Microsoft has been offering a free, restricted version of Microsoft Teams since 2018, but it never really felt like a tool you’d use to organize your family or personal events — it was mainly targeted at freelancers and small teams. After a year worth of work and an announcement during its big Microsoft 365 reveal, the Redmond company is now ready to unleash a preview version of Microsoft Teams on consumers. As soon as it’s rolled out, anyone can sign up for it, but you’ll only be able to take full advantage of the service when you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber.
Microsoft doesn’t want to position Teams as an alternative to regular texting apps. It’s supposed to be a tool that helps you plan events with friends and family, gatherings, book clubs, or fantasy football leagues. Like Teams for businesses, the personal version supports multiple rooms, direct messages, attachments, video calls, calendar events, to-do lists, and more. Since the app integrates with Microsoft 365, you can also use it to collaborate on Office documents.
There are some extra features only available for consumers, like Location Sharing and Safe. The former is pretty self-explanatory and lets you show others where you’re at when you’re on your way home or when you want to meet up. The latter is a protected environment you can use to store confidential information, like Wi-Fi passwords, login information, or rewards numbers. It’s secured with end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentification.
To get started with the Teams preview, download the app from the Play Store and sign up with your personal Microsoft account. If you already use the app for work, tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner and add your personal account. You can then switch between spaces whenever you need to. Once the preview is live for you, you’ll have access to the special personal features.