Recently Apple released iOS 4 (the new name for the operating system that runs on iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads). Since its release there have been numerous reports (link, link, link) of a number of issues with new iPhone 4s (and older iPhone models running the updated software version) when using Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) for mobile email. I wanted to put up a quick posting about what issues users may be seeing and what we’re doing about it.

Issues:

  1. Exchange administrators are seeing heavier than normal loads on their servers from users with iOS devices: We are in contact with Apple’s engineering team and are trying to help them fix this issue. In the meantime Apple has released a support article (link) which directs administrators who are experiencing this issue to push an iOS profile (link) that changes the timeout their Exchange ActiveSync connection uses to their users to four minutes which should be long enough for the vast majority of users. Those that need longer can edit the XML file in any text editor by searching for ‘240.0’ (no quotes) and changing it to the desired number of seconds, or you can use Apple’s configuration utility editor (link) to make this change.
    Update 7/15: Apple has released iOS 4.0.1, which includes the iOS profile change discussed earlier in this post.

    Update 7/1 1:10 PM: We had suggested using Apple's configuration utility to make this change. Apple has informed us that you should not use the configuration utility to edit or install the update. Use a text editor such as Notepad to change the timeout value in the update, if required. The configuration utility doesn't know about the timeout key used in the update.

  2. Email, calendar, or contacts are not syncing: We believe this is the same issue as #1. The support article and solution listed above are the current recommendation from Apple while a fix is being worked on.
  3. iPhone is not working with Google Apps over Exchange ActiveSync: Google licenses the server portion of Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft (link) but Google wrote their own software to implement the protocol. Google is responsible for making sure their implementation of Exchange ActiveSync runs correctly and in this case Google claims that they had a server issue (link).

We have been in contact with Apple about each of these issues (as well as some others that seem to not be directly related to EAS but are more email related in general). Apple has assured us that a fix is being worked on though they have not commented on a release timeline for the fix. We will be continuing to work with Apple to help resolve the current issues relating to iOS 4 using Exchange ActiveSync.

Adam Glick
Sr. Technical Product Manager