Honestly, there are so many mail apps for iOS platform that it can be hard to focus on one. More difficult is to stick to your chosen one. I’ve been guilty of switching between productivity apps for quite some time now. I recently tried the Outlook app after using Apple Mail for the past few months.
The experience was pleasantly positive but don’t take my word for it just yet. Read the analysis below to learn more about how Outlook is a better email app.
1. User Interface
When you open Apple Mail, you will be asked to enter your email ID details with options for some of the leading providers.
Outlook automatically detected my email ID because I’m using other Microsoft apps on my iPhone. You can also add email IDs from other service providers, including IMAP and POP in Outlook.
Outlook has a few more options at the bottom – Search and Calendar, which we’ll explore in detail later.
Both apps will require certain permissions to work properly. The design is simple and intuitive enough with everything easily accessible on both apps.
2. Read mail
Apple Mail comes with a set of pre-configured mailboxes such as Drafts, Sent, VIP, and others. Contacts added as VIP will be given priority. This means that you have the option to receive mail notifications for only those contacts. Save time as you don’t have to pick up the phone every time you receive a newsletter.
To add a contact as a VIP, open their mail and tap on the header of the email to mark as VIP. At the bottom, you will see regular options like Reply, Delete, Write, Report, and Move.
You can swipe right to mark the email as unread, and swipe left to delete, report, or reply to it. While you can change the swipe settings by heading to Settings > Mail instead of the Mail app directly.
Outlook also supports swipe gestures but offers more options while configuring it like schedule, read and archive, pan, and more.
The Outlook app has all the folders in the sidebar that you can open with a simple right swipe. There is also a focus mailbox where important messages will arrive. You can manually select which messages you access as well, and the app will learn from your behavior. All remaining messages are available under the Other tab. No need to go back and forth.
Clicking on the three-dot menu icon will bring up options like delete, reply, and more. At the bottom, you will again find the search and calendar options. It appears to be global.
Clicking on the three dots menu at the top will reveal different options. You can use the schedule button to remind you of important mails at a later time and date. It is useful when you receive vital mail but do not have time to deal with it. Also valuable if the same mail is associated with an event.
The reading experience remains almost the same on both the Apple Mail and Outlook for iOS app. However, I like Focused Mailbox more because I don’t have to manually select VIP contacts. The schedule option is a real lifesaver as it turns messages into a to-do list.
3. Mail sort
Apple Mail comes with a bunch of mailboxes as we saw earlier, but there’s more hidden below the list. Click Edit to reveal more mailboxes. Some of them are very useful.
Mailboxes such as attachments, unread or today can be very useful. It makes it easy to sort messages by what you’re looking for. Microsoft’s Outlook app removes the guesswork from the equation by introducing a Filter button. Tap it to sort emails by attachments or unread. There is a useful option called Mention Me. What is that?
It works just like any other app. If the mail mentioned by name, you will find it here. Just another filter but it’s even more useful when you’re working in a team.
Both Apple Mail and Outlook are smart enough to recognize calendar events in Mail and offer to save them. In Apple Mail, you can click on the time or date link to open a new menu. This is where you can create, copy, or view an event in the calendar.
Where Apple offers a separate calendar app, Outlook comes with one built in. You can access it from the bottom bar menu on each screen. Following Apple’s design policy, you’ll tap on a date or time to open a menu for creating events.
The difference here is that Outlook also works on other platforms like Windows and Android, while the Apple Mail and Calendar apps are restricted by the Apple ecosystem.
Then there’s the search tab where you can quickly search for mail messages by contact names, events, and even file names. It makes life much easier.
5. Platform and prices
As mentioned in the point above, neither Apple Mail nor any other Apple app for that matter works on Windows and Android. Outlook is available on all popular desktop and mobile operating systems.
iCloud offers 5 GB of free storage while Outlook offers 15 GB of free storage which is three times more. This is on par with what Google offers to Gmail or Drive users. Note that Office 365 users get 50GB of storage. iCloud storage plans start at $0.99 for 50GB and go up to $9.99 for 2TB.
Outlook or OneDrive storage plans start at $69.99 per year for 1 TB, but you also get access to the Office 365 suite of apps like OneDrive, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, among others.
The future is looking forward to the result
Cross-platform compatibility is a must in this day and age, even for die-hard Apple fans. It might save the day someday. In addition, Outlook is much easier to use with all the options and settings easily accessible from one application. The calendar is baked into the app, which makes it more usable. And enterprise users will certainly want to take advantage of Microsoft’s powerful suite of exchange apps, which means it’s scalable.
For personal users, Apple Mail is a solid option, but Outlook is more flexible. Both are equally reliable.