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

illustration of ProtonMail Version 4.0 beta
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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

Together with the new programming framework, we also changed the design of our web app.  We built a lighter interface that serves as the starting place to access your ProtonVPN account, ProtonContacts, and future tools such as Proton cloud storage. 

To make it easy to find the right Proton tool, we’ve also added a new navigation bar in the top left corner of your Mailbox for your ProtonMail, ProtonContacts, and ProtonVPN buttons. Users with paid plans can find the ProtonCalendar icon here. We also added intuitive design elements, plus a cleaner and more helpful Settings page.

illustration of ProtonMail Settings menu

More themes to suit your taste

Version 4.0 is easier on the eyes with the new dark mode for the web application, the first step toward offering dark mode in other Proton apps. The new theme changes the background of ProtonMail to Atomic Grey and adjusts the color of some design elements to improve contrast. 

No functionality or overall page layout will be changed by switching to dark mode. And, of course, you can always switch back to the default theme or import your own color scheme in the custom theme editor. We are now working on adding other Proton themes, including a light mode and additional inbox customization features.

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.