Moving Your Mozilla Thunderbird Profile

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Moving your Mozilla Thunderbird information to a different location on your computer or another device altogether requires just a few steps.

The instructions and screenshots here were performed in Thunderbird version 68.4 running in macOS, but they're similar in other operating systems and versions.

About Your Mozilla Thunderbird Profile Folder

Thunderbird stores your messages, settings, filters, address book, spam filter data, and more in your profile folder; the folder is in a different location than the program files. This way, should you uninstall Thunderbird, your messages and settings will still remain available if you change your mind and want to reinstall. This is also useful should a program update go awry. To find the name and location of your Thunderbird profile folder:

  1. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Select Help > Troubleshooting Information in the menu bar.

    Thunderbird's Help menu
  3. Go to Profile Folder > Show in Finder.

    Thunderbird's Troubleshooting Information
  4. This will display your profile folder in Finder.

    Thunderbird profile folder in macOS Finder

Moving the Thunderbird Profile Folder

To change the location of your Mozilla Thunderbird profile:

  1. Close Mozilla Thunderbird. It must not be running when you move the profile folder.

  2. Copy the profile folder and transfer it to a different computer, or paste it into the desired location. To move it to a new device, use whatever method fits your situation: Copy the folder to removable media (e.g., a thumbdrive), email it to yourself, save it to the cloud, etc. and then open it on the other device.

    If you have a lot of mail, the copying process can take a long time.

    You can rename the folder if you desire.

    If you have a lot of mail, the copying process can take a while.

Update the Profile Folder Location in Thunderbird

If you've stored the folder in a different location, you must tell Thunderbird where to find it. Here's how:

  1. Open profiles.ini in a text editor. You'll find it at /Users/[your username]/Library/Thunderbird/.

  2. Under the profile you just moved, change Path= to the profile folder's new location.

    Thunderbird profile.ini file contents
  3. Save profiles.ini and restart Thunderbird.

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