Syncing Entourage 2008 with my iPhone via MobileMe

Yes I’ve complained enough in the past that Entourage 2008 is always the runner-up when it comes to Apple functionality, and getting calendar events from Entourage on to your iPhone via MobileMe reconfirms this.

iCal calendars

iCal calendars

You see MobileMe knows nothing about Entourage whatsoever, all it understands is iCal. BUT… if you want to add events to your Entourage calendar and then see them on MobileMe and thus on your iPhone, all you have to do is enable ‘Synchronize events and tasks with iCal and .Mac‘ in your Entourage 2008 preferences. It’s basic but it works by creating a new calendar in iCal, and anything you enter in Entourage’s calendar is automatically sync’ed through into a new Entourage calendar inside iCal. Now when the MobileMe sync process runs it sees this extra Entourage calendar in iCal and copies it’s contents (along with any other calendars you’ve created in iCal), across to the MobileMe web service. That in turn gets ‘pushed’ across to your iPhone.

The reverse is true in that if you create an event either on your iPhone or in iCal and you specify that it

iCal view

iCal view

belongs to the Entourage calendar, then the event will make it back to Entourage. Create the event on the default calendar on your iPhone or in MobileMe or in iCal and Entourage will never see it.

As I said, it’s basic but it works, however one other limitation is that iCal doesn’t understand the ‘categorize’ feature in Entourage. For example I can create an event in Entourage, categorize it as ‘Personal’ and it will appear in green on my Entourage calendar. However, when it’s pushed through to iCal that category data is lost and it appears using whatever colour you’ve assigned to the Entourage calendar in iCal, and that colour persists through MobileMe and on to your iPhone.

Entourage event on the iPhone

Entourage event on the iPhone

The upshot of all this is that if I want to colour-code events in iCal and on my iPhone, then the only way to do it is to use multiple iCal calendars and forget Entourage 2008. So I now have a ‘default’ iCal calendar coloured blue, and another iCal calendar called ‘Important’ that’s coloured red, as well as my Entourage calendar which is purple, as you can see. Thankfully Entourage isn’t stripped of all it’s features when sync’ing with iCal and MobileMe as any alarm/reminders you set on events in Entourage are carried through to iCal and from there to your iPhone via MobileMe.

So, if you’re an iPhone user who wants to stick with Entourage but use MobileMe (and an iPhone) as well, then you may lose some Entourage specific features but the basics are there. For things to change then Apple’s developers would have to spend time enhancing iCal to understand Entourage categories. Alternatively Microsoft would have to add code to Entourage to understand iCal’s separate calendars. Yeah right…

11 Responses

  1. Having heard all abot synchronizing mobile me with entourage, I have a much more basic question. I have problems opening attachments send to me mobileme account with Entourage. An Error appears (I need to translate from German) “file is damaged and cannot be repaired”. Is there anyone with experiences on that issue? Would be great.

  2. I am confused. I am a new Mac user and I ‘m extremely happy. I also own the iphone and am using Mobile Me. In my office I am using Outlook and syncing back and forth from iphone to 2 windows computers and now ical. I just got Office 2008 for mac and prefer to use Entourage since my other 2 computers are still windows Outlook. If Mobile Me works with Outlook (no problems) and I don’t care to use ical, is there a way to sync through Mobile Me, without all the issues you explained above. I hope this makes sense.

  3. @Joyce – Yes, you can happily sync Entourage on your Mac with Outlook on your Office PC and your iPhone using MobileMe. You need never go in to iCal on the Mac, Entourage will simply use it as a ‘conduit’ to get it’s information across to MobileMe and from there into Outlook and your iPhone.

    Unfortunately (as far as I know) you will still have these minor issues in that ‘categories’ you assign to events in either Outlook or Entourage won’t make it through to the iPhone (because the iPhone doesn’t understand categories for calendar events) or across to the other platform (because MobileMe and iCal which are used to do the sync’ing, also don’t understand calendar event categories).

  4. I’m a new Entourage user, my problem is that I have sync’d my iPhone with my MacBook Pro, which is usually @ home. But I now have an iMac at work & I’d like to sync all 3. I’m unable to sync with the iMac, only the laptop….

    • You should be able to sync two Macs and an iPhone by simply adding your work iMac to your existing MobileMe account. I did a three-way sync although admittedly it was with the Mac Pro, the iPhone and a Windows PC running Outlook, but the principle should be the same – you use the same .mac (or .me account) account for each device. I have a Mac Mini so I’ll try setting up a three-way sync between that and the iPhone and the Mac Pro and report back on what I find.

  5. Has anyone been able to successfully sync an 2008 Entourage Exchange calendar with iCal and iphone? My office network calendar is accessed through Entourage, but the exchange calendar does not seem to sync with iCal. I also have a MobileMe account and have tried syncing with the Entourage exchange calendar, but have not been successful. Using the 2003 office version my Entourage Exchange calendar did sync. Any ideas. Thanks.

    • I’ve got this to work by publishing my Outlook Exchange calendar to Office Online (free) and then subscribing to that through iCal. Not perfect, but helpful.

  6. I am having the same issue as Michael – My Entourage 2008 calendar is set up properly to publish to MobileMe; however, it is not showing up in MobileMe.

  7. i want to sync the emails in entourage with my iphone. How do I do that?

    • If you’re using IMAP to access your email account from Entourage 2008, then you can set up a separate account on the iPhone to do the same thing and the two will then stay in sync. (On the iPhone go to Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars/Add Account…). That’s the only way I know of.

  8. I am so grateful for your blog article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

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