Outlook for iPhone or iPad could be the mail app we've been waiting for!

Outlook is Microsoft's relaunch of Acompli, the iPhone and iPad email app they acquired last December. It's been rebranded but it still supports not only Microsoft Exchange and Outlook mail accounts, but Google, iCloud, and Yahoo as well. For file storage, you can instantly hook into Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box. There are focus lists and scheduling options to help you get through your inbox faster, and your calendar is only ever a tap away.

Not only does Outlook support all these services and perform all these tasks, it does so exceptionally well. So well in fact, it may be the mail app you've been waiting for.

When you launch Outlook on your iPhone or iPad you're asked to configure your accounts, both email and file storage. If you don't want to set them all up right away, you can always add more later through the Settings section.

One of my favorite things about the Outlook app is the navigation along the bottom. I can single-handedly tap between my inbox, calendar, files, and recent contacts — even on an iPhone 6 Plus. In the mail tab, Microsoft has two main inbox views to help you get through your mail; Focused and Other. The Focused list smartly moves things that Outlook thinks are important to you. All other messages are filtered into Other.

Microsoft Outlook for iPhone and iPad review: Worth the wait?!

At first I wasn't sure what the Focused list was actually doing. As time went on, however, I realized it was picking up and filtering spam messages, bulk emails, and other kinds of content that I really didn't need to concentrate on. All that was left were emails from developers, my family, my editors, and anything else that I had scheduled for later.

Speaking of scheduling emails, yes Outlook does that too. The first time you attempt to schedule a message, you're asked if you want to set up a scheduled box. This is a single folder that appears in your folder directory. After that, you're done. I prefer the implementation Microsoft is using for snoozing emails to Mailbox's. Mailbox wants to create all new file structures in my accounts. I already have folders set up and have for years, let me use them.

Microsoft Outlook for iPhone and iPad review: Worth the wait?!

Outlook also lets you set up gestures, however, you can't have more than one function per gesture. For example, in Mailbox I typically slide part way to the left to archive and all the way to delete. In Outlook, part way or all the way achieves the same results.

Bulk email handling, by contrast, is really well implemented. If you tap and hold on any message in your inbox, you enter bulk edit mode. You can tap on more emails to select multiple messages to manage. I tend to delete messages more than I archive them, so I set a swipe gesture for delete and if I need to archive, I can do it in as little as two taps.

Microsoft Outlook for iPhone and iPad review: Worth the wait?!

Outlook dedicates an entire tab Calendars. While it won't replace Fantastical 2 on my iPhone or iPad Home screen any time soon, it's convenient to be able to toggle to my calendar and see if something conflicts without having to leave the app. I would, however, like to see Microsoft do more in terms of sharing and attaching events inside the Outlook. A month view would also be a welcome addition.

In terms of file integration, I love what Outlook brings to the table. One tap and I have access to every single file in my inbox, whether it was a regular attachment, a Dropbox file, or a Google Drive document. I can even see stuff I have stored that isn't in my email. We use Google Drive a lot at Mobile Nations for shared spreadsheets and I use Dropbox to house a lot of my own attachments, so having both in one feed is bliss. If any single feature will sell me on using Outlook on a regular basis, file handling will be it.

The good

  • File management is epic, seriously
  • Bulk mail management is better than most other clients
  • Scheduling only adds one single folder to your email's file directory, not several like other email services do to accomplish the exact same snooze abilities
  • Notifications are blazing fast, and lots of tone options, yay
  • Awesome landscape view for iPhone 6 Plus owners

The bad

  • Draft support - I've been spoiled by Apple giving me draft cards that I can flick away so having to dig through a file system for drafts bums me out
  • Reaching from Focus to Other in the inbox view one handed is a chore on an iPhone 6 Plus, perhaps some UI magic there would alleviate some of that frustration
  • Calendar integration could use a month view and better share options

The bottom line

Microsoft Outlook for iPhone and iPad review: Worth the wait?!

Microsoft didn't destroy Acompli when they turned it into Outlook. If anything, they made it better. Little issues aside, Outlook for iPhone and iPad is a valuable tool for any working professional using any iOS device. The direction Microsoft took feels right this time and if they can follow through, Outlook could just be the mobile mail app many of us have been waiting for.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Using this app and it's great! Discovered it after they renamed it outlook so don't really know how it was before. Good email app though. Sent from the iMore App
  • Not all is well though, security is an issue:
  • +100! The bad is very bad. I wish security was more of a priority on these articles. Sent from the iMore App
  • Sorry Ally, but you can't write a review without mentioning this huge security issue!
  • +1 100% Sent from the iMore App
  • +1 Same exact thoughts! Sent from the iMore App
  • +1 - this article has to be amended to comment on this security issue! Agree or disagree, it must form part of the review.
  • It scares me how may reviews I've read of this app that omit this one HUGE reason not to use the thing especially in a corporate environment (which it's aimed at somewhat).
  • what else do you expect from Microsoft...
  • There might be some concern, but part of the reason people loved Acompli and its new branding as Outlook is that it gives the features and integration they want. Also, I dispise when IT personnel call people users. I have heard it used too many times in a condescending (or worse) manner.
  • It's correct though. As correct as you calling them personnel.
  • Except when I say IT personnel I don't mean "those people that screw things up". And I get that my statement was very generalized, not all use the term user in a negative way. But c'mon, you have to admit you have heard it used negatively.
  • Just be aware that they're calling you something much worse when the phone gets hung up.
  • And that is my point. Thank you. They don't have respect for their customer (not user).
  • If you "use" something, aren't you a "user"? What would you prefer to be called? Also - it doesn't give any true "integration" - it's smoke and mirrors. They need to actually make a true Exchange server client for iOS. *THAT* would be awesome.
  • Customer fits better. Creates a better mindset to want to help. I get why user is the term that is used though. It has been made into a negative too much though. Even in school/training.
  • I believe somewhere in the comments of either that site who did the write-up, or another site where that article got mentioned, someone said something about all mail providers storing your information that way. Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Is this true, or is this issue with the Outlook app something completely different? I am not a corporate user, but as someone who was just looking into other email app replacements, it definitely got me worried about installing it for now. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • As a non-corporate user, I would not be worried, at least not really any more than with any other client. Corporate users have concerns. The article has the interesting details, but the TL;DR summary is that Outlook is different because most companies run (or contract) their own Exchange servers, and own the data on them. An oversimplification, but Outlook/Accompli does not just use your credentials, but it [Edit: can log in as] you and perform actions as you so it can send notifications for you. Some companies may be fine with that, but others are not going to be ok with employees routing corporate data through third parties, even if that third party is Microsoft. It opens up a new security vector for your company to have to consider. Since the company, not you, technically owns the data and are in charge for its security, doing this could get you in hot water if you work for one of those companies.
  • I dig Sent from the iMore App
  • You can have a left AND right swipe - so you can set up Archive/Delete (there are other options as well, such as 'move'). Also - you can have a month view in the calendar, just by swiping the 'week' view down (I still think 'Calendars 5' is the best app for a decent 'month' view though - little dots everywhere don't really help me see my schedule). Having a basic calendar only a touch away, within the same app, is mighty fine though! I'm not a Microsoft fan in the slightest (I'm running a Google Apps account within Outlook) - but this app is now sitting on my iPhone doc.
  • I more meant i can't swipe one way and have two options (four total like I can in Mailbox)
  • Interestingly, you CAN do this in Acompli (if you happen to still have it installed, since it appears to be missing from the store). It's the major feature inequality I've found between Acompli and Outlook. I am assuming (hoping?) that MS will be updating Outlook to include this at some point, as it is really a useful bit of functionality.
  • For IMAP accounts, is there IMAP IDLE? Or is Push Notifcations for IMAP accounts available. Any feedback on battery usage vis-a-vis mail.app.
  • I was an Acompli user, and now Outlook and Mailbox. I have found the Outlook iOS app to be a little more power hungry than Acompli was, but after disabling Background App Refresh for Outlook, it's much easier on battery life according to the Battery Usage indicator in settings. Push notifications for new messages still come in on time with background app refresh off. Outlook doesn't support IMAP yet, but MSFT support has said it's coming soon on various sites, eg. here in the comments: http://blogs.office.com/2015/01/29/deeper-look-outlook-ios-android/
  • Apologies if these seems an ignorant query, but aan any third-party iOS email app even do fetch, or are they all restricted to push only?
  • Best email app!! I wish it had IMAP/pop3 support and a share extension Sent from the iMore App
  • Main thing that prevents me from using this is inability to truly attach files from cloud providers (they add as links). Check out Boxer which has attachments and all the features of Outlook (and a ton more!!). I'm actually shocked Outlook is getting so much press when Boxer beats it hands down. Sent from the iMore App
  • One problem I find with attaching files to emails is that many email clients have files size restrictions, at least with links it makes the email not only small and fast but keeps the receivers email slim too.
  • Fantastical has a great widget, and since iOS does widgets in the Today notification pane, which is brilliant, you can pull that down any time without leaving the Outlook app as well. Just responding to the part "it's convenient to be able to toggle to my calendar and see if something conflicts without having to leave the app" to remind everyone of how convient and practical widgets are in iOS, and this case is a great example.
  • No POP mail, so no go for me.
  • What is the difference between POP and IMAP? Sent from the iMore App
  • Wisdom teeth removal @2PM?! Ouch, Ally.
    Great review. I'm liking Outlook quite a bit and it is now my go-to email client (I use Exchange, mostly, which is precisely why I was so excited that Microsoft took the time to make Acompli even better). Cheerios.
  • The app only syncs one month's worth of email.
    This is a deal breaker for me tho I agree with the reviewer that it is a cool mail app.
  • Month view is important to me, also, so I tried messing with things within the Calendar tab to figure it out. If you swipe down on the displayed week, it reveals a month view. It will remain in month view until you quit the app; merely closing the app, under any tab, will keep month view setting.
  • You can go back to week view swiping up. Sent from the iMore App
  • I like this one for Gmail much MUCH better than Inbox. This would be a near perfect app if it had a darker theme and bigger fonts.
  • Will have to give it a try on my iPhone, iPad. Posted via my Nexus 6!
  • I was not able to get the Outlook app to use my iCloud contacts. Maybe I'm doing something wrong but that was a deal breaker for me. Sent from the iMore App
  • Maybe it's just me, but I can't see any way to print? Surely it's just me. Can someone tell me where I'm missing it?
  • I too have noticed this. As good as this app is, how could they have missed such a basic feature? I have to do a lot of printing from my phone and this just hurt the utility of the app IMHO. Is the feature hidden somewhere that I cannot find, or is it simply missing?
  • I'm using this as my only email app now. Turned off email from the stock app. This also spares me the pain of the Gmail app.
  • This may be a dumb question but how do you turn off the stock app? Thanks. Sent from the iMore App
  • Please make sure you research the security of these apps first. Don't assume it's safe just because it's from a big company. http://www.networkworld.com/article/2878816/microsoft-subnet/outlook-for...
  • I am unable to connect (iPad or iPhone) to my Work (college Exchange server)- using owa.xxx.edu?
    However I can connect using Outlook 15.6 to the same server for auto discovery. Any idea, or advice? If it matters, I could never get Accompli to connect either.
  • If you can connect via Outlook Mac/PC but not Accompli/Outlook IOS, I would guess your college is specifically blocking those connections due to concerns like the following: https://blog.winkelmeyer.com/2015/01/warning-microsofts-outlook-app-for-...
  • That is a very good possibility.
  • Other than integrating common outlook functions in one place, and the "great if you care" things like swiping, as an exchange client overall, it's not materially better than what ships on the iPhone, and in some ways, worse. The 'focused' inbox can also be less than stellar if you just want an inbox that shows you all the email within it. The calendaring support is no better than you get stock iOS, the contact support is actually worse in that you can't use any local device contacts. Same thing with calendar data or really any local data. As Outlook uses neither AD/Exchange-supplied signatures or the signatures set up in the iPhone settings, you have to duplicate those. During setup, it doesn't look at your existing EAS accounts and use those settings, so you have to go through that setup again. So there's no way to automate the setup for this across devices in either a company-owned or BYOD setup. On the security issue. Some of that is a bit overblown. The OMG about DropBox, etc. That's not a security issue, that's a policy issue. The use of DropBox/GoogleDrive/OneDrive is not, in and of themselves, insecure. Or secure. Where it becomes a problem is if your company policies don't allow for it. And there are both good and stupid reasons for that. So that aspect of it is a bit overblown. Outlook for iOS is not doing anything wrong here. The shared EAS IDs is a problem, and it's stupid, because now there's no way to just manage a single device. if you have a variety of devices, they're all the same. I can't come up with a good reason for that, but there may be one (other than "it was easier to program that way.") The OMG IT'S IN THE CLOUD is again, a bit of over the toppery. However, he is completely correct to be concerned about how Outlook on iOS handles your data. But that's part of what happens when you buy an app that can only function the way Outlook does and rebrand it. Right now, it's at that "decent idea, but the implementation needs a lot of work" stage.
  • I really like the app and I WANT to use it, but I have it turned off ATM. Mostly because I feel like my exchange (activesync) and Yahoo (push) emails come in slower than with the stock mail app. It seems as if this app only fetches email rather than true push. I understand that Gmail is going to be fetch regardless (correct me if I'm wrong) outside the Gmail app, but push/activesync is VERY important for my exchange email and pretty important for my Yahoo. Am I wrong in this? Is Outlook.app using push/activesync and I'm imagining things? Other thoughts on what could be improved: 1. As someone else said, the font is very small, makes it harder to use at a glance than the stock app 2. Would like to see number of unread messages by email account, I'm not a big unified mailbox guy as I use each account for very different purposes.
  • The stock apps best the pants off of this in the performance, security, and convenience arenas.
  • Very silly thought but I can't find how to change the notification tone for Outlook and you say there are many? Help? Sent from the iMore App
  • If you tap on settings on the far, bottom right side of your inbox, tap on your account right under "Account Settings" you see some more granular settings there, including Mail and Calendar notification settings
  • This would be my mail and calendar app of choice, if I could add 'Recurring appointments'. For me this is huge feature and I think for a company that owns 'Outlook', this should not have been overlooked. Mentioned this to 'Accompli' support, but still waiting.
  • You can't add ANY third party IMAP accounts. How can you even consider this is a full email client?
  • MSFT support has said IMAP support is "coming soon" on various sites and Twitter, including here in the comments: http://blogs.office.com/2015/01/29/deeper-look-outlook-ios-android/
  • I was really enjoying Acompli for the last year until Microsoft released Outlook for IOS. . Now it is blocked on my corporate server. Back to the crap that is Mail.app.
    My company does allow Touchdown but I'm not spending $20 on a solution I'm not sure will work for me.
  • I typically just use the stock iOS mail client but saw this article earlier today and had to give outlook a go with my personal and school gmail accounts. I REALLY like it thus far!
  • Wow, you should definitely mention the huge security concerns with this app.
    If you have a company or university email, you probably shouldn't use this app with its current way of operating. Many companies (and for example my old university) have already blocked it from accessing their mail servers.
  • If you swipe down from the week view of the calendar it shows month view. Sent from the iMore App
  • If you swipe down from the week view of the calendar it shows month view. Sent from the iMore App
  • The show is over when Google Calendar arrives. Outlook has nothing on Inbox and Google Calendar for iOS. Even better is if Google releases a dedicated contacts app for iOS.
  • This maybe the answer I've needed. I love Mailbox's ability to swipe-delete crap and the snoozes. Access to Dropbox doesn't hurt either. However, their inability to access Exchange and lack of folder access keeps me using the stock mail app. I get so hung up in Mailbox I forget to deal with my Exchange account in the stock app sometimes.
  • Downloaded it. Tried it. Uninstalled it. Security is a HUGE issue, as well as the UI on my 6 Plus leaves a lot to be desired. Also, there are way more taps involved to switch between my multiple inboxes, compared to the native Mail app. It is a nicely designed app, but overall, I feel as though I'm working a lot harder to check my e-mail, which using the native Mail app, takes half the time (for me, at least).
  • They are a man-in-the-middle service, and have to both keep your user credentials on their servers AND store/analyze your messages on their server. As a result this is banned by my company for legal and security reasons. Until they get rid of the man-in-the-middle processing nature - this app is a complete non-starte.
  • Ironically, I can't seem to add my Exchange account to the app. All my other accounts work well. Looks like a great app.
  • I have to agree that this Mail app is pretty great. Just installed it yesterday and now have switched to it exclusively to handle all of my email.
  • Almost identical from the accompli app that it replaces - I liked it then and I like it now. Really love the files tab and the ability to alter swipe gestures. Wouldn't be surprised if these features find their way into Apple's native app, as they work really well. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm finding it hard to understand how this is a security issue for the vast majority of us who don't use Active sync. If I'm understanding him correctly just the act of using Office has similar problems simply because of how iOS allows apps to work when not front and center. I think I'm pretty comfortable letting the largest software company on the planet store my credentials on their cloud to provide me a service I want. I'm assuming that is encrypted so for personal use I don't really see the risk. I can understand why this would be a problem for admins running policies on Active sync but I'm also thinking that's not really who they wrote this app for. Sent from the iMore App
  • Has replaced both the Gmail and mail app for me. I love it. Sent from the iMore App
  • A few things should be mentioned. Outlook for iOS does not sync items in the drafts folder and the cloud integration only provide a link to the document and not the actual document as an attachment. This limits a lot of usage of the app. Since there is no way to set Outlook as the default email app, the iOS device still have a long way to go to make it useful.
  • I am trying to love this app and hope that there are more changes around the corner like a text size option. Can someone educate me on why if I am viewing an email in outlook, I hit delete to delete it, that the next email doesn't display? Thats how I read emails and I would think that it would be a rather obvious movement in the app or maybe I am missing something.
  • Great app, huge font size issue though for me compaired to native mail app.
  • I'm a roadrunner user. Looking to delete a message and have it delete across outlook inbox's. Downloaded OL for iPad/IPhone today. Test mssgs sent They only show up in OL inbox on PC. OL inbox in two i's is absolutely blank. Help
  • Hi, Does anyone know if there's a way to include an image/logo to the signature in this app?
  • The issue of switching between Focused and Other is easily solved with the little-known "UI Magic" that is already built into the 6+... Double-"Touch" (don't press... Just Touch twice) the home button to bring the top of the screen within reach. You have surely done this by accident and wondered what just happened to your screen. This feature was not well publicized by Apple, but it is one of the best features of any large-display phone to date. The only problem that I see is that Microsoft called the Other inbox "Other"... How about, "Unfocused"... Clutter... Whatever. Have a nice day.
  • This app is worthless. You can send emails but not receive them. I even sent an email from my phone to anther email address, went to that email address and hit reply and the phone did not get it. Thanks for another useless app.
  • WARNING! Outlook for iPad let me see someone else's pictures when I connected it to my OneDrive. That is, a folder (in Spanish) with someone's mountain hiking photos appeared in my OneDrive but only in Outlook. That folder was not there when I opened OneDrive app directly or on PC. But it was there in Outlook, and I could browse through the photos although not delete them or add another file (I wanted to leave that person a message & let them know what happened). I assume there was some glitch on MS part when they connected Outlook to my OneDrive account and part of someone else's OneDrive got mixed in. I sent them a Help request but never heard back. Do have the screenshots to prove it though. This not only made me immediately uninstall Outlook and disconnect it from all of my Cloud services I connected to it, but also question the whole idea of using OneDrive in the first place - if I could get to another person's private folder, who can get to my data ?
  • This was an excellent review but my question is; "is it good enough to completely replace the stock iOS mail app?" Sent from the iMore App
  • So Microsoft push out an update to the Outlook app this week and delete all the mail account settings in the process. Need to setup again from scratch. That is unacceptable in 2015.
  • Allyson, I don't know how you could have missed this major problem, unless you were just too enthralled with Outlook for iOS to notice, or didn't test it with both a Gmail and iCloud account. I, like many others, use iCloud as my primary address book and calendar on my Mac. That way, on all my Apple devices the addresses are always in sync, as are the calendars. But, I also have two Google Apps for Work accounts and I need my Apple contacts also in them. So, using the Synclastic iOS app on my iPhone, all my iCloud contacts are continually synched to Google Contacts in both my Gmail accounts. This allows me to use Gmail, which I prefer, as my primary email client. So now, enter Outlook for iOS. Great little app, and it lets me select which calendar source I want (either of the two Gmail accounts or my iCloud account....so no problem there at all. But....Outlook will not let me choose which address book I want to use (the two Gmail accounts or iCloud). So, I now have triplicate contacts in Outlook's People...not good. The problem stems from the fact Outlook forces the use of Mail, Calendars, and Contacts and Files from both Gmail accounts. This could be easily solved by allowing the user to select which account's contacts are synched to, as it does with the calendar. But I highly doubt anyone at Microsoft will ever notice who cares enough to make the change.
  • I added my Gmail Account and my iCloud account. Instant duplicate contacts :-( The app lets me select which account's calendar to use, but which account's contact.
  • Is there a way to sync all the email in the mailbox? Because when I search for an email old 4 month ago I can find it on the Mac mail app but not on the outlook iOS app. Is there a way to sync all the mails in the mail box?? Thanks
  • For anyone looking to get an email provider, choose whatever you want but DO NOT USE OUTLOOK! After almost a decade of using killer_cupcake@hotmail.com (yeah, killer cupcake lol) outlook shut down/blocked my account and provided no reason for it. As if the language barrier was not enough, the East Indian customer service reps were rude on the phone, even calling me a liar (and I quote) and then a different customer service rep claimed that it was me who was rude to them as if their rudeness was somehow justified! I was also hung up on several times due to miscommunication - example: Me: "Oh, am I calling the wrong location?" Rep: "Ok, goodbye" *click* All the while they flat out refused to connect me with a supervisor and/or manager.
    I have worked customer service myself and I can tell you that I was not rude, in fact the poor service I received after being a customer for so long is inexcusable.
    After over a decade of use I am closing my account for good. Thanks for showing me your true colors, Outlook. Goodbye and good riddance!
  • Would be great if the app had a PASSWORD.