Outlook for iOS Gets a New Scheduling Experience

Posted on October 31, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in iOS, Office, Office 365 with 8 Comments

Outlook for iOS Gets a New Scheduling Experience

Microsoft Outlook for iOS is picking up a great feature from the desktop version of the app: the scheduling assistant. But you’ll need to add an Office 365 commercial account to see it.

“Our goal with Outlook has been to provide a mobile experience that’s good for more than reading messages while standing in line for coffee,” the Outlook Team explains. “As part of our mission, we released a new and improved calendar on iOS and Android in September that brought you things like Maps and Skype for Business integration.”

This week’s update applies only to Outlook on iOS, though Microsoft notes that the Android and Windows 10 Mobile versions will be updated soon as well. And it brings the scheduling assistant from the desktop versions of Outlook down to the phone. As this animated image so aptly demonstrates.

The idea is that when you schedule meetings with others, it helps to know what their schedules are so you can find free time that works for everyone. So you can now create an event, add coworkers, and then tap the date picker to access the scheduling assistant. Times that work for everyone will show in white, while yellow is used to indicate partial availability. And red is for no availability. From here, you tap the time picker and drag and until it turns green, indicating that everyone is available at that time. Again, since Microsoft already did the hard work:

As noted, you will only get this functionality if you’re using an Office 365 commercial account.

You can download Outlook for iOS from the Apple Apps Store.


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  1. 2 | Reply
    jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 2 months ago

    I know at a deep level mail and calendars are connected and many people like having that stuff all in one app but I really wish MS didn't mix the peanut butter of my calendar with the chocolate of my mail.

    1. 1 | Reply
      jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 2 months ago
      In reply to jr.flynn:

      Completely agree!  I really like having separate apps.  When I'm thinking about my calendar, I don't immediately think of going to the mail app.  And then it takes an extra step once I'm in mail to get to the calendar.  It just doesn't flow and I feel like my calendar is hidden from me.

      I've even grown to dislike having them together in Outlook on the desktop.  I use mail and calendar apps most of the time and only jump into Outlook when I need to do something that isn't supported by the stand-alone apps.

      I can see having them together in the corporate world as a meeting often stems from an email.  When managing personal events and mixing commercial and personal, I want them separate.

    2. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago
      In reply to jr.flynn:

      I personally believe this too, would like to have separation in the apps.  But I do see the concept of "collaboration" being communication as well as planning.  On the more single task oriented smartphone environment, this kind of makes sense.  On the desktop it's far easier to jump between two open apps, rather than fumbling with a single app that has limits and at least "difficulties" in operation of multi-layered actions.

  2. 0 | Reply
    LuxuryTravelled Alpha Member #168 - 2 months ago

    This would be really helpful on a consumer level as well - to arrange meetups with friends, dinner/lunch, parties etc...

  3. 0 | Reply
    dspeterson Alpha Member #130 - 2 months ago

    Still waiting for the update to show up in the app store, but the article appeared to say it also works for on-prem folks "The feature is currently available on Outlook for iOS when connected to Office 365 or the latest versions of Exchange."

    I'd assume that means as long as you're on Exchange 2016 you're good, but it is oddly non specific.

  4. 0 | Reply
    MutualCore - 2 months ago

    MS killing it on iOS!