There are a few different ways you can look at your emails on a computer, but the most common one is probably the built-in Mail app. It’s been around for a long time, it’s fairly straightforward to use and it’s the one we use in our books to teach people how to set up and use email.
But Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that they’re going to phase out the Mail app over the next year or so, and are nudging users to switch over to a free version of Outlook instead. Thankfully, you don’t have to have an Outlook email address or a subscription to Microsoft 365 to use it.
Some of you might have already been switched over to it – when you next open the Mail app, have a look in the top right hand corner for a switch that says “New Outlook”. If that’s turned on, then you’ve been switched over.
If you haven’t been switched over, then you’ll probably get a message at some point that gives you the option to try out the new Outlook. It’s up to you whether you try it now or not, but you will be switched over eventually, so you might want to have a look around beforehand. At the moment, you can switch back to the old version if you don’t like it, but that option won’t be there forever.
The new Outlook app isn’t hugely different from the Mail app – the icon is still an envelope, but with a letter “O” on it, and the layout is more or less the same. One change that you might notice is that the Calendar, which used to be a separate app, is now integrated into the Outlook app. So to get to your Calendar after switching over, you need to open Outlook, then click on the little Calendar icon on the left hand edge of the screen.
If you don’t want to use the Outlook app on your computer, then your best option is probably to use webmail. This is where you view your emails on a website, rather than in a specific email app.
There are webmail sites for Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud and even Outlook, as well as many others. If you get your email through your internet provider, e.g. from Sky, BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk etc, those all have their own webmail sites too. All you do is go to the site and sign in with your email address and password.
If you aren’t sure what type of email you have, look at what comes after the “@” sign in your email address.