All about Public Folders and iPhones

Sync Public Folder to iPhone Solutions

Public Folders have been an incredible tool for businesses hosted on Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 since their inception. Because Microsoft has been a long-time staple SaaS provider for enterprise, Public Folders have been a part of company IT and database structure for more than a decade. With the utility they provide, it’s not a surprise that they continue to see use as an enterprise solution.

The Benefits of Public Folders

Public Folders are flexible

Microsoft Public Folders can contain contacts, calendar items, notes, or journal entries. This allows companies to have a complex database that can store a robust amount of information. Furthermore, the ability to store multiple data types gives Public Folders flexibility within a company’s IT structure.

Public Folders as a Group Hub

Public Folders are able to store multiple types of data structures, which allows it to be a Group Hub of information that can be used by any employee with a mailbox. One of the common uses for Public Folders is to manage company contacts and shared calendars. For example, if you work for a construction company and have a constantly changing cast of personnel on projects, almost everyone in the company needs contacts and calendars synced from a Public Folder to their iPhone.

Public Folders are easy to use

Creating and using a Public Folder to store up-to-date contact information and shared calendars is easy. Any user of an On-Premise Exchange Server or Office 365 can create Public Folders, and they can easily allow any user with a mailbox to access them.

Public Folders and Outlook

Microsoft also introduced Public Folder support for Outlook, which happens to be the best way to use them. It’s hardly a challenge to figure out how they work within Outlook. Anyone with an Outlook mailbox can be authorized to view, edit, or manage a Public Folder. What’s more is how simple they are to use through the Outlook client, with the ability to drag and drop files, the user friendly style makes navigation easy, and the ability to quickly organize, Public Folders are a dream to work with on any computer.

As great as Public Folders sound, Microsoft has slowly been limiting and rolling back support for Public Folders on their software applications. This has created drawbacks for using Public Folders within a company’s IT and database structure.

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Drawbacks of Public Folders

Pull is not push

It’s great to be able to manage contacts in one central location. On the flip side, users won’t know when their Public Folder contacts and calendars have been updated. You can send email notifications, but people with stuffed inboxes might miss them.

They can be too complex

Public Folder’s flexibility can be its downfall when integrated with a massive data hierarchy. Users often complain about sorting through massive collections of Public Folders to find vendor contacts folders.

They are not in the one place they should be—on iPhones

When does an employee need up-to-date shared company contacts? When they are away from the office and using their iPhone. However, Microsoft doesn’t provide support for syncing Public Folders to iPhones. What’s more, users cannot view the contents of Public Folders while using their iPhones.


Even with these drawbacks, Public Folders continue to exist and proliferate. For many companies, these issues aren’t enough to deter from their utility. For those who heavily rely on their smartphones, there are solutions out there that can bridge the compatibility gap between Public Folders and iPhones.

Solutions for Public Folders to iPhone Synchronization

Manually dragging data into the mailboxes of everyone who needs them

This is an excellent option for small organizations, but for large organizations with hundreds of employees, this solution is unwieldy and cumbersome. Creating a subfolder and overwriting it when it’s time for an update can work, but employees will need to be notified about any updates. 

For On-premise users, utilize itrezzo UCM

This is the fastest and easiest server-side solution to sync Public Folders to iPhones. It takes less than a minute to sync Public Folders to hundreds of employees and requires no user training.

Companies working on Office 365, try CiraSync

CiraSync is the quickest, most user-friendly solution for syncing Office 365 Public Folders to iPhones. The free, 10 user trial allows companies to begin syncing Public Folders to their company iPhones in less than five minutes.

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Access Public Folder Contacts on Smartphones

This is a short explanatory video showing a step-by-step example of how to sync the Global Address List when using itrezzo.

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