Similar to Firefox, what's the best way to stay up to date with the latest stable releases of Thunderbird?

  • Why don't you accept an answer? This will help future readers as well.
    – MERose
    May 8, 2015 at 10:08

4 Answers 4


You can use the terminal to download and install it directly.

wget https://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/thunderbird/releases/24.3.0/linux-i686/en-US/thunderbird-24.3.0.tar.bz2 -O- | sudo tar xj -C /opt && sudo ln -s /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird /usr/bin/thunderbird

Note that this will also create a link in /usr/bin/ so that you can launch Thunderbird from the terminal without specifying its folder. Modify the following parts of that command to suit your environment:

  1. change en-US to your locale
  2. Note that thunderbird-24.3.0.tar.bz2 is the latest version. You can check from the Thunderbird web site.

Enter your password to confirm the action.

Source: installing thunderbird linux.

  • This answer should be accepted, imho. Feb 15, 2014 at 12:54
  • What is the meaning of the single quotes in your command?
    – kiri
    Feb 16, 2014 at 10:55
  • The above command doesn't work. I get wget: invalid option -- 'C' when trying
    – Mitch
    Feb 17, 2014 at 18:10
  • @Mitch Sorry but I didn't test it before posting it here. You're free to edit it to a working command.
    – Parto
    Feb 17, 2014 at 19:17
  • 4
    This doesn't install the latest whenever they release one.
    – Braiam
    Mar 10, 2014 at 3:00

The accepted answer to the related question about Firefox applies to Thunderbird as well:

The latest version of Firefox is available for as a security updates in all supported releases of Ubuntu, just doing a normal update will pull it in.

Usually it's available within a few hours of Mozilla's announcement, sometimes faster, depending on the archive builders, and the speed of your local mirror, etc.

On top of that the PPA of the Mozilla Security team always offers the latest stable releases of Thunderbird (and Firefox) for all supported Ubuntu releases. The Mozilla team uses it as a staging area for package builds that are going to end up in the main repositories after some testing. This means that you may get new releases a few hours or even days ahead of the main repository but they may me subject to (usually minor) packaging errors before they are superseded with a fixed version.

You can set it up and upgrade Thunderbird with these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-security/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
  • This does not contain Thunderbird 60. The latest version in this repository currently is 52.9. Sep 7, 2018 at 18:20
  • @kleinfreund: Mozilla doesn’t distribute Thunderbird 60 automatically to those with previous versions. You need to install it manually. Only Thunderbird 61 will be distributed automatically. In the mean time Mozilla provides security fixes for Thunderbird 52. If you think that Ubuntu or Mozilla PPA maintainers should ship Thunderbird 60 please file a bug report with them. Sep 8, 2018 at 7:00

This is a step-by-step instruction on how to install the latest Thunderbird version.

  1. First of all, if there is a version of Thunderbird installed, it needs to be removed. Don’t worry, your existing accounts will remain. If the launcher for the Unity Desktop should be kept, we’ll back it up first. It’ll be moved to its original location later.

    cp /usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop ~

    Remove Thunderbird:

    sudo apt remove thunderbird
  2. Download the latest Thunderbird version from Mozilla. The downloaded file is an archive containing the complete program. It’s not a package that one can install with a package manager. The following steps are putting the program into a proper location.

  3. Extract the archive:

    tar xjf thunderbird-*.tar.bz2
  4. Move the directory to a new location:

    sudo mv thunderbird /opt/
  5. Create a symlink in /usr/bin:

    sudo ln -s /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird /usr/bin/thunderbird
  6. Add a launcher for the Unity Desktop:

    a) If the thunderbird.desktop was backed up in the first step, we simply use that. We also update the reference to the icon.

    sed -i "s/Icon=thunderbird/Icon=\/opt\/thunderbird\/chrome\/icons\/default\/default128.png/g" ~/thunderbird.desktop

    Activate the launcher again:

    sudo mv ~/thunderbird.desktop /usr/share/applications

    b) Otherwise, we create the launcher file:

    sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop

    Add the following lines to thunderbird.desktop:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Thunderbird Mail
    Comment=Send and receive mail with Thunderbird
    GenericName=Mail Client
    Exec=thunderbird %u
    [Desktop Action Compose]
    Name=Compose New Message
    Exec=thunderbird -compose
    OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu;Unity;
    [Desktop Action Contacts]
    Exec=thunderbird -addressbook
    OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu;Unity;

To install the latest stable version of Thunderbird which is 52.3.0, just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:

For 32bit

wget http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/thunderbird/releases/52.3.0/linux-i686/en-US/thunderbird-52.3.0.tar.bz2

For 64bit

wget http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/thunderbird/releases/52.3.0/linux-x86_64/en-US/thunderbird-52.3.0.tar.bz2

Then you do:

tar -xjvf thunderbird-52.3.0.tar.bz2
cd thunderbird
sudo ln -s ~/thunderbird/thunderbird /usr/bin/thunderbird
sudo thunderbird

You can also update Thunderbird by downloading a MAR file. Click to download the 32bit version, or the 64bit version.

For complete instructions on how to update manually using a MAR file, see Software Update:Manually Installing a MAR file.

Note: I would highly recommend that you copy your profile (.thunderbird folder)to a different folder just to be on the safe-side in case anything goes wrong.

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