Microsoft Enables Faster Account-Switching on Outlook Mobile

Users of Microsoft's mobile email client on iOS can now switch between accounts and reply to busy email threads faster.

Outlook

Microsoft is currently rolling out a new update to its Outlook mobile app for iOS that makes it easier for users to explore their inboxes and other message folders across multiple email providers, including Gmail, Outlook.com and Office 365.

The software giant has made getting around the app a little more intuitive by tweaking its navigation. A redesigned account and folder menu now displays icons that represent each email account. Tapping one brings up a list of that account's folders (Inbox, Drafts, Sent, etc.), allowing users to quickly drill down to a desired destination.

For users that run into issues or are still getting acquainted with the app, Microsoft has carved out a more prominent place for the Help and Settings button in the sidebar. Tapping this button provides rapid access to Outlook's in-app product support services.

Microsoft has also made participating in email chains, or the conversation experience as the company refers to it, a little more manageable for users whose inboxes are inundated with new messages during the course of a typical workday.

"Outlook now shows more of your conversation at once and provides clearer separation between individual messages, making it simpler to catch up on your conversations," stated the company in a blog post. Whereas individual messages where partitioned using a thin line in previous versions of the app, emails now appear as visually distinct cards, of sorts, within the mobile email client.

In addition, Microsoft has changed the app's behavior so that tapping on a conversation now directs users to the first unread email, a move that reduces scrolling and slashes the time it takes to get caught up with active email threads. And rather than hit the reply or reply all buttons to chime in, the Outlook now borrows a key feature found in chat applications.

With Outlook's new message box functionality, users can reply to all participants by tapping the quick reply field, typing a message and hitting the send button. This change allows users to keep an eye on fast-moving email conversations since they are no longer required to switch to another view while crafting their replies, according to Microsoft.

Naturally, other functions like forwarding messages are still available. A tap of the recipients list or the ellipsis icon near the top of the app affords users more options.

The new navigation and email conversation enhancements are available now to Outlook users with iOS devices and Outlook.com and Gmail accounts. Support for Office 365 accounts is arriving soon, assured the software giant.

Looking ahead, Microsoft teased some search improvements that the company is currently working on.

"Search will be front and center in the app's simplified tab bar. No matter where you are, the new search will be a tap away," stated the company. "Our goal is to bring more proactive and contextual information to your fingertips without even needing to type in a search box." The app will also offer up proactive contact information and file suggestions while users type, allowing them to more quickly find the information they're seeking.

What about Android users? Microsoft said they can expect the new navigation, email conversation and search experiences to arrive sometime within the next few months.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...