Have you come across a desktop app that will masquerade as an Exchange ActiveSync client?

A friend of mine mailed me today with this issue. His company will let him use virtually any mobile device to access and manage his corporate email and calendars. He typically uses an iPhone an iPad but sometimes uses a Windows Phone or Android device. He’s delighted with the capability.

However, he absolutely hates using his corporate issue laptop. He’d much prefer to use his MacBook Air or one of his sooped-up Dell machines to access his corporate mail. But he can’t.

His company won’t allow it. They won’t let him dial-in or use “remote access”. He reckons it’s the IT department being lazy — indeed, they’ve actually told him they can’t be bothered to enable it. Their view is that they’ve enabled connectivity for iPads and other mobile devices so their job is done. If you want access to your corporate email from a desktop, come into the office.

I think that’s a rather stupid policy.

To be clear, his company is using an old rubbishy version of Exchange — 2003 — and they’ve switched off the IMAP and HTTPS capabilities, so you can’t use any traditional Exchange-compatible desktop app. Exchange Mobile ActiveSync is the only way to get at the data.

However I wondered aloud with my friend — if he’s got complete permission to do what he wants with any Exchange ActiveSync compatible device (like an iPhone), wouldn’t it be possible for a desktop application to ‘spoof’ or masquerade as an iPhone client?

We’ve both done some searching and come up with nothing. Do you have any suggestions?


  • Tommy Holm Hansen

    I searched high and low about a year ago but no luck 🙁 one of the few times the internet has let me down.

  • +1 for wanting this. Or for MS to standardise on a single interface.

  • Ah dear. Thanks Tommy!

  • paulwebster

    I’ve hunted in e past for this as well but only found test tools.
    However, it does look like MS will finally include it in Outlook – take a look at 2013 Preview.

  • On a PC: You need Windows 8. The default mail/calendar clients works with ActiveSync.
    On a Mac: If your company has a webmail, you can use Entourage 2008 to retrieve emails through that.

  • I’ll take a look!

  • Richard

    entourage does not use activesync, it uses WebDav/HTTPS

  • Collin

    If your corporate email server is running Exchange 2010 or newer and you have your personal mobile device connected using active sync, your email administrator has the ability to completely wipe all of the data on your device back to factory settings. However, I am curious, If you are at home using your shiny new Windows 8 home.PC to connect to your workplace mail account to what extent will active sync allow excange to wipe out a full blown PC.

  • Hey there,

    Outlook 2013 natively supports ActiveSync as a connection protocol (PC Only). Now if only I could find an Apple equiv…

  • looks promising!

  • tom

    Touchdown for Windows

  • Thunderbird with the ExQuilla. It requires an annual fee but can be run as a 60 day trial. It uses EWS, which is not activesync.

  • Guest

    DavMail is a POP/IMAP/SMTP/Caldav/Carddav/LDAP Exchange Gateway. I am impressed, but it’s a server solution.

  • Li Feng

    I know this is an three-year old thread, but I have the exactly opposite problem:

    My company does not allow any mobile email access to the outlook server, unless yo install a remote “tackable” and “deleteable” app on your personal phone, which many of us refuse to do. However, we can use Outlook in our personal laptop, desktop, etc, such as on my MacBook Pro. They claims that mobile devices are target for theif and loss, and they want to ensue the company information is safe.

    I am wondering if there is any mobile email client that can trick the outlook server (2007 or 2011 I think) to think that it is a desktop version so I am able to check emails on my mobile devices (iPhone or iPad).


  • I don’t know of any solutions myself but I’m hoping some other readers might!

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