Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sync your Outlook Calender on an iPod Touch with Exchange even with the iPhone 3.1 update

Thought I would blog about this since many people are feeling the pinch from the latest iPhone 3.1 OS update that happened last Friday. While my solution may not be perfect, it works and helps you continue to sync your iPod touch or old iPhone 3G with your enterprise Exchange server that requires your device to encrypt your data. As you may be aware, the 3.1 OS update fixed a loophole Apple had introduced, for maybe the first time, in its product line. Old devices were allowed to sync with Exchange 2007 servers even if the servers required the hardware to require encryption of the data. In general when iPod Touch/iPhone communicated with Exchange, they wrongly stated to the Exchange server that they supported encryption. That is what allowed these devices to work with Exchange even though your enterprise policy required that such mobile devices store their data in an encrypted format. Apple has recently fixed this - meaning all these old devices, except the iPhone 3GS, won't lie about their encryption offering anymore. As a result of this, if your Exchange server requires encryption, your device will probably not sync with Exchange. So what do you do - and the option to get a 3GS makes no sense to you - well, then you workaround it of-course, because there was another feature added into the iPhone 3.0 OS upgrade that allows you to sync with Google Calender (using CalDAV) - and I believe you can sync with Yahoo Calendar too. Once again indirection solves the issue. You download Google Calendar Sync. This allows all your appointments in Outlook to be synced with Google calendar. Then setup your ipod touch or iphone to sync with Google Calendar. Here are the steps for that -
This is how I configured CalDAV for Google Calendar on my iPod Touch:

Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars
Tap "Add Account...", then "Other"
Under Calendars, "Add CalDAV Account"
Enter account information:
User Name: [your username]
Password: [your password]
Description: [e.g. Personal]
Tap "Next"

Hopefully, this option will help you out. Since CalDAV can be setup to use SSL, the appointment information can be securely pulled down. However, your enterprise still may not want your calendar information replicated to an outside site (in this case Google) for whatever reason. So be sure to confirm that this is considered a viable fallback option in your enterprise before you go ahead with it.

While this helps with appointments/meetings which it really what I find useful on the iPod Touch, the iPhone users may be making use of the Mail sync function as well - and there really isn't a solution for that besides upgrading to 3GS. That's why I recommend this solution more for the iPod Touch users than the iPhone users.

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