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Chances are that you keep two different types of calendars. For your personal calendar, you might use Google Calendar or a similar online calendar like iCloud. You may even just use a plain old reliable paper calendar that hangs on the wall.
For work, though, a calendar generally needs to do more. You have shared calendar items, meetings, invites, and much more to juggle. Many workplaces use Outlook and Exchange for this. If you’re wondering how to sync an Outlook calendar with your iPhone, we’ll explain everything you need to know below.
The Easy Way: Install the Outlook App for iPhone
If you don’t want to mess around with settings on your iPhone too much, you can install Microsoft’s Outlook app for iPhone in order to sync your calendar. This is also a good option if you prefer not to have your work calendar and personal calendar mixed together in the same app.
If the complexity of Outlook on Mac or Windows has you wary of Outlook for iPhone, don’t worry. The mobile version of Outlook was initially known as Acompli before Microsoft acquired its developer. While the app had a good reputation back then, it’s only gotten better since.
To get started, open the App Store on your iPhone and search for Outlook (or use the link below). Once you’ve found the app, tap on its icon, then tap the Get button to start downloading. Outlook is completely free with no in-app purchases, so don’t worry about having to pay.
Download: Microsoft Outlook (Free)
Using the Outlook iOS App
Once Outlook is installed, find the icon and tap it to start the app. You’ll be prompted to sign in with a Microsoft or Office 365 account. If a third party hosts your Exchange account, you can use your login info for that server as well. After you sign in, you’ll see the main screen of the app.
Like Outlook for desktop, Outlook for iPhone handles mail, calendars, contacts, and more. To get to your Outlook calendar, tap the far-right icon on the bar at the bottom of the screen. By tapping the icon above the date bar at the top of the screen, you can choose from different views including day, three-day, month, or agenda-style.
Sync Outlook With the iOS Calendar App
If you don’t want to install yet another app to sync your Outlook calendar with your iPhone, you can simply add your Outlook calendar the same way you add any other accounts to your phone. This is also a good option if you only want to add the calendar from an Exchange account to your phone. Using the Outlook option above brings in the account’s email and contact data as well.
Before you start, you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary information. For Microsoft Outlook and Office 365 hosted accounts, you’ll only need your username and password. If you’re using a corporate account, you may need other information, including the server address. Exchange’s auto-discover function usually handles this for you, but you might want to have the information handy anyway.
Setting Up Your Outlook Account
To get started, open the Settings app on your phone and scroll down until you see Passwords & Accounts. Tap on this, then on Add Account, which will appear at the bottom of the list of accounts already on your iPhone.
Here, select either Exchange or Outlook.com depending on which type of account you have. If you aren’t sure, Exchange is probably the right choice. Enter your email address and description for either your Exchange or Outlook.com account, then choose to use auto-discover or manually enter your account details.
Once you’ve entered your information, the app will try to connect to your server. If this is successful, you’ll be presented with a screen allowing you to select what you want to sync from the server. Enable the selector next to Calendar, as well as any other account information you wish to sync.
If you’re setting up your iPhone for the first time, you can enable other accounts here as well. For Google Calendar users, take a look at our guide to syncing Google Calendar with your iPhone.
What If Sync Isn’t Working Correctly?
In most cases, your Outlook calendar and other data should sync perfectly, no matter which of the above options you used. In some cases, though, you may run into trouble.
If your iPhone calendar is not syncing with Outlook, the first place you should check is the server status. You can try going to the Microsoft 365 Service Health page to check if Outlook.com or Office Online is working normally. If you use Office 365 for Business or a third-party Exchange provider, you may need to check with someone at your company for information on server status.
In cases where online syncing doesn’t work, but you really need your calendar information on your phone, you can sync via iTunes. To do this, plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC running iTunes. Then select the iPhone device icon and click on Info in the menu on the left.
Here, scroll down until you see the Sync Calendars option and make sure it’s checked. On macOS, you’ll need to make sure you’ve synced your Outlook account in the internet Accounts panel of Settings. On Windows, next to the Sync Calendars option, you’ll see a dropdown menu. Here, choose to sync with Outlook.
What About Syncing Outlook Tasks?
For some people, a calendar is just that. For others, the idea of a calendar—specifically an Outlook calendar—without support for tasks is unthinkable. Fortunately, adding support for your Exchange tasks to your iPhone is easy.
If you’re using the Outlook app for iPhone, you won’t get integrated tasks support. This is handled by another Microsoft app, Microsoft To-Do. Search for and install this app from the App Store or the link below, then sign in with the same information you used with Outlook.
For those using their Outlook calendar with the built-in iOS Calendar app, it’s even easier. Just make sure you check the Reminders option in addition to Calendars in the Passwords & Accounts section in the Settings app. Now you’ll be able to see your Outlook tasks in the Reminders app.
Download: Microsoft To-Do (Free)
Are You Unhappy With the Apple Calendar App?
The Apple Calendar app is quite functional, especially when it comes to built-in maps and travel time estimation. That said, it doesn’t have all the features power users might want. Outlook, already mentioned here, is one option, but since it does so much else, it’s lacking some calendar functionality you might need.
Don’t worry; there are plenty of other options available for iPhone. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a list of the best calendar apps for your iPhone that you can use to find the right one for you.