How to Import MBOX File in Thunderbird?

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import mbox files in thunderbird

If you are looking for a mechanism by which you can import MBOX file in Thunderbird, then this article is for you. Here you will learn how to add MBOX files of different platforms to Mozilla Thunderbird application.

Mozilla Thunderbird & MBOX File – A Brief Intro: Thunderbird is a free desktop email client which provides users with better ways to manage their emails and other data. It also has the added advantage of being a cross-platform and open source email application. This propelled Thunderbird to quickly become one of the most popular platforms used for mailing needs.
All the emails and attachments of Thunderbird application is stored in MBOX files i.e., separate MBOX for all mailbox folders.

How to Import MBOX File in Thunderbird – Different Scenarios

Different Scenarios that corresponds to Loading of MBOX to Thunderbird:

There can be a variety of different situations which leads to access the MBOX files content inside Mozilla Thunderbird application. Some of the general case scenarios are defined below:

  • If the user has old/orphan MBOX files which he wants to open in Thunderbird application.
  • In a situation where users have converted some other file into MBOX format and wishes to access it in Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • Google takeout enables users to download Gmail emails in MBOX format. So in case users have that Gmail MBOX and want to add MBOX to Thunderbird.
  • Another scene involves loading the MBOX files from Apple Mail to Thunderbird. In general, this situation can be related to all such import methods performed on Mac platform.

Now, let us generalize all these scenarios and discuss the methods which could be followed in order to import MBOX file in Thunderbird application.

Apple Mail MBOX to Thunderbird for Mac

In this segment, we will be discussing how can one import the MBOX data of Mac Mail to the Thunderbird email client. For those who have orphan MBOX files in their Mac system or MBOX of different email platform like Eudora, Entourage, etc., they will first need to add the MBOX into Apple Mail and then proceed with the given mechanism.


Note: No need to perform Step 1 if you want to access Apple Mail data in Thunderbird for Mac. In case you don’t have the mailbox data in Mac Mail, only then perform step 1.


Step I: Open MBOX file in Apple Mail

  • Open the Mac mail application
  • Find and navigate to File > Import Mailboxes on the main menu
  • Mark the option of Files in mbox format and proceed ahead
  • Locate and select the desired MBOX files from the system and continue. The files will be added in the navigation pane.

Step II: Open the Thunderbird application on Mac platform

  • Locate Tools on the menu and click on Import… option in the context menu
  • Now, from the list of options provided, select Mail and click Next button
  • Wait for the import process to complete. This may take a while depending on the size of your Apple Mail database.
  • Once the process is complete, you will find the Apple Mail data in Thunderbird navigation pane.

Import MBOX File to Thunderbird on Windows OS

This segment generalizes multiple situations where the MBOX file data needs to be added to Thunderbird on Windows platform. This is applicable to old or orphan MBOX, the Gmail MBOX files downloaded from Google Vault or Google Takeout, the backupify MBOX and other all other cases where MBOX files can be generated.

Now, users need to understand that accessing the MBOX file of all these different platforms in Thunderbird for Windows is not as easy as in Mac platform. Even the Thunderbird add-on ImportExportTools fails to perform this complete procedure without changing the data structure and formatting. A user query taken from a technical forum can help you relate to this:


“Hi, I had an old MBOX file stored on my external hard drive containing all data from my previous work. A few days earlier, I decided to import this MBOX in my current Thunderbird application as I need to analyze the emails for my current task. I used the free Thunderbird addon as suggested by some folks in my office but it turned out to be a waste of time. The results composed of a lot of broken images, damaged headers and other stuff. So, I would like to know if there’s any alternative to this so I could add the MBOX in Thunderbird. Any suggestion is invited.”


In response to several queries like this, we came up with a solution which guarantees accurate results every time. Read the segment given below to know more.

Thunderbird Import Wizard – A Tool with a Goal

Thunderbird Import Wizard not only eases the procedure of importing MBOX files in Thunderbird but does that in quick time with complete accuracy. Tried and tested on MBOX files of multiple platforms, it is an all-around solution to import MBOX in Thunderbird without any complications.

Benefits of using Thunderbird Import Wizard:

  • Add multiple MBOX files at once into the Thunderbird application
  • Import the emails in desired accounts/profiles without issue
  • No risk of MBOX corruption during the entire process
  • Maintains data originality(structure and formatting)
  • Option to apply Date filters for selective MBOX data transfer
  • Easily moves even large sized MBOX folder to Thunderbird
  • Not dependent on specific Windows or Thunderbird versions

Maybe the add-on can be used to import a few MBOX emails in Thunderbird since data originality and other issues may not be of utmost significance in this case. But even that task can be carried out with Thunderbird Import wizard which adds 25 emails/ folder to Thunderbird for free.

Concluding Lines

MBOX files can be generated by almost 20+ email applications and other converters, services (Google takeout), etc. There are multiple scenarios where users look to import MBOX files in Thunderbird. Although the process is quite simple for Mac users, it issues some complications when performed on Windows OS. A Thunderbird add-on does carry out the task but it can lead to several uninvited issues. Thus, an efficient solution by the name of Thunderbird Import Wizard can be used to fulfill the task with utmost accuracy.

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