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contacts and calendar items disappear when exchange server is off

4410 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 23, 2009 9:40 PM by Brettski1977 RSS
spongmonkey Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 19, 2009 2:14 AM
Hi All

I've been having this problem for a few weeks now and it's most frustrating. My iphone is setup to sync over the air to our corporate exchange server. It seems that when the server is down for repair/patching ALL my contacts and calendar items disappear from my iphone. This doesn't seem to happen if the phone is out of signal?

I know that I can sync directly with Outlook, however this would then mean that the phone is only updated when synced with my laptop at work. If I sync both over the air AND with Outlook, I get duplicates of everything in my calendar.

I'm not restoring my iphone to factory defaults to get rid of the duplicates and go back to over the air sync only.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get calendar and contacts to work "offline" when the exchange server is down?

Main PC is running Windows 7 and exchange is 2007. This problem is only recent, I think in the last month of two. Nothing has changed other than the last few firmware updates from Apple.
Dell Inspirion E6500, Windows Vista
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,685 points)
    There's no 'problem' here. You cannot access Exchange contacts/calendar 'offline' - they are synced live, and if the Exchange account is removed from the iPhone or the server goes offline, so does you access to the data.
    17" CD MBP, iPhone 3G, iPodTouch, Mac OS X (10.5.8),  since the ][e
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,685 points)
    The data don't disappear because you cannot sync when you have no data connection. As I stated, the data are 'synced live' meaning if you cannot sync the data remain. but, if a sync proceeds and the server is offline, there's nothing to sync to, so the data disappear. If your IT department is regularly taking the Exchange server offline for some reason, they are not doing their job properly, IMO.

    The only way to have access if the server is down is to sync your data via Outlook through iTunes. It won't be updated 'live' but it's really the only option. There is no 'offline' mode for an Exchange account on the iPhone. This is by design for security reasons, since it's a mobile device - if the Exchange server cuts you off, the data disappear.
    17" CD MBP, iPhone 3G, iPodTouch, Mac OS X (10.5.8),  since the ][e
  • tokatta Level 3 Level 3 (865 points)
    As you mentioned; if this was intended behavior then just putting a phone in airplane mode or leaving a coverage area would wipe your contacts and calendar.

    I suspect what is happening is that the people doing the maintenance on Exchange are not shutting things down properly. If they drop the message store first, your phone will get synced with an empty mailbox/contacts/calendar.

    They should stop IIS or EAS first - this will stop the connection between the phone and the ActiveSync. Then bring down Exchange services.
    HAL, Other OS, The size of a spaceship
  • Tobie Fysh Calculating status...
    So this "security feature" - does that mean if someone loses their iPhone we should take down the Exchange Server? And as this only applies to Calendar and Contacts I guess no-one ever has anything of concern in their email <sigh>

    In all seriousness this is a bit poo - would be better for the iPhone to follow the Windows Mobile model and allow the device to be remote wiped if it is lost (along with enforce security policies from the domain).

    Thanks for confirming its an issue with all iPhone's and not just us!

    Hey ho, I suppose it’s just one of those things we will have to put up with until the iPhone OS update that fixes it.

    Message was edited by: Tobie Fysh - spelling error, oops!
    iPhone OS 3.1.2
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,685 points)
    Tobie Fysh wrote:
    would be better for the iPhone to follow the Windows Mobile model and allow the device to be remote wiped if it is lost (along with enforce security policies from the domain).

    The iPhone supports an Exchange-initiated remote wipe, along with the other appropriate security policies (enforced passcode lock, etc.).
    17" CD MBP, iPhone 3G, iPodTouch, Mac OS X (10.5.8),  since the ][e
  • tokatta Level 3 Level 3 (865 points)
    If the option is there, a user can actually log into Outlook Web Access and access Mobile settings a initiate a remote wipe of their own device.
    HAL, Other OS, The size of a spaceship
  • ISD_Exchange_Admin Calculating status...
    Is there any way to have the information stay on the phone when the exchange server is in offline mode? Similar to outlook cached mode? I understand the ability to remote wipe the phone for security reasons but tonight our message store went offline due to an exchange error and all of our iPhone users lost their contacts, email, and calendar events until we got the Exchange server back online. The activsync feature is awsome for the iPhone until the server goes down (very infrequently) but when it does you cannot call anyone because you don't have any phone numbers because they are all gone.
    Windows Vista
  • Brettski1977 Calculating status...
    I had this same problem (took Exchange DB offline to defrag and lost Contacts etc) a couple of weeks back. I figured this was more a bug than anything, so called Apple support about it and got put through to their Corporate support people who were very helpful. Apparently this is a known issue and is being looked at. Presumably it will be fixed in an upcoming iPhone update. They did ask if I was interested in testing a fix when it was available, but I haven't heard anything more yet.


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