Outlook mobile app for iOS set to receive a major redesign and new features

Microsoft’s Ignite conference is well underway and though the conference is aimed majorly at IT pros and enterprises, consumer-facing news hasn’t been scarce. Of the many announcements on day two, yesterday, the company outlined the business features that were coming to the Outlook mobile apps. Today, at an Outlook Mobile session at Ignite, the firm went over some of the new features and a design overhaul coming to the Outlook app on iOS.

To start off, the iOS app is receiving a major refresh to its overall design. The Outlook “blue” banner that users are familiar with on the Android version of the app is now also making its way to its iOS counterpart. The color scheme seems consistent throughout the app for the headers and titles. The banner will also shrink while scrolling, a behavior that users would be familiar with on Windows 10 UWP apps.

Image source: Windows Central

Further, smaller changes such as the pillbox style of toggle to toggle between Focused and Other inboxes, and new gesture and swipe support for folders and accounts are present as part of the redesign. The changes do look interesting and refreshing. These tweaks bring further consistency between Android and iOS versions of the app.

Other changes making it to the app include:

  • New blue banner
  • Banner shrinks when scrolling similar to UWP apps on Windows 10
  • Switch from REST sync layer to Hx, bringing parity to Windows 10 UWP Mail app
  • New swipe experience with better colors and haptic feedback
  • Send availability based on your calendar and current schedule
  • Favorite contacts now to quickly see info, email, attachments, and calendar
  • New gesture and swipe support for accounts and folders
  • New brighter icons that match the email service account, e.g., "G" logo for Gmail
  • New smarter and easier to read filtering system
  • New pillbox design to switch between Focused and Other inboxes
  • Actionable events e.g. check in to your flight directly

The firm adds that switching to the Hx sync layer helps improve reading and writing tasks’ performance, as it is optimized in the cloud.

Image source: Windows Central

In addition to the redesign, the Outlook team shared with attendees some of the highly requested features that are in the pipeline for both iOS and Android versions of the app. Those features include:

  • Shared mailboxes
  • S/MIME support
  • New File & Share picking
  • Classify, label & protect

The company aims to ship the redesigned version of the email client by the end of the year. What’s interesting is that when the Windows Central team spent some time with the app and asked about dark mode, Michael Palermiti, Product Lead for Outlook on iOS confirmed that that too is on its way. He added that the team built the redesign with the dark mode in mind and that users can expect the app to receive that option sometime after the redesign goes live later this year. Dark mode fans rejoice!

The Outlook mobile version for Android will also be receiving some improvements. Those include improvements to the calendar, agenda view, new month view (which is reportedly coming next week), and a refreshed calendar widget. Additionally, Office Lens support will make it in, letting users scan business cards and add contacts using the imported information automatically. Overall, it looks like a busy few months ahead for the Outlook Mobile team at Microsoft.

You can follow all of our Microsoft Ignite 2018 coverage here.

What do you think of these features for either platform? Let us know in the comments!

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