Ensure iOS Supports Office Apps

office appsEnsure iOS Supports Office Apps

Do you have users  who access Office 365 via an iPhone or iPad? If so, you’ll want to make sure that their Office Apps will continue to work with the installed version of iOS. If you’re using Intune (part of Enterprise Mobility + Security) to manage mobile devices, it will tell you if you have users that need to update their iOS version. (And that’s a great reason to use Intune!) Otherwise, you’ll have to track such devices down, or wait for things to break (never a good option!)

You Need to Care About iOS Versions

I know, I know. This is why you wanted to adopt a laissez faire attitude toward iOS devices. Sorry. You may not own the devices but you will own the compatibility problems if users don’t keep the iOS version current.

Why is that? Because Microsoft has a policy of supporting its Office apps (think: Outlook, Word, etc.) on the current iOS version, and the version prior to the current one. Version n and n-1 if you’re a math nerd like me. Apple has just introduced iOS version 12, so that means Microsoft will support Office apps on iOS version 12 and version 11.

Worry About Outlook First

Here’s the good news: Office apps have not been supported on iOS 10 since 14 October. Why is that good news? Because no one has complained (yet)! The Office apps still work, but they aren’t receiving app updates. Most users can live with Office apps that aren’t completely up to date, so there’s no need to drop everything for this problem.

The bigger problem is with Outlook. If you took our advice and encouraged users to get their mail via Outlook, you need to know that Outlook updates will stop happening for iOS 10 devices in November. Again, if Outlook doesn’t update it won’t cause mass panic among your users.

However, it’s possible that Outlook may eventually stop synchronizing email and calendar data with iOS 10 devices. And that is a big deal.

Now Do This

You’ll want to find out if anyone in the organization is using a smartphone or tablet with iOS 10 (or older). As I said earlier, Intune or another mobile device manager can tell you that. If you’re not using a mobile device manager, they you’ll have to either ask users to check, or check for them.

If you do find that users have iOS 10 or older versions, encourage them to upgrade to iOS 11 or 12. Here’s a link for upgrading to iOS 12. If they can’t upgrade to iOS 12 (perhaps they’re hanging on to a very old device) then talk with them about their use of Outlook or Office apps. They (and you) will want to plan on Office apps not working on these older devices. It would be best to deal with the problem up front, rather than at some critical time for the user.

If you want to read more about this, go to the Office 365 Admin console and look for Message Center item MC151267.

And if you want to know more about Intune, just let us know.

Dan Callahan
About the Author
I'm the VP of Global Services at CGNET. I manage our Information Security and Cloud Services businesses. I wear a lot of hats. Professionally, I'm a builder of businesses. Outside of work, I'm a hobby farmer, chef, skier, dog walker, jokester, woodworker, structuralist, husband and father.

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