Synchronizing Outlook with a Smartphone

Last reviewed on July 22, 2014

Many newer smartphones, with the exception of older Blackberries, can sync with Exchange server and Outlook.com accounts using Exchange Active Sync (EAS). Set the account up on the phone using either Microsoft Exchange account type or Hotmail (or Outlook.com) when available.

See Sync calendar and contacts using Outlook.com for instructions to sync your appointments and contacts to a smartphone when you use a POP3 or IMAP email account.

Whether your phone can sync with multiple folders depends… on your phone’s software. Apple devices can sync with all folders in your mailbox and you can disable sync on some of the folders. Other devices have limited settings.

A key issue when you are choosing synchronization software is whether it can synchronize only with your main Contacts and Calendar folders or with additional folders, including Exchange Server public folders.

iPhone | Windows Phone | Android | Tools
Palm | PocketPC | More Information

iPhone

iPhone (and iPad) users have choices when it comes to syncing with Outlook. They can use icloud, iTunes, or use an Exchange Active Sync (EAS) account.

EAS is the easiest method if you have an Exchange server account or Outlook.com (Hotmail). Gmail ended EAS support for free accounts and you’ll need to export Outlook calendar and contacts to gmail or use a sync utility. If you need help configuring the EAS account on your iPhone or iPad, see Configuring SmartPhones to use EAS to Outlook.com

If your device supports iCloud, it will sync calendar and contacts in real time. See iCloud sync issues for things you need to be aware of. iTunes installs an Outlook add-in and syncs calendar and contacts when you connect the iPhone to your computer.

To sync tasks and notes, you’ll need to use a utility. See the Tools section for software.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7 and 8 do not sync with Outlook using a computer. You need to sync over-the-air (using EAS) with a Outlook.com or Exchange Server account or use a third party utility or service.

See the Tools section for software or Sync calendar and contacts using Outlook.com to use outlook.com with a POP3 or IMAP email account.

Android

If you have an account with Exchange Active Sync enabled (Outlook.com or Exchange server), you can sync over-the-air. To use EAS, you need to set up the account using the Exchange account option on your device. This will allow you to sync calendar and contacts as well as email.

To set up a Outlook.com account using EAS, open the email setup and choose Exchange from the list of account types. Use m.hotmail.com as the server name. Use your email address as the username. On some devices you may need to use a slash with the username: \alias@domain.com.

If you create the account as a POP3 or IMAP account, you will not get calendar and contacts unless you use a 3rd party tool, such as companionlink to sync with Droids when your Droid does not include sync software.

MyPhoneExplorer from the Andriod App Store will sync calendar and contacts (and more). Mobiledit is another option.

See Syncing Outlook with an Android smartphone for more information. See the Tools section for additional software.

HTC Droid Incredible

Sync Outlook Contacts and Calendar data with your HTC Droid Incredible using these steps.

  1. On the handheld, go to Home, Menu, Settings, Applications, Development and check USB debugging.
  2. Download and install HTC Sync Manager. (The Droid ERIS version works with the Incredible)
  3. Attach the Droid Incredible to the computer.
  4. The Sync Manager runs in the task bar – click Synchronize Now when you want to transfer your Calendar and Contacts data.

Alternately, you can use companionlink to sync with Droids.

Tools in the Spotlight

CodeTwo Exchange Sync
CodeTwo Exchange Sync

CodeTwo Exchange Sync lets you synchronize Exchange Public Folders with each other and with Personal Folders of users. It gives you possibilities Exchange Server has never offered; synchronize mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, etc.) with Exchange Public Folders; create common company calendars and contact lists; synchronize email, and much more. The application supports Exchange 2013 / 2010 / 2007 / 2003 / 2000 and is amazingly easy to configure and use.

CompanionLink for Android

CompanionLink keeps Microsoft Outlook and your Android device synchronized. No Exchange Server required. Choose a USB connection or the secure DejaCloud wireless service. Both options include DejaOffice app for Android that provides an Outlook-like experience on your device. The app enables business features like color categories, database encryption and password-lock, integration with Caller ID and voice dial, and much more.

Companionlink for Outlook

CompanionLink synchronizes Outlook data with phones and other supported desktop applications and web-based services (like Google). Companionlink supports all versions of Outlook, including Outlook 2013 32-bit and 64-bit, and Windows 8, and Windows 8 Phones.

CompanionLink Outlook BCM sync

Sync Outlook BCM data with BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices. Supports syncing Google data with Outlook or your phone.

Tools

Add2Exchange for Calendars, Contacts, & Tasks

An Exchange add-on, Outlook synchronization solution which synchronizes any combination of Outlook private and/or public folders of the same type (Calendars, Contacts, Tasks) and in any direction. This application works wirelessly with any PDA, Pocket PC, Smartphone or Blackberry handheld and Outlook Web Access. Add2Exchange is licensed and sold separately for Add2Exchange for Calendars, Add2Exchange for Contacts, & Add2Exchange for Tasks. Free trial available.

Akruto Sync

Use Akruto Sync to synchronize your Outlook Contacts and Calendar directly with Windows Phone and Android. Akruto Sync runs on your computer and makes your computer appear to mobile devices like a reduced functionality Microsoft Exchange server. Just run Akruto Sync on your computer and tell your phone that there is an Exchange Server in your house. Syncs via Wifi.

colup - shared exchange items

Apple iPhone and iPad app to share Exchange calendar, contacts & tasks - administrate shared Exchange items on all smartphones. Skyfillers increases connectivity between Microsoft Exchange and iOS-based smartphones. With the colup Exchange App, it is possible to access shared items in Microsoft Exchange. Easy setup with the Microsoft Exchange

CompanionLink DejaOffice

Now available for Windows Phone: USB sync. Sync Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Notes direct to Windows Phone. Choose from USB, Wi-Fi or DejaCloud sync for standalone Outlook, Lotus Notes, Sage ACT!, Palm Desktop, Salesforce CRM, and other contact management or CRM software. Works with CompanionLink desktop software.

DesktopMirror for Outlook and Palm Desktop

DesktopMirror for Outlook and Palm Desktop lets you synchronize information between Palm Desktop and Microsoft Outlook. It is also a handy tool that lets you move your Palm or Treo information to other mobile phones such as iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.

Mobiledit

MOBILedit! allows you to control your phone from a PC. After downloading MOBILedit! to any computer, you can connect your phone via cable, Bluetooth, or IrDA. You will then be able to view the entire contents of the phone where you can synchronize, add, edit, or delete.

MyPhoneExplorer

Connect your phone via cable, bluetooth or wifi to manage your Android phone. Direct sync Address Book to Outlook, GMail, Windows contacts, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and Lotus Notes. Sync Organizer to Outlook, Google, Sunbird, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Windows calendar(Vista), Rainlendar, Lotus Notes, and net shared calendars (WebDAV, FTP, local). See wbsite for complete list of features.

PhatNotes for Outlook

PhatNotes for Outlook is the special version of the award-winning notes organizer for Windows Smartphones and iPhone and that allows synchronization with Outlook. You can create notes providing them with category, subject, creation and modification date, which helps to find required information quickly and easily. The new version offers many new advanced features including file attachments, hyperlinks between notes, multiple notes database support with tree-like views, hierarchical notes organizer, integration with PhatPad, customizable views, user reminders, voice note attachments, context analyzer, Windows Vista support and more.

Syncamatic for Outlook

Wirelessly synchronize your BlackBerry with Microsoft Outlook, Mac and Web! Syncamatic is the first to deploy BlackBerry Push technology to instantly and wirelessly synchronizes your Contacts, Calendar, MemoPad and Tasks all the time over the air. - Supports Microsoft Outlook 2007, 2010 (32 and 64bit) - Immediate sync using BlackBerry Push technology - Longer battery life and reduced data traffic - Sync multiple BlackBerry devices

TaskTask (Outlook & Exchange Tasks)

TaskTask is a task management application for iPhone and iPod Touch. TaskTask enables you to synchronize your tasks from your Outlook/Exchange mailbox to your iPhone with ease. Using TaskTask, you can manage your to do list, including creating tasks, setting start/due dates, marking tasks complete, assigning categories, changing importance, and deleting tasks.

Older PDAs and Smartphones

This section includes information for users of older PDAs and Smartphones.

Palm

General purpose synchronization tools:

Specialized tools:

  • ActionNames — Alternative Palm calendar and contacts program with Outlook synchronization
  • Outlook 2002 users will need to install Service Pack 2. For Outlook 2000 and 98, requires Corporate/Workgroup mode.
  • KeyContacts — Address book program for Palm to handle more Outlook contact fields and up to 250 categories. Synchronizes an unlimited number of private and public Outlook contacts folders.

Also see:

Windows PocketPC

The version of Microsoft ActiveSync that comes with Pocket PC 2002 supports synchronization of message subfolders under the Inbox, but for other types of folders syncs just the default Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks.

Outlook 2003 requires ActiveSync 3.7 or later.

Microsoft ActiveSync:

Other tools:

  • CompanionLink — Professional version includes support for Outlook categories, so you can exclude items from synchronization.

Also see:

More Information

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

11 responses to “Synchronizing Outlook with a Smartphone”

  1. delengenmusic

    I keep reading that Google is cutting support for EAS in a couple of weeks. Can you clarify? Will I still be able to sync an Android to Outlook.com using EAS?

  2. delengenmusic

    Thanks Diane. I am not using a Andoid phone now, but I'm considering a switch from Win7 Phone. I don't care about using gmail, just want to be sure that Android will fully sync my Hotmail mail, contacts, and calendar. Sounds like that's a safe bet.

  3. Brian Anderson

    Diane

    I 'm considering purchasing either $4.99 (2Can App), $29.95 (Android-Sync) or $49.95 (Companionlink). What is the best VALUE? What I really needed in an App is a good Blackberry Emulator. In essence something intuitive yet customizable. I have synced my Blackberry to Outlook but "outlook" is not on my Android. The problem I have now is that I do not even have tasks or notes or the Blackberry type calender sync'd into my new HTC G2 (actually 2.5 years old). I never found a good app to emulate my blackberry but to make things even worse is my 2000 + contacts which I was able to migrate into the android phone have a "non-functioning" note field.

    Originally all data that I had (contacts, calender, tasks, to-do's, memos, notes etc) were in a Palm OS. I then went to a Blackberry Pearl a had a fairly good transition, but now to Android (HTC G2) an it is horrible and non business-like and not intuitive in my opinion. My note field in my Palm and my Blackberry was able to see every name an number separately and I was able to highlight a telephone number from there and dial it. I can not do this on my HTC G2. Also some "notes" either do not show up or show up wrong or display incompletely because they're too long evidently (sometimes they're 3000 + characters). These contacts were originally migrated to my SIM card from the T Mobile store (from the Blackberry Pearl to the HTC G2) but nothing else transferred and then this contact note field does not operate properly.

    What did I do wrong? Can this be fixed? Is there an all inclusive program that would migrate most things Blackberry and have them work correctly? Do I need to buy the "Cadillac" version to get me to enjoy and functionally use my Android phone in order to get the note field to work in my current Android contacts on my HTC G2 as well as my tasks and memos? I primarily use my phone as a PHONE, and I need to dial numbers that I may have embedded in many different fields.

    Please help me. I'm two years in frustration, carrying two phones to look up certain contacts. ( I really need my tasks from my Blackberry because I have names addresses and phone numbers there that I dial directly, as this Task Folder is a place and a catch all for people, things or places that don't become "contact" worthy).

    Sincerely

    Brian Anderson

  4. Clark

    Hi, Maybe you can save me time and point me in the right direction. I am using Outlook 2013 with Microsoft Exchange. I have Public folders with contacts in it and am sharing across the accounts, I use CodeTwo free sync to sync from Public to offline account then sync to phone. The problem is it is only one way sync, if a change to an existing or a new contact is added to a phone then it is not captured in Public Contacts and changed across the group. Also the sync from Public to offline creates duplicates so is an issue. Is there a better way of harmoniously syncing among all users and devices two way so we can all share the same contacts? Thank you for your help.

  5. kim

    i use the same email address for my pop email (verizon.net) and exchange activesync account (outlook). In other words, my microsoft email address is a verizon.net address. I only use exhange activesync for my calendar, contacts and tasks. I recently had to delete my email account from my galaxy 3 and now I cannot add the second account because I get the message "email account duplicated". I used to be able to do this, but there must have been a software update to my phone. Any way to add a second account with the same email address?

  6. kim

    Thanks for your quick response. I added one account under settings, accounts, microsoft exchange active sync, and that is working correctly and syncing my calendar, contacts, and tasks with outlook.com. To add the pop email, I went to settings, add account, email, verizon.net (i also tried "other"), but i get the message "duplicate email account". It all worked before i had to delete the account and then re add it, because I stopped being able to receive emails for some odd reason.

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