How to Migrate Thunderbird Emails to Gmail Account?

As we all know email inboxes are the nerve centers of our online communication. Whether it is for personal or professional use, the need for efficient email management has never been greater. With the popularity of cloud-based email services like Gmail soaring many users are considering migrating their emails from desktop clients to Gmail or Google Workspace for its convenience, accessibility, and robust features.

If you’re one of those contemplating the shift, you’re in the right place. Since migrating from an application like Thunderbird to MS Outlook 365 or Gmail involves huge complexity, it is very crucial to understand the process and method thoroughly so that you can achieve the goal with minimal risk. 

How to Export Thunderbird Emails to Gmail Account?

Migration from Thunderbird to Gmail is not very complex because Gmail accepts almost every file format that Thunderbird supports. Thus, if you can export Thunderbird emails in MBOX format then you can easily import MBOX to Gmail. However, there could be many challenges to that. Here is the list of all the methods to migrate Thunderbird emails to a Gmail account, along with their respective pros and cons.

Method 1: Manual Migration

The manual method involves exporting emails from Thunderbird and importing them into Gmail. Here’s how you can do it:

Export from Thunderbird: In Thunderbird, select the emails you want to export, right-click, and choose “Save As” to save them in EML format.

Import to Gmail: Log in to your Gmail account, go to Settings > Accounts and Import > Import mail and contacts. Follow the prompts to import the EML files into Gmail account.


  • No need for third-party tools to export and import the emails
  • Complete control over the migration process.


  • Time-consuming, especially for large email volumes.
  • Limited to emails only; doesn’t migrate other data like contacts or calendar events.

Method 2: IMAP Synchronization

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) allows you to synchronize emails between Thunderbird and Gmail. Here’s how to use it for migration:

Configure Gmail in Thunderbird: Add your Gmail account to Thunderbird using IMAP settings.

Copy Emails: Simply drag and drop emails from Thunderbird folders to Gmail folders to synchronize them.


  • Preserves folder structure and metadata.
  • Suitable for ongoing synchronization, keeping both accounts updated.


  • Requires stable internet connection.
  • May encounter synchronization errors or duplicates.
  • Not suitable for those who do not want to configure Thunderbird in Gmail

Method 3: Automated Tools

Several third-party tools specialize in migrating emails between different email clients. These tools often offer more advanced features and streamline the migration process. 


  • Streamlines the migration process.
  • Supports migration of other data like contacts and calendar events.
  • Often comes with customer support.


  • The cost involved, especially for premium tools. There is no such tool available free of cost.
  • Dependency on third-party software

Above methods are the most common process to export Thunderbird emails to Gmail. However, if you wish you to import Google Takeout to Thunderbird then also it is feasible to do with few simple steps.


Migrating Thunderbird emails to a Gmail account opens up a world of benefits, including seamless access across devices, powerful search capabilities, and integration with other Google services. While manual methods offer control and cost-effectiveness, they can be time-consuming and tedious for large datasets. On the other hand, IMAP synchronization provides a middle ground but requires a stable internet connection and may encounter synchronization issues.

For those seeking a more streamlined approach, automated tools offer convenience and efficiency, albeit at a cost. Ultimately, the choice of method depends on factors like the volume of data, desired features, and budget. Whichever method you choose, proper planning and execution will ensure a smooth transition, allowing you to fully leverage the capabilities of Gmail without losing your valuable email data.

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