Why You Should Give the Outlook Smartphone App a Try

Today, you rarely access email on just one device. If you’re like most business employees, you have an email app on your phone for managing your inbox on-the-go.

If you don’t already use it, the Outlook app available for Android and iPhone is really solid and worth using. Let’s look at the app and some of its best features.

Signing Into Outlook’s App

Download the app for Android or iOS, then open it. We’ll show the Android version here, but the iOS app is similar.

While Outlook naturally works great with Office 365 accounts, you can also use it to manage personal Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo email accounts. Enter your email address, then your password. If you have two-factor authentication enabled, you’ll need to enter a code from your secondary authentication method to complete sign-in.

Once done, you can add another account if you like. After this, you’ll be greeted with your Outlook inbox.

Using the Outlook App

Similar to Outlook on the desktop, Outlook’s phone app is divided into three tabs along the bottom. You’ll see Mail, Search, and Calendar.


On the Mail tab, Outlook defaults to the Focused inbox. Microsoft doesn’t explain the specifics of this, but says that it shows your “most important” emails while the rest are filtered out. In practice, you can expect this to filter out newsletters and other auto-generated content, while showing messages from your contacts.

Tap the Filters button to switch from the default All Messages to Unread, Flagged, or those with Attachments. Long-press on a message to select it, then use the three-dot Menu button in the top-right to take a variety of actions.

Open the left menu to change folders or add a new account to the app.


The Search tab is pretty self-explanatory. Enter a term, and Outlook will search all your emails for it. On the search results page, you can toggle the slider to show only messages with attachments.

Before you search, Outlook will also show you frequent contacts and recent files. Tap a contact to show all messages from them, or select a file for a one-tap download.


This tab lets you access all the events you’ve created on your Outlook calendar. The default is the Agenda view, but you can switch it with the button in the upper-right. Tap an event to see details, or use the Plus bubble to make a new event.

Any events you add on your phone will sync everywhere else you use your account. Tap the left slide-out menu to toggle your existing calendars and add new ones.

Tweaking Settings

Open the left slide-out menu on the Mail or Calendar tabs, and tap the Settings cog icon to open Outlook’s options menu. Here, you can tweak how the app works.

Select your account name under Accounts and you can enable automatic replies. This is handy if you need to set up an auto-responder in an emergency and can’t get to your desk.

Choose Notifications and you can change whether to get notifications for your Focused Inbox, all mail, or no mail. You can also change your notification sound here.

We recommend changing the default Signature field as it’s simply an advertisement for the Outlook app. Even if you don’t want to use a signature, you should delete this as it looks unprofessional.

Open Swipe Options and you can change what swiping on emails in your inbox does. This provides a handy way to work through many messages quickly. You can also disable the Focused Inbox if you don’t like it.

We recommend leaving Organize mail by thread enabled, as the Outlook app makes it easy to read through conversations in a natural way. Further down the Settings list, you can adjust your Calendar notifications, connect apps like Evernote and Wunderlist, and enable some of Outlook’s add-ins.

Outlook’s App Is Handy

That’s all you need to use the Outlook app for Android or iPhone. It’s a straightforward app, allowing you to access your email and calendar without bogging anything down. It works best when used with an Office 365 or other Microsoft email account, but it’s worth a try for other providers too.

For tips on Outlook for desktop, check out how to customize Outlook for greater productivity.

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