iPhone 2.0: Want Exchange ActiveSync For FREE?

iPhone 2.0: Want Exchange ActiveSync for FREE?

You've got your uber-cool new iPhone 3G or you're rocking the new 2.0 update on your iPhone 2G or iPod Touch, and you want to try out this Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync all the kids suits are yabbering about. One problem -- you don't have an Exchange server. You're not part of some big megacorp with a massive IT department, you're not a developer with MSDC licenses for the "testing", and you're not even small-business'y enough to pick up a cheap (for Microsoft!) ActionPack with a couple of licenses (or even if you did, you don't have the geek in you to set 'em up and administer the high-maintenance little beasties).

What to do, what to do?

Hosted Exchange.

Yup, just like ISP's offer regular old email, and we services offer Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, etc. for POP and IMAP mail, some companies will provide you with similar email accounts hosted on Exchange, ready for to get your ActiveSync iPhone nirvana on. Ranging in price, some even do it cheaply and some... for FREE!

The inimitable Lifehacker points us towards Mail2Web, which offers a FREE Microsoft Exchange based email solution, and provides handy-dandy setup and usage tips (though it looks like you might need the $4.45 a month version if you want to use it directly with Outlook on the PC).

TiPb's own cross-platformer-in-chief also points us towards some for-pay, but potentially better fitting solutions from some users, with Sherweb at the top of his list, 1and1 hitting okay, and 4smartphone serving up equal parts popularity and unreliability (lately).

Of course, Microsoft itself is also entering the subscription space, for anyone who might want an ActiveSync addy straight out of Redmond...

Any options we're missing?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 2.0: Want Exchange ActiveSync For FREE?


Free exchange is all well and good, but if I'm not mistaken, unless you fork over $45 a month to AT&T for an enterprise plan instead of $30 for the standard data plan it will not work anyway, correct?

No, actually exchange works on the standard plan also.
-This free exchange feature would be nice if it would allow changes made on the iphone to be reflected in the original email's mailbox. If I setup gmail to forward to the exchange server and then the exchange server to push to my iphone, when I delete messages on my phone they are still there in my gmail mailbox. Anybody know a way around this?

@Keith06T -- making Gmail look and feel like Exchange is the holy grail for me too, so far I haven't found a perfect solution. :-/

I've used 4SmartPhone for 4 years now and they've always been reliable. I know they hit a snag for a few users last year, but after their migration to Exchange 2007, realibility is a given. I like it because if my new iPhone dies or gets run over or lost in the ocean we live next to, I just have to get a new phone, plug it in and everything is there as it was previous to ruining the phone, which has happened before. BTW, I like the way you laid out the options in the posting.

I've used Mail2Web for about a year, and I think it is fantastic. In fact, I have mentioned it several times in postings here on TiPB, and would strongly encourage anyone to at least try it out. Heck, it's free, so why not.
I, too, have a different primary e-mail address that I give out (mostly because it is easier for other people to remember than the "@mail2web.com" address. As Keith 06T suggests, I forward everything from my main e-mail address to the Mail2Web address. However, I set the preferences in my primary address to "forward and delete," and then I just don't worry about retaining anything in my primary inbox. Instead, I manage everything from my Mail2Web inbox. It makes things a lot easier, because the phone and the web-interface are always in sync. And to me, if someone mails me at my primary address, it's not a big deal if I reply to them from the mail2web address. I think it's great, and best of all, IT'S FREE!!

@dieter @ keith
just activate imap in your gmail settings, and set up your imap account on your iphone. nothing as simple as that...

I've used SherWeb hosted exchange for a few years and now have my iPhone synced with them and it works flawlessly.

I found an amazing FREE exchange activesync solution that actually acts as a gateway to your GMail calendar and contacts - see www.nuevasync.com
Very very impressed with this service. Update your contacts on Google / iPhone and they're automatically pushed across to update.

My wife and I have been using NuevaSync to coordinate our info with Gcal and contacts. It's been working flawlessly for free. We love it.

Hands down the best solution is Rackspace Email for exchange. Their technicians are top class! I have never had a love affair like this with a hosting solution =)

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