Out of the blue, Microsoft turns Outlook for macOS into a free app

In addition to being free, Microsoft Outlook now runs natively on Apple silicon Macs. Planned new features, such as menu bar peek, are scheduled to launch soon.

Marketing image showcasing Outlook for macOS
One of the best email apps has gone free! | Image: Microsoft
  • What’s happening? Microsoft now allows you to download and use Outlook for free on macOS without paying anything.
  • Why care? You can now check emails, manage calendars and contacts, and much more—without a subscription or license necessary.
  • What to do? Download Microsoft Outlook on your Mac and give it a try.

Microsoft Outlook for Mac is now a free app

This unexpected change marked a significant break from the past when you needed an Office license or a Microsoft 365 subscription to use Outlook.

In 2018, Microsoft acquired the popular email app Accompli, which was the basis for the rebuilt mobile Outlook app. The Mac client is a good citizen on macOS that honors Apple’s visual guidelines and supports core OS features.

First and foremost, Outlook now runs natively on Apple silicon systems such as M1 and M2-powered Macs. The macOS app and its iOS/iPadOS counterpart take advantage of Apple’s Handoff feature to let you pick up tasks where you left off.

Why you should give Outlook a try

Marketing image showcasing Handoff between Outlook for macOS and iOS
Outlook supports Handoff between macOS and iOS | Image: Microsoft

Like all modern email clients, Outlook for Mac supports swipe gestures for triaging your inbox. And similar to its mobile version, the Mac edition supports the Focused Inbox feature that removes unwanted emails from the main view.

Outlook supports all the popular email platforms, including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud Mail, Outlook.com and any email provider via IMAP support. The software includes a built-in calendar and contacts, providing a handy widget for calendar entries. It supports the Notification Center on macOS natively.

Menu bar peek and Focus support

Marketing image showcasing a calendar widget and menu bar peek in Outlook for macOS
Menu bar peek is in the works | Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has said it’s not stopping there and will continue delivering new features and capabilities to the Outlook Mac app via future updates.

The Windows maker plans to soon add support for Apple’s Focus modes via Outlook Profiles, allowing you to use separate work and personal inboxes. A menu bar option is also in the works, with the ability to quickly see calendar entries with a click.

Marketing image showcasing Outlook for Mac profiles and Focus modes
Focus mode support is coming soon | Image: Microsoft

“There is more to do and many more features we are excited to bring to the Outlook Mac experience,” said Jeremy Perdue, a product manager for Outlook for Mac. “We are rebuilding Outlook for Mac from the ground up to be faster, more reliable and to be an Outlook for everyone.”

How to download and install Outlook for macOS

Microsoft offers Outlook for macOS on the App Store and as a direct download from its website. To use the Handoff feature on your Mac to start an email in Outlook on one device and continue on another, you must use the App Store version of Outlook.

The app requires macOS Big Sur 11.0 or later.