How to Import MBOX Files in Thunderbird Manually?

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  • Published on
    August 31st, 2017
  • Updated on
    October 3, 2020
  • Read Time
    6 minutes
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Looking for free methods to import MBOX File in Thunderbird? In this article, you’ll get all the information on how to import files to Thunderbird from different sources.

Before we move ahead to the topic and add MBOX to Thunderbird profile. Let’s carry on with the brief Thunderbird, file format MBOX and this file are generally located on your local System.

Brief about Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a cross-platform, open-source, and totally free email program. It offers a range of options for PC users, allowing you to integrate multiple mailboxes with SMTP or POP protocols. Thunderbird is a lightweight, responsive piece of the application that works well. Thunderbird stores all its emails, Contacts, and other files in the mailbox format popularly known as MBOX. But it might become necessary for you to import the MBOX file in Thunderbird as it is one of the most widely used email clients.

There are some reasons due to which users need to move MBOX Files into Thunderbird as follows:

Why to Import MBOX File to Thunderbird?

  • If you have exported different file formats into MBOX format that needs to import into Thunderbird application.
  • You have your old MBOX files saved into the hard drive or other external drive and you want to add MBOX into Thunderbird Profile.
  • There may be a requirement that you want to use Gmail mail into Thunderbird.
  • Also, you might need to move the MBOX file in Thunderbird from the different applications but the same format i.e. Apple Mail to Thunderbird.

Note:  If you have recently installed Thunderbird onto your system you need an Add-on to import/export File on your local machine.

You can find your MBOX files in your system by the following steps as shown below.

How to Open MBOX File in Windows?

Windows Vista, 7, 8.1 and 10

  1. On the Windows Start menu, type in %APPDATA% in Search Box
  2. Click the “Roaming” item that appears on the menu.
  3. Now choose Thunderbird > Profiles. Each folder in this folder is a profile on your computer.

You can also navigate directly to your profile folder at the following path:

C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\<Profile name>\

Some of the widely used popular email clients which support MBOX formats other than Mozilla Thunderbird are Netscape, Apple Mail, etc. MBOX file format is mostly used by professional users for business purposes. The complete manual method to import MBOX file into Thunderbird email client is described here.

How to Import MBOX File in Thunderbird (Window/Mac)

Let’s discuss the different ways to add MBOX to Thunderbird profile; you may require these methods due to different requirements.

Method 1: Import MBOX file in Thunderbird for Windows

Firstly, to import MBOX to Mozilla Thunderbird, users are required to install, “ImportExportTools” add on. And it is required to make sure that a backup of the MBOX is created to avoid any data loss if in case the import process fails or gets interrupted.

  1. Open Thunderbird, navigate through Tools > ImportExportTools > Import MBOX file.
    add mbox to thunderbird
  2. In the appeared dialogue box, import directly one or more MBOX file is by default chosen. You can change the selected option as per your needs > click OK.
    add mbox to thunderbird
  3. Select the desired MBOX file and click open. The MBOX file will be imported to Mozilla Thunderbird.

Method 2 – Import Apple Mail MBOX file in Thunderbird for Mac

If you want to switch to Thunderbird for Mac OS using a manual procedure, then follow the stepwise procedure given below:

  1. To begin the procedure, open Thunderbird(Mac) on the local system.
  2. Navigate to Tools >> Import option
    apple mail to Thunderbird
  3. Now, you need to choose the Mail option from the multiple displayed options in the current wizard and then, click Next.
    Apple mail mbox to Thunderbird
  4. Next, a screen will appear, choose the Apple Mail option and again click Next to continue.
    add apple mbox in thunderbird
  5. After the import, you will see Apple Mail named folder in the LHS of the Mozilla Thunderbird. This folder will contain all your Mail data.
    Apple mail to thunderbird

Method 3 – Import Gmail MBOX in Thunderbird

Let us understand the steps involved in the import procedure of Gmail MBOX data to the Thunderbird email client.

In the case of Thunderbird in Windows system:

  1. After you Launch Thunderbird on your System, you need to configure an account(Gmail) in Thunderbird email client.
    Gmail MBOX to Thunderbird
  2. Restart your Thunderbird email client and Right-click on the account and from the list, select settings.
  3. Click on the Server settings, go to the local directory and copy the location path.
    import Gmail to thunderbird
  4. Paste the copied path on the address bar of the Windows Explorer & press Enter
  5. Some files will appear under the specified location
  6. Now move the MBOX file to the folder we just opened.
  7. Restart your Thunderbird email client again and check on the LHS to see the contents of Gmail appear under Local Folders section in Thunderbird account.

Similarly, in the case of Thunderbird for Mac, you can import the MBOX file of Gmail data into Mac’s Thunderbird by selecting File and going to import Mailboxes. After that, just select the MBOX file and access its contents without any issue in the Mozilla Thunderbird account.

I have almost used these manual methods to import MBOX file in Thunderbird. At the end, I want to focus some light on the demerits of importing or adding MBOX files into your Thunderbird profile manually.

Demerits of Manual Methods:

  • The manual method does not allow Importing MBOX files in batches.
  • Thunderbird has no inbuilt tool to import MBOX files as discussed above.
  • There is always a chance of data loss.
  • Most of the time manual methods are vulnerable to corruption.

So, I personally suggest you import your files very carefully. To overcome above mentioned shortcomings of manual method, you can take the help of MBOX Exporter software from SysInfoTools.


You may also find this useful Export Outlook emails to Thunderbird


I have discussed all the ways to import MBOX file in Thunderbird whether on Mac system or Windows system. Hope, you liked this post and it will help you in moving MBOX files in Thunderbird successfully.

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