Email, as I’m sure you remember about a dozen times a day, is the killer app for internet users. Because it’s so frustrating dealing with email each day that it may very well kill us.
Here’s the problem. Apple’s Mail is free and comes with every new Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Mail is competent for average folks, but there is a market for high end email apps. Interestingly, there’s also a market at the low end. That includes Thunderbird. Yes. Thunderbird, once Mozilla’s answer to Outlook, continues to defy the odds and is better than ever.
If you’re not scared off by the decidedly Windows-like user interface, what you’ll find in Thunderbird is a comprehensive package of email features and functions, some familiar, some unique.
Thunderbird starts with an email account setup wizard that handles most every email account you’ll run into; from IMAP, SMTP, SSL/TLS, and about all you’ll need to get started is basic account information.
Tabs are the 21st century gift to web browsers and Thunderbird goes one better than Mail with tabs (mostly so it looks and works much like the Firefox browser). Built-in to Thunderbird is a one-click address book, multiple chat channels, and even a way to search the web without leaving email. And, yes, you can search for email content, too.
I like to think of Thunderbird as a catch-all email app. It has features not found in Mail, manages add-ons better, but also has a Junk Mail filter, phishing protection, Smart folders, large attachment options, message archives, and automatic updating.
See? Lots of nice options. The interface is a bit overwhelming at first. The only knock I have is that SpamSieve, the Mac user’s ultimate spam fighter, does not work with Thunderbird. Otherwise, it’s free and works.