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Check your email in Thunderbird on a Chromebook

If you use Thunderbird on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux, and want to use it on your Chromebook, this guide is for you. Follow along as we go over how to install and set up the Thunderbird email app on Chromebook.

Enable Linux support on Chrome OS

To use Thunderbird on a Chromebook, you must first install Linux support. Enabling Linux support on Chrome OS is pretty straightforward. To start, click on the clock in the Chrome OS dash. Then, select the gear icon to open up the settings menu.

Inside the Chrome OS settings menu, scroll down, locate the “Advanced” section, and click on the arrow to expand the settings. From there, find the “Developers” area, and click on it to access the developer settings.

In the developer area, find the “Linux development environment” area. Click on the “Turn on” button to enable Linux. After selecting this button, Chrome OS will download the Linux container, as well as the official Terminal app.

Once everything done downloading, your Chromebook should automatically launch the terminal. In this terminal, find “penguin,” and select it with the mouse. When you select this button, you’ll load up the command-line interface for the Linux container on your Chromebook.

Inside the Chrome OS terminal, run the apt update command to check for any software updates to the Linux container. This process shouldn’t take too long.

sudo apt update

After checking for software updates on your system, you can install all pending upgrades in the Linux container using the apt upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade

With all the software upgrades installed, you’ll be able to use Linux on your Chromebook.

How to install Thunderbird on Chrome OS

Now that Linux support is enabled, it is time to install Thunderbird on Chrome OS. To install it, open up the terminal app on your Chromebook, and select the “penguin” button.

Once you’ve selected “penguin,” you can use the apt install command to set up the “thunderbird” package. This package will install the Thunderbird email client on your Chrome OS device.

sudo apt install thunderbird

Install a more up-to-date version of Thunderbird

The Thunderbird app that is included with the Debian container is relatively out of date. If you wish to have more up-to-date software, you can install the Flatpak version of Thunderbird.

To start, install the “flatpak” package using the apt install command.

sudo apt install flatpak

Then, use the two commands below to set up the Flatpak release of Thunderbird.

flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
flatpak install flathub org.mozilla.Thunderbird

How to set up Thunderbird on Chrome OS

Once the Thunderbird application is installed on your Chromebook, launch it. You can launch it by opening up the Chrome OS menu labeled “Linux apps.” When the Thunderbird app is open, you will see a welcome page.

The welcome page that you see in Thunderbird says “Set Up Your Existing Email Address.” Find the “Your full name” box, and write in your full name. Then, locate the “Email address box” and enter your email address.

Note: if you do not have an email address to use with Thunderbird, select the “Get a new email address button”. When you select the button, it will open up a browser window and instruct on you how to get a new email address.

After entering your email address in the “Email address box,” find the “Password” box, and enter your email account password. Once all information is entered in the boxes, find the “Continue” button to move to the next page in the Thunderbird setup wizard.

Upon selecting the “Continue” button, Thunderbird will take your email address and automatically detect the IMAP and POP3 email settings for your account. If the Thunderbird app doesn’t automatically detect your information, find the “Configure manually” button, and select it to enter your email address connection information.

Once Thunderbird has successfully grabbed your email address connection information, select the “Done” button. When you click on the “Done” button,  Thunderbird will load up your email account and start downloading your emails. Click “Inbox” to check your emails.

Adding other accounts to Thunderbird

If you have more than one email account and wish to add it to Thunderbird on your Chromebook, do the following. First, launch the Thunderbird app. Once launched, find the hamburger menu, and select it with the mouse.

Inside the menu, click “Account Settings”. Selecting the “Account Settings” button will open up the “Account Settings” area. From here, find the “Account Actions” button, and select the “Add mail account” button.  You’ll then be able to add a second email account to Thunderbird.

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