5 New Features of Outlook for iOS You Didn’t Know About

Microsoft marketing photo and graphic of Outlook on iPhone

Microsoft recently rolled out new features in its Outlook for iOS app, and many iPhone and iPad users have taken notice. Based on the rave reviews in the App Store, it’s clear that a large number of users have made it their primary email application.

While the Mail app in iOS is a powerhouse in its own right, the updates to Outlook for iOS are extensive. Here are five new features that could make iPhone and iPad users rethink the way they email.

1. Connect your email to Dropbox and Google Docs

As easy as Apple Mail is to use on the iPhone or iPad, its ability to attach documents is somewhat limited. One of the more exciting features of Outlook for iOS is its compatibility with both Dropbox and Google Docs.

New Outlook email message on iPhone screen with option to attach files from Dropbox or Google Drive

Not only does the app allow you to select photos from your Photo Library, it makes it easy to connect with your Dropbox and Google Docs files. To do this in Outlook for iOS, tap the paperclip icon in the bottom right corner. Select Choose from Files and you’ll be prompted to log in to your Dropbox and/or Google accounts. Easy peasy.

For those of us who are always working but might not have constant access to a laptop or desktop computer, this is a welcome addition to our mobile inboxes.

It’s important to note that the Dropbox and Google Docs features will not attach documents directly to your email. Instead, they’ll provide the recipient a link to download the file via the respective app.

Still, this functionality is exciting if you’ve experienced the struggle of attaching a time-sensitive document to an email via your smartphone. With Microsoft also adding a good deal of functionality to the free version of Word for iOS, you just might be more productive than ever from your mobile device.

2. Schedule your emails

It’s difficult to keep track of your most important emails, but Outlook for iOS makes this task a little easier with its Schedule feature. While many products have offered users the ability to have important emails reappear as unread in their inbox, few are as easy to use as Schedule in Outlook for iOS.

Outlook on iPhone showing Schedule options for an email message

You can schedule a message to reappear in Outlook by swiping it to the right. The app will prompt you to select a time for that email to be sent back to your inbox, allowing you to take control of your productivity. This is particularly useful for users who are inundated with important emails they’d like to deal with later.

3. Google Calendar integration

iPhone users have grown accustomed to having their email in one app and their calendar in another. If you’re using Gmail and Google Calendar, you’ll be able to access both from Outlook for iOS.

Events shown in Google Calendar on Outlook for iPhone

Some of the calendar’s functionality is impressive. Just like in Google Calendar, Outlook for iOS makes it easy to create new events and find times that work for all attendees.

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While you’ll be able to add new events to your Google Calendar from Outlook, the app is not perfect. You aren’t able to edit any calendar events you did not create in Outlook, and the Location field is manual. This is in stark contrast to Apple Mail, which will detect your location and give you details on how long it’ll take you to arrive at your destination.

Still, the convenience of having your calendar and email in one app is a huge plus.

4. Outlook’s Focused Inbox

Apple Mail has always had features designed to allow you to mark emails as important, but Outlook for iOS takes that a step further with its Focused Inbox feature.

Emails in Focused Inbox tab of Outlook on iPhone

Outlook basically divides your inbox into two tabs, Focused and Other. The app does an admirable job of detecting which emails are most important to you, but it does not take complete control over this task. If an important email ends up in the Other tab, you can easily have Outlook send messages from that particular sender to the Focused Inbox.

Outlook inbox on iPhone showing email action options

The same goes for junk emails that end up in your Focused Inbox. As you train Outlook for iOS to show you the most important emails first, your productivity on your iPhone should skyrocket. It’s easy to get caught up in emails about cheap razors, but Outlook for iOS makes it easy to prioritize your email time, which has been a struggle for Apple Mail users in the past.

5. Find your most important contacts faster

One of the most irritating tasks for heavy email users is finding important contacts. Most smartphone users don’t want to dig through extensive contacts when an urgent email needs to be sent. Outlook aims to ease this struggle with its People tab.

Contacts in Outlook's People tab on iPhone screen

In one easy-to-find tab, Outlook lists the contacts you’ve emailed most. While Outlook easily finds contacts when drafting an email, this feature is impressive for a number of reasons.

It’s one thing to be able to see a list of your most popular contacts. Outlook, however, gives you easy access to all communications with these important people, listing every email you’ve exchanged with each of them.

Messages associated with a single contact in Outlook's People tab on iPhone

This feature neatly organizes previous emails, meetings and files sent between you and your colleagues. Apple has made huge strides in developing Spotlight for iOS. But when users are in a pinch, this feature in Outlook for iOS could spare you a few irritating keystrokes and save heavy emailers lots of precious time.

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