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Microsoft Outlook (iOS) review: More useful tools than the competition, including Apple's app

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The Good Microsoft Outlook for iOS has simple gestures, and the included calendar works well for planning your schedule and creating meetings. It makes finding attachments from multiple storage services a breeze.

The Bad It has limited sorting capabilities for your contacts.

The Bottom Line With simple gestures for inbox management and an incredibly useful built-in calendar, Microsoft Outlook for iOS is a must have.


8.1 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 8
  • Interface 8
  • Performance 8

Microsoft Outlook for iOS (free) makes email very easy to manage and comes with a built-in calendar for quick access to your schedule. It also has swipe controls for deleting or scheduling an email for later that make processing your inbox easy and fast.

Microsoft has been beefing up its iOS offerings over the last year, bringing much more feature-rich versions of its main Office apps. Word, Excel and PowerPoint have separate versions for iPhones and iPads with optimized interfaces for phone- and tablet-size screens.

With this latest release, Microsoft continues to do an excellent job of bringing its software to iOS users, giving you an email client that's worthy of becoming your main email app.

Setting up your accounts

When you first start up Outlook, you'll get a brief description of the main features before setting up your accounts. You have options for Microsoft Exchange (great for business users),, iCloud, Google and Yahoo email accounts.

Once you're done setting up your account, you can swipe through a brief tutorial with screenshots to show you how to use the main features. When you're finished you can add more email accounts, or just go right to your inbox.

Focus on important emails

Outlook lets you look at email in a new way with a feature that focuses on email directly related to you. With a tap on the "Focus" button, you can just look at the non-spam emails coming from friends or conversations that you already took part in. An "Other" button shows you the rest of the email coming to your inbox. It's a neat setup because you can quickly browse your focused list for more important messages before sifting through the rest.

Gmail has a similar feature that divides your email into Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates via the slide-out menu. It's a little better in that regard for knowing what you need to go through at a glance, but Outlook's Focus feature also does a good job of keeping your important emails separate.

One thing that I notice many people look for in an email client is the ability to view all your email at once. Outlook has you covered, letting you switch to a combined email inbox that has all your accounts in one inbox. The Focus feature works here too, so you can separate out all the junk to read the emails that are important from every account.

Built-in calendar

The feature that really stands out from other apps in Outlook is the built-in calendar, giving you quick access to your schedule without ever leaving the app. Neither the email client on iOS nor the Gmail app has this functionality without going to a separate app.

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