How To Sync Your iPad With Your Exchange Server

This blog post is probably out of date. If you want to set up Exchange ActiveSync, you should instead consult one my guides:
iPhone Exchange ActiveSync Setup iPad Exchange ActiveSync Setup
iPhone ActiveSync Troubleshooting iPad ActiveSync Troubleshooting

Did your new iPad arrive today? If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to set it up with your corporate Exchange server. The good news is that Apple has been working on Microsoft Exchange integration for years, and the iPhone OS used in the iPad sports fairly complete Exchange ActiveSync support.

Read The Guide!

Almost two years ago, I posted an article entitled “How To Set Up iPhone Exchange ActiveSync“. This has become, by far, the most popular thing I have ever written, with literally millions of page views. I summarized the series of articles I wrote on that subject in the iPhone Exchange ActiveSync Guide, which has become the first stop for many corporate iPhone users.

Now that the iPad is here, I have developed two similar documents, The iPad Exchange ActiveSync Guide and The iPad Exchange ActiveSync Troubleshooting Guide. You really ought to read those instead of bothering with this outdated content!

Quick Start: Up and Running With Exchange

For the most up-to-date information, see my iPad Exchange ActiveSync Guide!

Here’s the quick how-to for getting Exchange up and running on your iPad.

We will set up the mail account, and the iPad will automatically enable sync for Calendar and Contacts.

Before You Begin

* Install the latest version of iTunes
* Back up your iPad, since Exchange ActiveSync configuration will delete all local contacts and calendar entries. Although it will coexist with MobileMe, IMAP contacts, and WebDAV and ICS calendars, ActiveSync will overwrite any non-synchronized entries. If you want to save your existing contacts and calendar entries, you should use iTunes’ desktop synchronization feature to save them to a compatible application.
* Make sure you are connected to a reliable and fast network (preferably Wi-Fi) before beginning

Configuring Exchange ActiveSync on the iPad

Tap the “Settings” icon from the home screen, then “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
In “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”, tap “Add Account…”
Tap the “Microsoft Exchange” icon
Note: This is where you come in if you tap the Mail app from the home screen with no accounts configured
Now you will enter your Exchange account information:

  1. Your full Email address
  2. You may need to enter an Exchange Domain (like “IT” or “Sales”), but this is not the place to enter the Internet domain name (like “”) (see “What Domain Name Do I Enter?” below for more details)
  3. Your Exchange Username
    Note: This is usually the first part of your email address before the “@” sign (e.g. “billg”), but you may have to also enter your Exchange domain (e.g. “msexec\”)
  4. Your Exchange Password
  5. You can optionally modify the Description to something other than your email address
Tap “Next” and the iPad will attempt to auto-discover and configure the Exchange account
Note: This can take up to 5 minutes on slow networks or if autodiscovery is not supported
If your Exchange server configuration does not support Autodiscovery, it will fail (saying it couldn’t validate your account), and you will have to manually enter the Server name (see “Which Server Name Do I Enter?” below for more details)
Tap “Next” and the iPad will verify the configuration
By default, the iPad will synchronize all three data types (Mail, Contacts, and Calendars) with your Exchange ActiveSync server, but you can turn one or more off if you wish
Tap “Done” and the iPad will finalize the configuration and return you to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” menu while your iPad communicates with the server
Note: It can take a few minutes for calendar entries and contacts to show up

For the most up-to-date information, see my iPad Exchange ActiveSync Guide!

What The iPad Lacks

Only one Exchange ActiveSync account can be configured
  1. The iPad will remain limited to full ActiveSync with a single Exchange server. Although you are free to establish as many IMAP connections as you like, including connecting to Exchange with IMAP, you cannot use more than one ActiveSync service. However, as noted above, 3.0 does include LDAP support so at least the contacts from your second Exchange server might be accessible.
  2. Spotlight does not include full-text search of mail messages. Although it’s nice to be able to search through everything on the iPad, and even content on the Exchange server, you still have to remember the sender, subject, etc.
  3. Still no notes and tasks sync (with Exchange). Although the iPad does allow synchronization of notes with Apple Mail for Mac users, it does not support Exchange or Apple’s own MobileMe over-the-air services.
  4. No public folder support.
  5. No unified inbox, and switching between inboxes, especially in portrait mode, is difficult.

As the iPad advances, I will keep my eyes open for enterprise Exchange ActiveSync features and post them here. Subscribe to my Apple feed for up-to-date details!

  • Charlotte Golka

    I changed my e-mail password on my computer and now I can not get into my I pad.  It asks me to enter my “exchange” password.  I do not know what that is and do not remember having to enter one.  w hat do I do?

  • Bill D.

    MS Exchange and auto-lock limits w ipad

    Problem. On
    both iPads, setting up an Exchange account makes the “Never” option go away from
    the auto-lock menu. No more hours of
    beautiful clocks. Anybody run into this or have any ideas? I’d like to be able
    to keep the auto-lock feature turned off.

  • Jim

    iPad is setup and I can see the message on the right but it is not displaying the entire messaf
    GE on the right

  • Jordan Arvin

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    that are great for home or office use. The case I am looking forward to the
    most is the one that raises up to your eye level. It would be so great for cooking in the
    kitchen or office use. Like I said, this company does not launch until
    November, but I would highly recommend checking them out! They are so awesome!
    Can’t wait! Definitely check out