Thunderbird 78, coming in summer 2020, will include support for built-in encryption

Written 8 months ago by IanDorfman

Mozilla's Thunderbird email client will be getting built-in encryption support next year.

Small OpenPGP iconOpenPGP powered email encryption and digital signatures are coming to the email client starting with version 78. This functionality will lower the effort needed to send and receive encrypted emails by no longer requiring the Enigmail add-on. This will complement the existing built-in support for emails sent by the Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) protocol.

In the meantime, the current external encryption solution powered by Small Enigmail iconEnigmail will be supported until the scheduled end of life for Thunderbird version 68 in fall of 2020. Version 68 is the last version of the email client that will support Enigmail. Existing Enigmail add-on users will be able to migrate existing keys and settings using an assistant built in to version 78 of Thunderbird.

The Mozilla blog post announcing this upcoming functionality also mentioned that the developer behind Enigmail, Patrick Brunschwig, will work with the Thunderbird development team on its integration of OpenPGP going forward. He said the following on the matter:

“It has always been my goal to have OpenPGP support included in the core Thunderbird product. Even though it will mark an end to a long story, after working on Enigmail for 17 years, I’m very happy with this outcome.”

This means there won't be any attrition or friction on the development side of things, making this a positive for both users and the development team alike.

Thunderbird version 68.1.1 is available for download on Windows, macOS, and Linux via its official website.

Further coverage:
The Mozilla Thunderbird Blog post
gHacks Tech News
ZDNet