Office 365 Home or Personal limit for tablets/smartphones

With an Office 365 plan, Home or Personal, how many tablet and smartphone devices can you install Office Mobile?

Some emails to our Feedback page plus people we’ve met shows some confusion about how many tablets/smartphones you can load up with Office Mobile apps for Apple or Android.

There’s a MISunderstanding that the ‘five computer’ limit includes tablets but it does NOT.

As usual with Office and Office 365 the promoted limits seem simple, but get a little complex in the fine print.

For Office 365 there are broadly three types of devices:

Computers – desktops or laptops, Windows or Mac.

Tablets – tablet devices with touchscreen  like an iPad.  Large tablets over 10.1″ screen size are a special case.

Smartphones – smaller touchscreen devices.

You’re allowed either ONE of each (Office 365 Personal) or FIVE (Office 365 Home)

Office 365 Home gives you five of each

An Office 365 Home plan gives you five licences for each device type.

Computers

The ‘five computers’ limit that’s prominent in Microsoft’s advertising applies to

  • Windows computers
  • Mac computers

Install Office for Windows on the Windows computers, Office for Mac on the MacOS machines, obviously.

It’s not really five ‘computers’ but five installations of Office software.  If you installed Office twice on one computer (possible with virtual machines) that would count as two of your five installs.

The distinction between devices and installations only applies to full computers with Windows or MacOS which have virtualization support.  Tablets and Smartphones can only install one version of the Office Mobile apps so there’s no practical difference between devices and installations for Office 365 purposes.

Tablets

Tablets are touchscreen devices, Apple, Android or Windows.  Office 365 Home gives you five tablets with registration to a linked Microsoft account.

You can install the Office apps on as many Apple or Android tablets as you like.  The apps will work with most, but not all, features enabled.  As long as you don’t link the apps to your Microsoft account, they won’t count towards the ‘5 tablet’ limit and you’ll get what Microsoft calls ‘core editing’ feature.

When you link the Office apps to a Microsoft account linked to an Office 365 plan it will enable extra features in the apps and count against the ‘five tablet’ limit.

Larger Tablets

Large screen tablets, over 10.1″, are a special case.  Microsoft considers them ‘professional’ devices and require an Office 365 plan for the Office apps to work at all (no free ‘core editing’ features).

As we’ve mentioned before, the 10.1″ threshold gets a little unclear, especially when the device is sold as 10.1″.  It’s best to test the devices around the 10.1″ limit before buying; test if Office apps can install and run without an Office 365 plan.

Smartphones

The Smartphone limit is the same as for tablets.  Five smartphones can have Office apps installed and registered.

No screen size limit to worry about here.

What about Office 365 Personal?

All the above applies, except for ONE instead of FIVE.

One computer, One tablet, One smartphone

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