Swarthmore ITS strongly recommends using Google's web-based interface for your email instead of an email client, in order to take advantage of features specific to Google Mail.

Thunderbird is a free email client that can be downloaded from Mozilla.  There are versions for Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, and Linux.


Before you begin, turn on the "Allow Less Secure Apps" setting on your Swarthmore Gmail.  Instructions to change that setting are here:  Allowing Less Secure Apps in Gmail 


Step By Step Instructions

To set up Thunderbird if it is NOT already configured on your computer

When opening Thunderbird for the first time you will be presented with an Account Setup Wizard.

  1. You will first be prompted to "Set Up Your Existing Email Address". 

    Picture of Thunderbird Account Setup Wizard
  2. Continue with the directions below.

To update your saved Swarthmore password if Thunderbird was previously configured

  1. Pull down the Tools menu to and choose Account Settings
  2. If you have a Swarthmore account already configured, select your current Swarthmore IMAP account (username@swarthmore.edu) and choose "Remove Account" at the bottom of the page under Account Actions.
  3. Next, choose "Add Mail Account" at the bottom of the page under Account Actions.         
    Picture of Thunderburd's Account Actions
  4. On the next screen you will be asked to provide your name and email address.  This name will be presented when people receive email from you, so you should use your proper name.
  5. For your email address, enter your Swarthmore username, followed by @swarthmore.edu
    Picture of Thunderbird Account Setup Wizard
  6. After clicking Continue, Thunderbird will auto-detect the server settings. Click Done.
  7. You will be directed to login.swarthmore.edu. Enter your Swarthmore username and password. Click Login.
  8. (NOTE: If you are not redirected, you are using an older version of Thunderbird. Upgrade your Thunderbird to the latest version and start these configuration steps again.)
    Picture of Swarthmore login window
  9. You will then be redirected to the Duo Authentication page. Authenticate with your preferred device/method.

    Picture of DUO authentication page
  10. On the next screen you will be asked to choose an account to link Thunderbird to. Your Swarthmore account should be the only one listed - click on it to continue.
  11. The next screen will ask you to allow Thunderbird to read, send, delete, and manage your mail. Choose Allow.
    Picture of Google verification page
  12. You will need to check your Outgoing Server Settings to make sure you can send mail from Thunderbird. Thunderbird should autodetect the correct settings for you, but just in case it did not do so correctly, they should look like the settings below.
    1. Pull down the Tools menu and choose Account Settings and select Outgoing Server

  13. If the Authentication Method is NOT set to OAuth2, you will need to change it. Click Edit. Choose OAuth2 from the Authentication Method drop down - everything else should stay the same. Click OK.
    Picture of SMTP settings
  14. That’s it. You are done!