Shared Mailbox Support Soon for Outlook Mobile

Outlook Mobile clients for iOS and Android get shared mailbox support

Removes Need for IMAP4 Workaround

Office 365 notification MC181641 posted on June 5 includes the good news that Outlook mobile (iOS and Android) will soon support connections to Exchange Online shared mailboxes. This will remove the need for the IMAP4 connection currently used as a workaround to access shared mailboxes. Apart from the general kludginess of the IMAP4 workaround, if you log onto a shared mailbox with IMAP4., that mailbox should technically have an Office 365 license.

The development also addresses a huge feature gap that Microsoft has acknowledged to exist for years. This update relates to Office 365 Roadmap items 32571 (iOS) and 32572 (Android) and not the two listed in the announcement.

The announcement says: “You will be able read, write and send emails from the Exchange Online Shared Mailboxes in Outlook for iOS and Android. If you are part of the Office Insider program for iOS and using the Microsoft sync technology (MC165218), you will be able get an early preview of the capabilities via TestFlight this week. It is anticipated that we will start to roll out Shared Mailboxes in Outlook for iOS and Android (using Microsoft sync technology) for general availability in the next several weeks.”

In other words, expect to see shared mailbox support appear in July 2019. That is, if support for the Microsoft Sync Technology is deployed to your Office 365 tenant. To check, look at the settings for your account (Figure 1), or use the PowerShell script in this article.

Outlook Mobile uses Microsoft Sync Technology
Figure 1: Outlook Mobile uses Microsoft Sync Technology

Microsoft Sync Technology is the new connection protocol for Outlook mobile clients that Microsoft has deployed to Outlook.com and the Government Cloud (GCC) and is now rolling out to commercial tenants. Hopefully, the advent of shared mailbox support serves as a spur for Microsoft to complete the deployment of the new sync technology.

Updated Files, Calendar Events in Search, and Calendar Sync

Microsoft includes some other updates in MC181641. These are:

  • Updated Files: The way Outlook mobile presents files will become more coherent with the rest of Office 365 and include a list of recently used files plus cloud sources (like OneDrive for Business or Google Drive). You’ll be able to add a link to share a file that complies with default tenant sharing permissions.
  • Calendar Events in Search: When you search for someone or use a keyword, the results returned will include any matching events found in your calendar. This feature also depends on Microsoft Sync Technology.
  • Calendar Sync: Outlook for Android now supports syncing calendar events from the native calendar app. This is a one-way sync and Microsoft says that the ability to sync from Outlook to local calendar apps is still in development.

Lots Happening in Mobile

Mobile apps tend to evolve quickly. Outlook mobile is no different. These changes, particularly shared mailbox support, will make many people very happy.


Need more information about Outlook clients? Or Office 365 clients in general? We have a complete chapter on the topic in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

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7 Replies to “Shared Mailbox Support Soon for Outlook Mobile”

  1. With the exception of the specific option to select a Shared Mailbox, the ability to connect to a Shared Mailbox has been available for a while now in iOS w/o need for IMAP. Glad the option will be more apparent.

    1. Right, but connecting a shared mailbox to Outlook Mobile via IMAP means that people log into the mailbox as users. Technically speaking, that means the shared mailbox must have an Office 365 license.

  2. it does not make me happy, it just makes me less bloodfirsty.
    seriously microsoft needed over a decade of mobile devices to add shared mailbox support
    and no the imap method isnt a viable option at all

  3. not only that, but there a muoltitude of issues making this way a nogo.
    users for instance, gonna give you a hard time if you explain to them they have to add their 5-10 sahred mailboxes this way.
    and do not forget you have to explain them an extra step.

    or he gets a new shared now you have to call him and tell him how to add this, you cant even do that remotely on a mobile device so its
    remote by voice commands on a very flawed AI called user.

    the client gonna have a hardtime too, need to sync 5 mailaccounts, 5 times more overhead, needs longer, takes more battery.
    needs to have 5 times teh mail cache and what no…

    and lest not forget that exchange and imap are not nessesarly the best friends, specially with 3rd party mailclients.

    all in all, its a workaround that you wanna avoid at all costs, specially in bigger installation this method is pure chaos

    1. Don’t use IMAP4 for accessing shared mailboxes – the new approach works well and is simple to set up if the user has the right permissions for the shared mailbox.

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