I’m not someone who does a lot of looking at their work email outside of work. But I do at least have my work email on my phone. I keep the notifications turned off, but it’s handy to have it if I’m around the office but up from my desk and need to see something. Except when it makes itself totally worthless.
Microsoft put out an Outlook Android app a couple years ago, and it’s generally decent. The one annoying default setting is it turns on something called Focused Inbox that only shows you priority messages, but this just hides stuff I need to see so I turn it off. Lately though, I’ve been finding that the Outlook Android app has some stupid bugs in it that are making my life mildly difficult. The biggest issue is that calendar appointments with attachments don’t show the attachments.
You’d think that for an email & calendar app, this would be a pretty basic-ass feature, right? But the attachments aren’t there. They show up fine if I pull up Outlook 365 in Chrome, but not in the actual Outlook app. What the hell, Microsoft?
I tried to set up my work Outlook 365 account with the unused Samsung calendar app on my phone (I use Gmail and Google Calendar, not Samsung’s apps). Doing this involved adding the Outlook 365 account to the Samsung email app so Samsung calendar could access the account, but I ran into a way-restrictive security policy, far above and beyond what’s required to access my Outlook 365 account through Outlook for Android.
When I set up Outlook for Android with my work Outlook 365 account, the security policy required that basically, the phone needs to have a screen lock on it, have encryption turned on, and the Outlook app and its data—but crucially, not the rest of the phone—can be remotely wiped by my company. That remote wiping of Outlook data is accomplished within the Outlook app itself, and not a device admin level security permission. At the admin level, this is what Outlook has access to:
I’m fine with this arrangement, because the remote wiping is is all neatly sandboxed within Outlook, and things like a screen lock and encryption are good to have anyway.
But when trying to add my work Office 365 account to the Samsung email & calendar apps, hoo boy, the security policy required all kinds of crap, which gave me an opportunity to use Samsung’s handy scrolling screenshot feature.
This is like, every single possible security setting that exists on the damn phone! There’s no way I’m going to give anyone this level of access to my device. Needless to say, I did not click that activate button.
I tried the thing within the Outlook app to contact support about the missing attachments on calendar items, and the response was, “you should post this in our feature request forums.” That was super helpful.
So...anyone have suggestions for good Outlook 365-compatible Android email/calendar apps? I have a feeling any app that’s not Outlook might try to set these same security permissions, but it’s worth a shot.
UPDATE: I’m trying out an app called Nine that has a similar level of security permissions as the Outlook app, rather than the Samsung email app. I have no idea what’s up with the Samsung email app needing all those permissions. Crucially, in Nine, attachments actually work, and overall it’s a nicely designed email & calendar app. The only thing is, it’s apparently a paid app with a 2-week free trial. I’m not sure if after 2 weeks it starts showing ads, or what. I guess we’ll see what happens after 2 weeks.