Exchange ActiveSync and read status synchronization

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by exi, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. exi macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Have noticed a bit of an odd issue. iPhone 6, iOS 9.2.

    I have a few mail accounts -- iCloud, Outlook.com (which has been moved to the Office 365 infrastructure), and an organization's Exchange account (Office 365).

    I have noticed that in the last few days, read status does not synchronize.

    That is, when reading messages in Apple Mail on my laptop (OS X 10.11.2 / Mail 9.2) or in the webmail interface, their read status does not sync in the background to my phone. The unread badge continues to say "1" when I've read that single email and/or marked it as read in either of the above. This is true for the Exchange accounts which should, and used to, do so. I'm aware that iCloud does not support this, as much as many of us wish it would.

    Mail does push to the iPhone without question. It's just the read status updating that's not happening.

    What I have already tried:

    - Manually removing and re-adding the Exchange accounts in question, as Exchange, with autodetection of settings on the iPhone;
    - Hard reboot of the iPhone;
    - Verification that accounts and folders in question are, in fact, set to use push and not fetch on the phone.

    What am I missing?
     
  2. whsbuss, Jan 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016

    whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    #2
  3. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #3
    MS has not migrated all of its Outlook.com accounts to the new platform, and some of its content within accounts is not on the Office 365 platform. Also, look in your Office 365 Admin portal - MS has posted messages about sync issues that go back several weeks and that the "issues" should be resolved in the coming weeks, a frustration of mine with my Business Premium and E3 accounts.

    The Outlook.com "portal" is still on Amazon's server platform, and it's being migrated to Azure - some of the connections issues are related to Amazon's servers, not MS. Amazon is rolling out its own WorkMail platform, I wouldn't be surprised that they're slow to respond to MS's requests right now. It's not you, it's a bunch of us... :mad:
     
  4. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    Thanks for the update. Crazy about the Amazon server platform.
     
  5. exi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Hm, interesting. So, as best as I can tell, my Outlook.com account has been moved to Office 365 -- I can set up as Exchange and have the "... (Preview)" tag on the webmail interface.

    Forgive me, but I don't see any messages within Office 365 about synchronization issues, but I'm curious. I don't have administrative access within said organization. Would you mind copy/pasting about that and/or the Azure move?

    As both Exchange accounts I have -- my Outlook.com freebie as well as an institutional address -- utilize the Office 365 backbone, I'm bound by whatever issues they're having at the moment.

    Tangential, but I'm still trying to sort out how much of an issue silent filtering may or may not be with Office 365 infrastructure. My feeling is that there's an absolute minimum of it given the sheer span of the backbone, a la Gmail, in which case I may be migrating to Outlook.com for mail only from iCloud, while maintaining all other PIM data on iCloud as I've talked about in other threads.
     
  6. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #6
    No offense, there's a few mixed-up items here. Regarding Outlook.com, MS is porting the Outlook.com platform to the Office 365 platform - but the granular controls of the Outlook.com appear to be not available - I have the free account I use for my personal account for Win 10, and it's missing dozens of the granular controls available to my Office 365 (company and personal Business Premium and E3 accounts). The Outlook.com settings are very "dumbed down" when compared to my Admin portal; the Outlook.com move from AWS to MS's Azure has nothing to do with Office 365, which has been seated on Azure since Day 1 - Outlook.com has been on AWS for some time now, old stuff, that. Office 365 - Business and Enterprise - has been running on Azure since Day 1.

    Regarding disclosure, that's a bit of an issue with me. It's my company, I'm not the IT guy - I'm here to be helpful. Screenshots of my Admin portals are in the same vein as your own company owners, a bit sensitive, and not beyond what MS would divulge in an inquiry of your own. Again, the personal Outlook.com move from AWS to Azure is available via the interwebs, and has nothing to do with Office 365 as a portal. From my experience, the "move" of Outlook.com accounts is more about moving to an EAS platform with fewer granular controls than those available via O365 - my Outlok.com account has about 20 settings to modify/tweak, my O365 account (that I use for personal email) has about 150 settings to modify/tweak. Outlook.com is NOT Office 365, not by a long shot.

    And, no offense, Outlook.com's portal appears to be using Exchange ActiveSync, a sync protocol - "Exchange" is another animal altogether. My O365 calendaring, contacts, and SharePoint IMAPI items contain several different data fields than my Outlook.com events - I'm breaking them down in CSV files and opening them in Word (as text files) and Excel (as CSV files), and O365 items are far more robust and comprehensive than Outlook.com items - I suggest you do the same and not take my word for it. Simple check - send emails through both portals, then check the headers and run a traceroute.

    I'm signing into my Win 10-based Outlook.com account as "Exchange", but I'll offer that there no way I'm getting the same L.O.S. as my O365 accounts, not by a longshot. I'm also not paying $20 extra for my Outlook.com accounts for no ads and better service.

    Gotta open a new office the rest of this week, I'll check in later. Cheers!
     
  7. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Good information. I would expect (free) outlook.com to be less than a full Exchange account, but I hope the EAS mail sync will work when things are completed.
     
  8. exi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Sorry, my fault, poor use of terms on my part. As for disclosure, I misunderstood -- when you said look in my admin portal, I for some reason figured there was something somewhere I could get to, as opposed to my organization's IT department doing it. I'm not IT or the brass of said organization. Actually, I'll only be affiliated with them for a few more months.

    Am aware Outlook.com isn't proper Exchange -- it just uses EAS, as Gmail did back in the day. Which interestingly, as for Outlook.com, used to properly synchronize read status and update inbox state in the background on the iPhone, at least last I tested months ago before the migration to the Office 365 infrastructure became a thing. What I wasn't sure about was whether, when this O365 move is completed, it would be more in line with what a full Exchange configuration would be. Maybe I'm just behind on my MS/Outlook.com reading.

    Do you have any thoughts as to silent filtering with Outlook.com as well as with Office 365, and what that might mean for the move? I've posted a few times here as to the whole silent filtering issue with iCloud and Apple's apparent tendency to be a bit heavy-handed with never delivering messages in the interest of filtering out suspected spam, as opposed to simply using spam folders more. If Outlook.com / Office 365 could be felt to be on par with Gmail's reliability in the sense that messages err towards delivering to spam folders as opposed to silent filtering, it'd probably convince me to spend a couple hours and migrate every account I have across the internet from iCloud to Outlook, at least for mail. Unsure if there's any perk to moving the rest -- contact field granularity and other pros/cons to calendaring/pictures/etc of which I might be unaware at this point.

    Would consider paying for Office 365 Business Essentials as me as the sole user if it would help. Of course, I don't have my own domain. Would be nice if it could be used with @outlook.com addresses, but my understanding is that there is (was?) a "default" of @onmicrosoft.com with the ability to use other domains.

    Appreciate your help.
     
  9. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #9
    No worries, and I rarely take this type of interaction personally, I get help and I offer help. My frustration, and I'm sure whsbuss will echo this to a degree, is either the lack of transparency by Apple/MS/Google regarding their portal services or the way so much documentation is fragmented and spread out in their web sites - I'm a construction engineer and a technical/contract writer, and I expect everything to be "available" but I have to work with life-safety in mind, so I try to not get too worked up about it. Too much...

    Taking a break from my work now, so here's a bit of help. First, the move of Outlook cloud services - also, don't "Google" anything about MS if you want answers, use "Bing" and you'll get deeper links to documentation - there's an Office 365 portal dedicated to deployment listed as a blog hosted by MS, TechNet, and the built-in documentation within the O365 Admin portal. I don't follow too many tech bloggers, preferring to read stuff for myself. I read the "Exchange" section of TechNet - https://technet.microsoft.com/ - and look to the Library section for more details; you won't find much yet about the Outlook cloud services (that's what MS calls it internally now), and then one can surmise that Outlook.com is "in process". Some of the documentation of Exchange Apps is starting to appear in TechNet's Exchange Library, and you can see for yourself more about the Accompli app relevant to the move from AWS to Azure in the "Data Services" section here: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/mt465744(v=exchg.150).aspx - and notice the 1/11/2016 update date, just a few days ago at this writing.

    As for EAS, I win an argument every time - someone offers that "________ supports EAS", and I say "no it doesn't" but I'm not here to pick nits with anyone. Gmail never supported EAS - Google licensed it but implemented a subset of EAS plus Google-specific services for free users and paid users; I was a Google Apps buyer for a few years. Google, like MS with Outlook, don't port all of the EAS options to us free users - here's a TechNet page: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998357(v=exchg.150).aspx - and it's difficult to find a free client that subscribes to those services largely due to MS wanting to get paid for each EAS CAL! Related to your question about silent filtering, in Outlook.com we'll likely never have access to that control likely due to MS not wanting miscreants abusing MS's free services.

    As to the Outlook cloud services, as I'd alluded to here earlier, one of my Outlook.com accounts appears to be running on MS's O365 Exchange platform while the second is still EAS - I'm seeing that in Win Outlook 2016 when I dive into its settings. Both accounts are "dumb" in the Win Accounts app relative to settings, but I'm also seeing more settings options for those - and iCloud! - accounts.

    A tip about O365 accounts, if you're interested in Office 2016. I have a few accounts, and my next "buy" will be a discounted version of Office 365 Home (Best Buy matched Amazon's low price), and get Business Essentials - you get your 5 installs of Office plus the same email service of Business Premium. I use E3 solely for it's video portal, which is slick. Be prepared to be overwhelmed as there's no "middle ground" - there's about 20 settings for Outlook.com and about 320 for Office 365... :confused: But, every time there's an update to the Mail/People/Calendar apps in Win 10, there seems to be more exposure to my migrated Outlook account and also my iCloud account. With the latest update to Win 10 for these apps (last week) heck, even now all of my iCloud Calendar groups are showing up in the built-in-to Win 10 Calendar client! I imagine that someone at MS is standing over their programmers as I'm typing this to get this crap done...

    As to your final posed situation, yes, you can use your own linked domain, the @onmicrosoft "domain", or both at the same time to use your own branded domain with the @onmicrosoft as an alias or backup option.

    Don't waste too much time poring through TechNet's documentation - it's pretty dry stuff, and I have a soon-to-be-sold Exchange Server 2013 setup as I'm moving us to O365 totally soon. I've only taken a quick look about for more details on Outlook cloud services, but there's clients to gladhand and permits to apply for (ugh!). Cheers!
     
  10. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    @campyguy - always great information. And I totally agree with lack of transparency the major big boys have with their services; paid or free. Microsoft's decision to expand and support their O365 platform has been a welcomed change. I always hated having to load PCs/Macs with their Office suite...... bloated, slow, proprietary, etc. I always liked the cloud model but never thought it would become so prevalent..... fiber networks are the main reason this became a reality.

    And you are correct about Google not supporting MS's EAS for their exchange accounts; labels vs folders prevents a native EAS platform. But it was nice when Gmail did mail/calendar/contact sync in realtime for their free accounts. So far outlook.com (for me) is syncing a bit faster for mail - not realtime but within a 15 minute timeframe (90% of the time). And being configured as exchange on my iPhone, its not a polled sync. When there's nothing to sync, I see no activity in the web interface under Options->General->Mobile devices.
     
  11. exi, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    exi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Thanks for your help, @campyguy and @whsbuss. Really leaves me between services -- I'm a fan of a minimalist, single-service solution, but I'm finding it hard to trust Apple with iCloud filtering issues as in my other, and others', threads. Part of my concern is that I am a doctor, and while no HIPAA or otherwise confidential information is passed in email nor is much of what I do related to email anyway, the idea of not receiving an email related to what I do courtesy of Apple "nannying" and mistakenly taking something as spam is unacceptable.
     
  12. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    Totally understand. I'm a one trick pony as well. If I was not so invested in the Apple ecosystem I would go O365. MS has started to become a player again.
     
  13. Trahearne, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    Trahearne macrumors 6502

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    #13
    At the last time I checked (in early 2015 IIRC), only Outlook.com would push the read flag change. Office 365 somehow wouldn’t do so despite syncing via EAS - I tried two different accounts, one private one from college. Not sure if that has been changed.
     
  14. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #14
    Glad to help, and I get it. Much of my work over the past 22 years has Federal money involved, and Fed audits randomly consultants of the agencies I'd worked for (I've also done the auditing - don't judge, it's really boring...). Some of my private projects include clients who forward messages from their attorneys (if they only knew those disclaimers only apply to them!). I have 4 attorneys, and they have disclaimers too - I own proprietary IP and, for that, I use only secure or bonded communications.

    I'll be honest with you - IMHO, move on from Outlook and iCloud in that it's "free". O365 Business Essentials and Amazon's WorkMail are so cheap now for each account, I wouldn't even want to tell you how much I've spent on Exchange Server over the years, and it's just about as reliable - as in 99.5% as reliable as my Exchange Server license and the CALs I pay for. I switched over about one-half of my workforce from my Exchange Server to O365 and I've heard zero/0/none/nada comments. My MS rep is so not happy with me when I told him to hold off on a Server upgrade to 2016, so I have to deal with his whining, so there's that downside!

    One item for my own use, I think, but don't know that O365 can poll for other domain services - Outlook cloud services can do that with their migrated accounts, but I haven't looked into porting an Outlook.com account into an O365 account. I need to do that anyway and I'll report back either way.

    I'm tethering to my VZW iPad in a USCC region (I won't share what I have to do with my iPad to get a decent signal!), and I miss T3 and cable modems, so give me a bit of time if there's something you need to know. Both of my parents were nurses, going back to the early 1950s, so there's some respect there for persons in the medical field. Cheers!
     
  15. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    I don't remember Outlook.com (IMAP) pushing read change status in realtime.
     
  16. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #16
    I made a bit of a discovery with Outlook.com that you might be interested in? Setting up a wiped Mac and Outlook 2016 (Mac), I noticed in the Outlook Accounts Pref a new account type - Outlook.com - so I added it. I noticed some better performance with my migrated account in synching and slightly modified data so much that performance matched my two O365 accounts. With a bit of time to kill, I removed that Outlook.com account, then re-added it as an "Exchange" account, and it worked perfectly! Being a bit daring, I added the Outlook.com account to my Mac's Internet Accounts System Preference, and it mostly worked in that everything was added but there were some sync timing issues with Contacts - they synched over perfectly but with an error message (the same issue related to Categories tags that have plagued Macs for years).

    With Outlook 2016 and native Mac apps with this new "Exchange" setup, mail commands were pretty much real time, calendars/tasks-reminders were almost real time, contacts were a bit slow - but I think that Outlook.com does a background sync every 4 hours for contact data. So, there you go...
     
  17. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    That is very interesting. I tried the same on my Mac mail app and iPhone. Outlook.com performed exactly the same choosing Outlook or Exchange in the setup. I saw similar sync times as you, but in both cases new email push was almost instantaneous when it arrived on the web interface. Read changes status still delayed.
     
  18. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Good to know, thanks! I'm guessing that this bit is still tied to the "it's slow because it's free" thing. I wouldn't want to be the person maintaining those servers with all of that pinging going on...
     
  19. stulaw11 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    It's not that it's slow because it's free, it's not slower per se just works differently. When its pushing all that information versus periodically it's a lot more taxing on the servers and they need more resources; and multiply that by a few million accounts. Hence some cost for the extra resources push accounts take.

    It's not a huge cost here, we're talking $5/month roughly. Much cheaper than getting email ever was before.


    As an aside Gmail's implementation of EAS was terrible anyway. You needed a chart to see what did or didnt work between setting it up as EAS vs IMAP. Half of the stuff didn't sync on EAS (like email drafts) and just didn't make it all that useful vs setting it up as IMAP. Now the issue is Google is holding back Gmail IMAP IDLE for Android vs letting other platforms like iOS use it. That's why Android Gmail app basically feels like using EAS or a push-type speed vs iOs which has to poll the Gmail servers every x minutes. It was never more than a temporary solution to email honestly the way Gmail works and is so different than traditional email.
     
  20. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #20
    FWIW, I was being really, really snarky...

    Outlook cloud services (Outlook.com) do "speed up" and lose ads when anteing up the $19 "remove ads" surcharge, so, there's that option...
     
  21. Trahearne, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016

    Trahearne macrumors 6502

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    #21
    EAS, or presumably EAS - I tested it with iOS's in-built support, though it is possible of Outlook.com to use APNs (like Yahoo!, iCloud Mail and FastMail) instead. But I kind of doubt it. Outlook.com's IMAP never supported IDLE anyway. Let alone pushing read flag changes.

    -

    If you really want "push everything" in the in-built iOS Mail, AFAIK probably FastMail, one of the top contender after the huge SaaS players, is the only choice at this moment. It uses Apple's own Mail.app push model on top of its top-notch IMAP service, and they configured the push to happen whatever change happens (moving in/out, read/unread, etc) in the selected mailboxes.

    Disclaimer: Current FastMail user.
     
  22. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    Yep, Fastmail is a great alternative. But outlook.com (free) is one secondary email I use a lot. Being apple-eco I use iCloud for everything but outlook.com for lots of other purposes. Wonder how the outlook app does the sync status changes? I used it once but it would not allow setup via exchange, only via their Outlook.com config.
     
  23. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #23
    I posted somewhere in these forums about Outlook's polling, using Little Snitch. My Mac crapped out and I started from scratch; I'm offering this as I've not reinstalled LS yet.

    For both Outlook and iCloud accounts, Outlook was polling designated folders every 2 minutes for changes and synchronizing a minimum of 15 minutes and maximum of 20 minutes - there was an app built into Outlook named Office365ServiceV2 that was performing network checks during those synchronizing intervals. I noted that the polling interval remained at 2 minutes even when I changed it to a random time. My Exchange Server and O365 accounts were pretty much polled/synched immediately, including status changes. My Outlook.com that appears to be migrated to the O365 account is, for now, also are polled/synched immediately, including status changes, but I'm expecting this to change in the near future (just guessing here...).
     
  24. exi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Ahh, MacRumors. Home of idiotic "snappier" posts and various neuroticism-laced rants balanced by all-star posts and excellent input like the posts above.

    I do find what Outlook does network-wise to be interesting. I'm trying to figure out in my head what downside there would be to migrating to Outlook as a laptop mail app -- and potentially to Outlook on the phone as a mail app -- as compared to staying on Mail.app on both. This as an option compared to migrating my mail to Outlook.com or something of the sort, which does nothing for the silent filtering issue, but still.
     
  25. whsbuss macrumors 68040

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    I'm not sure the downside you are concerned about. I use iCloud as my primary because of the Apple ecosystem and devices I use. So on my Mac and iOS devices I like the natural integration Apple provides. My only real complaint is read status changes are not pushed/sync'd in iCloud. Outlook.com is just as good as iCloud now that its migrated to O365 platform. Both work just fine in the native Apple mail apps.
     

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