Outlook Mobile gives Gmail users dark mode and more

Outlook Mobile's logo as of 2018

Outlook Mobile for Android and iOS is the best Gmail alternative that features a dark mode. Seeing Microsoft become friendly with all platforms and services has been quite a change from how things used to be. Let’s take a quick look at Outlook Mobile and see why it’s currently my default mail app of choice.

Background Info on Outlook Mobile

The name Outlook is a bit misleading because it has been used for a lot of different email products and services from Microsoft over the years. For what I mean, check out this Wikipedia entry on Outlook.

A picture of a man being confused by how many different things Microsoft used the Outlook branding on over the years

When I refer to Outlook Mobile, I am talking about the mobile apps for iOS and Android and nothing else. 

Outlook Mobile Pros and Cons

Outlook Mobile is available on your mobile operating system of choice and works with both Microsoft’s email service, Gmail, and Yahoo mail.

Simple UI

Upon first launch, Outlook Mobile is pretty bare bones. For some people, that’s a welcome sight. For others, they might crave something more advanced. I’ve been happy with the options so far and haven’t felt limited, but I don’t do too much with email on my smartphone, so advanced users may disagree.

A screenshot of Outlook Mobile for Android
My Gmail inbox being accessed with Outlook Mobile set to dark mode

Swipe gestures

Similar to Gmail and other apps, you can set up custom swipe gestures to archive, delete, and more. I’m the type of person that always forgets which way to swipe, so I end up having to tap to select and hit the delete button. However, for people that love swipe gestures, you’ll feel right at home here.

Focused Inbox

Outlook Mobile and other Outlook services have a “focus” mode where your messages are sorted into two categories, “focused” and other. With the focus mode on, you will only see what some algorithm somewhere has decided is worth staying in your inbox. The other messages are relegated to the other category which you must switch to to see.

A screenshot of Outlook Mobile using the focused inbox feature on iOS

To be honest, I kind of like this feature and prefer it over Gmail’s 4-5 different sorting categories. 

Dark mode

I don’t have the numbers, but I am willing to bet a large amount of switchers from Gmail have adopted Outlook Mobile because it has a real dark mode for both Android and iOS. 

When launching the app, everything is with a black or dark background. This is great for people looking at their phones at night or those that have AMOLED screens and want to make the most of them.

A screenshot of the compose view

Google currently has weird restrictions for dark mode on Gmail with Android by making it exclusive to phones running Android 10. There is no real reason for this when other Google apps already offer dark mode regardless of Android version.

On iOS, not all Gmail users have the dark mode option either. It’s maybe a server side roll out that still hasn’t happened or perhaps a different reason. Regardless, on my iPad I still don’t have dark mode using Gmail. 

Outlook Mobile for iOS and iPad OS solves this problem by offering a dark mode out of the box which also connects to my Gmail account. 

Final Thoughts on Outlook Mobile

Outlook Mobile is a solid app from Microsoft for iOS and Android. Yes, Microsoft offers a web-based email service just like Google, but my focus was mainly on using Outlook while still remaining a Gmail user. 

I have to say I really like Microsoft’s mobile apps and although it’s too late for me to switch to an Outlook email address or the web service, I will most certainly be keeping my eye out for Microsoft’s mobile apps because they work well and also with other non-Microsoft services such as Gmail and Yahoo. 

It’s free, so give it a download, connect your Google account, and enjoy a minimalistic email app that happens to also do dark mode really well.

Download it! (Android)
Download it! (iOS)

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