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Question: Method for Sharing Calendars in Office 365 on Native Mac and iOS Clients

I have been working on trying to figure out how to use Office 365 to share calendars on the Mac and iOS properly without having to use the Outlook app. I was finally able to do it and now I'd like to share that process with the internet in the hope it helps someone.


Here we go.


Part 1:

CREATING THE COMMON USER:


The common user has typically been companyinitials@domainname.com for our organizations. This user is nothing special…just a fully licensed user with normal permissions. It can even have two factor enabled to further protect the user. This will be the user that holds all of the shared calendars. 


Log into the common user at portal.office.com and click on the Outlook web app. You’ll need to enter the “new” outlook mode by clicking here:

Once you have done that go to the calendar function:

Once you are there you will see the default calendar which is called “Calendar”:

From there, next to the default Calendar you’ll see three little dots which allow you to enter more options, click that and select Sharing and Permissions. 

Set the permissions for People in my Organization so that they “Can Edit”. Note: Now when I did this I actually got an error that said “The sharing invitation couldn’t be updated. Please try again.” After a long call with O365 support apparently this issue was related to a problem in their back-end system that they couldn’t fix “immediately” and that they would “get back to me”. I was actually able to solve the problem using power shell. Those power shell commands in case you need them are as follows:

Running PowerShell as Administrator on a Windows Machine:

  • $psversiontable
  • Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
  • install-module exotools
  • import-module exotools
  • connect-exchangeonline
  • Get-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity user1@domain.com:\calendar <— This will show you the current permissions. Set the user1@domain.com to the common user account you are working with. 
  • Set-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity user1@domain.com:\calendar -User Default -AccessRights Editor <— This will modify them…again change the common user account. 
  • Get-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity user1@domain.com:\calendar <— To confirm the change went through. 

Once you have done this you can go back to the admin portal to confirm your changes have propagated there. They did instantly for me. 


MacBook Pro

Posted on Jul 13, 2019 10:48 PM

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Jul 13, 2019 10:50 PM in response to christian222 In response to christian222

Part 2:


Now on a Mac it’s time to create the shared calendars. Go and connect to the shared user account via Exchange in Internet Accounts (System Preferences). You will need to make sure that at least Calendars are turned on. Once you create the Shared Calendars on the Mac you’ll be able to remove the account. Why can’t you just create the accounts in the portal of O365? I have no idea…but it doesn’t work for some reason. Something is unique about the accounts when they are created from within the Mac Calendar that will allow them to be properly shared later with iOS. More on that later. 

Once you have created the shared calendars you’ll see them in the O365 portal for the shared user. 

For this example I have created two. “Ranch Shared” and “Store Shared”. You will need to click on the three little dots next to them to access the Sharing and Permissions options. Here is where you will add users in your organization with the respective permissions you want. 

Upon doing this an email will be sent to each user inviting them to accept the invitation. This process is necessary in order for the calendar to show up in iOS correctly. 

Once the user has accepted the shared calendar it will show up in their iOS device like so:

Now one little bug I found. If you set the shared calendar permissions for a user as “Can view all details” sadly the iPhone won’t respect this permission. It will allow the user to modify the account in anyway as if the user had full access, but the server won’t adopt any of the changes. This will leave a discrepancy between what the user sees and what is actually on the server. If however you wish all the users to have full “Can Edit” access for a particular shared calendar then it will work as expected on Mac and iOS. This issue is NOT a problem on the Mac. The Mac handles all read only permissions of shared calendars properly. More on the Mac now. 


Now to get the shared calendars on the Mac, assuming the end user has their Exchange account set up in internet accounts and their Calendar and Contacts services on (yes you need Contacts on so that the server can search the global address database for the common user), all you need to do is go to Calendar > Preferences > Accounts tab > Click on the Exchange account > Delegation tab and add the common user. You’ll see it will pull up the permissions correctly if you did the previous steps already. Make sure you click show. 


Once you’ve done that you’re all set.  Repeat for the rest of the end users who need to see the shared calendars. Good luck!

Jul 13, 2019 10:50 PM

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Jul 15, 2019 6:00 AM in response to christian222 In response to christian222

I don't personally use Office365 so I cannot comment on whether this approach is indeed helpful or not but in case you're unaware the following information may be helpful.


Office365 on some levels includes a Microsoft Exchange account which might more commonly be used with a copy of Outlook which is of course also a part of Office365. Outlook for Windows would use the MAPI protocol to communicate with the MS Exchange server that is part of that Office365 service. Outlook for Mac does not support MAPI but it does support EWS - Exchange Web Services. It is therefore possible to link Outlook for Mac to the same Exchange account via EWS. In fact Apple Mail also supports EWS and it therefore also can connect to the same Exchange account via EWS.


See - https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201951


Mail on iOS does not support MAPI nor EWS, instead it supports EAS - Exchange Active Sync. This again can be linked to the same Office365/Exchange account.


See - https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201729


Therefore it is possible to use Outlook for Mac or Apple Mail on your Mac and Mail on iOS and have them all use the same single Exchange email account and also share the same calendar and contact again via the same single Exchange account.


Note: Calendar and Contacts on the Mac will use the same EWS connection as Mail, similarly Calendar and Contacts on iOS will use the same EAS connection.


For some bizarre reason Microsoft don't seem to have easy to find instructions for using a Mac to access Office365 but I found this - https://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/page.php?id=91211

Jul 15, 2019 6:00 AM

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Question: Method for Sharing Calendars in Office 365 on Native Mac and iOS Clients