Windows 10 Mail, iCloud, Mozilla Thunderbird & Firefox

12 December 2015

An update about Microsoft Mail on Windows 10.

While it’s a nice and sleek app, it’s a little too basic for my taste in that it lacks many useful options. I do give it major credit for easily configuring an iCloud account, and, more importantly, accessing/downloading iCloud contacts and calendars.

However, I wanted something more and decided to use Mozilla Thunderbird, a free app that I haven't used in many years. I mentioned in a post on the Alienware PC that I'm a big Firefox guy, and that's true, which is why I like Mozilla so much. (When I'm on OS X, though, Safari is the primary browser) I had forgotten how cool Thunderbird was. I love the flexibility of it and the almost too numerous options for configuring just about everything. Additionally, I like how you can theme the skins of Firefox and Thunderbird. I went with some dark themes on both. They're so much easier on the eyes, especially in the nighttime.

I configured my iCloud and SBG accounts in Thunderbird and those work well as expected.

The big headache, almost always, on any platform, is calendar syncing. You're alright if you stick to one platform, and one only. But as soon as you want to use a calendar on more than one, you might have some work ahead of you. Sparing all the head banging details and hours of trial and error, I finally got my calendars to work on OS X, iOS, and Windows - and sync/add/edit/delete from any of them. Google had to be the primary calendar, and then set it up in OS X, iOS and Thunderbird. I really love Fantastical for OS X and iOS and wanted to ensure I could continue using it. Setting up a new Google account was the only way I could do it after trying many other ways in an effort to avoid using Google if possible.

I tried adding the same Google calendar to Outlook 2013, just the same as I did to Thunderbird and Fantastical, but it would only work in read-only mode. Very strange.

The other, minor, headache was getting my iCloud contacts exported, all at once, in a format that Thunderbird can import. OS X and do not make it easy unless I want to export them all (about 300) one at a time in .vcf format. Thankfully, I remembered I had this $30 app called PhoneView I bought a long time ago which allows me to copy the data from the iPhone to a computer. I used that to nab all my contacts, at once, and export them into one .vcf file. Then Thunderbird was able to import them all and retain all the appropriate data. The only thing I don’t get is syncing contacts from iCloud to anything non-Apple.

All in all, I think I finally got my email, calendars, and contacts set the way I need and want them.

Also, I decided to try Firefox for iOS and created a Firefox Sync account to keep all my bookmarks and passwords sync'd together. One thing that I like already about it, over [mobile] Safari, is that it doesn't reload the page automatically every time you go back to the browser. That's a major bone of contention among many people about Safari, and one that I agree with - bugs the crap out of me.

I even donated some funds to Mozilla because of the wonderful software they have.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.