Why is it that I can sync Apple Notes with Exchange on Mountain Lion but not with iOS 6?

Is there any way to sync iOS notes with Exchange like I can with iOS Reminders?


iOS Notes only supports syncing with iCloud or an IMAP email account, according to their Syncing Notes support article.

If your Exchange server allows IMAP access, you could create another account on your iOS device that only syncs the notes for your account. You'll have to ask your Exchange admin whether they have enabled IMAP access and what the settings are for it.

There are a handful of iOS apps which claim to sync Exchange notes, but their reviews indicate that they're unreliable, and it doesn't appear that any of them support Exchange 2010 or 2013. As of this writing, the IMAP workaround appears to be the best option.

  • I have control over my exchange server and as a result I tried everything I could so far, including setting up an IMAP connection syncing only the notes folder off my exchange account. There seems to be one caveat to be added to your statement above, and that is that the syncing from the iOS 6 to exchange results in an email being sent to the exchange account, and not a note (as defined by outlook at least), and this email can be copied and pasted to a note but cannot be added to or changed unless you create a note on outlook on pc without copying it over to a new note. Is this the experience
    – user44836
    Mar 11 '13 at 8:35
  • Could you perhaps edit in whether you agree or disagree with @george's characterization that IMAP access is not only broken in that old notes are not stored like new notes are as well as the specific criticism about one-way flow of information and how the notes show up as mail and not a true task or note on the Exchange side?
    – bmike
    May 6 '13 at 20:58

My experience is no - you cannot do this sort of note syncing with Exchange.

I tried the IMAP option (for iOS to use the Exchange IMAP interchange functionality), unfortunately notes that I already had in exchange did not show on the iphone device. New notes I entered from the iphone device did show up in exchange, but they were in message format, meaning you can open them and view them in outlook or owa, but you cannot edit them so it is only a one-way push as opposed to a true sync.

To me, it looks like Apple is now doing what Microsoft has been criticized for doing, trying to force you to move toward using only their cloud services with their devices...

  • Or else in this case Microsoft is not providing a standard way to access them and just allow its own software here.
    – mmmmmm
    May 6 '13 at 19:23
  • George - let's flesh this out. I love a good complaint when it's bounded by verifiable facts. I'll edit in your summary that - no this isn't possible, but feel free to elaborate on how you see this as Apple pushing people towards iCloud. If you were right and could explain why, it will help others choose where they store their data.
    – bmike
    May 6 '13 at 20:55
  • Exchange ActiveSync supports syncing of notes as of Exchange 2010, so Apple could support this. The problem with going through IMAP is that it's a hack: the IMAP standard doesn't have a Note construct, and the way that notes are usually implemented in IMAP clients is to create a special folder that the client treats differently (doesn't show in the folder list, for example).
    – nadyne
    May 11 '13 at 5:13

This is my experience as well. However, I suspect the IMAP not being a viable method for syncing with Exchange is a bug as it worked in earlier editions of IOS.

I have spent several days looking for workarounds or Apps (like TaskTask) to get around this. Unfortunately other than exporting to Evernote the only other viable solution at present is to transport your Notes into a mail folder and sync them as mail items rahter than Note items.

  • That said.. I've just settled on converting all my Notes to Task items and storing them in a separate folder. Then using 'ToDo Exchange' by Appigo I'm able to easily filter by this folder to ensure I can access them separately from my other Notes. It's not pretty and I had to dole out £7 for the Appigo App but at least it'll sync automatically now so I won't have to worry about it.
    – K-Lye
    May 9 '13 at 2:02

I store all notes as _Note Name in contacts using the company field for the _Note Name.

They then perfectly sync everywhere and are searchable from contacts. Its the best solution and I've used it for years since moving off a BB.


Gmail and its notes syncs perfectly with any number of ios notes apps and does so syncing both ways instantaneously. I use GoTasks.

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