use on Chromebook and that has been developed to be fully compatible with ChromeOS. You might want to check this way as the installation is easier than Thunderbird.
Install Thunderbird Android version on Chromebook
Recently, Google added the possibility to install any of the Android applications on your Chromebook, so you can install the Thunderbird version made for Android. You might have already looked for it but did not find it on the Google Play store, that’s because the name of the application is different on Android.
The Thunderbird application for Android is still called K-9. K-9 recently joined the Thunderbird family and Mozilla developed this app so it looks like Thunderbird, they might change the name later so you should look for both apps in the play store.
To install the Thunderbird Android version on Chromebook, the steps are easy:
- Open the Google Play store on your Chromebook
- Search for “K-9” in the play store
- Click on Install
K-9 is now installed on your Chromebook, you can follow the official tutorial from Mozilla to configure your email address on K-9 and start using it.
Install Thunderbird Linux version on Chromebook
With the last version of ChromeOS, you can enable Linux on Chromebooks, once you enabled it you can install any application running on Linux and use the Terminal application to run the Linux command line. To be able to install Thunderbird on Linux you first need to enable Linux on your Chromebook.
The steps to enable Linux on a Chromebook are:
- Go to the Settings application on your Chromebook
- Go to Advanced → Developers menu
- Turn On the option “Linux development environment”
- Follow the instructions appearing on your screen to complete the Linux setup.
Once you’re done, you will be able to access the Terminal application, which is the application where you will need to enter the command next.
Now that you have enabled Linux and that you can use the Terminal application, use these steps to install Thunderbird on your Chromebook:
- Open the Terminal application
sudo apt-get updateto update the list of Linux applications
sudo apt-get install thunderbirdto install Thunderbird
- Next, you can run Thunderbird by entering the command
You now have Thunderbird installed on your Chromebook, but each time you want to open Thunderbird, you will need to start the Terminal application and enter the last command again.
Thunderbird free alternatives on Chromebook
There are other email clients than Thunderbird that you can get on Chromebook, every other email application working on either Android or Linux will also work on your Chromebook. Here are the best of them.
BlueMail is a very popular email client that is working on many platforms including Android and Linux. They made an awesome job on the design, the application is very beautiful and it’s very pleasant to use it. The application does not have only all the email features you might be looking for but also is a calendar app.
You can either choose to install the Android version on the Google play store which is very easy to do, or to install the Linux version which is the desktop version, therefore containing more features and designed for a laptop. You can find a good tutorial on Google to install BlueMail on Linux, which you can use to install on your Chromebook.
BlueMail is free unless you need some specific pro features.
Geary email is a very simple and lightweight email application that will run perfectly fine on your Chromebook. Geary email is only working on Linux, so you have to follow a Linux installation to install it. It’s as simple as Thunderbird is, you will be able to add any of your email accounts to Geary without any issues.
The steps to install Geary as quite simple:
- Open the Terminal app on your Chromebook
- Enter the command
sudo apt installGeary and that’s it
You can also use Flatpak to install Geary on your Chromebook. Geary is a free and open-source application.
The last Thunderbird alternative that I tried and liked to use on my Chromebook is FairEmail. It’s an email application made for Android, and it has a ton of cool features, you might be lost at first but once you learned how to use the features that you need, you won’t be able to use any other email application.
FairEmail is a completely free and open-source application, to install it on your Chromebook, just search for FairEmail on the Google Play store or follow this link.
I hope you learned all that you needed in this post, I’ve tried many things to give you only the best options to use Thunderbird on Chromebook or another good email client that looks like Thunderbird and that takes care of your data that Google could use. I made many other useful posts about Chromebooks that you could like such as how to use the snipping tool.