I want to get instant notifications for new emails and I don't want to install and configure an extra program for that. Thunderbird shows notifications, so does Gmail webapp. But both of them work only as long as they are open and running (or minimized).

Is there a way to have Thunderbird show notifications without keeping it open (at least the GUI)?

OS: Ubuntu 14.04


5 Answers 5


I recommend (and use) FireTray, which you can get at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/firetray/.

It will keep Thunderbird running in the background, and then notify you of new emails.

  • 2
    The latest version is from 2016, and only works with Thunderbird 7.0 - 50.0
    – quangkid
    Aug 27, 2018 at 3:00
  • Yes, FireTray is no longer supported by new versions of Thunderbird. I've not used Thunderbird in a while now, so I unfortunately don't know of any alternatives. Aug 29, 2018 at 1:00

As FireTray is not supporting the Thunderbird version 68+
You can get still receive emails in background by using another trustfull Ubuntu app named as Geary (I am also using it).
So to install Geary, use the below command -

sudo apt install geary

That's it.
Now open it and do the formalties saying by geary and then
go to preferences, check the checkbox named as [✔] Watch for new mail when closed.
You have all done here.
Enjoy !

  • Can it change the size or zooming? My font-size is too small but I can't find the font size or zooming in Geary. Jul 26, 2020 at 22:53
  • 1
    Yes you can change the font-size in Geary with the keyboard shortcut ctrl+ , ctrl-, ctrl0 for increase, decrease and reset the font-size. Now whenever you open geary in future it will continue to use the changed font-size. Jul 27, 2020 at 10:02
  • 1
    See all keyboard Shortcuts of geary to work fast. Jul 27, 2020 at 10:06

You can use minimize to tray add-on; TB needs to start though. See this link for description and downloading

  • Tried the extension. Still not getting notifications. I gave up on Thunderbird for now
    – lfk
    Jun 7, 2014 at 4:44

On Kubuntu 20.04, I've just installed :

  • kdocker packet : start it and click on Thunderbird main window title, it will go to the systray.
  • extension minimize-on-close to just minimize on close (and so go to systray with kdocker)

That works perfectly and takes 1 minute to install both.


FireTray plugin does not work with the recent versions of Thunderbird.

One workaround is to make the application automatically run at startup.

Go to -> System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications

Then set name as Thunderbird and command as thunderbird

Then click Add.

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