Retrieve iCloud emails via Thunderbird on your Windows PC: This is how it works!

Last week Horst met me with one Comment pointed out here in the blog that you cannot easily access emails from a “…” email address via Thunderbird on your Windows PC. I then started looking for a solution – and found one. I have now tried it out and can therefore offer you a first-hand solution to the problem. So if you want to access iCloud emails via Thunderbird or another third-party client, just follow the step-by-step instructions provided here; no matter whether on a Windows PC, Mac with macOS or Linux computer.

Retrieve iCloud emails via Thunderbird on your Windows PC – Here you will find step-by-step instructions with screenshots. This is also valid for other mail clients and third-party apps.
Retrieve iCloud emails via Thunderbird on your Windows PC – Here you will find step-by-step instructions with screenshots. This is also valid for other mail clients and third-party apps.

What is the password for iCloud address in Thunderbird?

So that you don't have to use your Apple ID password and reveal it in a third-party app, Apple offers the option of setting an "application-specific password". This way you can provide Thunderbird with an email password for iCloud emails, which will not lead to access to the Apple ID if the login information is hacked or otherwise read. This is why you can't sign in with an address and regular Apple ID password combination.

Step 1: Set application-specific password for the email client

In order to set up your own password for the third-party client, you first go to the website on. There you log in with your Apple ID. If you have activated two-factor authentication, you will probably have to confirm your registration with a six-digit code that will be displayed on one of your Apple devices.

Once you have done this, you will find the page shown below. Select “Login and Security” in the left menu. Then click on the “Application-specific passwords” tile at the bottom left.

Now a small overlay opens in which you click the “Create an application-specific password” button. If you already have a password list there, you can alternatively use the plus symbol (+) above it on the right to create a new entry.

You then specify a name or description so that you can later find out what the password is used for. This is largely irrelevant with just one example, but if you set up several such passwords, the name will keep things tidy. I therefore named the password place to be created “Thunderbird”.

It is possible that your Apple ID password will be requested again to be on the safe side. Here you enter the existing password for your Apple ID, and not a new password that you want to set for Thunderbird (this will be given to you anyway).

Once all of this is done, the site will give you an application-specific password that consists of many letters, hyphens and possibly other characters. You can now copy this password to use it in Thunderbird or another email client to log in with your iCloud email address (see below).

Step 2: Register the address in Thunderbird

So if you are now in the process of setting up an existing email account in Thunderbird, then you will need the password described above. Enter the application-specific password you created next to your name and address in the last field. Then click on the “Next” button to complete the setup with the further steps.

Everything worked for me with the standard settings. IMAP was displayed as an available configuration and I applied it as a setting by clicking “Done”.

On the following screen I left out additional settings - but mainly because I just wanted to check the procedure and didn't actually want to use Thunderbird. I wanted to finally be able to check whether my emails were being accessed as intended. That's why I quickly completed the setup with the "Finish" button.

Step 3: Use Thunderbird on Windows with an iCloud email address

After the individual steps shown above, the time had come: I was able to view Thunderbird's main user interface and click around. The emails from my … address were retrieved correctly. To try it out, I also moved a test email that I had sent myself to the trash. Worked.

Conclusion on using iCloud emails in third-party client programs

You can also use application-specific passwords in other mail clients besides Mozilla Thunderbird; for example in Microsoft Outlook. Overall, it can be said that setting up an iCloud email address in Thunderbird or another client is not that difficult - once you know how to do it. The intermediate step of setting up an application-specific password is necessary. I think this is a good way to keep the Apple ID password to yourself and, in the event of a hack, to quickly prevent access to the mail account using a third-party client. Apple has already thought of something.

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