Thunderbird for Android Creeps Closer with New Account Setup System

Mozilla is slowly converting K-9 Mail into Thunderbird for Android. Now, in the latest K-9 Mail release (6.800), Mozilla rectifies the app’s awkward account setup process to provide a more friendly experience. The update also includes some minor changes and bugfixes.

The account setup component in K-9 Mail was “quite old” and only provided automatic setup for major email providers. Users were often forced to set up their accounts manually, meaning that they had to hunt down server details and other unfamiliar information.

So, Mozilla rewrote the entire account setup component. K-9 Mail now uses the Thunderbird Autoconfig mechanism and supports a range of email providers—simply type in your email credentials, choose a name for your inbox, and set the account sync interval. Note that K-9 Mail gained OAuth support in a previous update, so any problems you’ve had with Gmail or Outlook addresses should be resolved.

Along with the new account setup process, K-9 Mail now offers greater support for assistive screen readers. It also improves the readability of HTML messages and has a more legible dark mode. Mozilla says it fixed about a dozen bugs, including one bug that prevented K-9 Mail from making a notification sound on WearOS devices.

Mozilla notes that there are a few problems with this release. First, K-9 Mail will not have the “alarms & reminders” permission on fresh Android 14 installations, so users must enable this permission manually if they want Push notifications. Some software keyboards will try to use autocorrect when typing an email into the account setup screen. And if you copy-paste a password into K-9 mail’s setup menu, it may not work due to line breaks or other copied formatting (which are usually ignored when pasting passwords).

The K-9 Mail app still has a way to go before it becomes Thunderbird for Android. But this is a good step in the right direction, and some of Thunderbird’s best features are already available in the K-9 Mail app. Based on what we know, Thunderbird for iOS won’t enter development until the Android app is completed.

You can install K-9 Mail version 6.800 from the Google Play Store, GitHub, or F-Droid. This update may not be immediately available to all users on the Play Store, per Mozilla.

Source: Mozilla

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