O365–Outlook Web App (OWA) for your phone

I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 and I love it.  I upgraded to this from an iPhone 4 (which I also loved but the screen was just too small).  The Galaxy is a really nice unit but the email client isn’t as “pretty” or quite as fluid as the one I had on my iPhone and I really dislike the Calendar app.  There’s nothing “wrong” with either app, they just doesn’t have quite as polished a “feel” as the iPhone.  But I never considered looking for a replacement as it “works”.

Sean mentioned to me that he had installed the Outlook Web App (OWA) on his iPhone as he has “issues” with ActiveSync.  I wondered what OWA might offer so I downloaded the Android version to my phone (NOTE:  OWA for Android is picky about your Android version; it installed happily on my Galaxy S4 but doesn’t even show up in the Playstore for my older Galaxy Tab 10.1.  The Outlook.com app that shows up for my tab is NOT OWA.) The install went pretty quickly and I ended up with one more icon my phone.


Tapping on the OWA icon brings up the following (after the initial setup screen which basically asks for email address and password):


Hmmm, all very “Modern” and Windows Phone like.  But that’s okay.  Tapping on the Outlook icon brings up the following:


The breadcrumb across the top of the screen scrolls left/right with your finger and provides a quick way to get to the most common categories of email, pretty self explanatory.  It’s pretty fluid to move up and down the screen, as well.  Tapping on an item opens like the following:


The reply button is the funny curved double arrow on upper right of screen which then opens to give you choices like reply, reply all and forward.  The ellipses opens choices suchsas mark as unread, flag, mark as junk and delete.  More choices at bottom of screen echo some of the choices on the upper ellipses as well as provide delete, move to other folder and back functions.  Operation is pretty fluid, at least on my S4.  The reply function shows the following screen (similar to a new email):


All pretty standard stuff.

On the main email screen you can swipe left or right on an individual email and you then get some choices:


The icons are pretty self-explanatory (I think) and I have to say I really like this particular way of getting at “things to do” with a given email.  Again, it’s all fast and fluid on my S4.  And I can pull up options from the bottom of the screen that also help make life easy:


From the main screen I can select Calendar and then get different views:




And, of course, there is the familiar Calendar entry:


I won’t go into Contacts but it is more of the same.

On my S4 OWA happily runs in the background and uses the standard “alerts” function of the phone to surface alerts on the screen (across top of screen).  It seems to be a very “fluid” app and it just “feels” better in hand than the standard apps provided on my S4.  It’s not anything earth shattering, by any means, but it does provide some nice functionality that is more in keeping with the feel of OWA out of O365 and Outlook on a PC.  I’m still learning how to tweak it but I have removed my O365/Exchange accounts from the default S4 apps and am now living solely with OWA for email, calendar and contacts.

If you’re a fan of the “ModernUI” look and feel and/or you just aren’t happy with the default email and calendar apps on your Android (and I expect iPhone/iPad as the OWA app on those platforms is very similar to what I’ve described here) then you might want to give OWA a try (keeping in mind my earlier caveat about OWA vs outlook.com app on Android).  It fits well with the other apps Microsoft makes available for your phone/tablet and I find I’m liking them more and more which also means I need my PC(‘s) less and less.  And like everything else O365 related the apps are being improved continuously.  That is not something that can be said about the apps on my Galaxy …

2 responses to “O365–Outlook Web App (OWA) for your phone

  1. I considered this app for iOS until I realized I was not getting notifications for new email.

    1. Craig: I believe Microsoft is aware of this failing. I have partial alerts on my Android so I know they can make it work. iOS is a critical platform for them and OWA is a critical app. You might want to try it again.

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