The Problem with Getting Your Office 365 Contacts on an iPhone

iPhone image for blog

At PTG, we enjoy being able to solve user problems with Office 365. It's this commitment to the user experience that has helped make us a Microsoft Office 365 Partner of the Year, multiple years running. 

In this post, one of our IT Support Engineers, Tom Farr, solves the common complaint of having trouble getting your Office 365 contacts on your iPhone. 


Office 365 contacts on an iPhone - what's the trouble? 

The problem with getting your Office 365 contacts on an iPhone, while using the Outlook app, is this: Apple doesn't allow third party apps (in this case Microsoft Outlook) to write directly to the phone's contacts. They way Microsoft gets around this is to setup a process where it copies the contacts from Outlook App to the phone's contacts every so often. This is a one-way copy and makes it so that you can't change a contact from your phone and expect it to show up in your Outlook App (of your Office 365 account).

 To work around this, we can setup the Apple phone to get the contacts directly from Office 365, rather than trying to get them through the Outlook App.


Make sure Outlook contact syncing is not enabled

  1. Open the Outlook app and change the contact sync to off (if it is not already off)Tom_blog_pic_1
  2. From main page, click on the three lines in the upper left-hand corner
  3. Then click on the Settings at the bottom left


Now click on your Office 365 account

If save contacts is enabled, disable it by clicking the slider

Exchange account sign in


 Setup email sync with your office 365 account

through the iOS app

  1. Configure new office 365 account (if it isn't setup already)on your iPhone
  2. Go to Settings, and then Accounts & Passwords
  3. If your account is already setup, skip ahead to step X below, otherwise click on Add Account

how to set up email sync

Click on Exchange Account


  1. Put in your email address ( For the description, put Exchange and press NextTom_blog_post_pic_6-1

     2. When it asks you to sign in to "" press Sign In

Tom blog 7
3. Type in your Office 365 password and press Sign in

enter password

4. Select "Accept"

Microsoft Outlook on iOS Account


5. On Exchange page, unselect everything except Contacts. When it asks if you want to keep existing local contacts, press Keep on My iPad or iPhone

Press save. You are done with this step

X. Press the Exchange account and make sure Contacts is enabled (you can leave the rest of them how they are). When it asks if you want to keep existing local contacts, press Keep on My iPad or iPhone.

Make sure your default contact location is Office 365

  1. Open settings and press the Contacts sectionFind my contacts
  2. Press Default Account (if the account is set to anything besides Exchange)
  1. Press Exchange and hit the contacts option in the upper left screenExchange

Your Office 365 contacts are now on your iPhone. 

Did you know you can now get Office 365 through the Mac app store

Want to make sure you're getting the most out of your Office 365 subscription? 

 One of PTG's Strategic Account Executives today. 


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