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OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad

Steve Chew is a senior product marketing manager in the Exchange technical marketing team focused on Outlook and Outlook Web App.

Today, we are excited to announce the availability of OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad, which provide even more value to organizations on any Office 365 subscription that includes Exchange Online.  OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad are mobile apps that offer the same email, calendar and contact functionality you get in Outlook Web App on the browser, but with additional capabilities that are only possible through native integration of the app with mobile devices.

Our goal is to help our customers remain productive anytime, anywhere.  This includes providing a great email experience on smartphones and tablets.  Windows Phone 8 comes with a top-notch native email client in Outlook Mobile, and we offer Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), which is the de-facto industry standard for accessing Exchange email on mobile devices.  In order to better support many of our customers who use their iPhones and iPads for work, we are introducing OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad, which bring a native Outlook Web App experience to iOS devices!

OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad can be installed directly from the Apple App Store.  A subscription to Office 365 that includes the latest update of Exchange Online is required to use the app.1  If you aren’t already an Office 365 subscriber, you can visit Office to learn more and sign up.

Now let’s take a closer look at how OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad works.

Signing in

After installing OWA from the Apple App store, you will see the OWA icon appear on the home screen of your device.

When you tap the icon, a sign-in screen opens where you can use your Office 365 credentials to connect to OWA.

Navigation

Once signed in, you can switch between Mail, Calendar, People and Options by tapping on the icon in the bottom left corner of the app.

This takes you to a navigation screen with tiles you can tap to reach the desired module.  Your upcoming meetings appear on the Calendar tile automatically!

You can also tap and hold the icon at the bottom left corner of the app to start voice input.2

You then use your voice to tell the app to execute certain commands such as “Open calendar for tomorrow” or “New email to Katie Jordan.”

Inbox

When you receive new email, a red badge appears on the OWA icon to indicate the number of unseen new messages.  As soon as you open the app and see the new email messages in the inbox, the badge will disappear from the icon on the home screen.  The badge represents unseen messages, not unread ones.

The inbox in OWA for iPad defaults to a two-column view that shows the list view and reading pane with the folder pane collapsed.  Meanwhile, the inbox in OWA for iPhone defaults to a one-column list view with controls to switch to the folder pane and reading pane.  You’ll notice that the layout has been optimized for touch interaction with a user interface designed to respond to gestures like tapping and swiping.

A quick swipe of each list view item reveals a set of actions such as delete, flag, move and mark as read/unread.  You can swipe multiple list view items to take action on all items at once.  Swipe again to deselect an item.

Composing a new email is as simple as clicking the + icon on the top left corner of OWA for iPad and the bottom right corner of OWA for iPhone.

Tapping on the spectacles icon on the bottom right corner of OWA for iPad expands the reading pane to full screen to provide a more natural reading experience.

As with Outlook Web App in the browser, you can read and create Information Rights Management (IRM) protected email in OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.  Also, out-of-office messages and other MailTips appear in the header of the compose form to notify you when you may want to think twice about sending an email message.

Even apps for Outlook work in OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.  As you can see below, the app bar appears in the reading pane, and a simple tap on the Bing Maps app initiates an address search on Bing Maps directly from within OWA

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You can initiate a search by tapping on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app.  A search input will appear at the top of the list view in OWA for iPad and at the top of a new screen in OWA for iPhone.  You can then type in a keyword to be searched within the inbox or filtered against People

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Finally, OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad can be used in the absence of an internet connection.  You can read, delete and flag messages, as well as compose new messages or reply to messages in your inbox.  You can also view and edit your calendar and contacts.  This offline capability is especially useful when you need to access your email on a flight with airplane mode turned on or on a train with intermittent network connectivity.

Calendar

 

The calendar in OWA for iPad is available in day, week, work week and month + agenda views.  You can easily swipe from day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month, and you can tap on any calendar item to display a preview of the event details.  The calendar in OWA for iPhone is available in day, month and agenda views.  Categories are supported on calendar items, including the ability to assign categories and create new ones.

 

Composing a new calendar item or meeting request is as simple as tapping the + icon on the top left corner of OWA for iPad and the bottom right corner of OWA for iPhone.

From the event creation form in OWA for iPad, you have the option of launching the Scheduling Assistant, which gives you the ability to check the schedules of attendees, add attendees to the meeting and use the room finder to add a location to the meeting.  You’ll notice that the Scheduling Assistant automatically indicates the free/busy status of each attendee, so you can quickly determine which time slots work best for the group.

You can even add a location to a meeting directly from Bing Maps!

Finally, OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad provide full delegate access to the calendar, as well as access to multiple and shared calendars.  This is particularly important for supporting executive administrators and assistants.

People

 

If you navigate to People, you can access your contacts just as you do in Outlook Web App on the browser.

Your OWA contacts are automatically synced to the native address book on the device.  One of the main advantages of doing this on your iPhone, for example, is that the caller ID function will be able to display the names of your OWA contacts when you receive phone calls from them.  The ability for users to sync OWA contacts to the device can be controlled by IT at the organizational level.

Options

When you navigate to Options, you have additional controls at your disposal.  For example, you can manage automatic replies and out-of-office messages, set your time zone and configure your email signature.  You can also easily prevent OWA contacts from syncing to the device by unchecking the box under contact sync.  You can find more information on Options here.

Administrators can manage their users’ access to OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad through the Exchange Administration Center.  They can initiate a remote wipe of the app on any connected device which will delete all email and calendar data contained in the app from the device.3  This is especially useful if the user leaves the organization, and IT wants to remove the email and calendar data from the device without compromising the user’s personal data.

Summary

As you can see, OWA brings all of the same benefits of Outlook Web App in the browser to your iPhone and iPad.  In addition, it offers some capabilities only available through native integration with the device:

  • Stored credentials so you are automatically logged into the app
  • Push notifications that actively notify you of new email
  • Meeting reminders that pop up even when the app is closed
  • Voice activated actions like scheduling a meeting or sending email
  • Contact sync so that OWA contacts are recognized by the iPhone’s caller ID function
  • Remote wipe capability that allows IT to delete email and calendar data in the app from the device in the event that the device gets lost or the user leaves the organization

FAQ

Q: How do I get OWA on my iPhone or iPad?

A: Simply install “OWA for iPhone” or “OWA for iPad” from the Apple App Store.  Once installed, you will need to sign-in using credentials from an Office 365 subscription that includes the latest update of Exchange Online.

Q: Do I need an Office 365 subscription to use OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad?

A: Yes, an Office 365 subscription account with the latest update of Exchange Online1 is required to use OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.

Q: Will OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad connect to Exchange Server 2013?

A: Yes, Exchange Server 2013 customers can use OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad, but additional steps are required to configure push notifications.  You can find more details in TechNet.

Q: How much does OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad cost?

A: There is no additional charge for Office 365 subscribers.  See below for details of those plans.

Q: What Office 365 subscription plans include OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad?

A: Any Office 365 subscription plan that includes the latest update of Exchange Online also includes OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.  Specifically, these plans are: Office 365 Small Business; Office 365 Small Business Premium; Office 365 Midsize Business; Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3 and E4; Office 365 Kiosk K1 and K2; Office 365 Education A2, A3 and A4; and any Exchange Online plan. There are also Office 365 government plans that include OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.

You will need to sign in to your Office 365 subscription on first run to activate OWA.  If you aren’t already an Office 365 subscriber, you can visit www.office.com to learn more and sign up.

Q: What are the requirements to use OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad?

A: There are two key requirements:

  • First, you need an Office 365 subscription that includes the latest update of Exchange Online1 (see above for list).  After you download OWA onto your iPhone or iPad, just sign in with your Office 365 credentials to get started.
  • Second, you need an iPhone 4S or higher and an iPad 2 or higher.  The device must also be running iOS 6 or higher.

Q: What happens if I cancel my Office 365 subscription but I’m using OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad?

A: If your Office 365 subscription ends, you will no longer be able to access OWA from your iPhone or iPad.  You can reactivate OWA by renewing your subscription and signing in with a valid user name.

Q: In what languages will you offer OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad?

A: OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad are available in the same 60 languages that are supported by Exchange Online for Outlook Web App in the browser.  By default, the language in OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad will be the same as the language in Outlook Web App in the browser.  Actual time of availability in particular geographies will depend on when the latest update of Exchange Online becomes available in those markets.  If you want to know if OWA for iPhone or OWA for iPad is available in your region, please check with your IT administrator to confirm.

We are excited to deliver this enhanced Outlook Web App experience for our Office 365 customers who are using iPhone and iPad at work, and we look forward to your feedback on how we can continue to meet your needs.

– Steve Chew

 

 

1 The new Office 365 announced in February 2013, which includes the latest update of Exchange Online, is required to use OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.  If you’re unsure if you’re on the new Office 365, please refer to the Office.com article – Am I using Office 365 after the service upgrade? – or contact your IT administrator to confirm.

2 Voice input is only available in English (AU, CA, GB, IN, and US).

3 The app must be running on the device in order for it to be wiped remotely.

Join the conversation

58 comments
  1. *iPhone 4S or higher. I can get it on my iPad but not my iPhone 4. Unless that’s going to change at some point?

    • @Mika Wig – You’re correct – iPhone 4S or higher is required.

      • Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason for this? I would love to be able to utilize this on my iPhone 4.

        • @amanpatel – Thanks for your interest. We felt like we could not deliver as good an experience on iPhone 4 as we could with later models.

  2. Please add Tasks to complete the experience.

    • @rhelow – Thanks for your feedback.

      • @Paul Rothi – Thanks for your feedback.

      • Categories, though not supported for messages in your different mail folders, but they’re available for Calendar items. When yo create any items (meetings/appointments) on your Calendar, click on the … menu (top right hand corner) and an option ‘Categorize’ will appear, further clicking on that will expose 6 default category options (named after different colors).

  3. Hi, I was just wondering why these nice apps are not available for Office365 Home Premium subscribers. Are there any plans for that in the future? Thanks.

    • @David Pazdera – Thanks for your interest. OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad require the latest update of Exchange Online in order to be used. Office 365 Home Premium does not include Exchange Online, and thus cannot be used with OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad.

  4. I can’t believe this doesn’t work on the iPhone 4. If it works on an iPad 2 they should be not reason for Microsoft to block it from working on an iPhone 4.

    • @Eric Smith – We felt like we could not deliver as good an experience on iPhone 4 as we could with later models, and we wanted to deliver the best experience possible to our customers.

  5. We have a hybrid environment with ADFS doing the authentication. We are planning to implement 2FA for OWA. Users will be redirected to ADFS page where they will enter a token before being authenticated. Will OWA App be able to redirect it to the ADFS page and open the mailbox in the App?

    • @Achyut Patil – These apps do not support 2FA today.

  6. Love this app already. The calendar in particular is nice to see match to perfection my work calendar (including color schemes etc.). Three suggestions about the setup and install experience however. One, OWA is a confusing brand. No one knows what that is in the context of an app. It’s weird and a lot of press articles are already saying "Outlook" instead of "OWA", which does make more sense. Two, a lot of the intro messaging in your press release and in the app itself messages "you must have an O365 subscription with Exchange", etc. Are you talking to the users or to IT? Average users don’t know exactly what they have. They think "I have some version of Office and a work email account". Might need to tidy up the language to let them know what to expect and what to do in case things don’t work. In my case, I wasn’t sure if it would work and just tried it with fingers crossed. Third, the app required a "reset" and also a "passcode (in addition to email password)" on install. No other mail app has ever done those and thus without further explanation, those are a bit of an adoption barrier. Despite those onboarding frictions, LOVE the app!

    • @JoeD – Thanks very much for your feedback, and glad to hear you love the app!

  7. I’m testing the iPad version. I haven’t been able to get notifications when iPad locked…is that a "feature"?

    • @Marco Tafur – You should be able to see meeting reminders and meeting change notifications even when the device is locked. You’ll need to unlock the device to see the badge count which indicates new email.

  8. It is not possible to open shared mailboxes… This is a bug?

    • I can open Shared mailboxes. I logged on with my account and can see 3 Shared mailboxes. Send As worked as well. This is so great.

      • I wonder how you managed to get this to work as MS support are suggesting this is not a supported feature.

        • Yes, @James, you’re right. Opening another user’s mailbox (who has shared it with you) is not supported in the App. Though you can do that if you use OWA in a browser. @David, I am also interested in finding out how you achieved that. Or may be you are referring to being able to access shared Calendars, as that is supported and works in the App.

  9. What is the plan for Android phone ??

    • @Samantha Bandara Dissanayake – We don’t have any details to share at this time.

  10. Nice job Microsoft!! Nice job!! Glad to see you embracing the iPhone and iPad and providing more options/solutions to your customers who just love Apple devices!!

    • @Gregory Stewart – Glad to hear you’re enjoying the apps.

  11. Is there any additional documentation available on these clients regarding security and authentication aspects? Are all active sync device policies followed for example?
    How is the username/password policy working on the device?
    How is data cached local (encrypted)?

    • @Frank van Rijt – Additional technical documentation for OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad is included in the sections for Outlook Web App on TechNet. We will continue to update the technical documentation as new versions of the app get released to the app store. These apps support PIN policy, encryption, and remote wipe.

      • @Steve Chew, thanks for your answer. Could you provide an URL where to find this "Additional technical documentation for OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad is included in the sections for Outlook Web App on TechNet."; I’ve extensively searched Technet around but was unable to find technical information on these apps.

  12. My Office365 site is upgraded to the latest version, but I have downloaded the iOS app and get "Couldn’t connect. We found your settings, but couldn’t connect to the server because it was temporary unavailable". However when I login via my PC it works fine. Any suggestions? Where do I go for support?

  13. I also agree on the branding comments. Just call it Outlook!

    • @SPnerd – Since OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad only work with the latest update of Exchange Online, we didn’t want to name the apps "Outlook" and potentially mislead customers into thinking that they work with consumer email services such as Outlook.com.

  14. Cool App, works wonderfully. I was thinking this would work only with a 365 account. It works with my companies Exchange 2013 OWA also. Thanks

    • @Jermal Smith – Glad to hear you’re finding the apps useful! We have not yet tested or made publicly available OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad without the latest update of Exchange Online. That said, we are planning to deliver these apps to Exchange Server 2013 customers at a future date. In the meantime, if you do try to use these apps with Exchange Server 2013, you may get a limited experience.

  15. Can this be used to access an exchange account with Office 365 Home Premium, or is it for a different product?

    • @Greg Sax – No, these apps will not work with Office 365 Home Premium stand-alone, since Office 365 Home Premium does not include the latest update of Exchange Online. Check out the FAQ in the blog post to see which Office 365 plans will work with the apps.

  16. Hi. App won’t start on my iPad 4 (6.1.3) nor on my iPhone 5 (6.1.4). It just says starting owa and never starts. I tried deleting and reinstall but same result. I’ve not been even able to sign in as it never even asks for my details.

    • @Rodrigo Gomez Zarrabe – Sorry to hear that you’ve had problems installing the app. Have you tried installing it again recently?

  17. Microsoft I am really disappointed. I really was thinking about buying a Windows 8 Tablet. A Windows Phone. I thought it’s bettter because it has Office (iPhone just got Office too, OneNote for iOS and Android just got updated). I thought it’s better because of Skydrive – Skydrive is available as App for iOS/Android. I thougt it connects better with outlook.com calendar and emails, now you bring outlook to iPad and iPhone. Maybe I should even get a Mac because it has Office since years. It’s like you’re begging me NOT to buy your products, NOT to buy into your ecosystem. Instead of paying your software developers to make Apple’s ecosystem stronger you should get every available manpower to fix your own platforms. You’re not making it easy for me to buy a phone that doesn’t even have notification center or a week view in the calendar while the iPhone gets Outlook, Office, OneNote, Skydrive.

  18. I am a HUGE supporter of Outlook.com and tell my friends whenever i get the chance. I use an iPhone and iPad so I was elated to hear about the new OWA app for these devices. I purchased 365 Home Premium SPECIFICALLY so I can use these new apps to access my outlook mail. Please help me understand why i cannot use my outlook.com email address to sign on to these apps with my Apple devices?

    • Looks like Home Premium doesn’t support the new OWA iPhone apps. Would an upgrade to another version of Office 365 work for an outlook.com email address?

      • @Jake – You’re right. OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad will not work with Office 365 Home Premium. If you upgrade to another Office 365 plan for work, you would need to log-in with the email address associated with that work account. You still would not be able to log-in with your consumer email address (i.e., outlook.com).

  19. Rodrigo Gómez Zarrabe,
    Check the available memory space on your devices and see if device restart/resetting helps. You can also try different troubleshooting suggestions in this article from Apple Support:

    iOS: Troubleshooting applications purchased from the App Store
    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1702

    HTH. If nothing works, you may need to contact Apple Support.

  20. SPnerd,
    That error ("Couldn’t connect. We found your settings, but couldn’t connect to the server because it was temporary unavailable") is a temporary server connection error, it’s transient in nature. Something didn’t work/failed when the App tried to connect to server at that moment. I have seen this error too sometimes during my testing. It goes away after a few seconds to minutes. There isn’t anything specific that you can do, other than to make sure you can still access other websites on Internet and your device has an active Internet connection. HTH.

  21. JoeD,
    The Passcode requirement is coming from your Tenant Administrator. App users will see that and will need to choose an appropriate passcode to satisfy the requirements from their Tenant Administrators, if/when the Tenant Administrator sets that as a requirement in EAC (Exchange Admin Center) under Mobile : Mobile device mailbox policies : Default : Require a password. This policy generally applies to all types of mobile devices connecting to our org. If a Tenant Admin won’t require it, you will not see the App asking to set one for yourself. The basic purpose is to secure access to App data (i.e. your mailbox data), especially in cases where a single device is being shared by multiple users, which is sometimes true in the case of iOS devices.

    I don’t understand what you mean by the App requiring a ‘Reset’. That should not be the case if you’re connecting for the first time.

  22. The iPad app needs to be changed so the toolbar (with the Delete button) remains in place when scrolling through an email. Currently, if in Reading view, you need to scroll back to the top of the page to see the Delete button, or in normal mode, swipe, then delete.

    The Delete button should only ever require one action, not scroll or swipe, then an action.

    Oddly, on the iPhone app, which obviously has much less display available, it’s fine.

    • @Mark Avery – Thanks for the feedback.

  23. Does the app support two factor auth?

    • @yardisiak – OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad do not currently support two-factor authentication.

  24. I have tried the app for a few days without success logging in. The app finds my settings and contacts my server however I get an error that the server is temporarily unavailable.

    • @Anonymous – Please refer to the comment below by @Amir Haque to @SPnerd. Thanks.

  25. Just wondering, when you have an email open for reading, is there is a gesture or touch option to move from the current email to next or previous without using the back arrow to display the entire list and then reselect?

    Thanks

  26. Hi,

    Is it possible for emails unseen to be viewed form the Lock Screen with an audible alert on iOS devices, much in the same way as using the Mail .app with ActiveSync for incoming email, or is the red badge the only way of knowing an email is "unseen".

    This proves to be very awkward – constantly unlocking your screen to check if a red badge exists.

    Please let me know.

    Regards,
    Stephen

  27. How do you sign out?? (Please don’t say, "Delete and reinstall the app")

    What if I wanted to sign in as a different user acccount? The Lync app has this option.

    • Wow, they actually use the Settings in the Settings app. It’s not an easy "sign-out" per se, but you can reset the application or change the username in there.

  28. Question about function on the iPod touch: is there a reason this should require a digital compass? Most other apps for iPhone work for iPod as well, and this is a rare exception. After install attempt, an error message displays that this app requires a digital compass.

    Will future updates maintain this requirement? What is the role of the digital compass in this app? I would understand if it were primarily a map service, by as an email platform it seems unnecessary.

    Any thoughts? I would prefer to use the Microsoft platform for my Exchange email accounts if possible, and am pleased with the new Office app for Word, Excel and Power Point. Keep up the good work.

    By the way, all other Office apps for iPhone run well on this device. Thanks.

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