How do I sync Outlook with iTunes

Connect Outlook and iCloud on Windows

Halyna Kubiv

With the iCloud control panel, Apple offers an extra program for all Windows users who want to synchronize the iPhone with their own computer.

EnlargeOutlook easily synchronizes the most important data such as mails, addresses, calendars or bookmarks with Apple's iCloud.

If you use Outlook on the PC and the iOS device, it is easy. It gets a little more complicated, however, if you want to use Apple's address book, calendar and contacts - and want to synchronize them with Outlook on the PC. While iTunes initially had to be used for synchronization tasks under Windows, the iCloud control panel has been taking on this task for several years. The program, which is regularly updated by Apple, had version number 7.10 at the time of going to press and can be downloaded from Apple's tool Apple Software Update or the manufacturer's website.

System requirements

Versions Windows 7, 8 and 10 are supported by the inconspicuous "iCloud for Windows". The native mail client Outlook is supported from version 2007 to 2016. Outlook 2019 in connection with iCloud will work, but more badly than right, a solution for the synchronization problems can be found here. To compare the browser bookmarks, you need a current version of the popular browser on your computer. iCloud for Windows supports Firefox 45 or later, Internet Explorer 11 or Chrome 50 and newer, but not Edge. Edge users can first transfer the bookmarks to Internet Explorer and import them from Edge. The tool also enables documents to be compared via iCloud Drive. For this, at least Yosemite and iOS 8 are required on the iOS and OS X side. The iCloud Photo Library is supported from Windows 7 and iCloud for Windows 5. A complete list of the minimum requirements for different iCloud functions can be found here.

Troubleshooting iCloud with Outlook

Setting up iCloud for Windows

The installation of the program is relatively easy if you consider one circumstance: Once you have downloaded and started it, the window with the Apple ID first fades out. Enter the corresponding email address and password here. The user can then choose which files he wants to synchronize with the Windows PC: Mails, contacts, calendar and tasks on the iPhone can be merged with Outlook, and you can also synchronize your own photos from iCloud and documents in the extra folder - So iCloud Drive and iCloud Photo Library. The data is not synchronized between the iPhone and PC, but via the iCloud server.

However, under Windows you have to forego some functions that Mac users can connect to iCloud.

Missing iCloud functions on Windows

In its Windows version, Apple has only concentrated on the essentials: Mails, contacts, calendar and tasks as well as bookmarks and photos from photo stream can be compared between the iPhone and your own PC. The user has to look for an alternative solution for these services:

  • Access to my Mac

  • Create and restore from backup

  • Find my iPhone

  • Find my iPhone as an app

  • iCloud tabs

  • Keychain

  • Reading list

After setting up iCloud, it is necessary to connect the iCloud account to Outlook. If two-factor authentication is set up for the Apple ID, you must first request an application-specific password in the Apple ID settings in the browser.This is required when logging in to Outlook (Apple ID -> Security -> Application-specific passwords -> Create). The new account is registered in Outlook with the Apple ID address and the newly created extra password.

All Outlook versions from version 2007 are supported, but there are small differences in the implementation.

iCloud synchronization via Outlook

The functions of the control panel for Windows are quite limited - the user can use it to set up and change the iCloud sync, and you can also manage the storage space of your own iCloud account, similar to the Mac. If you start Outlook 2007 after the installation, you will notice that something has changed in the sidebar of the mail client. If you activate the e-mail, calendar or contacts view, you will find one or more entries of the iCloud data there. In the mail view you can see two new folders in Outlook: "iCloud" and [email protected] . What irritates some: The iCloud folder is empty at first glance, namely all data is saved here except for emails, they only appear in the corresponding views such as calendar or contacts. The folder with the Apple ID address is responsible for exchanging mail between the computer and the iPhone. If you create new sub-folders there or send the electronic letters with the account, iCloud also automatically synchronizes them with the iPhone.

Special case notes

Outlook has added “Notes” to the same folder. All text snippets that the user has created on the iPhone or Mac with the program of the same name end up there. Notes are of limited use on the Windows PC with Outlook. You can view the iPhone notes with Outlook, copy the text passages if necessary or delete individual entries. The newly created notes arrive on the iPhone or Mac as an email; they are not synchronized with the eponymous program.

EnlargeThe iCloud notes can be viewed in Outlook, but new entries are sent as emails.

In Outlook 2013 and 2016, too, iCloud is entered in the sidebar, iCloud calendar, addresses and tasks are automatically synchronized. An update can be started manually using a button in the menu bar.

EnlargeYou can call up the iCloud data manually with "Update".

Attention: Folders for VIP contacts are not available and Outlook only imports the first contact of a vCard group.

Troubleshooting Outlook with iCloud

Problem: The iCloud control panel for Windows is installed and the correct passwords entered for both the Apple ID and the iCloud e-mail. However, Outlook does not synchronize the new mails with the iPhone.

Solution: So that the synchronization between the Windows computer and an iPhone works, Apple also supplies an Outlook add-in together with the control panel, which is automatically installed for the mail client under Windows. If the add-in is deactivated, Outlook cannot synchronize iCloud mails either. To check whether the additional program is activated, switch to the “Trust Center…” entry in the “Extras” menu bar. In the right column, Outlook lists all aspects of data protection and security that the user can manage. All active and deactivated additional programs are listed under the "Addins" entry. "ICloud Outlook Addin" is responsible for the synchronization with iCloud. If it appears in the list with deactivated add-ins, no comparison can take place. If you want to turn it on again, you have to do a few more clicks: In the same window, select the appropriate Adinn type (COM add-in) in the "Manage" drop-down menu and click on "Go to ..." in the In the list that appears, the user only needs to tick the "iCloud Outlook Addin" check mark and confirm with OK. The synchronization should then work as usual.

Problem: The data is not synchronized between the devices

Solution: You can easily select your iCloud account as the standard account for sending e-mails. However, iCloud cannot be defined as the standard account for data files. You can check this in Outlook 2007 under File / Data File Management / Data Files, in newer versions under File / Information / Account Settings / Data Files. If iCloud is listed as the standard account, you have to select a different account and set it as the standard account.

EnlargeiCloud cannot be selected as the default account.

Problem: When trying to change the settings in the iCloud Control Panel for Windows, an error message appears: "Your configuration could not be started due to an unknown error".

Solution: During installation, iCloud creates the database files in the Outlook system folder. The program synchronizes the entries from these databases with the CalDAV servers, where the original entries from iCloud are located. If one of these files is damaged, Outlook cannot synchronize the data. This error can be remedied by uninstalling the iCloud control panel, reloading the program file from the Apple website and setting up the control panel again. Before doing this, you can delete the iCloud folder with damaged databases to be on the safe side. To do this, switch to the menu bar "Extra - Account Settings" in Outlook. If you select the iCloud e-mail and go to the "Data Files" tab, Outlook lists all databases and archives that the account calls up. If the "iCloud" line is selected, click on "Open folder ..." and the system folder you are looking for will open with database files. You can confidently delete this, when you set up the new iCloud creates a new one with the undamaged database files.

Manually sync Outlook and iPhone using iTunes 11

Since the introduction of iTunes 11, the info bar on the connected iPhone has changed a bit: Most entries for calendar, mail and contacts sync are deactivated. The manual comparison of this data via iTunes is apparently no longer possible. For security reasons, however, some companies prohibit wireless mail synchronization with their own iPhone. In order for iTunes to synchronize data with Outlook again on Windows, you must first deactivate iCloud sync on the iPhone. In the Settings app, switch off the “Mail”, “Contacts” and “Calendar” controls under “iCloud”. If you reconnect the iPhone with iTunes, you can manually synchronize the data with Outlook as in the previous version.