If you’ve been noticing new ads in Microsoft’s Outlook app for iOS and Android recently, you’re not alone. The company has confirmed that its Outlook Mobile app has started showing ads to all free users, whether they use the Focused Inbox feature or not.
Until recently, the Outlook Mobile app only showed ads to free users who enabled Focused Inbox. This feature places your most important emails into a “Focused” tab, leaving everything else in an “Other” tab. Previously, free users could only see ads when checking this Other tab, but the app now shows ads to users who have the Focused Inbox option disabled as well.
“For free users of Outlook, ads are shown in their inbox and they can choose to enable the ‘Focused inbox’ feature if they would like to see ads only in the ‘Other’ inbox,” Microsoft spokesperson Caitlin Roulston in a statement shared with The Verge. In practice, the only way to get rid of ads in Outlook Mobile now is to get a Microsoft 365 subscription.
— Nick Smith (@yonicksmith) August 16, 2022
Obviously, free users aren’t thrilled about the change, especially since ads in Outlook Mobile pretty much look like regular emails. You may see them at the top of your inbox, with only a small “Ad” icon differentiating them from the rest of your emails. You can easily swipe the ads away, but they’ll eventually show up again.
To be fair, Microsoft has also been showing ads on its Outlook.com web app for a while, so it’s not a surprise to see Outlook Mobile catching up. Again, you can get still rid of these ads with a Microsoft 365 subscription, though free users may well want to give another email client a try.