December 22, 2014

The iPad Exchange ActiveSync Guide

The Apple iPad now has the same corporate Exchange server functions as the iPhone: Over-the-air push and sync of Exchange email, contacts, and calendars! This guide is intended as a concise walkthrough of how to get up and running with an iPad and Microsoft Exchange server.

Note: This guide will be continually updated to reflect the latest version of iPad OS, currently 4.2.1, and hardware.

Also see the iPad Exchange ActiveSync Troubleshooting Guide and iPhone Exchange ActiveSync Guide!

What You Get

Apple iPad users get the following Exchange server integration features:

  1. ActiveSync Email, Contacts, and Calendars – The iPad can sync with servers running Exchange ActiveSync. Typically a Microsoft Exchange server, the iPad also supports Google, NuevaSync, Yahoo’s Zimbra, and other servers that use Exchange ActiveSync.
  2. Global Address List – The iPad’s Contacts app can search an Exchange server’s Global Address List over ActiveSync.
  3. IMAP and POP Email – The iPad can also send, receive, and synchronize email messages with a number of IMAP and POP servers, including Microsoft Exchange.
  4. LDAP Contacts – A number of LDAP servers can be configured for contact search and retrieval.
  5. Unified Inbox – Like the iPhone, iPads updated to 4.2.1 get a unified inbox, showing mail messages from all of their various POP, IMAP, and Exchange ActiveSync accounts.

Quick Start: Up and Running With Exchange

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

We will set up the mail account first, then enable sync for Calendar and Contacts.

Before You Begin

* Install the latest version of iTunes
* Back up your iPad
* 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 “company.com”) (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\billg.microsoft”)
  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

If all does not well and you can’t get connected, consult my iPad Exchange ActiveSync Troubleshooting Guide!