Is Thunderbird’s IMAP finally there?

The application I use the most (on many different platforms) is Thunderbird and version 2.0 was just released today.

I only have one question: does it (finally) have proper IMAP4/Offline support?

Update :

On other things I really dislike with Thunderbird (and v2.0 doesn’t seem to be helping, quite the opposite):

•  pressing “stop” never really stops.

•  on lower bandwidth connection (hotels calling it High-Speed) compact folders doesn’t compact.

•  overall, the user feedback could be greatly improved (the small green progress bar just isn’t enough). Please tell me what you are doing.

•  deleting messages with big attachments without reading them seems impossible (and where’s the “don’t download attachments over xyz Kb” option anyway?)

•  selecting a message doesn’t actually show its content (again, maybe just on slow connections)

•  why does Thunberdird need to download attachements before showing me the body of the message? Any mobile mail client is doing this right. Why can’t Thunderbird do as well?

Any suggestion for an alternate email client (even pay-for) available on all platforms?

Author: alexismp

Google Developer Relations in Paris.

10 thoughts on “Is Thunderbird’s IMAP finally there?”

  1. I am more interested in knowing whether it finally has proper imap4/online support… It is hard to find a client that uses all the possibilities of imap and does not simply use it as pop with a different syntax.

  2. I thought Thunderbird already supported most features of imap 4 since version 1.0…


    can access secure imap,
    can access one of several multiparts online (i.e. you do not need to download all attachments to view one of these attachments)
    can create, delete and rename IMap4/folders,
    downloads messages on demand

    I don’t know of any other important feature of imap…(What do you need in particular?)

  3. Well I’ve been using IMAP and Thunderbird for many many year. So, it’s it works, but the devil, as always is in the details.
    The notification windows is always wrong about the number of emails I’ve received and show snippets of email hours if not days old. Offline seems to be still a pain with only a fraction of emails actually downloaded while others are not. And a few others things I don’t have on the top of my head just now (btw, where do I file bugs/RFE?).

    But on the plus side, finally, “Del” on the Mac actually does delete the current message.Hurray!

    (I’ve deleted your first unformatted comment, I hope you don’t mind)

  4. Hello Alexis,

    Thanks for having deleted my unformatted comment.

    You are right, Thunderbird has that bug: it only updates the number of received email when you click on the respective folder. That’s why your notification window is often wrong.

    I found following Thunderbird extension, which promises to fix that bug: It downloads new message headers immediately when Thunderbird detects new messages in an IMAP folder

    Finally, bugs are filled in the regular bugzilla

  5. The extension sounds interesting but it is not 2.0-compatible just yet. Is there a way to make it compatible?

    Thanks for the bugzilla link.

  6. ok, so it kinda worked for a little while, but I’m now back to square one with notifications about emails I received hours ago :(

  7. hue? You got notification of emails you already received?

    It would be best perhaps if you fill a bug (or search if such a bug already exist), to automatically retrieve the new received emails – in such a way that the notification icon is always right. Which Email client do you use normally – which email client do you suggest?

  8. Let me know if you find something better than Thunderbird, stumbled on your Blog w/ my Google search for the same. You are right, Thunderbird Offline IMAP is about 1/10th as good as my Palm Treo doing the same thing… I thought it was just me, but even checking IMAP email when I’m not on the same LAN w/ the server is really bad.. no where nearly as fast as my Palm.
    I have tried The Bat recently.. terrible email composer, non-existent contact management… WikMail.. looked buggy.. Act! 2005 email (awful offline mode as well but superb contact management – opted to just run as POP3).
    Best I think was WordPerfect Mail… only to discover it doesn’t support Folders… How hard can this be?

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