What is Office 365 First Release program?

In my last blog post I mentioned something called First Release and in this one, I want to shed a bit of light on it. Microsoft enhances Office 365 by developing and deploying new features on a very fast pace. So, after a new feature or significant update is developed and tested internally, Microsoft will post an artice on Office 365 blog, announcing the feature (http://blogs.office.com/office365updates/). There are two types of update releases for new Office 365 features.

First Release

With First Release option, you and your users will get new features and service updates as early as one week after the official announcement.

Standard Release

With Standard Release option, you and your users will get new features and service updates 3 weeks or more after the official announcement. This is a default option.


Release programs, © Microsoft

How to configure it?

By default, all Office 365 tenants are configured for a Standard Release schedule. To opt-in for the First Release schedule, do the following:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.
  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.
  3. Go to Service settings > Updates.
  4. Turn First Release on or off.

It can take up to 24 hours for this change to take effect.

Which services are affected?

Currently, only updates to the Office 365 suite, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online will be affected. Lync Online, Exchange Online Protection, the latest version of Office and related services are not affected.

Should you use it?

Updates delivered via First Release update are stable and safe to use. The advantage of Standard Release over First Release is that you have at least 3 weeks of time to learn about the updates and prepare your employees. So, it’s up to you 🙂

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