Apple Mail has some serious competition
In a move that few people expected, Microsoft has made Outlook free for all Mac users. You can download it from the Mac App Store and use it today. Best of all, you don’t even need a Microsoft 365 subscription.
So, why would Microsoft do this, and is there a catch? Let’s find out.
Outlook for Mac for All
Outlook on macOS is a native Mac app. Microsoft has said it plans to continue building and maintaining native apps on macOS and iOS.
There will be no Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on the Mac, unlike on Windows, where a very unpopular Outlook PWA app resides in the Microsoft Store.
Instead, Outlook for Mac is optimized for Apple Silicon. It integrates seamlessly with Notification Center, and even comes with a widget for checking your calendar at a glance.
Outlook also supports just about any email service you are likely to use. Outlook.com, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo! and IMAP accounts are all configurable in the new Outlook app.
You can view all your inboxes at once, and there is an “all-mailbox” search to find email across all of your accounts.
New Features for Outlook on the Mac
If you are searching for an alternative to Apple Mail, Outlook is not lacking features. For instance, if you use Outlook on iOS, you can take advantage of Handoff to move between your iPhone and your Mac.
Outlook Profiles, (an upcoming feature for Mac), will let you link your email accounts with Apple’s Focus Modes. It will help ensure that you only get notified about emails when you want to be notified about them. They can also help you separate your work and personal emails.
Emails can be pinned, flagged, and categorized. Don’t have time to reply right now? Snooze it and deal with it when you have more time.
If you want, you can use the Focused Inbox and have Outlook filter your most important emails for you. I tried it, but it wasn’t for me.
So, is Outlook Really Free?
Kind of. Here’s what you need to know.
As previously mentioned, the app is free to download from the Mac App Store. However, if you are not signed in with a licensed Microsoft account, then Outlook is ad-supported on the Mac, just like it is at outlook.com.
It’s also a very consumer-based app. It lacks Exchange support, at least at the time of writing, while tasks and contact lists are also unavailable. This means it’s not necessarily going to be a replacement for enterprise email apps any time soon.
The new Outlook for Mac might not be for power users, but it’s still a very capable app, and it will do most of the things that most people need.
I can see it being a popular choice for those that move between a Mac and a PC, or for those who have recently switched from Windows to macOS.
And if you don’t like it, Apple Mail is right where you left it.
Still here? Great! I’m glad you made it to the end. If you enjoyed this article, here are some ways to show your appreciation: