Not many Office 365 users choose OWA as their mobile client, but those who do will soon be forced to use the new OWA because Microsoft is removing the toggle to allow people to switch between the old and new versions in February, just like they did for workstation versions last July. The new OWA is a fine client, but its usefulness on mobile browsers is not as good as the functionality offered in Mobile Outlook, which continues to be our choice as the best mobile Office 365 email client.
The Microsoft Immersive Reader exists to make messages more readable for those who need a little help. It’s built into Office apps like Teams and OWA. Most people don’t know this or don’t need to use the reader, but those who do need support to access and understand text will find the Immersive Reader very helpful.
Modern browsers make it easy to pin websites to the Windows desktop and taskbar. Using OWA in this manner is great when network connections aren’t too reliable, like the flaky connections you often have on airline Wi-Fi networks. Other Office 365 apps work fine too when pinned from the browser, like the Admin Center, Planner, To Do, and Stream.
OWA now supports Office 365 Sensitivity Labels, which means that users can apply labels to mark and/or protect messages with encryption just like they can with Outlook. The update adds to the ways that sensitivity labels can be applied to Office 365 content, with the next step being to achieve the same support for the other online Office apps.
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.
Microsoft has announced that the AdditionalStorageProvidersAvailable setting in OWA mailbox policies will now control access to both first-party and third-party storage providers. The new setting is now available and becomes active in August. Before then, you might want to adjust some of your OWA mailbox policies.
Microsoft has announced that the switchover to the new OWA interface will start on July 22 when Office 365 tenants in targeted release will lose the chance to toggle back and forth between the two interfaces. By the end of September, everyone will use the new OWA. Let’s hope that Microsoft has fixed all the functionality gaps by then.
The new version of OWA boasts new abilities for owners to manage Office 365 Groups. The new UI is pretty slick and a welcome upgrade to the previous capabilities. You’ll still need to revert to PowerShell to manage some aspects of Office 365 Groups, but not as many times as you used to.
Despite the age of the protocols, you can cheerfully connect a wide range of IMAP4 and POP3 clients to Exchange Online. If you do, you might need to consider how to handle calendar appointments, and if you want to use iCAL, you’ll need to make some adjustments with PowerShell.
The ThirdPartyFileProvidersEnabled setting in OWA mailbox policies controls if Exchange Online mailboxes can access services like Drop and Dropbox for attachments. Office 365 tenants need to decide if they want to allow this kind of access. There’s both good and bad in the feature, but it’s easily turned off if you feel the need.