Confused over what syncs in Outlook 2011?

prefs-300x190Mail sync is determined by the type of account (POP, IMAP, Exchange) you have. Sync for contacts and calendars is not an option for POP or IMAP accounts.

Apple has deprecated Sync Services in Mountain Lion and it no longer works reliably.

[Added Nov 17, 2013- Sync Services is no longer supported on Mavericks. Syncing with an iPhone via iTunes is not supported in Mavericks.]

  • You can no longer sync with an iPhone or iPad via iTunes. You can only sync with an iPhone or iPad via a cloud-based service like iCloud or Google.
  • You can no longer sync local calendars with OS X Calendar (formerly iCal). You can, however, continue to sync calendars hosted on a cloud-based service like iCloud or Google with OS X Calendar.
  • You can no longer sync with any third-party apps running on your Mac that use Sync Services, like Entourage or Outlook.

Sync Basics for Contacts and Calendars

Outlook does not support CalDAV or CardDAV. This mean you cannot sync Contacts and Calendars that require these protocols. The following services require CalDAV and CardDAV.

  • iCloud
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • AOL

Full features like mail, contacts and calendars are available online for browser accounts, but if you use an email client like Outlook 2011, Entourage or Apple Mail, your options on what will sync will differ. for example does not support CalDAV or CardDAV so no matter what email client you use, calendars and contacts will not sync. accounts are only available as POP on the Mac. (Previously called  Hotmail, Live & MSN).  You can download only messages in the Inbox. There are no options at this time to sync to contacts and calendars on your account in Outlook 2011. The Outlook Connector that’s is supposed to manage your your email, calendars, and contacts using Office Outlook does not sync. All it managed to do was send me an email for an event that was for today only. Color me confused over what it really does.

For more info see Setup & Use Windows Live Hotmail in Outlook & Entourage

Mail Sync

There are three types of email accounts. POP, IMAP and Exchange. If you don’t know what type account you have, you can open your account in Outlook’s Preferences > Accounts. The type of account is shown at the top. Outlook 2011 will sync to all IMAP and Exchange accounts. POP accounts do not sync anything (see chart below).



Compare Sync options for POP, IMAP & Exchange Accounts in Outlook 2011
Account Calendar E-Mail Contacts Tasks
POP No Leave on server will allow you to download on another client or device, but it will not reflect read or reply status. No No
IMAP No Yes, will reflect actions like reply, read, deleted on all other clients and devices No No
Exchange Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gmail No Yes, Gmail offers both POP & IMAP for free. No No
Yahoo No Yes. POP & IMAP No No No POP only No No
iCloud No Yes, IMAP only. iCloud does not support POP accounts No No

What is CalDAV and CardDAV?

CalDAV and CardDAV are standards that allow for Calendar and Contact sync. iCloud, Google, Yahoo require CalDAV and CardDAV. Outlook 2011 does not support CalDAV or CardDAV. Entourage does not support CalDAV or CardDAV.


For full sync with all items (mail, contacts, calendars, tasks and notes) you need Exchange in Outlook 2011. Microsoft now offers  Office 365 Exchange. This gives you sync to all items and allows  you to use your own domain name. Cost is determined by plan you select.

Hosted Exchange is an option for users that need 3 or more Exchange accounts. Info on a hosted Intermedia Exchange account. You can contact me directly for more info.

If sync to your iCloud, Google or Yahoo calendars and contacts is required, use Apple’s Calendar and Contact apps.

If sync to CalDAV and CardDAV is a feature that you consider important, be sure to let Microsoft know by sending them feedback (via the Send Feedback command in Outlook’s Help menu) or use this link:

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4 comments to Confused over what syncs in Outlook 2011?

  • guang

    i have indeed lost sync function in outlook 2011 on mountain lion – can send but not receive emails. does anyone know if this is an apple or MS issue that is waiting for a fix?

    • This sounds more like a Send & Receive issue. Recently there have been issues with iCloud send.

      BASICS Send & Receive

      1. If you can send but not receive you have a bad POP or IMAP configuration (Incoming server)
      2. If you can receive but not send then you have a bad SMTP configuration (Outgoing server)

      Check under advanced settings. Check your provider’s website for exact info on authentication, SSL and ports.

      Some ISPs require SSL for receiving
      Most ISPs require advanced settings now for SMTP

  • Marcia Jimenez

    I have Mavericks OS X 10.9.4 / Outlook 2011 for Mac 14.4.2 / Iphone 5C iOS 7.1.2 and can’t sync my calendars. For work I have to use outlook and is imposible to have the calendar with me… I’ve tried everything and don’t know what else to do, maybe you can help me. Thanks!!