Microsoft offers Outlook to Mac users for free

Outlook for Mac is now available through the App Store for macOS.

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On March 6, Microsoft announced that the native Outlook for Mac app is now free for macOS users on the App Store. The app complements Outlook for iOS and allows users to integrate, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, and IMAP accounts into Outlook; by contrast, Microsoft 365 with Outlook typically requires a subscription or the Office for Mac suite. The free version of Outlook for Mac will be ad-supported, with a possible upgrade to an ad-free paid tier with most of the same features.

SEE: Checklist: Deployments of Microsoft 365 apps and services on Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

Apple has specified that Apple’s native redesign is different from the version of Progressive Web App (PWA) that Apple deployed for testing on Windows.

Redesigned Outlook features for Mac

Outlook for macOS is designed for Apple Silicon, giving it faster performance and sync speeds than previous non-native versions, Microsoft said. Outlook reminders can be viewed in the Notification Center. Microsoft plans to release previews of upcoming calendar events in Apple’s version with a menu bar widget soon.

SEE: Microsoft officially supports running Windows 11 on Mac M1 and M2 (TechRepublic)

Here are some of the most important features that Mac users can expect to find in the free instance of Microsoft Outlook:

Free hands

The Handoff feature makes it easy to move between iOS and Mac. Users can view messages composed in Outlook for Mac on iOS or Mac devices. This could allow a user to compose an email on a desktop computer and continue to perfect it on a mobile phone while traveling, for example.

Outlook profiles

Another feature that Microsoft plans to implement in the future for Outlook for Mac is Outlook profiles; With this feature, users can connect their email addresses to Apple’s Focus tool. Outlook profiles will not send notifications when the Focus experience is activated. For example, a user could configure Focus to only send notifications for work emails, not personal emails.

all accounts

Some features of Outlook for Mac take advantage of “best of both worlds” features built into existing Outlook tools. The All Accounts view allows users to see multiple inboxes at once when they want to juggle work and personal time or multiple work inboxes.

Focused Inbox

Outlook for macOS also connects to the Priority Inbox feature, which allows users to prioritize messages by pinning or postponing them. Open My Day, an interactive calendar, can be opened in the task pane next to your inbox to display meetings and event invitations in the same window.

The Outlook app is slated to replace the Mail and Calendar apps in Windows 11. Apple also offers its own Mail and Calendar apps, with Outlook for Mac as an alternative option. The differentiation, Microsoft emphasized, is the built-in productivity tools that Outlook offers to help users prioritize messages.

Elsewhere Windows and email app news

The Outlook for Mac announcement is part of the usual list of gradual changes as Microsoft refines its current operating system and partnership projects. Enterprise Windows users have had the latest update to Windows 11, version 22H2, since September 2022. Microsoft is working to fine-tune how Microsoft account management, widgets, and other key features work. Account management and widgets touch the capabilities of Outlook.

SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A side-by-side analysis (TechRepublic Premium)

Windows has also made a change to its Windows Insider developer feedback channel, relaunching it as the Canary Channel. Meanwhile, Gmail recently rolled out client-side encryption for its business subscribers.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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