iOS - OWA vs Outlook

Brass Contributor

Why, oh why does MS have to complicate things?  I don't understand really.  


As a 365 subscriber, I can use either the Outlook app, the OWA app, or the native Mail app.  All three have different options.  If I engage Intune then the native mail app will not work.  So, to utilize Intune across the organization I have to then force the staff to chose OWA or Outlook.


However, there is no real explanation why I would recommend, chose, or support one app over the other.  There is no explanation from MS on why they have created two apps that do basically the same things.  And, there is no explanation from MS why one app has some key features, and the other has other key features ...?  I am quite bothered by this approach and would like to remind MS that people need a simplified yet rhobust app.  Outlook appears to be the winner but it is missing a cruicial element.


Outlook -


1. From a all-around standpoint the Outlook app is best, as it makes affiliation with users, emails, and files. This is amazing actually.  I can touch a contactcs name and see their related mail, calendar events, and shared files.  However, I cannot edit their contact.  Very short sighted.


2. Outlook is supported in Intune, and as an SPE subscriber, this is great. So, i can open a file in OneDrive, and send it to Outlook to email or reference.


OWA - 


1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but OWA is the only official "365 only" app.  E.g. you have to be a 365 subscriber to use it. users cannot use it.  So, why doesn't this app then have access to 365 content such as files, notes, etc. ???


2. Intune, from what I can tell, doesn't support OWA. Yet, Intune is a major feature of being on the E5 plan. If I open a file in OneDrive on my phone I can only send it to Outlook, not OWA.  So, if I chose to use OWA instaed of Outlook then A, I can't see my OneDrive files in the app itself (OWA), and, I can't select a OneDrive file and open it/send it through OWA as it's not an option?  


3. I can add/edit contacts in OWA, but not in Outlook.  I mean, let's be perfectly real here. People need to add and update contact details.  With a one-way sync I can see a contacts directly on my phone, this makes Whatsapp or iMessage convenient.  However, the moment they say hey here is my new phone number or email address I can't update it into my 365 environment without going through a browser or to my computer.  If I update the contact entry in my native contacts app it basically creates a duplciate and updates the duplicate because it's a one-way sync ??? 


**** conclusion




Microsoft has deemed the OWA app the official 365 app, as in you have to have a subscription to use it, so if that doesn't make it the "official" app then I'm confused just in their marketing approach.


Microsoft's "collaboration" tools are so advanced yet I can't see files in the OWA app from coworkers.  (only in Outlook or OneDrive)


Please, let me know why this decision has been made to release two apps that do different things under the same "365 works with them" mindset.  It seems like Outlook is the big winner, so why do you have OWA?


thanks, a frustrated admin p





9 Replies

OWA for IOS is no more updated and it will be retired as soon as all its features will be implemented in Outlook for IOS. Hence, forget OWA for IOS. ;)

The EAS native Apple client, as you have already discovered, is severely limited. Hence forget it too. ;)

Conclusion: use Outlook for IOS. :)

It's best to pretend the OWA app doesn't exist, it's doesn't really serve a purpose these days. Since Microsoft bought Acompli and rebranded it to Outlook for iOS and Android (in Jan 2015) the OWA app has fallen by the wayside. The OWA app isn't much more that a wrapper anyway for the web front end.

The Outlook app is the official app for all intents and purposes. For me Outlook for iOS and Android became the official or mainstream client back in September last year when it became fully powered by the Microsoft Cloud, moving away from Amazon for caching. 


Unfortunately I cannot pretend it does not exist as it is, for the time being, the only thing that allows me to edit a contact on my iOS. 

Understood.  That is a much-requested feature on UserVoice, Better Contacts Management, with 11K votes and over three thousand comments, so it's not like Microsoft don't know people want this feature but as of yet, it hasn't been delivered.


"Editing the People list directly from the app is not yet supported. It is a popular request, and we may add it in a future update.


To edit the People list, please edit the contacts in your account via a web browser.

You can also edit the contacts on the devices' native contacts app but to do this, you first need to make sure you are syncing contacts with your iCloud account and that your iCloud account is set up in our app.


If you would like us to add the ability to edit contacts in the app, please let us know by submitting a feature request via "Settings" -> "Help & Feedback" -> "Suggest a Feature."

We appreciate your patience and feedback!"

@Peter Okorn wrote:

Unfortunately I cannot pretend it does not exist as it is, for the time being, the only thing that allows me to edit a contact on my iOS. 

Good news! This feature is now rolling out for Outlook on iOS (and soon Android):


"You will now have the ability to add and edit contacts right from Outlook on iOS, coming soon on Android. We’ve also completely redesigned the contact card to show more details—including latest conversations and shared files—and enabled easier calling and messaging with your contacts."


Improving People in Outlook for iOS and Android


Is this is what you were after?

With the recent announcement from Microsoft to end support of the Outlook Web App on May 15, 2018 is there any ability to view and manage Shared Mailboxes with the Outlook for Android or Outlook for iOS native apps? I have users that have multiple Shared Mailboxes that I could not get to work with the Outlook native apps in the past. Thank you.

Nope. Mobile Outlook still does not natively support shared mailboxes.

As a workaround, you can configure them as IMAP mailboxes in the IOS Mail app (see for example

the big advantage of owa is that if you have a very large number of folders in Outlook to archive your e-mail, then you have no option in the iOS Outlook App to expand and collapse bins. In owa that is very well arranged. Why is Outlook not able to expand and collapse folders? If I now got into my folder structure I have to scroll a lot to eventually find the right folder to save e-mail that's the only reason I'm using owa