Shared Mailbox and Dark Mode Support in Outlook Mobile

Shared Mailboxes for All, Dark Mode for Some

After much anticipation, shared mailbox support is now generally available for Outlook mobile. You need three things in place to be able to add shared mailboxes:

  • A suitable version: Outlook for iOS version 3.37 or later or Outlook for Android 3.0.134 or later.
  • Back-end support for the Microsoft synchronization technology (see this article to see how to check if Outlook is using the new sync).
  • Your account is enabled for the feature. My contacts at Microsoft say that the roll-out of shared mailboxes is now past 50% of all Office 365 tenants after some pauses to fix bugs.

With the prerequisites in place, you can add shared mailboxes as easily as adding any other mailbox. According to the Office 365 Roadmap, support for delegate access to mailboxes in Outlook Mobile is coming too (Q1 CY2020).

Outlook Mobile Goes Dark

In other news, Office 365 notification MC189044 (August 28) announces that dark mode is starting to roll out for Outlook Mobile. Version 4.1 of Outlook for iOS is now available to Outlook Insiders who can download beta versions through the Testflight app. Support for dark mode (Figure 1) brings Outlook mobile up to speed with its desktop and browser counterparts. Even after using the new software for just a few days, I like dark mode much more on mobile than I do on other platforms. It just seems more natural to use a darkened mobile app.

Outlook for iOS running in dark mode
Figure 1: Outlook for iOS running in dark mode

To throw some light into what Microsoft is doing (no pun intended), Jon Friedman, head of Office design, posted an article to explain the design principles in dark mode. This article tells us that Outlook will be able to manage dark mode automatically based on user preferences when iOS 13 and Android Q are available.

[Update September 9: A tweet by Michael Palermiti, head of product for Outlook, says that dark mode is now 100% deployed]

Enabling Dark Mode

To set dark mode in Outlook for iOS, go to preferences and select the option (Figure 2). You need to restart Outlook to make dark mode effective (I had to restart iOS, but I believe this is usually unnecessary).

Setting dark mode in Outlook for iOS preferences
Figure 2: Setting dark mode in Outlook for iOS preferences

When Your Client Can Go Dark

According to the Office 365 Roadmap, the planned release for dark mode is September 2019 for both iOS and Android. In the run-up to general availability, apparently Microsoft has enabled dark mode for a select group of non-Testflight users who run the most recently released client software. Roughly 10% of users are in this category, so if your device has version 4.0 of the iOS client or version 3.0.137 of the Android client, you might be able to select dark mode now. Have a look!

For more information about Outlook and other clients, read the chapter about Office 365 clients in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

9 Replies to “Shared Mailbox and Dark Mode Support in Outlook Mobile”

  1. Hmm… I have version 4.0 of the iOS app (and had 3.37 before that) and I’ve confirmed our tenant uses Microsoft Sync Technology, but I still can’t add Shared Mailboxes. Anyone else still not seeing this new feature in v4.0?

    1. You’re sure that your account uses Microsoft Sync (you can see this in Outlook mobile)? If so, try resetting the account.

  2. Thanks for the quick follow-up, Tony – yes, just used your PowerShell script to make sure. Have historical entries in Get-MobileDeviceStatistics for REST and Outlook, but the LastSync shown for REST is over two months ago whereas the latest Outlook entry is showing a LastSync of one hour ago. Tried Resetting the account from the Outlook app, as well as removing and reinstalling the app, but still no joy unfortunately.

    1. Apparently Microsoft enables new features on a rolling (and random) basis across Office 365. They’re at more than 50% for the shared mailbox feature now. All Testflight users are automatically enabled for the new features they test, including shared mailboxes, which explains why you can have a Testflight user in a tenant who can access shared mailboxes and other non-Testflight users in the same tenant who cannot. The roll-out is progressing quickly, so I imagine you will have the necessary access soon. I’ve tweaked the text to reflect my new understanding of how Outlook mobile features are introduced to users.

      1. Just to be clear though, it’s my own mailbox that shows historical entries for REST and (more recently) Outlook / Microsoft Sync Technology, but can’t access Shared Mailboxes – I’m not aware of anyone that can in our tenant.

  3. Just to confirm I have this feature enabled for my tenant, I was successfully able to add Shared Mailbox to Outlook V 4.0.
    I want to know if it is possible for me to disable/enable this feature userwise?

    1. AFAIK, there’s no way to prevent users from being able to add the shared mailboxes that they have permission to access.

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