Microsoft has started to update its Office for iOS apps, enabling iPhone and iPad users to open, edit and save documents to Apple's iCloud storage.
The latest update to Microsoft Office apps for iOS offers more convenient accessibility to documents across Mac and iOS systems, as well as the ability to open documents with Apple's own apps such as Pages and Numbers.
This means that iOS users can now open, edit, and save Microsoft Office files online without having to rely on Microsoft's own OneDrive cloud storage service or paying for an Office 365 subscription.
The new Office iCloud features will work on iPhones and iPads running Apple's iOS 8 mobile operating system.
"Starting today, third-party cloud storage providers can natively integrate into the 'Locations' picker in the iOS Office apps. This will enable users to open, edit and save documents from these providers right from within Office," Microsoft announced on Tuesday, Feb. 17, in a new post on the Office blog. "While we're announcing availability of the iPad and iPhone integration today, we're hard at work on the same type of integration for the Office universal apps for Windows 10 and the Office for Android apps. So in the future, no matter what device, platform, or storage provider you're using, your Office documents will only be a tap away."
At the same time, the new Microsoft Office apps for iOS will also bring along a number of bug fixes and improvements, with various tweaks aiming to enhance the overall performance. The latest versions of the apps are available as free downloads from the Apple iTunes App Store.
While this is not a major feature addition, the new iCloud feature does suggest that Microsoft wants its popular Office Suite to keep growing beyond the Windows OS. Some file limitations may be frustrating for iOS users, but this is nonetheless an important step in the right direction. With an increasing number of users handling their tasks on mobile, it makes sense for Microsoft to push its products to as many platforms as possible.
iPhone and iPad owners can find the updated versions of Microsoft Office Word for iOS at this link, Excel here, and PowerPoint at this link. Lastly, it's worth pointing out that while the apps themselves require iOS 7.1 or later, the iCloud feature requires iOS 8.