Exchange Server: Synchronize Public Folders with Mobile Devices

If you’re using Exchange Server to keep common company data bases (contacts, schedules, tasks , etc.), you will probably encounter a basic problem of companies similar to yours: How to pull this data out of public folders and replicate it to mobile devices of workers that work among your clients and business partners outside the office?

You might be surprised with it, but this (any way you slice it) basic process can’t be achieved just by using Exchange Server native capabilities. The ActiveSync service, which is responsible for syncing private folders with Windows Mobile handhelds, isn’t capable of  synchronizing public folders with them. In fact, the majority of mobile devices is only able to sync themselves with default folders of a desktop mail client. Normally, you will not be able to sync your mobile device with any additional personal folder. In other words, if you create e.g. Calendar No. 2 in your Outlook you will not be able to keep it in sync with your smartphone. Furthermore, it is not possible to sync data directly from Exchange Server public folders. How to solve this issue then? CodeTwo has the right solution for you.

CodeTwo Exchange Sync is an application installed directly on the server that enables automatic synchronization of selected Microsoft Exchange Server folders. The program is extremely versatile in it’s applications. The ability we’re most interested in, is the synchronization of Exchange Server public folders (including contacts, tasks, calendars, mail etc.) with private mailboxes and (in the wake of it) with mobile devices your workers use to access them during their fieldwork.

Take a look at the picture below which illustrates this process:

In order to achieve this goal, the server administrator has to configure a simple synchronization rule using CodeTwo Exchange Sync that will force the replication of selected data stored in public folders to personal folders of any end-user in the company network. Then, using the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) service, the items pulled from the company data base to personal mailboxes can be easily synchronized with all mobile devices supporting the EAS protocol (Windows Mobile devices, iPhone, Blackberry, etc.). You can also use this mechanism analogically to replicate any data from any non-default folders of your mail client.

In addition to this, by using different types of synchronization, such as One-Way or Two-Way, the administrator can decide which employees have the right to update personal folders via their smart phones and which are only authorized to view them.

CodeTwo Exchange Sync is an easy-to-use, but yet extremely powerful application that will allow you to deploy completely new work-group scenarios in your company. The evaluation copy is free of charge and remains fully functional for 30 days. The program has been recently voted 2nd Runner-Up in MSExchange.org Reader’s Choice pole organized by MSExchange.org in December 2010.

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10 thoughts on “Exchange Server: Synchronize Public Folders with Mobile Devices


  1. Launch it before it gets too late ;) Its do or die situation for Apple’s iPhone since Samsung has captured large market around the globe. Hope for the best :)

  2. I have a specific requirement. We have a public folder populated with contacts. This public folder is subdivided further into contact groups (distribution lists). I installed the demo, and the public folder synchronized with the personal folder. However, the contact groups were lost. From the iPhone my user sees only a long list of email contacts, but missing from their respective groups. Is is possible to make the application carry the subgroups over in the synchronization, or is that feature just not possible?

    • Hi Galen, I believe the best way to solve your problem is to reorganize your contacts a little bit by creating a sub folder for each distribution group. Then Exchange Sync will be able to handle it. The folder structure in your mailbox will be replicated on your iPhone 1 to 1.

  3. Hello, I have a different problem that this script may be able to address. I’m looking to sync daily an online calendar that can use an RSS feed into a public exchange calendar on my Exchange 2007 server. Please let me know if this is possible. Thank you!

  4. Hi Johny,

    The installation itself takes very little space – approximately 10MB. However it is advised to leave 100MB spare space for cache.

    As for the replication, the program lets you synchronize any Exchange Server folder from the given organization (either public or private), so you can use in many different scenarios, not only the one described above.

    Should you have any other doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to ask our Support team – they are available 24 hours a day.

  5. How much space does your program use and do you replicate the data to other areas? (fx I have a customer with 22.6GB public data)

  6. Hi Johanna

    The mechanism I described works with any device that is able to connect to your Exchange mailbox. If HTC HD2 is able to do that (and I’m sure it is…), it will work for you as well. Note that our program is a server software and you should tell your Exchange administrator to install and configure it directly on the server that hosts your mail.

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