I’ve used ‘Notes’ quite a lot on my iPhone since I got my first one (an 8GB 3G) in 2008; usually for little reminders, shopping lists, a note of what Christmas presents I’ve already bought etc. When I was bought an iPad in 2010 you could sync notes between the iPhone and iPad using Apple’s ‘me.com’ service. I then started using ‘Notes’ for a few more things – common phrases I would need for work that I could copy and paste from Notes into other apps.
In 2003, a couple of years after I finished uni, I started using a little-known browser called ‘Firebird‘ – this was at version 0.6. By the time it went public with version 1.0 it had been known as ‘Firefox’ for some time. It has, since then, been my browser of choice. I’ve grown up with Firefox and even remember the excitement of it hitting version 1.0!
So in late 2003 when I discovered that the same team who made Firefox had been working on an email client, known as Thunderbird, I jumped at the chance even though it was currently at version 0.5. Again, I feel like I grew up with Thunderbird and it’s been my email client of choice for the best part of a decade. When I switched from Windows to Mac for my day-to-day work in late 2008 it was stupidly simple to shift all my history, settings and plugins for both Firefox and Thunderbird from my Windows machine to the MacBook Pro – oh the joys of cross-OS software! Because it was so easy to transfer I stuck with both Firefox (for web browsing) and Thunderbird (for email and newsgroups).
I’ve used both for almost a decade and, as such, I’ve got used to them. While I do use Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer to test websites, my day-to-day use is powered by Mozilla. I just don’t get on with the Mac Mail app either although I can’t quite put my finger on why…
So, going back to the Notes on iPhone/iPad, these were recently shifted over from me.com to iCloud but worked in the same way – they could be synced across devices. These last few months I’ve been using Notes more and more and wanted to be able to edit them on my MacBook Pro (and possibly even my Windows computer). The Mac Mail app handles Notes as part of the email account so it got me wondering if I could do the same but using Thunderbird. Thankfully, after a lot of fiddling, trial and error and some lost notes, I have got a working solution. This works on both Mac OSX, Windows and Linux (basically any OS that you can run Thunderbird on).
So, how is it done? Put simply, the Notes are essentially emails stored in a specific ‘Notes’ folder in the me.com IMAP mail account on Apple’s servers. These need to be ‘detected’ as being Notes (rather than regular emails) and need to be editable. The next post will detail how you can achieve this in Thunderbird: