- Release Date: January 29, 2015
New attachment sources
Free to download
Availability restrict to iOS 8 and above
No custom IMAP account support
It is good to see Microsoft in the world of mobile platforms with its Outlook for iOS app that has several features which could ease the overall email experience of its users.
Microsoft released its Outlook app for iOS and Android last week using Acompli resources. While the Android version is still in preview, its iOS counterpart is available as a final release to please users on Apple devices with an all-new list of features over the default Mail app. We installed Outlook for iOS soon after its release on one of our iOS devices to start testing its capabilities and to bring out that how it can be a good competitor against the default Mail app as well as other email clients which are at present gaining huge popularity on iOS platform. So here is our in-depth review on Microsoft Outlook for iOS.
Before getting start, we would like to mention here that Microsoft Outlook for iOS is available for free download on Apple App Store and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running on iOS 8.0 or above. The app is based on Acompli Email app as Microsoft acquired Acompli in December last year.
As Microsoft Outlook for iOS comes with iOS 8 compatibility, it has a specific design which suits the core design language of the operating system. The featured fonts, color schemes and animation effects, all are designed accordingly to provide a native experience on iOS devices.
Microsoft has provided five dock icons – Mail, Calendar, Files, People and Settings – on the bottom of the Outlook app, while its top side has menu, search and new email icons. The app has Focused Inbox and Other as two tabs above the email list screen, which hold all the emails under one roof, and there is a Quick Filter button on right-most side of the tabs to filter out unread and flagged emails as well as those emails which have attachments.
The overall interface of Microsoft Outlook for iOS is quite decent and clutter-free. Moreover, all the icons and buttons are properly named to make it an easy-to-use app for the newbies.
Features and Capabilities
Microsoft Outlook for iOS is the company’s first-ever attempt to offer an all-new native email app that would give a tough competition to Google’s Inbox and Gmail, Yahoo Mail and the default Mail app. Therefore, it is full of new features and capabilities.
First things first; Microsoft Outlook for iOS has Focused Inbox. This new kind of inbox works as a priority inbox to provide all the emails under a single tab which are important for the users. We found that it works intelligently most of the time, as claimed by the company, by taking a look at the historical record of email interactions of the users. Priorities can also be set manually by moving the emails from Other tab to Focused Inbox to get real-time push notifications on their arrival in the next instances.
After Focused Inbox, we liked the way Microsoft integrated Calendar into its Outlook app. This integration is quite helpful to schedule new meetings without leaving the app. In addition, it comes with bundled features such as Quick RSVP for fast responding to an invite and Send Availability feature to share available meeting times. Both the new features are neither available on the default Mail app nor on most of the third-party email apps.
The third feature which is worth noticeable on Microsoft Outlook app is the easier attachments support. Unlike the default Mail app, Outlook app has a list of sources such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive to let users directly save their email attachments right on to the cloud storage and save the internal storage of the device as well as to add attachments directly from these sources. This could be one of the reasons that users might want to switch to Outlook app over the default Mail app and ease the process of saving and adding new attachments in their emails.
Besides, Microsoft Outlook for iOS has a swipe gesture support that allow users to easily set new swipe gestures. By default, the company has set swipe left gesture to archive emails and swipe right to schedule emails. The app has an additional capability to create an archive folder if it has not yet been created on the email account to save the selected email on it or users can also choose any of the available folders to archive emails. Similarly, the app has the capability to schedule email messages to read them in a few hours, next day or on a certain day. Users can also configure the left and right swipe gestures with adding some other actions.
Unlike some of the popular email apps, Microsoft Outlook for iOS supports multiple email accounts that are available on most of the renowned email services such as Apple iCloud, Gmail, Microsoft Exchange and Yahoo Mail, alongside Outlook.com. We liked this support but as currently there is no way to add a custom IMAP account like a domain specific webmail account, it is not so pleasing feature to be praised here.
It is good to see Microsoft in the world of mobile platforms with its Outlook for iOS app that has several features which could ease the overall email experience of its users. We hope that the company would add more features to the app in the coming future to make it the best third-party email app on iOS platform.