Why the Outlook apps struggle to manage contacts


My transition to an iPhone is fine and I have mastered Outlook for iOS. That is, except for Contacts, which are a problem because Outlook must obey Apple’s rules. The same problem applies for Outlook for Android. The Outlook apps don't do a great job of searching either, but neither does its desktop cousin.

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Has anyone actually managed to get the existing contacts in iOS to sync with Office 365?  If you setup an Exchange account and tell it to sync contacts all I'm finding is that it creates a set of new Groups (All O365 Exchange/Contacts/Skype etc). It will only sync a contact if you put it in that group and does nothing with all the existing contacts on the phone (Which is obviously a right pain).




Those 'Groups' are contacts folders in (connected) Office 365 mailboxes. It will only display (sync) contacts from active contacts folders. When adding through the native Contacts app, it syncs changes to contacts back to Office 365. Care to elaborate a bit more on the issue?
The issue is that I have several hundred contacts on an iPhone in the native contacts app. I was hoping that if I setup an Exchange account (to office365) in the native mail app and then set it to sync contacts it would sync all the contacts on the phone to O365. Instead it just creates the new groups and only syncs any new contact added to them.

Outlook for iOS cannot synchronize contacts created using the iOS contact manager to Exchange Online. That's stated in the article.


What is also stated is a workaround, which is when you configure the native Apple mail app to synchronize just contacts - no email, no calendar - with Exchange. Did you try that?

YespI read the article and I configured the native mail app to sync contacts. It doesn't work. As explained it just creates several new groups in contacts (on the phone) and will only sync new contacts added in those. Existing contacts on the phone are ignored.

Hmmm... as I recall (when I tried this), it worked. But my contacts were recent and few in number because I moved over from Windows Phone and the majority of my contacts were in Exchange. 


I know the Outlook team is working on this issue because they very much want to have a better story to tell around contacts. You might just have to wait for a few months. Just a few though - this is high up on their priority list.

Any news ?

April, 2018 -- 

The Caller-ID function ( show contact info when a voice call or TXT arrives) is not working on many phones. Office 365 (Exchange online) + hybrid + Outlook 2016 on laptop + Outlook app for iOS on iphone.

In the Outlook app on the iPhone, we have Save Contacts selected ("turned on").


But when a phone call arrives, the person sees only the phone number.

Expect to see the Name that matches that number,  using information from the Contact stored in the Exchange mailbox.