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Betterbird. Simply better.

Betterbird is a fine-tuned version of Mozilla Thunderbird, Thunderbird on steroids, if you will.

Betterbird is better than Thunderbird in three ways: It contains new features exclusive to Betterbird, it contains bug fixes exclusive to Betterbird and it contains fixes that Thunderbird may ship at a later stage. Please refer to this feature table for examples. This should give you an impression of where the project is headed. More information on why we're doing the project can be found at the FAQ.

Betterbird 91.0 released on 5th August 2021

Today we are shipping the first release "bb8" of Betterbird version 91. In a successful beta period of Betterbird, we shipped the first beta release "bb1" on 12th July 2021, the last beta release "bb7" on 2nd August 2021. Please refer to the release notes for details.

Betterbird 91.11.0 released on 25th June 2022

Today we are shipping Betterbird version 91.11.0-bb34. Please refer to the release notes for details. German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese localisations available, other languages on request. A portable version for Windows is also available. There's also a Mac build in English only.

Betterbird 102.0 "preview" released on 24th June 2022

Today we are shipping the first release "bb8" of Betterbird version 102. In a successful beta period of Betterbird, we shipped the first beta release "bb1" on 6th June 2022, the last beta release "bb7" on 22nd June 2022.

Note that Thunderbird 102 is still very much work-in-progress with many features destined for version 102 still incomplete and various bugs not fixed in the current release version. We have fixed the worst ones, like the new folder cache not actually caching, not being flushed and mass MSF deletions. Please refer to the release notes for details.

Other news

Interesting reading: Will Thunderbird finally catch up with quality and usability issues? Will they? Our project leader wrote an answer.

Want to see Betterbird running on a mobile ARM64 device (Samsung Galaxy Tab S7), click here. Note: That's the work of a volunteer, not strictly related to the Betterbird project.

For the much requested multi-line view, see here for details.

Ukrainian colours

Due to the current situation, we are featuring the Betterbird logo at this website in Ukrainian colours as of early March 2022. This will be reverted in due course. The red-orange colour scheme in the product hasn't changed as those colours are part of the registered trademark. Red-orange together with a Phoenix-like bird on one hand signify a more aggressive policy and on the other hand a resurrection from the ashes unleashing the potential of the product while not being bogged down by annoying bugs.

We've had many requests to change the icons to make them better distinguishable from Firefox to avoid mis-clicks. This is under consideration, however, it entails replacing the artwork in 20+ source files and the question is whether this effort is warranted and wouldn't be better used elsewhere.

Betterbird elsewhere on the web

Our GitHub repository
Discussion about all things Betterbird (in German) Forum @
Interview with the project leader (in German)
Arch Linux packages
(English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese)
YouTube Video (in Spanish and a little outdated)
Search on Google, more stuff apearing all the time:
Reddit article showing up in the Google search: Handle with care, some posters there can't read or click a link

Examples of Betterbird being better in version 91.11.0-bb34

Features exclusive to Betterbird
Multi-line view like in Outlook, Lotus Notes and Postbox Yes!No, requested since 2003
Can customise the header pane buttons Yes!No, feature deliberately removed
Complex search terms Yes!No, requested since 2005
Quick Filter untagged messages Yes!No, development stalled since 2016
Permanently decrypt messagesYes!Not working since version 78, now only working in a beta version
Global search in encrypted messagesYes!Not working ☹️
Quick Filter search in encrypted messagesYes!Not working
Windows systray icon New messages count and folder listNew messages count
Notification of new messages in newsgroupsYes!Unreliable, but requested since 2000
Other improvements for news readersOpen message by ID,
no "phantom" unread messages.
Configurable display of addresses in message listYes!Can add more columns with add-on
Printed attachment listShowing correct detailsNo details ☹️
Startup FolderCan select folder for startupRestores last opened folder
File Attachments Can attach recent filesNo recent files
Activity ManagerOpens in tabOpens in stand-alone window
Bug fixes so far exclusive to Betterbird(*)
Opening an attachmentWorking fineSometimes missing from the list of Saved Files
Correct handling of non-breaking spaces (Ctrl+Shift+Space)
(for French typography)
Yes!No, requested since 2006
Inserting links with spacesWorking fineRandom incorrect results
View > Repair Text EncodingFixing subject and remembering repaired stateNot fixing the subject, need to re-apply
Various other bugs (see release notes)Fixed!Waiting, hoping, ... 🥱

Of course the Thunderbird team is busily adding a whole bunch of much welcomed new stuff and improvements, but making sure that everything remains in working order falls by the wayside. Thunderbird is shipped with unnecessary regressions, so things that used to work stopped working.
Best example: 91.3.2 shipped with broken Calendar printing 😩
(*) We supply our changes to Thunderbird, but it is unclear if/when "upstream" will accept them.