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NOTE:  I posted this article in March of 2012.  The most recent update was 4/11/16. Many things have changed, and I don’t think there is much risk of losing your Outlook data anymore.  But in case you are the cautious type…

I came across an interesting article in my tweet stream recently, written by the fine folks at Priacta. It was a cautionary tale about syncing Microsoft Outlook (for Windows) data with iPhone and Android. Since I discuss this with clients all the time, what I read there made me nervous. Before you get to his post, I’d like to say for the record that this has never happened to me, nor to any of my clients as far as I know. Here is information on how to sync Outlook Tasks with iPhone (without an Exchange server). However since other people have had a negative experience, I think it is important to consider that there are risks to attempting to sync Outlook. I’ve found the sync from Outlook to iPhone to be rather seamless if you are using an Exchange server. In my experience, the tasks automatically populate to the Reminders app. And if you don’t like the view in Reminders, IMExchange2 has worked great for my clients. The app is free but the sync service costs $7.99 the last time I checked. I’ve also found it very straightforward to sync Outlook tasks with Blackberry. For syncing Outlook tasks with Android, I suggest you check out CompanionLink from DejaOffice.

Another option that syncs data from Outlook to iPhone, Android, and Windows devices is called AkrutoSync. With AkrutoSync you could establish a two-way syncing between Outlook and your mobile device no matter what platform it’s running on. In other words, you could sync Outlook calendars, tasks and contacts to any iOS, Android or Windows Phone devices. It supports syncing with multiple devices and lets you decide what type of data you want to sync with each of your phones and tablets.

For example, you could sync Outlook items with both your iPhone and your Android tablet, for example. This feature enables users to easily switch platforms and remain syncing. As of April, 2016, Akruto Sync costs a one-time fee of $34.95, with a 7-day free trial, which I would recommend before purchasing.

There are many efficiencies to be gained by storing your data all in one program, such as the ease in Outlook of creating a task from an email.  However an inability to view your tasks on your smartphone certainly negates any of these advantages, and Nate from Priacta describes some benefits of going outside Outlook for your task management.  He also discusses backing up your PST data. You can also find advice about picking the right electronic tools in book. I unfortunately do not have a direct line to Microsoft, Apple, or any app developer mentioned here, so I can’t do much in the way of tech support, but my intention is to provide you with as much information as possible so that you can be prudent and take all necessary precautions when syncing your devices. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Nate at Priacta for being willing to share his post! A note to Microsoft – if you have anything helpful to add, I will happily update this post with your comments.

Read the cautionary tale about syncing Outlook data with smartphones:

Help! Outlook lost all my data!