Focused Inbox is Finally Coming to Windows 10 Mail

Posted on February 13, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office, Office 365, Outlook.com, Windows 10 with 15 Comments

Microsoft has expanded the testing of Focused Inbox for the Mail app in Windows 10, indicating that this feature will debut with or around the Creators Update.

Focused Inbox was a key feature of the Accompli mobile app that Microsoft purchased in December 2014 and turned into Outlook Mobile for Android and iOS. It’s a somewhat controversial feature in that it uses a cloud-based service to sort through your email before it arrives in your inbox, functionality that many enterprises and other organizations expressly forbid for security reasons.

But the benefits are there: Focused Inbox sorts your email into two views, Focused and Other. The Focused group is email you should deal with immediately, while other is everything else. Over time, the system learns to be more accurate based on your actions—you can manually mark email as Focused or not, for example—and the result is a more efficient email inbox.

Last summer, Microsoft said that it would bring Focused Inbox to its other Outlook clients. And over time, it has done just that, with Microsoft providing a general timeline in October 2016 and then implementing it. Today, Focused Inbox is also available in Outlook.com, Outlook on the web (Office 365 commercial), and Outlook 2016 for Windows too.

But the big question, of course, is Mail for Windows 10, which was not included in that schedule. Or ever updated.

(Windows 10 Mail, like Microsoft’s other Outlook clients, was made by a different team than Accompli/Outlook Mobile, so it’s taken some time to merge those efforts and consolidate these email clients.)

Well, it’s happening now. According to numerous reports, Microsoft has been testing Focused Inbox with a very limited set of Windows Insiders, who appear to have been chosen at random. But in recent days, some readers who are not Insiders are saying that they, too, have been selected to test Focused Inbox in Mail for Windows 10. Looking at Mail today, I see it as well, though it’s not enabled for any of my accounts.

This leads me to believe that Focused Inbox will be a feature of the version of Mail that ships in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Though it’s worth mentioning, too, that app servicing happens independently from the core OS, so those on the current version should see it as well, over time.

As with other versions of Outlook, yes, you will be able to disable Focused Inbox in Windows 10 Mail if you prefer not to use this feature. (And, yes, organizations can disable this feature with policy too.)

Here it comes….

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Focused Inbox is Finally Coming to Windows 10 Mail”

  1. 600

    I use it on my phone, was glad to see it in Windows 10 Mail last week, but it's only on one of my accounts. Can't wait till I can use it on all my accounts.

  2. 412

    I received this on my Windows 10 PC's over the weekend...nice...

  3. 10155

    I have it on my @outlook.com account and in the Outlook Mail app. Only problem is it apparently does not work in conjunction with the "linked inbox" feature, meaning you have to go to the inbox for the individual account in order to see the Focused/Other panes. Which is a shame, as the linked inbox feature is the main reason I use the free Outlook Mail app over the full Outlook 2016 suite.

  4. 5530

    I welcome this feature, but I guess this is also a sign that we're not going to get the "real" mobile outlook app for the PC? That makes me want to cry.

  5. 442

    I messed with this feature with Accompli, wasn't that impressed.  It rarely got the focus correct.

  6. 5234

    I have lots of clients that use the Outlook mobile app and can't figure out how Focused Inbox works.  They hate it, and always want it turned off so that they can just see all of their email.

  7. 5496

    I hated it on the website, I had to turd it off.

  8. 5534

    This has been in the Outlook app on my phone for some time now (maybe a month or so), and I couldn't figure out what it's for or if I have a need for it. Now I no the answer to both is no. Thanks for the explanation of it's purpose, Paul.

  9. 5816

    The best thing about this feature? It can be turned off. The worst? It is on by default.

  10. 2394

    I've had Focused Inbox for the better part of four months, and I hate it. Outlook has terrible judgment about what emails are important to me, and as a result, newsletters I subscribe to are in Other (and often in Junk), and solicitation spam makes it to Focused. I want one Inbox, with all my emails, and I will segregate it into piles of useful and crap by myself, thanks. 

  11. 7054

    My eighty-something year old father had the "focused inbox" feature rolled out to him in the "ON" position. It had the effect (from his perspective) of everything in his Inbox disappearing. Good times.

  12. 456

    Well little steps are good, I found the Windows 10 mail client to be one of the worst I have ever used.  And it was even worse when my parents had to use it with verizon pop mail (and yes been trying to get them to give it up).

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