In a blog post in August, the Windows Live Team announced that Hotmail now supports push notifications for Emails, Contacts and Calendars. That’s great news for iPhone users who want to get their email and appointment notifications as soon as they arrive in their inbox or calendar. Using Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), you can set your iPhone up to add Hotmail to your Mail app and automatically add contacts and events to your calendar. This works in a similar fashion to Google’s Syncing for Gmail and Google Calendars.
From your iPhone, here’s how it works:
Add Hotmail Account to your iPhone
1. From your Home screen, touch Settings.
2. Touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars
3. Touch Add Account…
4. Touch Microsoft Exchange
5. In the Email field, enter your entire email address. For example, email@example.com
6. Leave the Domain field blank.
7. Enter your entire email address into the Username field. Again, use the entire address: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Enter your password in the Password field. This is what you’d type in if you were logging in at http://mail.live.com.
9. Enter a suitable Description. By default, this will say “Exchange” which is a bit vague. I recommend typing in Hotmail or something else more meaningful.
10. Touch Next. iOS 4 will do a little verification and pop up with a new field labeled Server.
11. Type m.hotmail.com into the Server field. Touch Next.
Now, you should see little badges next to your mail whenever you have new mail in your Hotmail account.
If you have multiple email accounts setup on your iPhone, you can choose your Hotmail inbox or view all of your inboxes, including your Hotmail account.
If you want to send an email using the Hotmail server, simply touch the From field when you’re composing an email and choose your Hotmail address. By default, the iPhone will try to set the From field to the same address that received the email.
By default, EAS will only sync the last 3 days of mail from your inbox. You can change this by going back into Settings and Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tapping the Hotmail account you just created on your iPhone. Near the bottom, you’ll see an option for Mail Days to Sync which you can alter as you see fit. Same goes for Mail Folders to Push.
The ability to choose which Mail Folders to Push is handy say, if you only want to push emails that have been routed to an Urgent folder that you set up in Windows Live Hotmail. That way, your iPhone won’t buzz every time you get a Beef Jerky Store Newsletter, Facebook notification or some other non-essential email.
In the Mail Settings screen, you can also choose whether or not you’d like to sync your Calendars and Contacts. Note that if you choose to sync your contacts, iOS 4 will ask if you want to throw out all of your existing iPhone contacts. This is so you don’t end up with duplicate contacts. I don’t recommend this, just because I’m paranoid that I’ll lose a contact that wasn’t already in my Windows Live Mail contacts.
Syncing of your Hotmail Calendars is a lot less nerve-wracking. Instead of overwriting events, it simply lays them on top of your other Calendars. If you want to show or hide specific calendars, simply touch Calendars in the top left hand corner.
Likewise, when you add events from your iPhone, you can choose which calendar to sync it with by touching the Calendar field in the Add Event dialog.
That’s practically everything you need to know about getting Hotmail and your iPhone to play nice together. Enjoy!