Office 365 release programs

With Office 365, you get product updates – like new email features, more site storage, and new collaboration features – as they become available. You can decide when to receive the updates by opting in to the First Release program or remaining on the Standard Release program.

First Release
Refresh
With this option, you and your users receive a select set of significant service updates as early as one week after the official announcement. Choose this option if you and your employees are comfortable with regular updates to the Office 365 service.

Standard Release
Calendar
With this default option, you and your users receive a select set of significant service updates 3 weeks or more after the official announcement. For at least 3 weeks, you have time to learn about the updates and prepare your employees.

Note    The Office 365 updates described in this article apply to the Office 365 suite, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online. They do not apply to Lync Online, Exchange Online Protection, the latest version of Office and related services.

Turn on First Release

By default, all Office 365 subscriptions are on the Standard Release program. They receive service updates 3 weeks or more after the official announcement. You can remain on this schedule or turn on First Release by following these steps.

  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.

    Note    When you change the First Release setting, it may take up to 24 hours for the change to take effect. If you turn off First Release after having it on, you will lose the updates that haven’t yet been applied to Standard Release customers.

How the release programs work

Before Microsoft releases an Office 365 update, it is thoroughly tested and evaluated for performance and scalability. For significant service updates, you will be first notified by the Office 365 Blog. When testing is complete, the update and the anticipated public rollout dates are announced on the Office 365 Message Center.

In a week or more after the public announcement, the update is applied to Office 365 subscriptions that have chosen the First Release program. In three weeks or more after the public announcement, the update is applied to Office 365 subscriptions that have remained in the Standard Release program. The update will appear for every user in the organization, including administrators.

First Release diagram

Note    The notification schedule applies only to customers already on the First Release program. Customers who join the First Release program shortly after an announced update may receive updates sooner than one week.

* Updates for First Release and Standard Release customers become available at least 1 week and 3 weeks (respectively) after the announcement. Actual time before receiving the update may be longer depending on the size and complexity of the update. There is no guarantee on how long it may take for an update to become available.

Additional resources

Use these resources for more information on the Office 365 service:

Applies To: Office 365 Admin, Office 365 Small Business Admin



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