Synchronizing multiple Exchange email accounts on one smartphone

Is it possible to synchronize one smartphone with two different Exchange Server email accounts? The short answer is no, but there are a few workarounds you can consider.

Is it possible to synchronize one smartphone with two different Exchange Server accounts? A user who works for two different companies brought up this interesting scenario in a recent Google Groups post.

The short answer seems to be no. A smartphone can only sync with any one Exchange Server site at a time by design. (BlackBerry seems to be in the same boat as well, unfortunately.)

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So what other options are there?

The most logical and economical solution is probably to have one Exchange site account forward all email received for the user in question to the other site -- probably whichever of the two sites is not the user's "home" site.

Mail rules like this are easy enough to set up and generally involve little overhead and no work on the part of the end user. Unfortunately, this doesn't allow for the synchronization of calendars, contacts or tasks.

More on Exchange Server mobile device administration:

Expert Advice: Creating a rule to forward internal Exchange email to a BlackBerry address

Learning Guide: Exchange Server mobile device management

Crash Course: Exchange ActiveSync tips and tutorials

One possible workaround for this limitation is to use the smartphone's Web browser, if available, to connect to Outlook Web Access on one server, and then sync the smartphone directly with the other "home" server. This is not a perfect solution, but it at least allows some degree of feature preservation.

A third solution that comes to mind, although it's probably far too unwieldy for any kind of casual use, is to set up some kind of cross-forest authentication between the two organizations.

Please let me know if you know of a better way to accomplish this -- either through hackery or some third-party software package. I'm curious to hear how others are handling these types of situations.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

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I am in the same boat -- I need to connect my smartphone to multiple Exchange servers. Unfortunately, I have to use ActiveSync for one server and setup a POP3 account for the others (since my smartphone allows me to set up multiple POP3 accounts). Then I configure it to check the server every few minutes so I get email on my phone fairly quickly. I use Outlook Web Access (OWA) for calendars and everything else.

Again this is not a perfect solution but at least I get the email to my phone.
—Craig I.

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We are using the Treo 700wx. Our users have their primary Exchange mailbox set up to synchronize and we have separate mailboxes for customer support and server monitoring alerts. We set up IMAP for the Alerts and Support email account. That way, the Treo can synchronize the user mailbox and the Alerts and Support accounts via IMAP. This seems to be working pretty well for us.
—Jeff F.

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In my case, I set up the two Exchange email accounts separately. While one email account synchronizes automatically, I have to manually click send/receive to receive email at intervals on the other.
—Niran S.

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I use Plaxo; it allows synchronization between multiple mail clients and one central location. I simply sync Plaxo with my Exchange/Outlook client and it pushes out changes to my smartphone. Voila. You can have as many Exchange email accounts as you want synchronized to one location.
—Bill M.

Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.

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This was first published in July 2007

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