Outlook Web Apps, the mobile apps, will soon stop working on iPhone, iPad and Android. OWA (Outlook Web App) will be retired from Apple iTunes store and the Google Play Store in April 2018 and will be replaced by existing native Outlook app for Android and iOS devices.
Microsoft said it had been working steadfastly towards developing and updating security in the native Outlook app for iOS and Android devices for past few years, so as to deliver seamless experience on mobile devices.
In April, the users of Outlook-on-the-web app will be notified with an in-app message about the exact date of retirement, along with a link to download Outlook for iOS and Android.
The app will stop working from 15th May 2018. Office 365 users who try to use the app will be shown a message that redirects them to download native Outlook app.
“For the last several years Microsoft has focused on delivering an effortless user experience and bolstering security in the native Outlook app for iOS and Android devices. We’ve used your feedback to make Outlook an award-winning app and the best way to experience Office 365 features on a mobile device. Now we’re helping all users to migrate to Outlook while retiring the OWA mobile app,” wrote Microsoft in a blog post.
Even though Microsoft said that native Outlook mobile apps are now good enough to replace OWA mobile apps, comments on the Microsoft’s announcement show that the users aren’t happy about it. Many complained that the features of both were not comparable.
“Will Outlook Mobile App be enabled to Access On Premises Shared Mailboxes? The OWA App is the only tool with the ability to do that. It´s not possible to access Exchange 2016 Shared Mailboxes with the Outlook App as Exchange 2016 works only with WAP 2016 and WAP 2016 does not support IMAP,” said Sven Mihaly-Bison, a regular commentor.
Another occasional visitor Jarno Korterink commented, “Because its not possible to add shared mailboxes in the native Outlook app we advice users to use this OWA app.
Please first add support for shared mailboxes in the native Outlook app before retiring this OWA app.”
The reason for the users’ outburst is that some features available in OWA are missing in native Outlook app. OWA allows users to maintain Favorite folders list, rename folder, View/Send mail from Shared Mailboxes, Access to Public Folders, and Office 365 Groups. These features are not available in native Outlook apps.
Microsoft made no claims whether it will add the missing features to native Outlook app in the near future.