Ads in Microsoft Outlook app for Android and iOS are getting worse
The Microsoft Outlook app for Android and iOS is displaying more ads than before. The new banners are appearing right in the inbox.
Microsoft is displaying more ads in its Outlook app
As you may know, the Outlook mobile app has two main tabs or views, Focused Inbox, and Others. The former collects important mails, while the Others tab displays all emails in your inbox.
Ads aren't good for a user's privacy, but this time the banners are causing another issue. The ads appear similar to regular mails, which could trick users into tapping them. They appear right at the top of the page with a contact bubble next to it, and this is what makes it look like a real email. The banners do have a small text indicator that says "Ad", but that could easily be missed. This is similar to what Google does with ads in its Gmail app (Promotions tab).
You may swipe the ad (from left to right) to dismiss it, just like you would with a real email. This isn't a permanent fix though, as the ad shows up again after a while, or after you restart the app.
Some reports claim that the ads open in an in-app browser, but this isn't the case for me. They are clickable links that are opened in your default web browser.
How to disable the ads in the Microsoft Outlook app
The ads in the Microsoft Outlook app for iOS and Android have been rolling out slowly to users over the past few months. Users can disable ads by buying a Microsoft 365 subscription. In a statement given to The Verge, Microsoft said that users can avoid these ads by enabling the Focused Inbox. This will restrict the ads to the "Other" inbox.
To do so, tap on your profile picture in the top left corner. Now, tap the gear icon to open the Outlook settings. Scroll down till you see Focused Inbox, tap on it to toggle the feature. This will add the Focused Inbox tab to the app's homescreen.
If neither of those options seem to be acceptable solutions, don't worry. There is another way to get rid of the ads, by using a Private DNS service that blocks ads. I use NextDNS, and noticed that the ads appear only when I switched the DNS off, with it enabled however, the ads were blocked. You may have to close the app and start it after applying the DNS settings, for the change to take effect.
Want to switch to a different app? you can check out K9 Mail and FairEMail for Android, both of which are open source, though only the latter supports OAuth. iOS users may want to stick with the stock Mail app in iOS.
On a side note, the Microsoft Outlook web-app for Windows 11 that was leaked a few months ago, now works with personal accounts that have Hotmail, Outlook addresses, and is expected to add support for Gmail accounts soon. Here's a screenshot of the app's interface.
Apple is also said to be testing ads in its apps for iPhones, and they could be implemented in the Apple Maps app in iOS 16.
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