• Outlook mobile is an awful app for iPhone or Android

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    SOFTWARE By Peter Deegan Outlook mobile is pushed relentlessly by Microsoft, giving the impression that it’s the best or only way to link with email,
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    • #2602150

      iOS and Android let you flip between apps using super-fast methods common across the entire system. Their built-in apps let you zip easily from emails to calendars to contacts. Outlook? Not the same story. You must juggle around inside the same app to switch things up. Awkward, don’t you think?

      No. Why do you think it’s awkward to have those things in one place?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2602158

        Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course.  Interface design is bound to split opinions.

        I find the bottom row buttons to be clumsy and limited. I have thick stubby digits but would like more buttons on that row..

        Personally, I prefer using the app switching methods in ios/Android, especially since each separate app retains its current status as you switch around.

        As an example, when writing an email in Outlook mobile you can’t easily switch to calendar or other part of Outlook mobile to check some detail.  But if you do that in a separate email app, calendar, contacts etc are available and will appear in whatever view you last left them.

        At least on an iPad, you can have two different views of Outlook mobile using iOS, Split View.

        I’m also suspicious of Microsoft’s use of the marketing phrase ‘all in one place’ sounds great at first but assumes that’s always a good thing. Outlook mobile is ‘all in one’ simply because that’s the way it arrived at Microsoft when Accompli was purchased … not because of some design decision or user testing of their own.

        To me the HUGE problem with Outlook mobile or (new) Outlook is the privacy leakage via Microsoft’s servers.  Even then, that’s also somewhat a matter of opinion. People have different levels of comfort with Microsoft (or any company) having their data.

        Peter Deegan

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        • #2602364

          Are you somehow implying that Google or Apple has better controls over who or what gets access to your metadata and privacy?

          I’m . . . not convinced that any of the tech companies are better or worse than their peers.  Choose the bucket you feel will give you the least pain, but it’s kinda all the same.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2602380

            My main point is that email software should connect directly to the mailbox, whomever stores it. Not passing through an intermediary who has access to all the data passing in between.

            The way Outlook mobile / (new) work allows Microsoft to be the gateway for all your mailboxes.  They don’t, in my view, properly disclose that.  I see various online reports in the last few days expressing surprise about this ‘revelation’ even though it’s been happening for years.

            If a customer is happy to pass along their login details to Microsoft plus allow all their data to pass through Redmond’s hands — that’s their choice. But I don’t believe it’s commonly known by users of Gmail/Yahoo/iCloud and other mail hosts when they use either of those Outlook products.

            > not convinced that any of the tech companies are better or worse than their peers.

            I broadly agree with you. All the tech companies (notably the US based ones) are subject to government intrusion without warrant or notification to the end-user.

            There’s also the real possibility of the host company viewing the data for their own purposes.  Microsoft promises faithfully not to do that but their own Terms and Conditions have no such limitation.  MS has read customers emails in the past to serve their own self-interest and nothing has changed to stop them doing it again.

            It’s worth noting that Apple has a better track record of standing up to governments and securing customers data.  They offer “Advanced Data Protection ” which means even Apple can’t read users data on their servers.  Neither Microsoft nor Google offers anything similar.  OneDrive’s Personal Vault is not a substitute.


            Peter Deegan

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    • #2602176

      We’ve had problems with the default IOS and Android calendar  apps when used with Exchange Online.  The calendars would not sync everything.  Events created on the device would sometimes not sync to Exchange.  It was random, and there was no error or notification things were not synced.  It would also occur when modifying calendar entries on the default calendar apps.

      There was a kludge fix of installing the Outlook app, then selecting the option within it to sync calendars.  This made the Outlook app the go-between the device default calendar app and Exchange.

      It was such a headache, we finally told users the Outlook app was the only supported method for Exchange.  They were welcome to use the default IOS and Android apps for their personal, non-work, accounts.  However, work accounts require the Outlook app.  Things have worked since.

      An optimal or ideal solution?  No.  A necessary one?  Yes.

    • #2602169

      I switched from Gmail to Outlook on my Android because the search function only seemed to look in the gmail folder. I have three email addresses (gmail, hotmail, private one) read by the app, and my main address is the private one. I could never find any email even when it was sitting at the top of the latest messages. Outlook finds everything.

    • #2602246

      Before iPhones were invented, I used desktop Outlook as a PDA storing contacts, dates, notes, and tasks. How to get my personal data onto a cell phone and synchronized? My solution was ad-free DejaOffice by CompanionLink Software for a one-time license of $70. In my case, data is synchronized between the two over my private WiFi network, so no cloud dependency.

      Furthermore, I get to encrypt my personal PDA data on the Android cell phone with an independent password, an optional feature. The included PDA app is locked on my cell phone until I unlock it. Hopefully, I have succeeded in keeping my personal PDA information out of the hands of Microsoft, Google, and physical theft.

      What about email on the cell phone? For that, I either use a browser web interface or an App on the cell phone. [All worthwhile personal email is with a single provider.] (With multiple email accounts achieving compartmentalization, sensitive email is kept off the cell phone altogether.)

      Windows 10 22H2 desktops & laptops on Dell, HP, ASUS; No servers, no domain.

    • #2602259

      Posted on behalf of SK (please use a clean IP)

      Thanks as always for your posts, Mr. Deegan. While I like the ability to have multiple Gmail accounts, I would never want to have to log in to each account to check if I have e-mail in it.

      What I love about Outlook (desktop version) is that it allows me to have just the one “combined” inbox into which e-mails from all my various accounts (across all platforms) arrive. NOTE: Though I have the mobile version of Outlook installed on my phone, I have yet to set up my accounts on it because I don’t like the idea of attempting to type an e-mail on tiny phone buttons.

      In your post, you state: “there are perfectly good apps already on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device…” and “the separate and inbuilt mail, calendar, and contact apps in any smartphone…” and “The powerful separate email, calendar, and contacts apps in iOS or Android do a perfectly good job and won’t cost you a penny.”

      Here are my questions:

      In the context of Android, are you referring to Gmail? Because, as far as I know, Gmail does not offer a “combined inbox” solution for users like me… unless you perhaps know of a way to configure this?
      If you are not referring to Gmail, then which native Android e-mail app are you referring to?
      Do you or anyone reading this happen to know of a comparable mobile (Android) or desktop (Windows) alternative to Outlook, which allows for the “combined inbox” set-up? Because I am not aware of one that can hold a candle to Outlook. I’ve tried numerous alternatives in the past, and in my opinion, they all pale in comparison.

      Thank you for your time, and for your contributions to AskWoody!

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on...
      • #2602262

        Thanks for your kind words.

        For Gmail there’s the option to use the Gmail app for iOS or Android.

        For Android and Apple I was generally referring to the Mail, Calendar and Contacts apps that come with the OS ever since the beginning.  They directly connect to almost any mailbox.

        Peter Deegan


    • #2602257

      Enjoyed your article on Outlook… you mentioned several alternatives BUT, you did not tell us which ones you would recommend or like.
      Would love to hear which ones you like that will sync with Outlook or stand-alone.
      Thank you

      • #2602265

        Android and Apple I use the Mail, Calendar and Contacts apps that come with the OS ever since the beginning.

        They directly connect to almost any online mailbox. As you’ve seen in this forum, some people have problems with non-Microsoft apps connecting to Exchange Server but they aren’t the common experience and usually apply to Exchange Server hosted outside Microsoft.

        > sync PC-based Outlook with an ios device

        Trying to sync from Outlook for Windows to another device is NOT recommended. iTunes has a way to sync calendar and contacts from Windows to iOS but its clumsy and really a left-over from another era.

        These days, the method is to store email, calendar, contacts in the cloud (Microsoft, Google usually) then link to that central mailbox from any device you have.  It’s a lot easier and more efficient.

        Hope that helps,

        Peter Deegan

    • #2602258

      Would love to hear which apps you like to sync PC-based Outlook with an ios device

      Thank you

    • #2602277

      Another annoyance of the combined inbox is that it doesn’t let you access folders you created in each mailbox. I tend to view one inbox at a time by tapping the icon in the upper left (next to the word “Inbox”), then tapping the icon corresponding to the mailbox I wish to access. Unfortunately, visiting an empty folder within that mailbox (such as “Drafts” in my case) and tapping the “Go to Inbox” link brings me back to the combined inbox.

      I have experienced additional annoyances with the Outlook app on iOS. There is no offline mode, so visiting some folders will require re-downloading their messages, unlike in Apple’s Mail app. There is no support for e-mail categories, unlike desktop Outlook, Outlook.com, and the “new” Outlook app. (The calendar does support them though.) But one annoyance that stands out in particular to me is the “Read More” button at the bottom of e-mails that the app thinks are too long (such as AskWoody newsletter issues).

      For me, the only reason I keep using Outlook for iOS is its support for rendering e-mails in dark mode. However, when I want to access old e-mails on my iPhone, I turn to Apple’s Mail app. It may not render as many e-mails in dark mode, but it doesn’t force me to tap “Read More” on long e-mails or wait for a folder’s contents to re-download.

    • #2602363

      I personally prefer Outlook (Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS) over nearly any other option.  And I’ve tried them all over the years.

      I like that the functions are all a flick of the finger away (Email, Schedule, Task List, Contacts) and I like that I can link pretty near as many email accounts as I want, which lets me see all emails from all accounts or narrow it down to a single account with one click.

      I also prefer it for M365 Corporate accounts, by far.

      But then, I am not your average user.  😉

      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2602964

      Thanks for your post.  I have 2 accounts, an MS and a google, and the mail is *not* combined!  And I don’t see a way to combine them.  Not that I want to.

      And thanks for tip about changing the order of the icons at the bottom.  Keep up the good work.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2608294

      I thought I would post a link to a topic I documented some of my issues with Outlook.

      I only use Outlook for the calendar functions. I use managed gmail through my university alma mater. Due to security issues for alums, they cut off our ability to create calendars. I found it was easiest to migrate the calendar to Outlook (especially since I subscribe to a family 365 account. I retain the email through the university since their IT manages it.

      I did run into a number of issues using Outlook. One was that since the advent of MS live, I logged on using a yahoo email. I recently found out that is only an alias, which creates issues creating an Outlook account.

      Here is what I learned:


      Hopefully, my meanderings will be useful.

      Bottom line: Desktop Outlook 365 and outlook.com are not totally compatible. I have elected to use outlook.com (and android Outlook, which follows the same rules). I use Desktop Outlook for adding events only and even then I have to make changes to required attendees/meeting organizer to keep events properly in sync.

      Admittedly, since I was in IT all my main career (telephony), I am a bit compulsive about making everything line up.

      • #2633859

        This whole transition from Gmail to Outlook has been a challenge. I finally elected to go in whole hog using Outlook 365/Exchange.

        Using Outlook with Outlook.com can be a challenge. So I have set up my gmail and yahoo addresses using POP in Outlook so I can send/receive so 90% it all works with my desktop.

        To get this to work with Outlook.com (or Outlook on Android), you need to resort to forwarding your accounts so the email shows up. This is useful for when we are traveling. (If I need to reply I need to go back into the gmail/yahoo accounts to send with the appropriate email address.) Plus there are a few rules I need to set up to handle the POP accounts to avoid duplication with the forwarded email.

        Good news is the calendar in the desktop and Outlook.com sync.

        In the end, it is good to have everything on Exchange so your data is protected.

        Of course the Google apps on my new Pixel do not like that I use Outlook, so p*ss off Google.

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