Outlook Mobile can be Default Mail App for iOS14

New Version of IOS to Allow Users to Choose Default Mail App and Browser

Apple’s annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC) normally generates a lot of press coverage for new iOS features. Buried among the announcement of features due to be included in iOS 14 is:

Set default email and browser apps

Set a default web browser and email app that launch when you click a link or want to compose a new mail message.

In other words, instead of being forced to use the iOS mail app, you’ll be able to swap in Outlook for iOS and use it as the default mail app. This is excellent news for legions of users who have chosen Outlook mobile because it is easily the best iOS email client for Exchange Online. I’m sure the Google people will be pleased to use the Gmail app for iOS, unless they use Outlook for iOS to connect to Gmail.

So much choice for a default mail client in iOS 14
Figure 1: So much choice for a default mail client in iOS 14 (source: Apple)

In its defence, the iOS mail client supports modern authentication, which is good because Microsoft will soon eliminate basic auth connections to Exchange Online mailboxes using ActiveSync, and it’s better at dealing with multiple accounts in different tenants. Aside from those points, there’s no good reason to use a client that’s handicapped by its dependency on the limited functionality available through the venerable Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Features like delegate access to mailboxes, support for shared mailboxes, adding sensitivity labels to messages, and making Teams meetings the norm are in Outlook mobile but not in ActiveSync clients.

Number of Outlook Mobile Users

Microsoft hasn’t revealed the number of Outlook mobile users since it said that it was “more than 100 million users” in April 2019. At that time, Office 365 had 180 million monthly active users; a year later, the latest figure was 258 million (albeit paid seats, which are not the same). Given that, the number for Outlook users is likely around 120 million.

The split between Android and iOS is harder to call, but even if it’s 50-50, that’s still 60 million users who’ll be happy to use Outlook as the default mail app in iOS 14.

Choosing Edge

The same announcement covers the replacement of Safari as the default browser. I might try Edge if only to synchronize across devices, but the notion of swapping browsers isn’t as compelling as swapping email clients.

Read more about the features coming in iOS14.

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