Sharing is Caring with Outlook for iOS or Android
August 29 note: The current versions of Outlook mobile now support shared mailboxes. See this post for details or read on to learn how to add shared mailboxes to Outlook mobile.
Last week, we learned that Microsoft will soon roll out support for shared mailboxes in Outlook Mobile. Well, some people already have access to the feature through Apple’s Testflight for iOS program. Testflight allows developers to offer test versions of applications like Outlook mobile to people who don’t mind running beta software. The upside is that you see new features sooner. The downside is that the new features might not work or might change before the final version is released. With those caveats in mind, let’s explore how to add a shared mailbox to Outlook mobile using Testflight version 3.27.0.
Add Shared Mailboxes to Outlook Mobile
Before you can add a shared mailbox to Outlook mobile, you should meet these criteria:
- The shared mailbox must already exist on Exchange Online. Outlook mobile can only access existing shared mailboxes; it can’t create a new shared mailbox.
- Your primary mailbox must be in Exchange Online. Users in a hybrid organization whose mailbox is on-premises can’t add shared mailboxes to Outlook mobile.
- Your account has access to the shared mailbox. This means that an administrator assigns your account full access to the shared mailbox. In addition, if you want to send from Outlook Mobile as the shared mailbox, your account must hold SendAs permission for the mailbox.
- You must know the primary SMTP address of the shared mailbox. Why? Because you need to input the mailbox’s SMTP address when you add the shared mailbox.
With everything in place, go to the list of resources available to Outlook mobile and click the + icon and then choose Add Shared Mailbox (Figure 1).
Now input the primary SMTP address of the shared mailbox and click the Add Shared Mailbox button.
That’s all you need to do. Outlook Mobile adds the shared mailbox to its resource list and you can access the contents like any other mailbox.
One big benefit of native support in Outlook mobile for shared mailboxes is that it removes the need for people to use outdated protocols like IMAP4 to access shared mailboxes. From a Microsoft perspective, it gives customers another good reason to move to Outlook mobile and away from apps like the native iOS mail app that use the Exchange ActiveSync protocol to interact with mailboxes (ActiveSync doesn’t support shared mailboxes, which is why people end up using IMAP4).
Outlook Insiders and Testflight
If you want to test shared mailboxes with Outlook Mobile now, you can sign up for the Outlook Insiders program (limited slots are available). You’ll also need to download and install Testflight from the iOS app store. You can then download the test version of Outlook.
One side effect of using the test version is that Office 365 automatically provisions your tenant to use the Microsoft Sync Technology (if it didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to test new features). This process takes about 24 hours. When it’s done, you’ll be able to add shared mailboxes to your heart’s content, but only with iOS clients for now. According to a tweet from Outlook Mobile development last Friday, support for Android is coming “soon.”
Need more information about Office 365 clients, including Outlook Mobile? Read the Clients chapter in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook!