How to sync Outlook with iCloud

Making your life easier…

So much about being a lone consultant is about having your life made easier by technology. More often than not, it transpires against you to make life harder.

With iOS5 launching yesterday, I’ve been keen to find out how iCloud is going to help sync our lives – how helpful would it be to have all contacts and appointments etc on all devices? In addition – I wanted to see how iCloud interact would with Outlook and PC users.

It turns out it’s pretty darn good… oh and it’s all completely free for the first 5GB anyway.

There’s a short demo below – what it actually is… how to set it up… and watch it in action.

50 replies
  1. Brian
    Brian says:

    Great tutorial and explanation…I some how overlooked all this when I got my phone. I was too geeked up by the siri… LOL. NICE JOB!

  2. Ken Waldron
    Ken Waldron says:

    I may have missed something. From what I could see I now have two calendars in Outlook. What about the invites that come in on the original calendar? How do they get sync’d to the iCloud, so that they will show up on my other devices?
    Without that I really don’t have full sync.
    Regards, Ken

    • Jeanie
      Jeanie says:

      I’ve spent a week setting up my new iPhone and working out how to synch to suit me. Still got emails to sort, but contacts are fine.

      Firstly, don’t sync contacts via iTunes, turn that option off in iTunes and your iPhone.
      Secondly, open Outlook and go to File/Account Settings and then select the Address Books tab.
      Remove the iPhone address book in Outlook.

      In addition, I went through all my contacts in my iPhone, deleted the iPhone linked cards and then deleted all contacts in the iPhone’s ‘iPhone’ list. Obviously make sure all those contacts already appear in the iCloud list first! Just go to Contacts/Groups/All on my iPhone you have no contacts in the ‘All on my iPhone’ Group on your phone and no iTunes sync.

      Close and reopen Outlook and go to your address book from the Home tab. Click on Tools/Options and at the bottom of the dialog box select iCloud as the primary address book. You can also change the order Outlook searches for addresses, put iCloud first.

      This is all I did and when I create a new email and start typing the email address, if I’ve used it since the above updates it autocompletes as it always used to.

      So everything goes via iCloud and not on the i

      This tutorial is also very useful and works well with iCloud rather than iTunes as in the tutorial. Don’t delete the contacts from the main iCloud address book though, it will delete it from the sub folder too! Updates with the new folders in the iPhone almost immediately and if you add/amend contacts only within the iCloud contacts on your iPhone it will update Outlook.

      It’s a lot of work, but well worth it in the end.

  3. Frances
    Frances says:

    I got frustrated and deleted my Calendar from iCloud. If this works, I’ll turn it on again. Thank you very much for this helpful video.

  4. Paul
    Paul says:

    Thanks for doing this, Mark. I have gone through the steps to install but when doing the first sync I get an error saying “apple outlook dav config has stopped working”. I reinstalled iTunes 64bit to makes sure this was the right version but still get the same error. I have look at discussion groups/support etc but I guess this is all new stuff with iOS5 so will have to wait for someone to figure it out?

  5. George Nasser
    George Nasser says:

    Hi Paul- hope you can help me with this problem:
    – at work we still run XP and Outlook2 2003
    – on my iPad i can access all my work Calendar and access as well my business contacts (and work emails)
    – at home, i have Win 7 and Oulook 2007
    – I have installed the iCloud panel on my home PC
    HOWEVER how can I transfer my work calendar and business contacts into the Cloud and into my home PC?
    Many thanks

  6. Wim F. Abbenhuis
    Wim F. Abbenhuis says:

    Well, it works. But only to find out that this is not the glorieus option I was hoping for.
    What is does, is making a secundairie calendar in Outlook and synchronizes form there / to there.
    This doesnot help. You can’t accept invitations from a secundairie calender and Outlook does not permit to set the new calender as default.

    Against my better judgement : is there a solution for this ?


      • BillT
        BillT says:

        No solution that I have found. Same issue with contacts. If you refresh your cache or add a new contact in the icloud contacts you can not address an email to them from within outlook mail.

        So once you install icloud control pannel and sync the calendar and contacts no longer integrate with the outlook mail system.

        I spent several hours on phone to Apple support to only be told that this is the way it is desinged to work.. The good news is that it sync’e really well, it just not that useable.

        Anyone else got any comments, workarounds etc that can help.

        I manully copy all my contacts so I can send emails..

        I have to remember to copy calendar appointments to the icloud calendar so they get synced.

        This is not a soluition Apple should be proud of!!!

        • Nick
          Nick says:

          I like others was excited by the prospect of being able to once again seamless integrate my Outlook 2010 calendar and contacts with my iPhone, without using a Google account as an intermedatory.

          I had been able to do this using mobileme until Apple decided to upgrade their calendar and no longer support 64bit outlook synchronizing early in 2011.

          However after loading up i cloud and seeing all my contacts and calendar items hijacked into icloud, and not being able to send meeting requests or see who’s responded without using a email address ( which is not very professional), or use contacts seamlessly with outlook I see once again that this is an example of Apple offering a solution that does not work well within a business environment.

          I am very disappointed, and have had to spend hours unpicking the changes, to go back to my Google intermedatory solution that works – all be it not very smoothly.

          My plea to apple is please fix this issue. A lot of professionals use outlook to manage our daily business and we love the way the iPhone/iPad works but we also need a reliable solution to integrate them with outlook without hijacking critical business functionality.

        • carol
          carol says:

          agreed, ipad sync is great with outlook. BUT it forms all new icloud folders. If you add contacts or calendar entries to a smart phone other than iphone (two year contract requirement on smart phone) you have to remember to manually enter or move them one by one to icloud?! I have not found a work around. Also after outlook sync with icloud my 1000+ contacts and every calendar was moved to an icloud folder, now has to be manually copied individually to smart phone. IT DOES NOT PLAY NICE.

          Has anyone found an automatic sync application for cell phone other than apple phone?

  7. mick
    mick says:

    Hi Mark, great tutorial. However when I attempt to apply changes in iCloud I get message “active email account in Outlook is required. I have a hotmail address going into outlook can you offer any help. Thanks

  8. Mona
    Mona says:


    Using your great tutorial I have been able to set up iCal and iCloud and it now works smoothly. Now I want to move to the next level as an iCloud-user.

    I am using Outlook 2011 (14.1.3) on an iMac running Mac OS X 10.7.2.

    I would like to sync my tasks in Outlook with iCloud. How can I set that up?

    Then I plan to use the Todo app to sync tasks from iCloud to my iPhone.

    That should be possible,but how?

    Thanks a lot,

  9. Iggie
    Iggie says:

    Mark, Great video and explanation of how iCloud works. I have a little different situation. I originally setup iCloud using the Outlook Contacts from my iPad which had been manually synced in iTunes. Since then I’ve migrated Outlook to my new iMac into Outlook for Mac and for some reason I can’t get the “master” contact list in my Outlook on the iMac to sync to iCloud. Do you know of any way to delete all the contacts in iCloud and then do a fresh upload from my Outlook? Tried AppleCare a couple of times but the first level tech don’t seem to know iCloud very well. Thx!

    • Jeff
      Jeff says:

      I’m having same problem. Have iPad2, iphone 4s and Outlook 2011 running on Lion 10.7.2. All at latest levels. iCloud works fine syncing contacts across iPad, iPhone and Address Book on iMac but cannot get Outlook Contacts to sync. Tried using Outlook Sync Services but no difference. Any ideas?

  10. Pedro
    Pedro says:

    does anybody know why my Oulook Calender is so amazing slow? If I want to enter e meeting, the delay is nerving slow and it takes me forever to organize my weekly calender.

    All my contacts were moved to iCloud and the local folder is empty.

    I use a nearly new and fast computer, Windows 7 prof, Outlook prof 2007 and an iPhone 4S. I have an iPad too, but do not synch this with iCloud as it is so slow.

    thanks for help

  11. Toconn87
    Toconn87 says:

    Looks like I’m having the same problems as Bill T above

    I have synced my outlook calender with icloud (as you did in the video) and it works great between my iphone and PC. However, there is still a big issue that I’m having. When someone sends me an outlook invite and I accept that appoint, the appointment goes onto the outlook calender, but not onto the icloud calender. Since most business people still use outlook calenders, it creates an issue where I have two calenders in outlook one in blue (outlook) and one in green (icloud) and the blue calender does not sync with the green. I noticed in your video that you also had the same setup, but never explained how to merge the two. Is there a way to fix this problem?

  12. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Has anyone found a way to sync outlook contacts with apple address book? I miss outlook, and can’t find another email program that I like. I am open to any suggestions. thanks.

    • dipa
      dipa says:

      Lisa, if you need to move from one to the other, you have to find a platform that speaks to each other. When I moved my contacts from another program to back them up, I had to use something found in the the blackberry desktop (an old program I had before my iphone).

      I had to import data from groupwise/outlook, into the blackberry desktop, then out again in a format that the mac address book would recognize. I didn’t lose but a birthday or two in the process.

      hope that helps.

  13. lisa
    lisa says:

    Anyone have any luck syncing contacts between outlook, mac and iCloud? Or have any suggestions for another email program?

  14. Duncan
    Duncan says:

    It all sounds great if you’re using all Apple products (in theory). But there’s a HUGE problem of synchronicity between anything Microsoft and anything Apple. I appreciate you suggest here that it all works magnificently between Outlook and iCloud. The fact of the matter is it simply does not, especially if you have a lowly free MSN email account.

    The cloud notion has been around for quite a while now. The powers that be at Apple and Microsoft need to sit down with one another and work out a way to overcome their uncomplimentary proprietary software, or both of them are going to lose market share to others with software that is more compatible across devices. I’d happily use a different cloud provider with software that works on all devices for my part.

  15. teodor
    teodor says:

    Hi. Thanks for posting this. I think I have finally found a way to sync Outlook default folders (calendars, tasks, contacts) with iCloud. There’s a small Outlook add-in by CodeTwo (Microsoft certified software developer) called Sync for iCloud. What it actually does, is syncing the iCloud folders in Outlook with the “normal” pst file in real time. The control panel still needs to be installed, but there’s no need to save items in the iCloud folders tree anymore in order to be able to see them in the cloud. Works great for me so far. Here are the details:

  16. Anne
    Anne says:

    Hi Mark, really great tutorial. I just want to check something. I want to sync my boss’s calendar/tasks and contacts with my outlook account. I currently have no contacts and now calendar in my outlook account. If I follow your instructions, would I be able to get all my boss’s information into my outlook? It wouldn’t delete the data on his icloud would it? Also, last question, you showed us in the video if a change is made in icloud it appears in the outlook, but is it possible in reverse–I mean if i make a change on his calendar in outlook, would it appear in his icloud?

    Thanks very much!

  17. Ann
    Ann says:

    Just got an iPhone 4: This is PERFECT! I googled and everything else was so technical. Thank you so much!

  18. Sue
    Sue says:

    Hello Mark

    I was following your very clear instructions for synching my pc with my ipad and downloaded the icloud control panel but cannot find it to set things up. (I am using Windows 7) I don’t know what a system tray is as I am 60 years old and not as tech savvy as I was. I clicked on the icon on the bottom right hand corner of my screen but there was nothing related to icloud there. I searched my computer and found the download but can’t access any of it. I am very frustrated, can you help please.

  19. Jeannie
    Jeannie says:

    I have watched the video and have clicked and unclicked and restarted etc and I can not get my iCloud calendar to show up in Outlook 2010 (Win 7).

  20. Scott
    Scott says:

    Mate, thank you so much for this video. I dont know what you do for a living but quit and make instructional videos as i learnt more in 8 minutes with you than 2 weeks reading.

  21. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Does this work with 2 laptops and then the iPhone & iPad or are you limited to only 1 pc. I can’t get the 2nd pc to work or any help

  22. Steve Stoddart
    Steve Stoddart says:

    A very well crafted “How To” video…. If only the sync function offered by Applw was as good! It just goes to show that Apple are just as good at missing the point as any other provider of IT…

    To what do I refer? To set up and sync an new mailbox in outlook is OK as far as it goes, What is the point, however, of omitting all the other mailboxes that may already pre-exist?? The iPad is great… The concept and much of the execution of the iCloud is equally great… and then Apple deposit a large dollop of software manure by not allowing ALL email folder to sync..

    Or, am I missing something?

  23. Laurapegg
    Laurapegg says:

    Hi Mark – fantastic tutorial but I still can’t get it to work. I had already installed iCloud so went back over all your steps and re-intalled/repaired. However, still no iCloud calendars/contacts showing.

    I have an iPhone4, running Windows7 on my PC with Outlook 2010 and cannot get it to work at all. Any ideas?

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