Set up Notifications for New Emails in Mozilla Thunderbird

Mailbox stuffed with mail

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You have better things to do than monitor your inbox, but it is important, and so are the emails in it. Mozilla Thunderbird can watch your inbox for you and let you know when messages arrive.

You can configure the Thunderbird desktop alerts to include any combination of subject, sender, and a preview of the email. That way you can see right away which emails you need to open now and which ones are spam or messages that can wait.

How to Configure Email Alerts in Thunderbird

Here's how to make Mozilla Thunderbird tell you each time you get a new message:

  1. Open Thunderbird's settings in Windows by navigating to the Tools > Options menu. In Linux, go to Edit > Preferences in the menu.

  2. Open the General category in the settings.

  3. Make sure Show an alert is checked under When new messages arrive.

  4. Optionally configure the alert's contents and display duration via Customize. To make the sender display in the alert, check Sender. The subject can be seen by enabling Subject. The Message Preview Text is used if you want at least part of the message to be seen in the alert.

  5. Click OK and then Close.

How to Configure Email Alerts in Thunderbird on a Mac

The process and options are different on a Mac.

  1. Open Thunderbird.

  2. In the menu bar, go to Thunderbird > Preferences.

  3. Click the General tab.

  4. Click the button labeled App Icon Options in the When new messages arrive section.

  5. Check the box next to Animate the app icon when a new message arrives to make the app icon jump up and down in the Mac dock.

  6. Select either Count of unread messages or Count of new messages to apply a number to the badge on the app icon.

  7. Click OK to apply the changes and return to the General Preferences screen.

With OS X, you can also choose a default sound to play when email arrives in the Thunderbird general preferences screen. Beginning with macOS, the sound and alerts are controlled in the Mac's System Preferences under Notifications. Find other Mozilla Firefox tips.