The New Skype for Business iOS App 101 & Key Tips

It’s been 2 weeks since Microsoft released the new Skype for Business iOS app (https://blogs.office.com/2015/10/14/skype-for-business-ios-app-now-available/). This article answers common questions, summarizes the important points you need to know, and includes some tips to get the most out of it.

Basics you Should Know

  1. This is a one-way upgrade from the Lync 2013 iOS application.  There is no going back.  It replaces the Lync 2013 app in the Apple Store. It will co-exist with the Lync 2010 app if it is on the device.
  2. The version works against Skype for Business Server 2015, Lync Server 2013, and Office 365 Skype for Business Online.
  3. The app requires iOS 8.1 or later and is 121 MB (iPhone app).
  4. The icon is called “Business” as shown below (not to be confused with the consumer “Skype” app):image
  5. The dial pad automatically adds a country code prefix to the number being dialled. This is determined by the regional setting on your device. You can manually use the backspace button to delete the prefix if need be.
  6. During the initial app setup you are asked to enter your Mobile Number. This is the number that will be used in the “Call via Work” scenario, or anytime that you to do make an outbound audio or video call by having the Skype4B server call you.
  7. If setting server-side client policies or need to identify this client in reports, the user agents are:
    • iPhone:  UCWA/6.0.0.0 iPhoneLync/6.0.1445.0000 – 6.0.1447.0000
    • iPad: UCWA/6.0.0.0 iPadLync/6.0.1445.0000 – 6.0.1447.0000
    • If you are running against a Lync 2013 Server is will be UCWA/5.0.0.0 instead of “6”.
    • 1445 was the original release;  1447 was released on Oct 22nd and addressed several bugs.
  8. There have been reports of the client crashing during the meeting join process. Make sure you upgrade to the latest release (6.0.1447 on Oct 22nd) if you are experiencing this.

Tips

Useful App Settings in the iOS Device Settings

I usually don’t venture into the device settings for applications. For the Skype for Business App there are some useful ones you should consider.

The Contacts settings controls whether contacts from you iOS device are shown in the Search Contacts results in the app. If this is settings is OFF, the contact search results will just contain results from the Global Address List (GAL).

I have been experimenting with the “Background App Refresh” and so far, having it on appears to have little affect on the batter – which is good.

image

Viewing a Contacts Profile

The profile of any contact can be viewed by just tapping on the contacts name as shown here:

image

Note : that you cannot access a participant’s Contact Card from the Participant List from the IM chat screen.

Saving Battery Life

With the older Lync iOS clients, signing out was a good idea to save battery life if the client was not going to be used for awhile.  This is anecdotal, but I am finding the new Skype for Business iOS app much more battery-friendly while staying signed-in.

Swipe Right & Swipe Left

One of the best pieces of functionality I have discovered is the ability to swipe Left and Right for recent activity under the “recent” group on the main search bar for locating contacts.

A swipe Right and you can immediately launch communication with the recent contact as shown here:image

A swipe Left and you can remove the entry from your recent listings as shown here: 

image

 

What’s Missing?

One of the most obvious pieces of functionality missing in this initial version (that was available in previous iOS versions) is sharing a PowerPoint presentation during a conference. Application and screen-sharing are still possible – you can share a ppt through screen-sharing.

A number of people have reported missing the ability to control Simultaneous Ring and to set Call Forwarding options.

Microsoft has detailed other pieces of functionality that are missing in this KB article: Some Lync 2013 for iPhone/iPad features are missing in Skype for Business for iOS (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102247).

 

Bugs

Meeting Join Crashes?

There were many reports of the app crashing on meeting joins in preview and the initial release. Since the latest release on Oct 22nd, I have personally not had any crashes on or during meeting joins.

The Ability to Make Calls to Skype Users

The new app offers the capability to communicate with anyone who uses Skype (consumer). The other users Skype ID is all the is required. In my experience this is buggy.  I did get it to work with one Skype consumer accounts but not another’s.  I think this speaks to the Lync/Skype4b and Skype consumer integration issues that have been present for a long time and is not related to the app.

 

Summary

The new iOS is a good, and a better experience than it’s predecessor – a noticeable improvement in UI usability and aesthetics. The in-call and in-meeting experiences are much improved over the Lync 2013 app and it is a well worth the few missing features and bugs which will be addressed in subsequent releases.

 

Links to More Information

Microsoft Skype for Business for iOS Productivity Guide (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/49185)

- a step-by-step guide to installing and using the iOS guide

Some Lync 2013 for iPhone/iPad features are missing in Skype for Business for iOS (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3102247)

Microsoft’s “Skype For Business” iOS App Now Available To All (http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/14/microsofts-skype-for-business-ios-app-now-available-to-all/)

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