How to get a Exchange 2003 Public Shared Calendar on an iPhone (using Outlook 2007) (and maybe Dropbox)
I really hate exchange. Like really. As time goes by it looks like Exchange and the days of Outlook are numbered - Office 365, Google Apps, iCloud and the like do look like the future. Thank goodness. However the future isn’t quite here for everyone just yet. If your office run a Exchange server you can get Mail, Calendars, Contacts and Notes on your iPhone if your IT department run all the numerous patches and learn about active sync…. Yay! However if you use a shared Calendar managed through the Public Calendars feature of Exchange its not so easy to get this on your mobile device. Infact Public folders/calendars aren’t supported by the iPhone whatsoever. Boo! But don’t despair! I’ve done it! Yay! How I hear you ask?!?
Well in short it requires:
- Publishing your Calendar. Outlook really only allows you to do this using WebDAV so you need either a webDAV server locally or remotely. If its locally we can use Dropbox to make it available anywhere and everywhere.
- Adding a full URL to the *.ics file to your iPhone.
Before we begin, note the problems with this approach:
- If your machine that does the publishing is ever off it won’t update your Published calendar
- Due to the way publishing works it is never “live” its always a copy of what is being made on the server.. Still, I think this approach is way better than other methods (e.g. the Google Sync method) which are equally always out of date.
Step 1 - Set-up a WebDAV server
Two options for this. If you have access to a server I would recommend setting up a WebDAV share on that. Follow these tips for that if you are on a Linux box running Apache. NB: Access to the vhost file is needed - you can’t usually do this just with .htaccess files. NB2: We are not setting up a CalDAV server here - we are just publishing a file to a webDAV server. Our phone will then grab the URL of this .ics file when its live so your WebDAV server needs to allow public (unauthenticated) access to your file. For security I recommend making your ics file a rather random string (step 2).
Otherwise set-up a webDAV server on your own machine. This doesn’t have to be accessible from the outside world - we will use Dropbox for that. Follow these instructions to do this on Windows - and do follow it by the letter - including the Windows Authentication features that need to be installed. I was scratching my head for sometime wondering why the thing wasn’t allowing me access. grrrrr…
Set the WebDAV folder up to somewhere in your Dropbox. If you aren’t bothered by someone accidentally finding the Calendar then place it in your Public folder however I would recommend placing it outside of the Public folder of dropbox.
Step 2 - Publish the Calendar
Follow these steps. For the WebDAV server details enter them; either the ones on your public webDAV server or the ones from your localmachine. For this it will be
(if your WebDAV share is “Calendars”.. Make sure you follow the tutorials and this will hopefully make sense)
Step 3 - Add the calendar URL to your Phone
If you have gone the Private WebDAV/Dropbox route you will need to get the link of the .ics file recently created by the publishing by Outlook. Navigate to the file in question in Explorer, right click and select “Share Link”. A web page so appear (login to dropbox if it asks you for that). On the “Download” button control+right click and copy the link. This is your ics url that you will need on your iPhone. I recommend emailing yourself this link!
If you have gone the Public WebDAV route then things are a bit neater for you. Just note the URL to where the file is and away you go (remember though that it needs to be viewable by all - no authentication for read access).
So now you have a link to the file - something like
Now simply add that to an “Other” calendar account in your phone. Follow these steps for that..
Do look at DavMail if you need to get your Outlook account playing nicely with Mail, Calendar and Contacts on a Mac or Linux box. Note though that Public Calendars won’t work if there is a space in the Calendar name. No matter what. So the above approach is still useful.