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Is Microsoft’s Office Mobile for iOS a Free App?

Is Microsoft's Office Mobile a free app for iOS devices?


Product/Version: Microsoft Office Mobile

June 27th 2013
June 27th 2013

We all know that you need to buy the versions of Office that you run on your computer – such as Office 2013 for Windows or even Office 2011 for Mac. But as you explored in our Install Office Mobile on an iPhone (or iOS Device) tutorial, you paid nothing on the Apple App Store to download and install Office for Mobile – so does that make it a free app?

The answer is not as simple as a generic Yes or No!

It's yes because you do not pay anything to download and install the app – but do remember that you must pay to use the actual app. So how do you pay - you pay via an Office 365 subscription that allows you to use the Office Mobile app for the duration of your subscription.

However, if you do not have a subscription – or even if you have one that has lapsed - even then you may not be able to open and view Office documents stored on your SkyDrive.

So you either have an acceptable Office 365 subscription or not - in the case of the former, you can load the app but in the case of the latter, you cannot do anything - not even see your own documents because the app itself will refuse to load (you will see the error message you see in Figure 1, below).

You have no active subscription
Figure 1: You have no active subscription

Now why is that so? Microsoft allows anyone who has used a trial version of Office on their desktop and laptops to open and view their files - even after the trial has expired. Rightly so, they cannot edit and save documents - but to prevent users from even seeing the content in their documents seems a little far-fetched. Or probably this is because Microsoft is not sharing any revenue with the Apple App Store since their app is free - and Apple would certainly not be too happy with that approach. So does that explain why you cannot even load the app unless you have a subscription to Office 365? Maybe, we will never know the right answer!


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