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 17 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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