Outlook for Mac is now available through the App Store for macOS.
On March 6, Microsoft announced that the native Outlook for Mac app is now free for macOS users on the App Store. The app complements Outlook for iOS and allows users to integrate Outlook.com, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, and IMAP accounts into Outlook; Microsoft 365 with Outlook, on the other hand, usually requires a subscription or the Office for Mac bundle. The free version of Outlook for Mac is ad-supported, with a possible upgrade to a paid, ad-free tier with most of the same features.
TO SEE: Checklist: Deploying Microsoft 365 apps and services on Macs (Tech Republic Premium)
Apple has specified that the Apple-native redesign differs from the Progressive Web App (PWA) version Apple implemented for testing on Windows.
Outlook features redesigned for Mac
Outlook for macOS is built for Apple Silicon, giving it faster performance and sync speeds than previous, non-native versions, Microsoft said. Reminders from Outlook can be seen in the Notification Center. Microsoft plans to roll out previews for upcoming calendar events in the Apple version with a menu bar widget coming soon.
TO SEE: Microsoft officially supports running Windows 11 on M1 and M2 Macs (TechRepublic)
Here are some of the key features Mac users can expect in the free copy of Microsoft Outlook:
The Handoff feature makes switching between iOS and Mac easier. Users can view messages composed in Outlook for Mac on both iOS and Mac devices. This allows a user, for example, to compose an email on a desktop and further refine it on the go on a mobile phone.
Another feature Microsoft plans to roll out to Outlook for Mac in the future is Outlook profiles; this feature allows users to link their email addresses to Apple’s Focus tool. Outlook profiles do not send notifications when the Focus experience is enabled. For example, a user can set Focus to send notifications for work emails only, not personal emails.
Some Outlook for Mac features take advantage of “best of both worlds” features built on top of Outlook’s existing tools. The All-Accounts view allows users to see multiple inboxes at once when they want to combine work and personal time or multiple work inboxes.
Outlook for macOS also connects to the Focused Inbox feature, which allows users to prioritize messages by pinning or snoozing them. The Open My Day feature, an interactive calendar, can be opened in the task pane next to the inbox to display meeting and event invitations in the same pane.
The Outlook app is scheduled to replace the Mail and Calendar apps in Windows 11. Apple also provides its own Mail and Calendar apps, with Outlook for Mac as an alternative. The difference, Microsoft stressed, is the built-in productivity tools Outlook offers to help users prioritize messages.
Elsewhere in Windows and email application news
The announcement of Outlook for Mac is part of the usual series of gradual changes as Microsoft refines its current operating system and collaboration projects. Enterprise Windows users have had the latest Windows 11 update, version 22H2, as of September 2022. Microsoft is working to adjust the way Microsoft Account Management, widgets, and other key features work. Account management and widgets both relate to Outlook capabilities.
TO SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A side-by-side analysis (Tech Republic Premium)
Windows also made a change to the feedback channel for Windows Insider developers, relaunching it as the Canary Channel. Meanwhile, Gmail recently rolled out encryption on the client side for its business subscribers.