Keep work and personal separate using the Outlook for iOS/Android

Regardless of whether you are faculty, staff, or a student at Georgia Tech, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re walking around with a mobile device that’s your personal device. If you’re like me, you use this device to access Georgia Tech IT resources in addition to your normal personal usage. One of the biggest problems with using one device is that the line between your personal data and GT’s data starts to get very blurry… especially with email. That line between your personal life and your work/school life gets pretty blurry too. If you’re looking for a way to make that line less blurry, I highly recommend the Microsoft Outlook app for mobile that is included with your GT Office 365 account.

Download and set up the app

Getting the app is the same as any other app on iOS or Android; just head over to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and download the app. We have instructions on the OIT FAQ site for setting up the Outlook app on both iOS and Android. The setup is the same as other Office 365 applications; use your address and sign in to the GT Login service when prompted.

What’s in the box?

Everything that you know and love (or potentially hate) about your email and calendar is in the Outlook app. Once you set up the app, it will automatically sync your Inbox, Calendar, and Contacts. As you visit your folders, the app will learn which folders you use and sync mail for those folders as well. All the normal email and calendar features that you’re used to on your iOS/Android mail app are there: You’ll have access to all your mail, sending/receiving mail, your calendar, and contacts like before. You can also set up notifications for meetings and new mail just like you can in the default iOS/Android mail apps. I personally like that I have different notifications for my work and personal mail and calendar. It allows me to disable my Outlook app notifications when I’m on vacation or otherwise unavailable without having to disable or heavily tweak all my personal notifications.

Extra features!

In addition to all the typical mail and calendar features that you’re used to in typical mail clients, the Outlook app adds additional features. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Focused Inbox in a new feature that has been rolling out in Office 365 that sorts your mail into two categories. “Focused” mail is mail that comes directly from people you work with regularly or that you’ve otherwise flagged as something you want to see as Focused. Everything else goes into “Other.” Ultimately, you control what is “Focused” or “Other.” You can also turn the feature off completely.
  • Sync shared calendars and improved delegate calendar management. The Outlook app can sync calendars that have been shared to you. If you’re a delegate that manages the calendar, there are also improvements to that workflow to make it clearer that you’re managing another person’s calendar instead of your own.
  • Improved meeting scheduling. The Outlook app allows you to view the calendars of other people that you’re inviting to the meeting. It also has improved RSVP capabilities for recurring meetings that allow you to decline individual meetings without declining the whole series.
  • Active development. Both the iOS and Android apps are under active development by Microsoft and receive regular updates. If there’s a feature that the app doesn’t have, they accept feedback on UserVoice for both the iOS version and the Android version.

What happened to the OWA app?

Back when Georgia Tech moved to Office 365 for email, the recommended mobile app from Microsoft was the OWA app. That app has been retired and replaced with the Outlook app. The OWA mobile will no longer be available starting in April 2018 and will stop working on May 15, 2018. Users that still have the OWA app on their mobile devices will start seeing a message directing them to the Outlook app starting in April 2018 also. If you’re still using the older OWA app, now is the time to move to the new Outlook app.