How Microsoft Deploys New Outlook Mobile Features

Deploying new features to a massive 100-million plus user community takes a lot of planning and careful management. Outlook Mobile caters for both consumer and commercial users, and different methods are used to deliver new features to the two groups. Sometimes this means that different users in the same tenant can’t access a new feature even if they have the right software.

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Shared Mailbox and Dark Mode Support in Outlook Mobile

Outlook mobile users now have shared mailbox support in both iOS and Android platforms. The work to upgrade the backend service is also progressing and is past 50% rollout. And dark mode is coming too. It’s available in beta today to Testflight users (only for iOS), and it’s also been enabled for some users who run the latest version of the clients.

Configuring and Using Outlook People Favorites

Outlook people favorites give Exchange Online users fast access to their most important email correspondents. OWA has the best implementation but the feature is also available in Outlook mobile. As usual, Outlook desktop lags. It’s a small feature that could turn out to be very important to some users. Office 365 is full of such examples.

Dark Mode Reaches Outlook for Office 365

Outlook for Office 365 (the click to run version) now supports the Office Black theme. Preferring to use dark Outlook is very much a personal choice. I’m not convinced that I like it, even if you can force the message reading pane to be in light mode.

Outlook’s Hybrid Mode Helps in Flaky Network Conditions

Outlook logo

Outlook 2013 introduced the concept of hybrid mode (sometimes called Exchange Fast Access) to allow clients configured in cached Exchange mode to fetch data direct from the server when possible. The mode works well, except when you’re connected on a poor network as the attempts to fetch data from the server might cause Outlook to hang. A registry setting gives a way to force Outlook to operate in classic cached mode and use the OST exclusively when it needs data.