Say hello to the future of ProtonMail! Introducing Version 4.0 beta

illustration of ProtonMail Version 4.0 beta

Today we’re unveiling our biggest redesign ever. Not only does ProtonMail Version 4.0 look more modern on the surface, it’s part of our ongoing transition to a newer software framework that lays the foundation for future features, new products, and better customization. 

You can start using the ProtonMail Version 4.0 beta right now. It’s open to all users, including those with Free plans. If you don’t have a Proton account yet, you can sign up here: 

Then go to beta.protonmail.com and log in with your Proton credentials.

Version 4.0 is the launchpad for more Proton products

illustration of ProtonMail Version 4.0 Inbox

It’s no secret that we’re building privacy-focused alternatives to the online services you use every day. The Proton ecosystem is an ambitious project that will tie together ProtonMail, ProtonVPN, ProtonContacts, ProtonCalendar, and ProtonDrive in a seamless continuum of encryption tools. Inside of Proton, you’re in control of your own data.

Proton exists to serve the community, and as is our custom, Version 4.0 will be in beta for some time to allow us sufficient opportunity to collect feedback from the community and make changes and adjustments. As such, ProtonMail 4.0 will continue to iterate and evolve in the coming months as we take your input into consideration. During this process, we will continue to make significant software changes. 

In particular, ProtonMail 3.0 was written using a JavaScript framework called AngularJS, which was created in 2010 and provides a relatively simple, out-of-the-box solution for developing a web app. But it’s not very easy to make changes to it, and the way it manages user inputs (like starring an email or moving a message to a new folder) is not very efficient. 

With Version 4.0, we’ve decided to implement a newer JavaScript library called React, which is much more flexible and efficient. With React, we can build web pages much faster, giving us the freedom to quickly deploy new apps and features, and then continuously improve them. By nature, React is a JavaScript library, not a JavaScript framework like AngularJS. This provides more freedom to our app developers to build Proton in the best way possible.

Moreover, the web app itself will be much faster. Our transition to React for Version 4.0 is already starting, with Settings and Contacts already written in React. The ProtonMail inbox is still written in AngularJS but will transition to React over the course of the beta.

Watch the video below to hear Product Manager Mathew Stastny and Lead Developer Richard Tetaz discuss the development of Version 4.0.

New look, same ProtonMail

Even if you don’t notice the new programming framework, you’ll notice the major upgrade to the design of our web app. Our goal was to build a user interface that felt lighter and helped you work faster. We wanted to create an email workspace you’d want to spend time using and which could serve as a starting place to access your ProtonVPN account, your ProtonContacts, and the other forthcoming Proton tools. 

To help bind our products, we’ve added a new navigation bar in the top left corner of your Mailbox where you’ll find buttons for ProtonMail, ProtonContacts, and ProtonVPN. When ProtonCalendar is ready for beta release in the near future, it will also appear here. We’ve also added intuitive design elements, plus a cleaner and more helpful Settings page.

illustration of ProtonMail Settings menu

You asked us for more themes, and we heard you. Version 4.0 gives us the ability to develop more themes, faster. Our top priority is a Dark Mode, which we’ll release later on during the 4.0 beta. It will also pave the way for dark themes in other Proton apps. We will also introduce at a later date additional inbox customization features. And of course, you still have the option to import your own color scheme in the custom theme editor

Your feedback matters

As we add new themes, tweak the design, and continue making improvements, your feedback will help guide the future of ProtonMail.

During the beta, you can reach us with any kind of feedback on Version 4.0 via our bug report feature inside the web app. Proton thrives because of its community, and we’re excited to hear what you think of the new design!

Best Regards,
The ProtonMail Team

You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.

We also provide a free VPN service to protect your privacy.

ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are funded by community contributions. If you would like to support our development efforts, you can upgrade to a paid plan or donate. Thank you for your support.

About the Author

Ben Wolford

Ben Wolford is a writer at Proton. A journalist for many years, Ben joined Proton to help lead the fight for data privacy.

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92 comments on “Say hello to the future of ProtonMail! Introducing Version 4.0 beta

    • Hi! No, you won’t be stuck. You can access Version 4.0 by logging in at beta.protonmail.com. You can switch back to Version 3.0 by logging in at mail.protonmail.com.

      Thanks for your patience, by the way. Hope you enjoy the redesign! You can send any and all feedback via the bug report feature.

      Reply
  • privacy focussed…., what does that exactly mean? Does Proton adopt the W3C Decen ID standard or does protonmail comply with regulatory and turns in users based on AML and KYC rules?

    Reply
  • So excited to try this, congratulations on hitting beta!

    Any chance there’ll be a beta link for protonmail.ch as well?

    Reply
  • I like the new look. But most importantly I love your product generally and can’t wait to see ProtonCloud and ProtonDrive when they launch. Keep up the amazing work!

    Reply
  • I use ProtonMail (or any other email service) on mobile devices (iOS, iPadOS, Android) 99.9999999% of the time. For ProtonVPN that’s like 95% of the time. So, I really won’t be participating in the beta. In fact, until you’ve redesigned the apps I really won’t notice ProtonMail 4.0 even exists.

    Regarding the screenshots you shared, it’s weird that it looks almost exactly like the Gmail UI. That would be my only feedback on PM 4.0.

    Anyway, I’m happy you’re working on improving the service/ecosystem and will continue to be a paying customer. But, please, all changes and new products should be released at the same time on mobile.

    Question: now that Mac Catalyst is out, is a Mac app in the horizon?

    Reply
  • Thank you very much from USA Florida Miami, we need people like you to provide us with the necessary tools to be safe with our data, privacy is synonymous with Democracy and that those rights are respected, hopefully always remain invincible and always learning along the way to Be stronger every day in your code, thanks Ben Wolford and the entire Proton Team.

    Muchísimas Gracias desde U.S.A Florida Miami, necesitamos que personas como ustedes nos brinden las herramientas necesarias para poder estar a salvo con nuestros datos, la privacidad es sinónimo de Democracia y que sean respetado esos derechos, ojala siempre sigan invencibles y aprendiendo siempre en el camino para ser cada día mas fuerte en su código, gracias Ben Wolford y a todo el Equipo De Proton.

    Reply
    • U2F support is planned but we don’t have a release date yet as it requires us to make some changes to the domains that we use. Thank you for your patience!

      Reply
  • I am new on ProtonMail. I like the design so far. Will other links (other than Facebook & Twitter) be accessible in the future on the top bar? Other links might include Bitchute, Mind, Mewe or Internet Search.
    I also noticed you have “Google Plus” featured as an accessible link. Since April 2019, Google Plus was removed by Google & this link is no longer accessible. So, you can remove it.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the suggestions. Regarding Google Plus, could you please tell me where you see this icon? We don’t use Google Plus.

      Reply
  • Since I’ve joined ProtonMail a year ago (or even more), I was very impressed by the whole work you do, and since I became a subscribed user, I very much support all your work and impatiently wait for all the features that will come. I’m happy to be part of the Translation project and spread the word for you wherever I go. I think mouth-to-mouth advertising is still the best way to attract new clients and to raise your reputation, because ProtonMail really deserves it, and even more than that. I can’t imagine life without ProtonMail anymore and I’m excited about the expansion and growth of the Proton ecosystem in the future. It cannot be anything else but a bright one, that’s for sure. Love you very much, ProtonMail!

    Reply
  • Redesign is nice and always welcome and work under the hood might have been really extensive. But I was hoping to see in-message search or some other functional changes along. Otherwise it looks more like just a new paint. But anyway I appreciate the ProtonMail development.

    Reply
    • Hey Artem, thanks for the feedback. Yes, encrypted message body search is planned for the live release of Version 4, plus a few other features. We were eager to get the beta in your hands as soon as possible.

      Reply
  • Buenos días, una cuenta con ProtonMail genera alguna mejora en la seguridad cuando es asociada a una cuenta para acceder a tu smartphone?

    Reply
    • While I’m not sure I understand what kind of smartphone account you’re talking about, there is certainly a privacy benefit to associating all your accounts with your ProtonMail email address. When you do, all confirmations, receipts, newsletters, service communications, etc. will be sent to your encrypted inbox where we cannot read them, unlike other email services that do scan your inbox and construct profiles of you.

      Reply
  • Dear Proton Team,

    I am impressed with your fast development and your great job providing high-quality services and protecting my privacy! ProtonMail is my primary e-mail address and I am a paid user of ProtonVPN.

    I think that the current ProtonMail theme is fairy dark and elegant and the 4.0.0. beta version is even darker. So I am a little bit surprised to know that so many people ask you for the “dark theme”. I would like to see more colors… And as I spend too much time on the computer, I’d love a theme that would make me feel as if I am I the Amazon Jungle!

    Honestly, I don’t understand why the ProtonCalendar is that important. Whereas e-mail and VPN are inherently online services, I can keep my calendar offline, which may be the most secure solution.

    My impression is that your most important goal is the secure ProtonDrive, which will be truly useful for us and surely a good business for you. My friends were very excited hearing about your plans about the ProtonDrive! Although there are several providers (including one based in Switzerland) of a “secure” cloud storage, oddly, by now the most practical solution for me is to encrypt sensitive files locally on my computer and then upload them on GoogleDrive (15GB of free space!). I can easily sign and encrypt any file on the disk with just a single command line under Linux. However, most of my friends in Europe and South America have little knowledge about computers and many of them feel the need of more privacy.

    Finally, I hope you will never forget about the users of Linux developing your future apps!

    Thank you for your great work,
    X.Y.

    Reply
  • I like the new look of ProtonMail 4.0. However, it is very difficult to see the difference between Read and Unread messages. Can you please make the two more differentiated for ease of use.

    Thank you.
    V

    Reply
  • Nice. But please try to do not reduce the size of email display. It’s reduced with the new interface. I lot of surface is not used with the new ribbons.

    Best regards

    Reply
  • Curious that ProtonMail, a privacy email, chose React, a framework developed by Facebook, one of the least privacy concerned company. Why did you do that? 🙁
    You moved from Angular (Google) to React (Facebook). Very strange move. Why did you not move to a more open source library (Vue or something else)?
    I just signed up for ProtonMail but your move has made me reconsider being an user now that I know ProtonMail has just become dependent on Facebook 🙁
    Too bad. I was very hopeful I had found the best email provider 🙁

    Reply
    • While React might have been developed originally at Facebook, there is a large and independent open source community of developers around React, so it is not in any way dependent on Facebook at all because it is an open source community driven software.

      Reply
  • Tried it and love it. Nice work! Looks modern and clean.
    Maybe it’s just my imagination, but the 4.0 version seems to work (much) faster?

    Reply
  • Hi There,

    Good job guys. Will be there the possibility, in future, for the theme to contain more rows on Inbox. I mean like the density of gmail to be compact. If you get the possibility the layout to be customizable: as themes, size etc. it will be bring some advantages in terms of organization.
    Anyway on December I will upgrade my account and close gmail for ever, after six months for migration (to advise all the contacts).

    Reply
  • Really love the design of 4.0 and looking forward to the other Proton products!

    Will Proton Calendar and Contacts be able to be used on Android in place of Google Contacts/Calendar? I think my question is will they be separate apps for us to download to use instead of using Google’s default. I just don’t want to have to go into ProtonMail to reach either things. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks, KT! Whether calendar and contacts is a separate app is not decided yet, but it’s very likely calendar will be a separate app.

      Reply
  • I almost never use web apps. I really hope that the announced calendar and contacts tie into the IOS ecosystem, or I will not be using them. It should be fairly easy to create those services with an encrypted transmission and storage. My highest wishes for a new feature though – are for an encrypted no knowledge notes solution

    Reply
    • Spellcheck would be an interesting feature (which you could add to User Voice protonmail.uservoice.com), but isn’t there a spellcheck built in to your OS or browser?

      Reply
  • Good work! I think the new version looks really good.

    But I have to concur with Simone. Compared to the previous version the navigation bars left/up and the rows of the mail inbox use much more space. This might look nice on a 24″ screen but on a 13″ notebook screen it is tedious (lots of scrolling for labels, mails..).

    So, maybe you can add a compact version?

    Reply
  • Love the new update and look forward to it moving out of beta. I noticed when in column layout and I delete a message to trash, it does not move to the next message but takes me to a welcome message in the message pane. This requires me to select every message I look at which is unnecessary. It would be nice if you could automatically move to the next message after deleting the one you’re viewing. I’m not sure if there’s a setting I need to change for this but it’s annoying to me. Lastly, really looking forward to better iOS native apps. On iPhone the current app is hard to read and doesn’t take advantage of system wide accessibility settings such as larger fonts. Please add this.

    Reply
  • I don’t know if it is on your plan, but I would suggest to create a link when the attachment is bigger than 25MB (as it works for Apple).

    Reply
    • It’s not quite here yet, but we’re close. If you have a paid ProtonMail account and you’re logged in via beta.protonmail.com, you’ll see the ProtonCalendar icon in the top left once the beta has been released.

      Reply
  • Love Proton products and really looking forward to the Calendar and Drive!

    Perhaps it’s a false good idea but could we have a Proton Ecosystem Android Launcher in which calendar, mail, contacts, drive, notes etc are all Proton products by default?

    I don’t see how practical it will be have all these app separated from the android system.

    Thx! Keep going!

    Reply
  • Very glad to hear sub-folders will be supported in 4.0. This missing feature is what has kept me from migrating from gmail to my paid protonmail subscription. Thank you for listening to your subscribers.

    Reply
  • So it’s said now and forever: I HATE change. I know where everything is, and how it works, and I don’t want anybody messing with it, so as soon as I saw that ProtonMail was changing things up, of course I’m displeased. However there is a way to do this so that those of us that like the way things are don’t have to learn the bells & whistles behind this “great new look,” and that is a SLOW release. Instead of overhauls, why can’t we get a series of strategically timed updates to lessen the shock? Anyway, I’m just anxious to see what I’ll have to learn – enough to write a whiny message, but not enough to RTFM. 🙂 Love my ProtonMail! Cheers!

    Reply
    • I feel the same way about big redesigns. But I can tell you that this one maintains a ton of consistency so that it didn’t feel like I had to relearn anything. And most of the larger changes (relatively speaking) were so intuitive that they haven’t been a problem. I’ve been using beta.protonmail.com since the release, and it was a smooth transition. If you’re not already, you might want to start using it now so that as improvements are made throughout the beta period, they’ll be more incremental for you. Thanks for your support!

      Reply
  • I just upgraded to Protonmail Plus (long overdue!) and then tried out Beta 4.0. It looks much slicker, and I like the way that you can switch between the different apps on the left hand side. Yes, it looks more like gmail, but it’s a neater UI. And more functional. I’m going to stick with 4.0 and look forward to Dark Mode!

    Just one thing: the ‘Folders’ text on the left is now larger than in 3.x so not all the folders are visible.

    Reply
  • Love 4.0. Great job. Just hoping you can offer some good deals on storage once ProtonDrive comes out. Some of us have tons of files:-)

    Reply
  • So can you pls describe the promised calendar features? Can i send invites to/receive invites from other types of calendars (google, microsoft)? Will the proton calendar sync with other pc calendar apps (apple, microsoft)?

    Reply
  • Looking forward to version 4.0 as well as the calendar and drive applications.

    For the mail and calendar integration, will a date referenced in an e-mail (e.g. 15 November 2019) be formatted as a hyperlink such that clicking on the date will create a calendar entry that the user can then populate with specific information?

    Thanks again for the great work with ProtonMail.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mike! I’m not familiar with the exact UI for this, but I know that feature will be part of ProtonCalendar at some point in the beta.

      Reply
  • Hi. I like ProtonMail. I do appreciate the privacy focus in PM. I’m trying to move my important email activities this way. I would like to make some feature requests, specially for the web version since there is no Desktop (MAC) client. I think if some new features are made available, at least as an option, everybody will be much happier!
    1- I would like to have a ‘Reminder’ feature I could assign to individual emails to follow up later, specially on the web version but also on Mobile.
    2- It would be great to be able to use PM like a messenger on mobile as in texting function.
    3- It would make PM much more user friendly if Proton Mail worked with other apps or had features such as scheduling (Calendar), Reminder, and Notes that are interchangeable with what you’re doing when inside the app. This way, one can handle all their time way more efficiently and I for one would be more than happy to PAY to use this service.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Shervin! Thanks for the suggestions. We’re working on more cross-functionality, and you’ll see more of that with ProtonCalendar and ProtonDrive. I’ll pass your suggestions along to our Version 4.0 team.

      Reply
  • New version looks good. I like the full page compose message window.
    Glad to see the upcoming calendar and cloud storage features.

    Reply
  • I don’t get it. What is better visually? For me, nothing. The left bar is useless (take a lot of reading space) and so is the upper bar! When you have multiple folders, there is a new ugly additional, scroll bar.
    Also, the space in inbox between emails is larger, not compact => less content on screen.

    The remaining reading space for an email is super tiny on the beta.
    Developers usually have big displays and not ipads/macbook air/etc. but they should test things out.

    Also, the background is darker (we are not all ‘dark mode’ kids) and the reading space is white, so the contrast is bad.
    And one more thing – it starts to look more and more like clients we are running from; Gmail/Outlook.com

    Hope you give users options like keeping the current design, customize the new, or you make it better.
    You should focus on security/privacy/features, the design is ok, we don’t need updates all the time!

    Just a humble opinion.

    Reply
  • I like Protonmail, but why don’t you approve comments that are not all positive about your new “beta” version ?
    (and why, on this page, do you use “canvas extraction” (blocked by TOR browser)

    So, again:
    – the left bar and upper bar takes A LOT from the usable reading space of an email.
    (especially on a mackbook pro with the dock below and default retina display @1440×900)

    – the darker color is not ok (give option for people that likes “dark” stuff ..)
    – in inbox/folders, the space/gap between emails is now too large, and no longer compact.
    – it looks too much like web clients we are running from – Outlook.com/Gmail.com – be different, don’t just follow!

    These are constructive critics!
    Since you should be about freedom, you should allow the comments, not become a censor …

    Reply
    • Thank you. I’ve approved both your comments. We don’t censor constructive feedback, but we do need to moderate the comments to block spam and abuse.

      Reply
  • Will subfolders be a part of version 4.0 as soon as it releases? I’m considering a switch, but that is a crucial feature for my mailbox. When is version 4 expected to go live?

    Reply
  • Tried the V4.0 Beta.
    Looks much better on the large screen.

    1. Starred emails are not prominent (* is at extreme RHS)

    2. Is there any chance that labels could be lined up on the Left somewhere, instead of being tacked onto the end of the variable length Subject line?

    3. Will free accounts suffer any additional restrictions by using V4.0? It seems to indicate that my free account is limited to only 3 different labels!

    Reply
  • I like a lot of things about the new design. I was really hoping this redesign would see a refresh button on custom folders, and a “Send + Archive” option on the compose form.

    Reply
  • Thanks a lot for all your work and for your amazing email & VPN. This redesign looks awesome

    I’m curious about why did you choose React ? React’s brute force approach to DOM diffing is a bit outdated and quite hard on battery & CPU.

    Did you consider frameworks such as Svelte which brings the functional & reactive approach of React but without all the performance problems of diffing ?

    Another comment : It seems you’re planning to add a dark mode, that’s really neat. There is now an CSS API (prefers-color-scheme) for this, it would be cool to use it to automatically adjust to the OS theme 🙂

    Thanks again for all your work,
    Cheers

    Reply