Microsoft has announced the long-anticipated retirement of the OWA mobile apps for iOS and Android operating systems. The advice from Microsoft is to use Outlook for iOS/Android. When Outlook was released in January 2015 it was announced that the new app would replace the OWA apps at some point in the future. It seems we have finally reached that point just over three years later.
The OWA apps will be removed from the Apple and Google app stores in April 2018. Users of the OWA apps will start to see an in-app notification letting them know about the retirement of the OWA app, and advising them to install Outlook instead. On May 15th, 2018, the OWA apps will stop working.
The news has been met with some complaints from users who still rely on the OWA apps for features that Outlook for iOS/Android still does not support. Two key features are:
- Support for opening shared mailboxes
- Support for approving/rejecting moderated transport messages
Although shared/delegate calendar access has been available in Outlook iOS/Android for some time now, shared mailbox access is still not there. Microsoft says that shared mailbox access will be coming to Outlook “by the end of 2018“. That still leaves a potential gap of several months, during which users will need to use OWA through their mobile web browser to access shared mailboxes. While it would be nice to maintain the OWA app until all functionality has been added to Outlook, developer time is not an unlimited resource, and it’s probably best to focus all efforts on improving the Outlook app.
If you still have OWA app users in your Office 365 environment, Microsoft will be posting a notice to your Message Center advising of the retirement of the apps.
For on-premises Exchange organizations, you can identity OWA app users with the following PowerShell command in the Exchange Management Shell:
[PS] C:\>Get-MobileDevice -OWAforDevices