In July 2016 we announced that Focused Inbox, a new feature in Outlook that helps you cut through the noise of email to focus on what matters most, would be coming to Office 365 customers. Focused Inbox first rolled out to customers who use modern authentication, and earlier this month we added support for basic authentication. This means that Focused Inbox is now available to all Office 365 customers on the Monthly Channel of Office 365 ProPlus. If you aren’t seeing it yet, be sure your Outlook version is updated to build 16.0.8730 Version 1711 or greater. Focused Inbox will be available to customers on the Semi-Annual Channel in the March 2018 Semi-Annual Targeted release, and the July 2018 Semi-Annual release, according to that channel’s standard schedule.
With Focused Inbox now rolled out, we’d like to share more about our plans for Clutter. As we mentioned in July, Focused Inbox is the long-term replacement for Clutter. It carries forward Clutter’s capabilities but removes the need to visit a separate folder to check your less-actionable messages. Because Clutter and Focused Inbox use the same algorithms for sorting messages, there are no changes to how email is classified, just a better user experience.
We’ll continue to make Clutter available to Office 365 customers until January 31, 2020. To prepare for Clutter’s eventual retirement, we’ve turned the feature off by default for new users. It’s also deactivated for those with extremely low usage (less than 12 emails per month being moved to the Clutter folder), however they can re-enable Clutter at any time, if desired.
If your organization is using Clutter today, the process for transitioning to Focused Inbox depends on what version of Outlook you are using.
Subscription version of Outlook (Outlook 2016 as part of Office 365 ProPlus or Office 365 Business): As users in your organization update Outlook to the latest version, those who currently use Clutter will be prompted to give Focused Inbox a try. If they decide to switch, Clutter will be turned off automatically for that user—no administrator action is required. If they don’t switch, messages will continue to move to the Clutter folder until the January 2020 end of service date arrives. As an administrator you can also activate Focused Inbox for your whole organization rather than giving individual users the choice. See the resources at the end of this post for details.
Perpetual version of Outlook (Outlook 2016 MSI or earlier version): These versions of Outlook do not support Focused Inbox. To transition from Clutter to Focused Inbox, you can upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus (available today) or Outlook 2019, which is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2018 and will include support for Focused Inbox. If you don’t upgrade Outlook before January 2020, messages will stop being moved to the Clutter folder, and will revert to being placed in the inbox.
For more information and FAQs, including how to manage Focused Inbox and Clutter for your organization, please refer to these resources:
Blog: Outlook helps you focus on what matters to you
Blog: Managing Focused Inbox in Office 365 and Outlook
Help article: Configure Focused Inbox for everyone in your organization (includes content on configuring Clutter options for your organization)
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