Microsoft is making significant changes to its Mail & Calendar apps in Windows 11, with plans to replace them entirely by 2024. Subscribers to Microsoft 365 will receive an alert when accessing the Mail app in Windows 11, indicating that “In 2024, Windows Mail and Calendar are becoming Outlook.” Currently, this notice is only visible to paid subscribers, but it will soon be available to free Outlook users as well.
The replacement for the existing Mail & Calendar apps will be a web-based Outlook.com app powered by Microsoft Edge. This move is part of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to streamline the mail experience on Windows and create a unified platform known as One Outlook. The company aims to replace the current Win32 Outlook and UWP Mail & Calendar apps with Outlook based on Outlook.com through Microsoft Edge.
In a support document exclusively for Microsoft 365 business users, Microsoft has confirmed that the migration process for Mail and Calendar app users has already commenced. As part of this transition, users will receive an alert notifying them of the upcoming changes to the mail apps in Windows 11.
In August 2023, Microsoft will automatically begin moving certain Mail & Calendar app users to the new Outlook for Windows. However, users will have the option to opt-out and revert to the previous apps by toggling the switch in the top right corner. Microsoft assures that the transition will be as user-friendly as possible.
From 2024 onwards, all new Windows 11 devices will come pre-installed with the new Outlook for Windows. To access the new Outlook, users can simply click on the “Try the new Outlook” button. By doing so, Microsoft will download the new app from the Microsoft Store, a process that may take a few minutes. Once the download is complete, the Windows Mail and Calendar apps will automatically direct users to the new Outlook app. Users can import their accounts and settings and integrate third-party services such as Gmail and Yahoo.
It should be noted that while the new Outlook app offers a range of features, it is ultimately a web-based application. If you prefer native apps, you may not be satisfied with the new Outlook experience. However, you can easily switch back to the Mail and Calendar apps by clicking the “new Outlook for Windows” toggle again.
Microsoft encourages users to provide feedback on this new Outlook experience to address any potential improvements before the support for Windows Mail and Calendar ends in 2024. The company plans to automatically download and install the new Outlook app over the next few months and redirect all users. Nevertheless, the old Outlook apps will remain accessible through the Microsoft Store for those who prefer them.