Read mbox file with mutt or Thunderbird

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A few months ago I requested a data export from my former google account.

Especially containing emails and contacts saved in my account.

Received a 3GB zip file containing a 10GB mbox file.

This is how I managed to read it, either in the terminal (mutt) or with Thunderbird.


Mutt is a small but very powerful text based program for reading and sending electronic mail …


Reading the mbox file (read-only mode -R) was straightforward

mutt -R -f <PATH_TO_MBOX_FILE>

Additionally, if you want to strip the HTML tags from the messages, here is an excellent resource.

Essentially you add auto_view text/html to your ~/.muttrc


text/html; lynx -dump %s; copiousoutput; nametemplate=%s.html to your ~/.mailcap

Now you can read your email messages without the gross HTML in the way.

Search through your inbox with <ESC>b


In Thunderbird, it’s even simpler.

Install the extension/addon “ImportExportTools NG” and import your mbox file.

Here, have a slice of pizza 🍕