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Note: This article applies to the use of Microsoft Outlook apps with a free, personal email address such as or Hotmail. This article does not apply to individuals, companies, schools and other organizations who, because they subscribe to Microsoft 365, do not see ads in Outlook. 

Outlook is Microsoft’s email and calendar app for connecting, organizing and getting things done. It works with almost any email address and is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and the web. When used with a Microsoft 365 subscription, Outlook offers additional industry-leading features, expanded storage, an ad-free experience and more, starting at $1.99 / month in the US. Alternatively, we offer a free version of Outlook for personal use to users around the world. When you use a free version of Outlook, we will show you ads to support running this free service. We do not scan or read the contents of your emails to show you ads.  

Where will I see ads in Outlook?  

In Outlook, ads appear alongside messages in your inbox. They are distinguished from your messages with an Ad label. Outlook on the web also includes a larger, visual display ad on the side of the screen. 

How often will I see ads?  

Ads will appear every time you use the free version of Outlook. Ads can be dismissed; however, they may reappear during your current session or the next time you open Outlook.   

Can I remove ads from Outlook?  

You can upgrade any free email address to stop seeing ads in Outlook by purchasing a Microsoft 365 subscription. Learn more about how you can Upgrade to Outlook with Microsoft 365. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription and are still seeing ads, make sure you have added the email address connected to that subscription to the Outlook app you are using. You can check the status of your Microsoft 365 subscription by logging into your Microsoft account.  

How do ads in Outlook work?  

When we show you an ad, we pass an ID, such as a cookie or device ID, that represents you or your device to an advertising network. Importantly, Outlook does not pass your name, email address, or other personally identifiable data. We do not share what you say in email, the contents of your email, the events on your calendar, or your contacts. We do not scan or read your Outlook messages to show you ads. 

Outlook works with advertising networks such as the Microsoft Audience Network and Meta Audience Network. These ad networks may have information about your activities online associated with that ID. They use that information to determine which ads may be relevant and interesting to you.  

Importantly, any company or brand paying to show an ad does not get access to any of your personal Outlook information, from either Outlook or the advertising network. With this approach, we can provide ads that may be more useful to you, while carefully protecting your privacy. 

Example: How a typical ad shows up in Outlook 

An outdoor apparel retailer has just released a new hiking boot and is looking to drive sales. They decide to buy ads from the Microsoft Audience Network. They tell Microsoft they are looking to show their ads to people who like hiking and camping and who live in a country where they sell and ship their products. Since Microsoft may have this information, they will show the retailer’s advertisement to the appropriate people while they are using Microsoft products, including Outlook.  

Can I control what data Microsoft uses to show me personalized ads?  

You may prefer to turn off personalized ads. If you do, you will still see ads, but they may not be as interesting or useful to you.  

  • Visit the Microsoft privacy dashboard to control how Microsoft Advertising uses your data.

  • Disable use of the device-based advertising ID.

  • Disable cookies in your browser.  

Why am I being prompted to allow Outlook and your partners to process my data?  

Some countries have laws that require websites and apps to prompt users for their personalized advertising preferences. If you are in a region where this is required, you will be prompted to opt in or opt out when you first use Outlook. You can change your choice at any time. How you do this depends on your specific version of Outlook:  

  • In or the new Outlook for Windows:
    Settings > General > Advertising Preferences

  • In Outlook for Android or iOS:
    Settings > Privacy Settings > Advertising Preferences

  • In Outlook for Mac:
    Settings > Privacy > Advertising

In some countries, we also display the number of partners who may receive non-personally identifiable information for the purposes of advertising. This figure represents the total number of advertising vendors eligible to participate in the advertising process.  

As noted above, these advertising vendors may receive a device ID, cookie or similar ID. Microsoft never shares your email address, name, or other personally identifiable information. They will not receive any profile data Microsoft has collected on your interests or demographics. The content of your emails is never shared.  

Do you show personalized ads to kids?  

Outlook does not deliver personalized ads to anyone whose birth date in their Microsoft account identifies them as under 18 years of age. Ads may still appear, but they will not be selected based on what we know about the individual. More can be found here: Privacy for young people – Microsoft privacy.  

Available Resources  

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