Last week, we got a new version of Skype for Business for iOS. This replaces the Lync 2013 app for iPhones and iPads.

I first got the heads-up from Guy Bachar’s “Just a Lync Guy” blog, when he posted on Twitter. So I went to the App Store and got myself a copy.

Note: I recommend deleting the Lync app and installing Skype for Business fresh. Some early-adopters said they had trouble with the upgrade path.

After some time fiddling with the app, I’m prepared to blog. So let’s see what we Lync/Skype fans have to work with on our iPhones now, shall we?

Signing In

I used the same sign-in process as I did with Lync 2013. Entering email and password, then opening Advanced Options and entering a domain-based username. Like this: DOMAIN\chris.w.

This is required by our Skype for Business Server setup, and is mentioned in the Skype for Business Help under “Need help signing in to Skype for Business (iOS)?”. Your setup may vary slightly. I’m mentioning it here in case you keep seeing “Cannot Sign In” messages.

Once you’re logged in you have three primary screen options – Contacts, Meetings and Phone. In Lync 2013, I also had a “Chats” screen. This is not present in Skype for Business. Yet. Instead we have an “Upcoming” screen which displays upcoming meetings.

Skype4b-iOS01

From here you’re able to:

  1. View upcoming calendar events, including meetings
  2. Make & receive voice calls, including video
  3. Join Online Meetings
  4. View Presence status for contacts (and change your own)
  5. Listen to voicemails

Feature Changes

The biggest change between the Lync iOS app and the Skype for Business iOS app is, of course, the new interface. I’d say the iOS app looks a little more “bubbly” than the desktop client, but maybe that’s just me.

Skype4b-iOS02

In addition, Skype4B iOS also has:

  • Enhanced In-Call and In-Meeting experiences
  • Full-screen video, with simultaneous viewing of the shared content and speaker’s video
  • Larger buttons for meeting controls
  • Support for Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) based multi-factor authentication

Limitations

It’s a mobile app, which often means reduced feature sets. Microsoft has listed out the limitations in the initial release here: Some Lync 2013 for iPhone/iPad features are missing in Skype for Business for iOS – Microsoft Support

Examples are:
Accessing a contact’s Contact Card.

Sharing PowerPoint presentations (but this is expected in a future update). I wouldn’t want to manage an Online Meeting from my phone anyway! But having the option using an iPad does make sense.

Return a call using a Voicemail message.

Set Call Forwarding options, or use Call Transfer.

You do need a device running iOS 9. If you’re still on iOS7 or 8, the new Skype for Business will not install. Instead iTunes will install “the latest version supported”, which is Lync 2013.

There’s also still a bug with saving conversations on the server. This was a major advancement for Skype for Business: server-based Conversation History. Yet users are reporting that they don’t see iOS-initiated Conversations in their desktop Conversation History.

I tested this out myself by having a brief chat with a co-worker using Skype for Business. Me on a phone, he on a desktop. After 30 minutes, he saw the conversation in his Outlook’s Conversation History. I did not.

Verdict: It’s Staying on My Phone, But It’s Not Perfect Yet

The price of early adoption is an imperfect experience. If you’ve ever beta-tested app, you know this. This new Skype4B app is missing some features I’d like (call forwarding options, Conversation History), but it’s now on an upgrade cycle. We’ll see more features come up soon.

Meanwhile, the app doesn’t crash on me. It lets me communicate with co-workers and customers. Skype for Business on iOS does its job.

Do you have Skype for Business on your iPhone/iPad yet? What’s your experience? Please comment or email your thoughts.

Now I have to think of a Halloween-themed post for next week, hmmm…

Skype for Business on iOS: New Client is Good, Not Perfect
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13 thoughts on “Skype for Business on iOS: New Client is Good, Not Perfect

  • October 23, 2015 at 12:58 am
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    Hi, some add and correction:
    the app can run on iOS 8 (I’m using it on my iPhone 5 with iOS 8 at this moment), but it’s very unstable and crash often.
    One of the worst change is the new dial pad behaviour “+ is automatically added to all Skype for Business for iOS calls” (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3101663) that is a complete mess.
    I’ve found a new issue when entering a meeting as a guest, the keybord don’t disappear https://twitter.com/Luca_Vitali/status/656466837375459328 and you cannot go on.
    My judgment is simple: MS took one of the best app (Lync 2013 for iOS) and destroied it with this new one.
    Regards
    Luca

    Reply
    • October 23, 2015 at 7:58 am
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      Luca,

      Thanks for the details! Appreciate you giving your thoughts from an iOS 8 perspective. That is just flat-out disappointing. Especially the keyboard not disappearing in meetings. Seriously hope Microsoft gets on this ASAP.

      Reply
  • December 5, 2015 at 8:07 am
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    Whenever I miss a conversation (why is it missed?) I can see the first few words of the message I missed but when I click on it, I can’t see the rest. I can never see the full message. Where does it go? How else other than clicking on it can I do to see the actual message??

    Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 8:20 am
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    The lack of group messaging is a big killer, its a simple feature that has been on most messaging applications for years. how they can remove features that were present with the Lync 2013 version is beyond me?

    Reply
    • March 2, 2016 at 9:53 am
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      Jamie,
      Thanks for the comment. Are you referring to multiparty IM? That’s still in Skype for Business on iOS.

      Here’s how you do it: Start an IM conversation with someone, and then tap their contact name up at the top of the window. Tap “Add Participants” and select the contacts you want to invite.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
  • April 29, 2016 at 7:12 am
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    i came here to see if anyone had answered Lori’s question yet. I am having the same issue.

    nearly every day, i will see that i had a message come in, and i will only see the first few words. “Hey, Liza! It’s really important that we—-” and then when i tap into the conversation, it’s gone. unrecoverable. is this a setting i can configure?

    Reply
  • May 3, 2016 at 6:13 am
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    Does someone know the answer to Lori’s question? I have the same frustrating problem — I will miss a message, but when I go to open it I can only see the first few words followed by “…”, then I click on it and it brings me to a new message screen. I can never see my missed messages, which is the whole point of having this app in the first place…

    Reply
    • May 3, 2016 at 7:13 am
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      Hi Marina,

      Thanks for the comment. It appears that we do indeed have an issue here. I wasn’t able to duplicate it, but three people is more than enough to indicate a real problem. I will look further into this & see what I can find out.

      Reply
  • June 10, 2016 at 9:05 am
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    Any update on the missed conversations. I am having the same issue. Thanks.

    Reply
  • June 24, 2016 at 12:13 am
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    Same frustrating problem here as described by lori, marina and liza. I am mostly able to read the messages in the ios notification tab, but they are almost never visible within the skype conversation. It just stays completly empty

    Reply
  • July 7, 2016 at 10:20 am
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    Hi Guys

    Is there an answer to Lori’s query? Same thing happens here. You just see the first few words of a message. If you click on it, everything disappears.

    One more thing: there’s no information about when a missed event (call, conversation) happened. An hour ago? In the morning? Yesterday? Last week?

    Does this work elsewhere? If not I am wondering how such a basic functionality could be missed…

    Reply
  • July 8, 2016 at 4:24 am
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    Just to echo Lor’s comment…. I get a notification of a missed chat (It’s not missed at all… my phone is just on lock … Whatsapp doesn’t do this, Vyber doesn’t do this, iMessage doesn’t do this… so why does Skype?) Anyway… I get a notification on my lock screen saying “Hi… Can we chat urgently about….” and then I open the app and tap on the message…. BLANK. WHAT KIND OF APP IS THIS WHEN THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENT, It’s PURPOSE for being if you like, DOES NOT WORK. This app is not fit for purpose, absolutely, utterly and unequivocally garbage. I cannot get my head round the fact that in this day and age, a fundamental flaw like this exists. Seriously… it’s beyond words. It’s just embarrassing. a

    Reply
  • July 14, 2016 at 11:06 am
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    Hi Chris, Is there any update on the missing / cut / incomplete chat messages?
    We are using Skype for business in our office for communication and We really need to have a fix on this. Please let us know if there is a patch for this and what have the developers done to correct these issues. – Thanks!

    Reply

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