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How to Extract Attachments from Thunderbird – Download All/Multiple Email Attachments

Brandon Smith | Modified: 2021-02-22T07:32:18+00:00
how to extract attachments from thunderbird

Summary: This blog contains the step-by-step guide on how to extract attachments from Thunderbird. It contains the method suitable for Mac users to download all attachments from Thunderbird as well as extract attached files from only selected emails. Read to know more.

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open-source email client available for multiple OS. It stores its mailbox data in MBOX format. These MBOX files do not have any extension. Sometimes, a user needs to extract attachments from multiple emails in Thunderbird.

While there are solutions available for Windows, Mac users cannot find any suitable options. Therefore, in this article, we have discussed Mac-centered methods to accurately identify, process and extract Thunderbird attachments in a step by step manner.

How to Export Attachments from Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird used to have an add-on specifically for attachments extraction. But it has become outdated in the recent versions of Thunderbird and thus, no longer supports the extract operation.

Furthermore, Mac Thunderbird has even less add-ons and thus Thunderbird provides no way to manually carry out the Thunderbird attachment extraction process.

Therefore, we need to first export Thunderbird emails or locate the MBOX files residing on your machine. And then, process these files to obtain the attachments.

This 2-step process is very easy to complete.

 Step 1: Locate/Export Thunderbird Mailbox Manually

Mozilla Thunderbird uses MBOX to store emails. The two ways to obtain the mailbox files for further steps are given below (Use any ONE of the two methods – locate or export)

Locate the Mailbox Files on Your Machine

  • Open the Finder window on your Mac.
  • In the Go menu, select the Go to folder option or simply use the shortcut ‘command+Shift+G’ to open this option.
  • Type this path in the Go to folder window: ~/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/. If this does not open the Profile folder, then try the alternative path: ~/Library/Application Support/Thunderbird/Profiles/.
go to option
  • Click on Go button to open the directory.
  • Open the corresponding sub-folders and look for the MBOX files having same name as your Thunderbird mailbox folders like: Inbox, Drafts, etc. These are your mailbox files that contain your emails.
profiles folder

Copy this profile folder (xxxxxx.deafult) to another location for further processing. We will process the copied files and leave the original ones.

Export Thunderbird Mailbox files on Mac

  • First, download and install the ImportExportTools add-on if not done already on your Mac Thunderbird.
  • Then, right-click on any mailbox folder in Thunderbird to access the ImportExportTools option and choose Export folder feature.
  • Export the file on a safe location on your Mac machine.
  • Repeat these steps for all the mailbox folders containing emails from which you want to extract attachments.

We will process these exported mailbox files for Thunderbird attachment extraction.

Step 2: Extract Attachments from Thunderbird using Mac Thunderbird Attachment Extractor

Use the MBOX Attachment Extractor Wizard to download attachments from Thunderbird MBOX file. This software allows you to extract attachments from all/selected Thunderbird messages in one go. There are several advanced features associated with this wizard to make the extraction easier and user-centric. Some of these features are:

  • Support for all kinds of MBOX file including no-extension MBOX of Thunderbird
  • Date-range filters
  • File Filters (Export Thunderbird attachments according to file size and file type)
  • Naming convention
  • 4 Folder structure options
  • Process report

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Step-by-Step Instructions to Extract Attachments from Thunderbird on Mac

  • Run the software and click on Add File(s) button.
add files
  • Select the previous copied/exported Thunderbird MBOX files and click Next once these files are added.
select thunderbird files

Pro Tip: You can use the Add folder option to select the entire Profiles folder.

  • Apply folder structure options and click on Advance Settings button.
folder options
  • Set and Save various filters as per your requirement. These filters will allow you to extract attachments from multiple emails of Thunderbird.
file filters
  • Choose a location to save extracted Thunderbird attachments and click on Export button to start the extraction process.
extract option

All the attached files will be exported to the previously set destination location as per your applied filters. With this, you have been successful in downloading all attachments in Thunderbird.


There are no manual options available to extract attachments from Thunderbird on a Mac machine. The only way is to open the email messages one at a time and save the attachments on your machine individually. Therefore, we came up with this article to provide Mac users an easy and step-by-step method to export all Thunderbird attachments in one go. This method can be successfully applied on all Mac OS versions starting from Mac OS X 10.8.