Microsoft has just issued a new blow to number one rival Zoom after dropping a bunch of superb features and updates that will help make working from home easier. One of the most significant updates launched this week is a number of improvements to Teams on both iPhones and Android smartphones.
The boost for mobile Teams users comes via enhancements to the apps, including the ability to upload images to your gallery and search inside chats and channels on Android. Meanwhile, the Android app also allows people to generate links for free meeting invites to send to others who do not have a Teams account, and adds a new Safe Key setting.
For those who use Teams on an iPhone, Microsoft has updated the app to Version 2.0.19 with a major improvement—the ability to see eight participants (2×4) on the same time on an iPhone and nine (3×3) on an iPad via a new boost to the grid view. At the same time, the iOS Teams update allows users to see an agenda view of upcoming meetings which people can join, edit or share with their contacts.
The Teams iOS app also adds a new setting to reduce the amount of data Teams uses while video is on—useful when people are on the move. Excitingly, Microsoft has also confirmed Cortana voice assistance has been made available on iOS for U.S. users of Teams, and this will be rolled out gradually.
Microsoft Teams updates to try to beat Zoom
The enhancements to grid view come hot on the heels of a recent new Microsoft Teams update that brings it on a par with Zoom by allowing you to see up to 49 people on a call.
Also this week, Microsoft confirmed on its UserVoice forum that it has added a feature many people have been asking for—the ability to customize your left side bar, allowing you to rearrange and pin and unpin your apps.
Another big Teams update came earlier in August in the form of a new offering called Advanced Communications, which allows Microsoft to beat Zoom using the strength of its other offerings to the business market. As part of this month’s Teams update, people can now have mega meetings of up to 20,000 participants in “view only” mode—and interactive meetings of up to 1,000.
Other big updates to Teams over the last couple months include the chance to change your backgrounds. As of June this year, Teams offers the opportunity to use your own logo or picture as a background, or to use one of the multiple custom backgrounds Microsoft has created.
Not to be outdone, Zoom has been focusing on features and updates of late. After a brief hiatus due to prioritising security, Zoom has also this month launched a load of new features including the highly sought-after noise cancellation.
Zoom is of course highly functional, but despite its efforts, many are still concerned about its security. Teams is catching up, becoming in some cases better in the business market due to the integrated offering. Now it’s branching out across mobile too, Teams can cement its place as probably the most substantial Zoom alternative.