Last reviewed on July 27, 2015   —  18 Comments

Public folders won't sync to smartphones, but what about site mailboxes? Can they sync?

Site or shared mailboxes don't have their own logon but they can be opened (as the only account) in an Outlook profile using the credentials of anyone who has Full Access permission. Unfortunately, when you use your credentials to set up an Exchange account on a smartphone, it opens your mailbox, not the shared mailbox.

The shared mailbox cannot be hidden from the address list when you are setting up the account. It needs to be visible for this method to work. After the account is configured, the address can be hidden.

However, you can open the shared mailbox using POP3 or IMAP (if those services are enabled for the shared mailbox) using youremail@address\sharedmailboxalias format for the login.

Some servers may require domain\useralias\sharedmailboxalias format.

For example, this configuration works on an iPad/iPhone (and also on Android and Windows Phone) to connect to an Office 365 shared mailbox. This will work with on-prem Exchange provided POP3 or IMAP support is enabled on the shared mail.

The IMAP and SMTP server names for Office 365 accounts are in OWA Options. Apple devices should get the correct Port and Encryption settings from autodiscover records.

Server name:
Port: 993
Encryption method: SSL

Server name:
Port: 587
Encryption method: TLS

Apple Devices

Enter the Shared mailbox display name and email address and something in the password field on the New Account screen and click Next.
Set up a shared mailbox as imap

Enter the incoming and outgoing server names, the username in youremail@address\sharedmailboxalias format and your password then click Next. The mailbox is now ready to use.
imap server names

Android Devices

Screenshots from an Android tablet, showing the server settings for Office365 shared mailboxes are below.

Enter the shared mailbox's display name and SMTP address on the first screen. Type something in the password field. Click Next.
Android Account setup

Enter the server name and port settings, the username in youremail@address\sharedmailboxalias format and your password. Click Next.
IMAP Server settings

Enter the outgoing server name or port settings. If needed, use your username and password for Outgoing authentication.
SMTP settings for Office 365

Video Tutorial

This video tutorial shows how to add a shared mailbox to an Android device. The steps are the same on an Apple device; only the actual screens will vary.

Note: if you aren't using Office365 Exchange online, you'll need to use the correct server names, security types, and port settings for your server.

When you configure the account as POP3, messages are downloaded and marked as read on the server. Use IMAP if you want to keep (and sync) the read/unread state.


  1. bdwatt0 says

    I can't tell you how long I've been looking for this info! I had everything right up to the \sharedfolder. Thanks for the info; you're a lifesaver!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      The IMAP method still works on Windows phones - I have a shared mailbox set up on my phone. I'll check it in outlook - it's possible they are blocking outlook clients from using outlook - that is fairly easy to do using Exchange.
      shared mailbox on windows phone
      And to prove it's a current screenshot, the second post in the screenshot is here. (The first post is spammy and will be deleted if they post it too often.)

    • Diane Poremsky says

      As an FYI, if the mailbox is hidden from the address list, you won't be able to add it as its own account.

      Also, the site admin can disable imap and pop3 support, if they choose.

  2. Simon says

    Thank you very much. I have been trying to figure this out without any success for many days. Finally I landed here and now it works !!

  3. Miles says

    I am not able to send from the account.

    I'm an IT Employee and I was assisting a user with adding Shared Inboxes. I am successfully able to add the account, thank you for that. However, users are NOT able to send from this account. The email will stay attempting to send in the Outbox, but never send. Also, the email DOES NOT sync with the Exchange Server. What I mean by that is the email that goes to the Outbox in an attempt to send does not sync. So you can't view the Outbox on another workstation and see that mail in Outbox. (I'm not too sure if that's a normal action).

    The email WILL download, but users are not able to send. You are only able to view the email with this method. I have not attempted to try and make changes, deleting email, etc. to see if that would sync.

    Again, thank you for the steps, but this only solves part of the issue. I'm assuming it has something to do with the "Outgoing" server. Is it possible that "" is just a default and could be different with other businesses?

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says should be the right one for all office365 accounts - you can verify it by logging into owa and checking the pop/smtp settings under options.

      do they get any error messages? does their account have send as permission on the shared mailbox?

  4. Miles says


    Regarding my previous post (I can't see how to reply to you), They are told there was an error sending the message. The message is unique to the OS the phone is on. There are no error codes. Just "Message could not be delivered". And you are right, the ougoing server is correct.

    Users have Send-As Permissions. I've done research online and can't find anything to get a Shared Account to properly work. All the work-arounds won't work for us either since we are migrating from a full Windows User to a Shared-Only Inbox.

    For those that may do the work-arounds, this company (I'm a contractor) was going against SOX Compliance with that setup since no one would actually log into the Windows User to change the password properly; it was a security flaw.

    Do you mind sharing which mobile device you used to test this out? I'm assuming it was iOS based on the screenshots.

    Again, thank you for your help. I've at least given our users the ability to read the email with your instructions. This is so hard on them. Change is hard, and the IT Dept. is always stuck in the middle. Haha!!

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      I've used it on all 3 mobile OS's - windows, ios, and android. It was just easier to get the screenshots from my ipad.

      I've had clients tell me that Samsung's mail apps work differently but when I looked at the apps on my son's phone, they looked like the ones on my tablet, only smaller. I didn't set up a shared mailbox on his phone, so maybe they really do work differently. They look identical.

  5. juay says

    The above guide doesn't work on IMAP using Apple Mail but work on POP. Android, iPhone, Outlook 2011 for Mac & Thunderbird work on both IMAP & POP. Can someone confirm my findings that it doesn't work on Apple Mail (IMAP) - various versions?

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      It's working for me in the native mail app in Mavericks. On the first screen put the shared mailbox email address and your password. It'll say you need to manually configure, click Next. Here you use email@address\shared-alias as the username to login and your password. On the SMTP page, use just your address and password (assuming you have send as permission). It's basically the same as in the video I added for android, but with different screens.

  6. Graham says

    I'm trying to add a shared mailbox to my Android smartphone. I already have an account set up for which has delegated authority to access and, can do so in Outlook. When I try to add the shared mailbox to my Android phone, using the login details, I get a message that the account is already in use. I can't get past that message.

    I will need to do the same thing on some iPhones so, I could do with knowing how to get past this problem. Looking at your comment above, my phone is a Samsung, perhaps they do have something unique causing the problem?

  7. Graham says

    You're quite correct. I was using my address instead of the shared address in the first step. When I use the shared address it works correctly. I had been trying that for a couple of days without success.

    Thank you so much for the help.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      You're welcome. :) Thanks for the motivation to finally do the video - I've been meaning to do it for a few weeks but kept putting it off.

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