Setting up Thunderbird to use with U-M Google Mail


ITS recommends using only a web browser, or applications or clients created and supported by Google to connect to U-M Google accounts (including Google Calendar). Using third-party applications or clients (created by a group or company other than Google, such as Apple or Microsoft) can lead to unexpected results, including the risk of data loss.

To best accommodate accessibility needs for U-M Google users having issues with the web-based Gmail experience, ITS provides a way to auto-configure Thunderbird, which can be found below.

ITS does not provide additional support for any other third-party mail clients other than assisting in getting Thunderbird configured for use.

Thunderbird self-service support information can be found on Mozilla's support page.


U-M Google Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird


How do I set up Thunderbird for use with U-M Google Mail?


To configure Thunderbird:

  1. Install the Thunderbird application.
  2. Open Thunderbird and, when prompted, check that your name is in the Your full name field and your U-M email address is in the Email address field. Do not enter a password.
  3. Select Continue.

The window will change to the Configuration Screen, displaying the proper server settings for U-M Google accounts found in the Mozilla ISP database.

Note: The correct port numbers will also be auto-configured but will not be visible.

  1. Select Continue.
  2. Authenticate via U-M Weblogin (using your uniqname and UMICH password) and Duo two-factor authentication.
  3. Click Allow to grant Thunderbird access to your U-M Google account.

Thunderbird will begin connecting to your U-M Google account, and you can now access your email as desired.

Screen-Reader Navigation

The following is guidance for navigating Thunderbird with a screen reader on a Windows computer:

  • Use F6 and Shift+F6 to move forward and back between the main sections of the application.
  • When on the folder list, F6 jumps directly to the list of messages.
  • Use the Tab key to access many useful options between the folder list and the list of messages.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+K to quickly access the text field for filtering messages.
    • Tab a few times to list the filter options. Each option begins with "Show only" and includes attachments, starred, and unread. Use Left Arrow and Right Arrow to navigate options, and Enter to activate a filter.
  • Use Backslash (\) to collapse all threads, and Asterisk (*) to expand them.
  • Use the F8 keyboard shortcut to disable the preview pane to speed up the application.
    • When message preview is turned off, use Enter to open messages in a new tab.
  • Use Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab to switch between all open message tabs and the message list.

Screen reader on Mac (VoiceOver) is not currently supported due to a barrier in Thunderbird. For additional support on email accessibility, contact the ITS Digital Accessibility team.

Additional Information

ITS has made it easier to configure Thunderbird for those who need to use it.

  • A profile that automatically configures Thunderbird is in place to ensure that the required security options (via OAuth2) are used to connect to Google.
  • Additionally, the "Less Secure Apps" setting no longer needs to be enabled to use Thunderbird with your U-M Google account (and will be deprecated beginning June 15, 2024).
  • If a "400 Error" is received, enable cookies in Thunderbird (Privacy & Security settings) and add if it isn't there already. Then try connecting again.

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.

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Article ID: 1023
Mon 4/20/20 8:37 AM
Thu 6/13/24 2:52 PM

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