Outlook for iOS – A better way to do email?

outlook for mac

Microsoft Outlook for iOS – a better way to do email?

There’s long been a running debate between fans of Microsoft and devotees of Apple as to which of the mega-companies offers the most superior IT or software, and it is likely a battle which will rage for many years to come. But it seems that a recent victory has been won by Microsoft with the release of its new Outlook for the Apple iOS platform.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft does email well. After all, this was the company that launched electronic mail to the masses back in 1997 and hundreds of millions of users worldwide still keep their hotmail ID to this day. So people were expecting big things of this brand new version of Microsoft Outlook for iPhones and iPad, and it seems the company has delivered. Reviewers praise Outlook for iPhones and iPad as a smart, fast, clean and simple to use package with many useful features that act as a one-stop-shop for email and organisation.

So does it live up to this praise? Let’s look at some of its features.

Multiple account support

Outlook for iOS links to your usual Outlook Account as you’d expect but can also sync with other email systems with which you have accounts – Gmail, iCloud, Gmail and Yahoo as well as Microsoft Exchange. These can all be accessed through the same Outlook app. A simple swipe can help you navigate between them. Swipes in a side list of emails also let you archive and delete emails as you choose. This doesn’t have to be the case, as what you use the swipe action for can be changed in the settings. Apple Mail does a similar thing but less effectively. In Outlook you can see just one email account or mix all your correspondence together. It is also possible to limit messages displayed in your inbox to friends and contacts or threads in which you’ve participated. This helps to ensure your email remains relevant.

Better scheduling

It is the calendar features that seem to have most impressed reviewers of Outlook for iOS. It’s great for giving yourself reminders as emails can be scheduled to reappear back in your inbox at a set time. You can schedule this with a swipe and choose the email to top your email list in a “few hours”, “this evening”, “tomorrow” or at a specific time. All this can be done from within an email itself as well as the focussed side inbox.

In Outlook’s calendar you can also create invitations and notify availability while mail recipients can let you know the best times for them. This can be done with Apple’s mail and diary apps but Outlook makes it much easier.

Cloud attachments

The iOS Outlook app can link to your cloud storage services too and this means your iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox or Box account as well as your OneDrive. So any attachments you might want to send on can be taken from cloud storage and the device itself, as well as from any attachments that have been sent to you in any of your email accounts. This last feature is very useful as anyone who’s spent frustrating minutes looking through their inbox for vital attachments for an important document, spreadsheet or image will know. Outlook simply offers a list of attachments you’ve received and notifies who they came from. You click on the attachment and choose whether to open it, or send on by email or messenger. There’s no more frantic opening and closing of emails looking for what you want.

What’s more, a file icon at the base of the screen opens the attachments list at any time, with a file viewer so you can preview a document without opening it. By making this ability to share and receive attachments so easy, Outlook has shown a true understanding of what most of us use email for these days.

Convenient contacts

The contacts menu in Outlook for iOS lists all the people who you’ve been interacting with recently and with a simple tap on a contact, all of your recent correspondence is listed. This means you can find a specific mail very quickly. Filter options let you find any unread or flagged emails and those that have attachments.

Better administration controls

If you are the network administrator you’ll enjoy a little more power with Outlook for iOS. You can enforce security codes on handsets and corporate policies such as remote wiping. Of course, this requires you to sign up to Microsoft’s business grade Office 365 service and be running Exchange Server.

This version of Outlook for iOS means Apple will have to up its game as its own offerings for iPad and their iPhones are suddenly looking a bit shabby and in need of an update. The new options that Outlook offers will probably see many users change over from the Apple email package – in which case the great Microsoft/Apple battle looks set to continue.

Want more information about your email systems and Apple’s offerings? Why not talk to the experts here at Empower IT. We’ve got all the answers.