I have a work email that is on a Microsoft Exchange account, and I have certain rules of where emails go and what they do based on who is sending them. I have rules that send emails to certain folders, and they work just fine both on the MS Outlook side and on the iPhone (Mail) side.

I have one rule for a particular sender that both sends that email to a folder (on the server, not locally) and marks it as read. This rule works perfectly fine on the MS Outlook side, but on the iPhone - it not only does NOT mark the email as read, it also takes a step backwards and leaves it in the inbox.

The next time I go to MS Outlook, all the emails are right where they are supposed to be (in the other folder and marked as read), and after a minute or two it reflects the same status on the iPhone.

How can I get this rule to work properly on the iPhone without having to open up MS Outlook every time?

2 Answers 2


The action of marking an email as read forces the rule to be a "client-only rule", which means it will work only when MS Outlook is running (and will be done by MS Outlook and not by MS Exchange).

You can (re)confirm if this rule is client-only by deleting it and creating it again in MS Outlook. If you see a warning like the one shown here, then it will only work while MS Outlook is running.

enter image description here

When you look at the rules you have in MS Outlook (from the "Manage Rules & Alerts" menu option), client-only rules will show "(client-only)" against the rule name.

Also see Managing Inbox Rules in Exchange Server

  • Wow, as a Mac user, I sometimes forget how archaic Windows/Microsoft is. Thanks for the trip back to the 90's.
    – tarheel
    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:26

Marking a message as read is claimed to be a client action but Exchange is able to perform it. The clients are not able to set up the rule.

You can use Exchange's web interface (Outlook Web Access) to create a server-side rule to mark messages as read.

An example with Exchange 2010:

enter image description here

  • This answer is a major life saver for me. I get thousands of automated emails(internal spam) that just get moved to a folder and marked as read. Was never worried about client only rule until I got the company phone and it would not stop going off. I use Windows instead of Apple but was able to get this to work inside of Outlook Web App as well. I click on the Gear icon Then at the bottom clicked Mail, then Inbox and sweep rules. Thank you sir. So much Jun 14, 2019 at 21:37

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