Our recommendation list contains email clients that support both OpenPGP and strong authentication such as Open Authorization (OAuth). OAuth allows you to use Multi-Factor Authentication and prevent account theft.
Email does not provide forward secrecy
When using end-to-end encryption (E2EE) technology like OpenPGP, email will still have some metadata that is not encrypted in the header of the email.
OpenPGP also does not support forward secrecy, which means if either your or the recipient's private key is ever stolen, all previous messages encrypted with it will be exposed: How do I protect my private keys? Consider using a medium that provides forward secrecy:
Thunderbird is a free, open-source, cross-platform email, newsgroup, news feed, and chat (XMPP, IRC, Matrix) client developed by the Thunderbird community, and previously by the Mozilla Foundation.
We recommend changing some of these settings to make Thunderbird a little more private.
These options can be found in → Settings → Privacy & Security.
- Uncheck Remember websites and links I've visited
- Uncheck Accept cookies from sites
- Uncheck Allow Thunderbird to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla
thunderbird-user.js, is a set of configurations options that aims to disable as many of the web-browsing features within Thunderbird as possible in order to reduce surface area and maintain privacy. Some of the changes are backported from the Arkenfox project.
Apple Mail (macOS)¶
Apple Mail is included in macOS and can be extended to have OpenPGP support with GPG Suite, which adds the ability to send PGP-encrypted email.
Canary Mail (iOS)¶
Canary Mail is a paid email client designed to make end-to-end encryption seamless with security features such as a biometric app lock.
Canary Mail only recently released a Windows and Android client, though we don't believe they are as stable as their iOS and Mac counterparts.
Canary Mail is closed-source. We recommend it due to the few choices there are for email clients on iOS that support PGP E2EE.
FairEmail is a minimal, open-source email app, using open standards (IMAP, SMTP, OpenPGP) with a low data and battery usage.
GNOME Evolution (GNOME)¶
Evolution is a personal information management application that provides integrated mail, calendaring and address book functionality. Evolution has extensive documentation to help you get started.
K-9 Mail (Android)¶
K-9 Mail is an independent mail application that supports both POP3 and IMAP mailboxes, but only supports push mail for IMAP.
In the future, K-9 Mail will be the officially branded Thunderbird client for Android.
When replying to someone on a mailing list the "reply" option may also include the mailing list. For more information see thundernest/k-9 #3738.
Kontact is a personal information manager (PIM) application from the KDE project. It provides a mail client, address book, organizer and RSS client.
Mailvelope is a browser extension that enables the exchange of encrypted emails following the OpenPGP encryption standard.
NeoMutt is an open-source command line mail reader (or MUA) for Linux and BSD. It's a fork of Mutt with added features.
NeoMutt is a text-based client that has a steep learning curve. It is however, very customizable.
Please note we are not affiliated with any of the projects we recommend. In addition to our standard criteria, we have developed a clear set of requirements to allow us to provide objective recommendations. We suggest you familiarize yourself with this list before choosing to use a project, and conduct your own research to ensure it's the right choice for you.
This section is new
We are working on establishing defined criteria for every section of our site, and this may be subject to change. If you have any questions about our criteria, please ask on our forum and don't assume we didn't consider something when making our recommendations if it is not listed here. There are many factors considered and discussed when we recommend a project, and documenting every single one is a work-in-progress.
- Apps developed for open-source operating systems must be open source.
- Must not collect telemetry, or have an easy way to disable all telemetry.
- Must support OpenPGP message encryption.
Our best-case criteria represents what we would like to see from the perfect project in this category. Our recommendations may not include any or all of this functionality, but those which do may rank higher than others on this page.
- Should be open source.
- Should be cross-platform.
- Should not collect any telemetry by default.
- Should support OpenPGP natively, i.e. without extensions.
- Should support storing OpenPGP encrypted emails locally.
Share this website and spread privacy knowledge
Copy this text to easily share Privacy Guides with your friends and family on any social network!