How Teams Priority Access Allows Notifications to Get Through

Messages From People on Your Priority Access List are Treated Differently

The existence of the Teams priority access list might be one of those facts that escape the attention of many users. And knowing what the priority access list does might also be something unknown, even if it was first introduced a year or so ago. But all of us have people who are more important to us than others in a work or personal context, and the priority access list is no more than a way for Teams users to mark others as important to them.

Adding People to the Priority Access List

To add someone to your priority access list, click the avatar in the top right-hand part of the title bar (desktop or browser client) and select Settings, then Privacy. Now click the Manage priority access button (Figure 1).

Teams Manage priority access option in the Privacy settings
Figure 1: Teams Manage priority access option in the Privacy settings

Any tenant user (except guests) can be selected from the directory and added to the priority access list (Figure 2). You can also add users from other tenants if the federation settings for the two tenants allow users to communicate. If your account is subject to an Office 365 information barrier policy, you won’t be able to add anyone that you are prohibited from communicating with by policy.

 People on a Teams Priority Access list
Figure 2: People on a Teams Priority Access list

The mobile Teams client doesn’t support access to these settings and you can’t update a priority access list programatically using the Graph or PowerShell.

Oddly, while tenant users can’t add guests to their priority access list, guest users can create a priority access list.

Notifications and the Priority Access List

Having a priority access list is all very well, but what does it do? Well, you can set your presence status to Do Not Disturb by typing /DND in the command box or through Teams settings. When a user’s presence is set to DND (or soon, if MyAnalytics creates a block of “focus” time in your calendar), Teams knows that it should not send notifications to disturb your peace and you’ll see a banner saying “Your status is set to do not disturb. You’ll only get notifications for urgent messages and from your priority contacts.”

As the banner says, when a notification (chat, channel conversation, or @mention) comes from one of the people on your priority access list, Teams will send a pop-up notification to breakthrough into your Do Not Disturb space. The Priority Access list is also ignored when users send urgent (priority) messages (Figure 3).

Teams urgent messages aren't affected by the priority access list
Figure 3: Teams urgent messages aren’t affected by the priority access list

Update: July 1 2020: Microsoft has now dropped the idea of charging users for priority notifications and will instead consider this feature to be part of the base product.

Need to know more about how Teams works? There’s a ton of up-to-date, constantly refreshed information covering the architecture, management, and use of Teams in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

2 Replies to “How Teams Priority Access Allows Notifications to Get Through”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.