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Microsoft to snatch Visio app away from iOS users this summer

If you want to use the diagram tool for the long haul, it's going to take a subscription

Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away.

As we wrote, the enterprise software giant this week surprised Mac users by making its Outlook for Mac app free to use. Users can download the app from the Apple App Store and get to work on their email account – Outlook, iCloud, Google, whatever – without needing a Microsoft 365 subscription or license.

However, those using Microsoft's Visio tool for diagrams and vector graphics through the app on their iPhones and iPads only have a few more months before the app is no longer available.

On the same day that the Outlook for Mac news came out, Microsoft confirmed the Visio Viewer app will be removed from the Apple App Store on August 14 and users will eventually have to get one of two Visio subscriptions or through a new or existing Microsoft 365 subscription.

Once the app is removed from Apple's store, those with it installed on their devices will be able to continue using it, for a while at least.

"Starting August 14, 2023, existing installations of the app on iPhone and iPad devices will continue to work," Microsoft product manager Abhinav Chatterjee writes in a blog post. "However, over time, the integration with services like OneDrive and SharePoint will break. Furthermore, users will not have the option to re-install the app on their iOS device if the app is uninstalled or they've switched devices."

This comes as Microsoft builds out the capabilities of Visio for the web, introduced more than six years ago as Visio Online, Chatterjee writes. Specifically, the company says it has since enhanced how users view and share files for Visio drawings housed in Microsoft's OneDrive file hosting service and its SharePoint online collaboration platform.

Microsoft wants to shut down the Visio Viewer app for iOS devices to give engineers more time to improve Visio for the web, Chatterjee writes.

The vendor is already giving administrators a heads-up through notifications in the Microsoft 365 Message center.

For those who received a message, "it means one or more people in your organization are using the Visio Viewer app for iOS," Chatterjee writes. "If you did not receive a notification in the Message center, then you don't need to take any action."

Visio offers users a range of templates and stencils for taking data, text, and tables and putting them into visual diagrams that include everything from organizational charts and workflows to floorplans and Venn, pyramid, and network diagrams.

Microsoft has owned the technology since buying Visio Corporation in 2000.

Microsoft is laying out the different ways iOS users – and any user, really – can sign up for Visio, either through Microsoft 365 (the tool is available in all commercial plans) and Visio Plan 1 or Plan 2. It also outlines the types of diagrams each will support.

Users also can use Visio for the web without a license by signing into a Microsoft 365 account and uploading the Visio file to OneDrive, where it can be opened in the browser but only seen in a read-only view. In addition, Visio Viewer lets users open, view, and print Visio drawings but not create, edit, or save.

Visio for the web can be used not only with Edge but also Apple Safari 10+, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. ®

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