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Outlook for iOS and Android is now fully powered by the Microsoft Cloud

Tue 27 Sep 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

We’re thrilled to announce that Outlook for iOS and Android is now powered by the Microsoft Cloud for Office 365 commercial users! This means that all your data is now fully delivered through Microsoft services that provide a strong commitment to security, privacy and compliance. There has never been a better time to make your move to Outlook and join the 42-million active users already enjoying the only mobile email and calendar app designed to work with the best features of Office 365.

No matter which industry you’re in—from banking to the public sector—we’re committed to help you address your legal, regulatory and compliance needs while still providing you with the best mobile experience.

Here’s a peek into our recent changes.

A look into Outlook’s new architecture

Outlook for iOS and Android now supports Exchange Online mailboxes natively, which means that none of the data of your mailboxes is cached outside of Office 365. Data simply stays in its current Exchange Online mailbox and is protected by TLS-secured connections end to end between Office 365 and the Outlook apps.

To make this work, Outlook uses a stateless protocol translator component that is built and run in Azure. This component serves to route data and translate commands (Outlook Device API to REST and vice versa) between Outlook and Exchange Online, but it doesn’t cache any user data.

This new architecture also improves how Outlook reports Device IDs to Exchange Online, to help admins manage mobile email access through Outlook. Outlook now individually reports a unique Device ID for each device connecting to Exchange Online. Previously, Outlook connections from iOS or Android were reported at the user level. The mobile device details reported, along with the Device ID are also more robust, as Outlook now reports Device Name and Device OS back to Exchange. You can read more about these changes and how they impact Device Access rules on TechNet.

Why move your team to Outlook for iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile?

On top of the recent improvements to our architecture, we think there are lots of reasons why the Outlook apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile are a great fit for our Office 365 customers.

The best of mobile and the best of Office 365, combined in one app—Called “the best mobile email app, no matter what phone you’re using” by Wired, Outlook is helping millions of users manage their inboxes and calendars on the go, with innovative, unique features like Focused Inbox, customizable swipe gestures and integrated calendar apps.

More importantly, Outlook is the only email app especially designed to support the full Office 365 experience, providing your teams with a coherent experience from desktop to mobile. Over the past year alone, we’ve provided rich integration with Office, OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business, support for IRM protected email, Automatic Replies settings and multi-factor authentication, to name just a few.

And we’re only getting started.

A reduced load for your IT Help Desk—Getting all your teams on Outlook means that your IT Help Desk only has to support and manage one mobile email solution moving forward. No more dealing with dozens of built-in email apps across a range of devices. You can start drafting your training and onboarding materials for Outlook on mobile—they’re the only ones you’ll ever need.

Also, Outlook provides end-user in-app support for basic tasks from Microsoft trained agents, so you don’t have to do it. Our persistent chat support means your Help Desk can offload the simpler how-to work (like signing in, adding accounts and general use of the app) and focus on more business-critical activities.

A range of options to protect your data—Outlook provides several options to secure and protect email on mobile devices. Office 365 and Outlook include built-in controls for core security needs—including enforcing PIN lock, multi-factor authentication and the ability to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices. Outlook also is tightly integrated with the advanced capabilities of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) to make sure that your team’s data is safe.

A few capabilities of EMS include:

  • Selective wipe—Remove Office 365 email data when needed while leaving any personal data intact. This is an increasingly important requirement as more businesses adopt a “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach to phones and tablets.
  • App restriction policies—Restrict actions such as cut, copy, paste and “save as” between Intune-managed apps and personal apps on a device to reduce the risk of corporate data loss. App restriction policies are available for use on both mobile device management (MDM) enrolled devices and on unmanaged devices, through Intune’s MAM without enrollment capabilities.
  • Conditional access—Ensure that Office 365 email can only be accessed on phones and tablets that meet secure access policies set by IT. These can include the requirement for device or app management or Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) for certain user scenarios. And with the newly released Azure Identity Protection capabilities of EMS, you can ensure these conditional access policies grant or deny access based on risks associated with each unique identity.

We want to hear from you!

We’re not stopping here in our quest to provide you with the best email and calendar experience on a mobile device. If you have other ideas for what would make Outlook even better for you, let us know right from Outlook by going to Settings > Help & Feedback > Suggest a Feature. Thanks!

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which Office 365 plans does this announcement apply to?

A. This announcement applies to Office 365 Enterprise, Business and Education plans. Timelines are still being worked out for customers on U.S. Government, Germany and other Office 365 plans, due to their unique identity and authentication setup.

Q. Does this update apply to both Office 365 and on-premises customers?

A. This update applies to Office 365 commercial customers only. Supporting Outlook connections from Exchange Server on-premises customers in the Microsoft Cloud is our next priority.

Q. What happens to the current Outlook Web Access (OWA) app for iPhone, iPad and Android?

A. The new Outlook app has replaced the OWA apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Customers should move their users to the Outlook app as the OWA apps will be removed from the App Store and Google Play in the coming months. Additional details and timelines will be communicated through the Office 365 Message Center.

Q. Does this update apply to Outlook for Windows 10 Mobile?

A. No. Outlook for Windows 10 Mobile continues to use Exchange Active Sync to connect to Office 365 mailboxes.

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