- Use the recommended proxy settings for TorBirdy (Tor)

When this option is selected, TorBirdy will change the proxy settings of Thunderbird to configure it to use the Tor network. The settings this options changes are:

  • SOCKS host:
  • SOCKS port: 9150
  • Keyserver: hkp://jirk5u4osbsr34t5.onion

This is the default option when TorBirdy is installed.

- Choose an anonymization service

TorBirdy has native support for Whonix and JonDos.


The Whonix documentation covers installation and configuration of TorBirdy. Please see: for more information.

When Whonix is enabled, the following settings are changed:

  • SOCKS host:
  • SOCKS port: 9102

When TorBirdy starts on Whonix, it checks for the WHONIX environment variable. If it is found, TorBirdy configures itself to use the Whonix settings automatically; no further configuration is required from the user.


The JonDo documentation covers installation and configuration of TorBirdy. Please see: for more information.

When JonDo is enabled, the following settings are changed:

  • SOCKS host:
  • SOCKS port: 4001
  • SSL host:
  • SSL port: 4001
  • HTTP host:
  • HTTP port: 4001
  • Pipelining is disabled
    • network.http.pipelining: false
    • network.http.pipelining.ssl: false
    • network.http.proxy.pipelining: false
  • Enigmail keyserver: hkp://

- Use custom proxy settings

Select this option if you want to use a custom SOCKS host and port that Thunderbird should connect to when TorBirdy is enabled. An example of where this can be useful is if you have an anonymization service running on some host/port other than the default hard-coded ones.

Note: If you change the network settings from Thunderbird's preferences, they will be overwritten by TorBirdy. Therefore, if you have to change the SOCKS port and host Thunderbird should connect to when TorBirdy is enabled, you should specify them using the above settings.

- Transparent Torification

WARNING: Do not select this option without understanding what it does.

Selecting this option clears the proxy settings (Thunderbird will not use any anonymization service) but keeps all other privacy settings intact. This is useful if you are using TorBirdy behind a Tor router or you want to keep the TorBirdy-recommended settings but do not want to perform some operation over Tor, like connecting to some specific email account or updating Thunderbird. See comment:1:ticket:8487 for more information.


Note: Changes made to the settings under the Global header will affect all email accounts. You cannot change these settings on a per-account basis because Thunderbird does not allow that.

- Enable push email support for IMAP accounts

(Discussed in #6337)

TorBirdy disables IMAP IDLE in Thunderbird, which means that push email support is disabled and new messages will not be delivered to your email client automatically by the server. If you enable this option, all IMAP-based email accounts will have IDLE support enabled and you will be notified of new messages automatically.

- Select last accessed mail folder on startup

(Discussed in #6336, #6337)

Default Behaviour
Can Change

TorBirdy prevents Thunderbird from automatically checking for new messages at startup and after a fixed time interval (usually ten minutes), which is Thunderbird's default behaviour.

TorBirdy will not select any account when Thunderbird starts to prevent it from automatic logging in to your last accessed email account. If you enable this option, TorBirdy will log in to the last email account you accessed and check and download new messages, even if the Check for new messages at startup preference for that account is enabled.

To enable automatic checking of emails for:

  • All Accounts

Open TorBirdy's preferences and go to Privacy. In the Account-Specific options, check the option Check for new messages automatically for all accounts. This will allow Thunderbird to revert to its default behaviour where it checks for new periodically and at startup for all accounts.

  • Specific Accounts

If you want to change this setting for specific accounts, you have to follow the steps below, independent of how many accounts you want to change.

  • Go to Privacy, and under Global, select Enable push email support for IMAP accounts and Select last accessed mail folder on startup. As these options come under the Global settings, you have to just change them once and then perform the next step, on all accounts you want to change.

Then see Account-Specific options, choose your email account, and enable the account-specific settings you want. If you want the default Thunderbird settings, check both the options in the account configuration window.

- Enable Thunderbird's automatic email configuration wizard

If you wish to disable the manual configuration wizard and use Thunderbird's default automatic wizard, check this option. WARNING: Enabling this can leak your identity. Make sure you read the following section for more information on what this preference does.

Thunderbird's automatic email configuration wizard leaks your identity when setting up a new account; tickets #664633, #669282 on Bugzilla, and Section 3.6.5 of tagnaq's paper discuss the leaks in more detail. To protect your anonymity, TorBirdy disables the automatic configuration wizard and forces you to configure your account manually, helping you in the process by setting some of the recommended security settings automatically.

When you create a new account with TorBirdy's manual configuration wizard, you start by selecting the type of account you want: POP3 or IMAP. TorBirdy will then set some of the recommended security settings automatically:

  • Connection security for both incoming and outgoing servers is set to SSL/TLS.
If the account is IMAP
Host name: imap.%EMAILDOMAIN%. Port is set to 993.
If the account is POP3
Host name: pop.%EMAILDOMAIN%. Port is set to 995.
SMTP port
Set to 465.

Some other things:

  • Authentication is set to "Normal" as this is the recommended setting for most mail providers. Note that your connection is already encrypted, so nothing is leaked.
  • Automatic email fetching is also disabled for the account.

JonDo and Whonix follow the default setting and use TorBirdy's manual configuration wizard.

Tails has fixed the above leaks in Thunderbird's automatic configuration wizard, so TorBirdy on Tails follows the default Thunderbird wizard and does not present its manual one. This is done by reading the preference, and if it is set to "Tails", TorBirdy will allow Thunderbird to load the default automatic account configuration set up.

You can change the rest of the account settings manually if required, but you should not change any security settings that you are unsure about. When in doubt, please ask us instead of making decisions on your own.

We also have a video (ogv) that shows how you can configure a Gmail account with TorBirdy's manual account configuration wizard.

- Check for new messages automatically for all accounts

TorBirdy disables the automatic checking of messages for all configured accounts. However, there are cases for which you need to enable this feature; checking this enables automatic message fetching, which is also the default mode in Thunderbird. (Also see Select last accessed mail folder on startup section above.)


- Confirm before sending email if Enigmail is enabled

Do not confirm.

If this option is enabled and Enigmail is installed, you will be prompted before sending an email. This is useful because it allows you to review the state of the message before it will be sent; whether is encrypted/signed, unencrypted/unsigned, unencrypted/signed, or encrypted/unsigned. (Discussed in #8058.)

This is enabled for all accounts.

Preferences Changed
Default Value

- Do not put the recipient key IDs into encrypted messages

Default Value
Recipient key IDs are included into encrypted messages.

Quoting the GPG man page:

Do not put the recipient key IDs into encrypted messages. This helps to hide the receivers of the message and is a limited countermeasure against traffic analysis. ([Using a little social engineering anyone who is able to decrypt the message can check whether one of the other recipients is the one he suspects.]) On the receiving side, it may slow down the decryption process because all available secret keys must be tried. --no-throw-keyids disables this option. This option is essentially the same as using --hidden- recipient for all recipients.

Please see for more information on where this can be useful.

In earlier version of TorBirdy, this was enabled by default and encrypted messages did not have the recipients key IDs included in the message. This was changed in 0.1.2, because a lot of users complained about this option being enabled by default. (Discussed in #6941, #9648)

- Disable encrypted email headers

Encrypted email headers are enabled.

By default, TorBirdy enables encrypted email headers in Enigmail (as defined by the Memory Hole standard) that helps prevent metadata leaks. Please see Bug #21880 for the general discussion on this topic and why we decided to enable this preference (extensions.enigmail.protectHeaders) in TorBirdy. If this breaks your email setup, selecting this option disable the encrypted email headers.

Preferences Changed
Default Value

- Keyserver(s) to use

Enter the keyserver(s) you wish to use with Enigmail (and therefore GPG). You can enter multiple keyservers in this field, separated by a comma. By default, Tor and Whonix use the hkp://jirk5u4osbsr34t5.onion keyserver and JonDo uses hkp:// (See #7093). When you select an anonymization service from the Proxy settings, the keyserver field is automatically updated with the default value corresponding to that service (whether Tor/Whonix or JonDo).

Last modified 2 years ago Last modified on Dec 4, 2017, 4:21:00 PM