How to make Exchange public folders accessible from your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone

Many companies rely on Microsoft Exchange Server’s public folders to store shared data, archive documents and collaborate on projects. At the same time, the native capabilities of Exchange Server do not allow users to view Exchange public folders on mobile devices. This wouldn’t be a major issue, if not for the fact that smartphones, tablets and other handhelds are gradually replacing laptops and desktops as primary workplace devices.

How to sync mobile devices with public Exchange folders

Luckily, CodeTwo has a solution: CodeTwo Exchange Sync. An application which allows you to automatically synchronize Exchange public folders with users’ personal mailboxes, making the public data instantly available on users’ mobile phones. Owing to this, Exchange tasks, contacts, calendars, and other outlook items, can be viewed and modified via devices running on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, or any other system supporting Active Sync protocol.

Devices synchronization

Easy Set-up

CodeTwo Exchange Sync can be installed directly on the Exchange Server or on a Windows workstation in the Exchange Server domain. Bear in mind however that the syncing process cannot take place when the machine hosting the software is off, so choose one which is mostly powered on. Worth noting fact is that if you install the application directly on the Exchange Server, you ensure that less data travels through your network, making it a more secure option than a PC installation. Thanks to a user-friendly interface, CodeTwo Exchange Sync lets you easily configure all necessary synchronization tasks, which are then applied automatically and in real time. If you encounter any problems the in-depth installation guide can be found in the User’s Manual or you can contact our Customer Support team for assistance.

Various synchronization scenarios

Another advantage of CodeTwo Exchange Sync is the variety of synchronization scenarios. You can sync the contents of public folders with mobiles using one of the following options:
– one-to-one (one-way synchronization) – copy data from one source folder to one target folder,
– one-to-many (one-way synchronization) – replicate data from one source folder to multiple target folders,
– many-to-one (one-way synchronization) – copy data from multiple source folders to only one target folder,
– folder ring (two-way synchronization) – a reciprocal exchange of data between a group of folders.
Learn more about one-way and two-way public folders synchronization.

In addition, CodeTwo Exchange Sync offers filter and modifier features that give you even more control over synchronized items. Filters allow the administrator to define criteria based on which contents of a public folder will be included in the synchronization. The feature can be used for monitoring purposes, access rights management and preventing excessive mailbox growth. Modifiers give the administrator wide control over synchronized data including modifying item attributes, setting properties, appending categories, labels or meta-information, and more. See the filters and modifiers in action here.

Configuring Public Folders on your mobile device

Here is a short guide explaining how to sync your mobile device with your company Exchange public folders. Remember that you can only synchronize folders of the same type, i.e. contacts with contacts, calendars with calendars, tasks with tasks, etc.:

One-way synchronization

We are going to look at one-to-one and one-to-many synchronization types as they are the most common. In one-way synchronization the target folders always have the same items as the source folders. Mobile device users can only see public data but they cannot modify them. And even if they try, their changes will be immediately replaced with data from the source folder.

One way sync - one-to-one

  •  One-To-One
  1. Open CodeTwo Exchange Sync Admin and click New in the top-left corner.
  2. A dialog box will appear. Enter the name of the synchronization task and from the dropdown menu choose One-way synchronization: One-To-One.
  3. Selecting synchronization type to sync iPhone with Exchange Server
  4. The new synchronization task will show up in the left pane. Highlight it to display all configuration options in the right pane. The task is activated by default, but it can be disabled by unchecking it.
  5. In the Folders scheduled for synchronization section of the right pane click Browse next to the Source folder and a list of all Exchange folders will appear. Select the public folder you want to sync, e.g. shared tasks.
  6. Now select your Target folder and save the changes. CodeTwo Exchange Sync will automatically start to synchronize both folders.
  • One-To-Many
  1. Open CodeTwo Exchange Sync Admin and click New in the top-left corner.
  2. A dialog box will appear. Enter the name of the synchronization task and from the dropdown menu choose One-way synchronization: One-To-Many.
  3. The new synchronization task will show up in the left pane. Highlight it to display all configuration options in the right pane.
  4. Click Browse next to the Source folder and a list of all Exchange folders will appear. Choose the public folder you want to sync, e.g. shared contacts
  5. Click the Add button next to Target folders and select users’ personal folders, e.g. Tom contacts, Holly contacts, Simon contacts. Save all changes. CodeTwo Exchange Sync will automatically start to synchronize all selected folders.

When one-way synchronization is used, the administrator can use modifiers and filters to gain a better control over synchronized items.

Two-way synchronization

In two-way synchronization when a change is made in one of the folders, it automatically appears in all remaining folders.

Two way sync - folder ring

1.    Pull up the CodeTwo Exchange Sync Administration Panel and click the New button in the top-left corner.
2.    A dialog box will appear. Enter the name of the synchronization task and from the dropdown menu select Two-way synchronization: Folder Ring.

Folder Ring

3.    The newly created sync task can be seen in left pane. Highlight it to display all configuration options in the right pane. The task is activated by default, but it can be disabled by unchecking it.
4.    Click Add and a list of all Exchange folders will appear. Select folders you want to synchronize e.g. your private calendar folder and a public calendar folder
5.    When you click the Save changes icon, CodeTwo Exchange Sync will automatically start to synchronize all selected folders.

Now all users can access their Exchange public folders on their mobile device.

How to make Exchange public folders accessible from your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone by

6 thoughts on “How to make Exchange public folders accessible from your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone


  1. So the user will only have the public contacts and calendar folders on his phone and will not be able to also have his personal ones?

    • Hi Gabe,

      No, the user will have both the public and personal folders. This is because CodeTwo Exchange Sync synchronizes the Exchange public folders with folders in the user’s personal mailbox. These can be root folders (like in the below image) or custom subfolders created to store the public folder data:

      The synchronization between the user’s personal mailbox and their mobile device is taken care of by Exchange ActiveSync. See this video for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze4_AnjZ14c

      If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
      Pawel

    • Hi Chris,
      Yes, CodeTwo Exchange Sync also works with Room/Resource mailboxes.
      Best regards,
      Honorata

  2. Hi Carl! Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately as for now only Exchange Server installed on-site is supported.

  3. This looks like a great solution! Is this compatible with Office 365 or is this only for onsite Exchange installations?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

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