Mozilla is hard at work on an overhaul of the Thunderbird mail client, with at least one major update planned for 2023. We’ve already seen mockups of the updated interface, but now there’s more to check out.
The Thunderbird team has granted us another sneak peek at Thunderbird 115, codenamed “Supernova,” which is due for release in July 2023. Mozilla is showing off the folder pane, which may not seem all that exciting, but it is an element that all Thunderbird users interact with on a regular basis, providing access to all email and feed accounts.
The new folder pane is more spaced out, with more clear dividers between the accounts section, the local folders, and tags. It’s using the same updated icons that have already rolled out, presented in a way that “will feel familiar to users who’ve only used webmail in the past.” There are three buttons above the folder list: a button to download messages, a primary action button (“New Message” in this example), and an overflow menu.
Mozilla is trying to walk the line between making Thunderbird more accessible and keeping long-time users happy — so much so that half the blog post reads as a more subtle version of “please don’t panic.” To that end, the overflow menu at the top has options to customize the look and feel, and turning off “Unified Folder mode” will restore it to a similar design as the current folder pane. Even after the big update, you can still organize your email like it’s 2001, if you really want.
The blog post explains, “For users who don’t consider the current Thunderbird interface comfortable, we’re confident these new features will make you feel right at home — with the added benefits Thunderbird brings compared to traditional webmail: privacy, customization, no ads, and absolutely no selling of your data.”
Mozilla expects to release Thunderbird 115 in July, with a beta coming “by mid-April.”
Source: Thunderbird Blog