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How to Sync ‘Work’ and ‘Home’ Email Addresses Between the iPhone and Outlook 2007 – Error Free

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iPhone to Outlook Contact Sync ExampleWhen adding contacts into each of the iPhone and Outlook 2007, there are built-in, distinct ‘home’, ‘work’/’business’ and ‘mobile’ telephone number fields. Yet, surprisingly, Outlook 2007 does not provide built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’ email address fields. Yet, the iPhone does!

As a result of this disparity, you can get very odd results when synchronizing your iPhone and Outlook 2007 contacts. Unless you are aware of, and properly handling, how the syncing works, it will seem as if the iPhone randomly categorizes email addresses originating from Outlook 2007 as either ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’.

Happily, as described below, the Outlook and iPhone email fields do sync in a predictable way. With little effort, you can make sure that ‘home’, ‘work’ and ‘other’ email address fields are properly synched between Outlook 2007 and your iPhone.

The Problem

As you can see from the picture below (after the break), when adding new contacts in Outlook 2007, there are no built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’, ‘business’ or ‘other’ email address fields. The only choice you have is the default non-numbered ‘E-mail…’ field, and the ‘E-mail 2’, and ‘E-mail 3’ fields (available from the pull-down menu).

 outlook 2007 to iphone email sync example

As you can also see in the picture below, after iPhone synchronization, the iPhone decided that the ’first_email@test.com’ email address added into Outlook 2007’s default ‘Email…” field above, was deemed to be a ‘work’ email address, the second was deemed to be a ‘home’ email address and the third was deemed to be an ‘other’ email address – even though none of them were labelled as such in Outlook. Huh?

result of outlook 2007 to iphone email sync example

How Email Addresses Are Added into Outlook

Over the years, as users added new contacts into Outlook, the default ‘Email…’ address field was typically filled-in with the first email address collected for a contact – whether it be a work, home or other email address. The next email address was put into the ‘E-mail 2’ field, and so on. 

This has lead to a rather random state of affairs. If someone was a colleague or client, for example, at the time their contact information was first added, their work email address tended to be the first one added into the default ‘E-mail…’ field. Home and/or other email addresses were added into the second or third. If the contact was a friend of family member, their home email address would have been added into the default ‘E-mail…’ field, with their work email address added to ‘E-mail 2’ at a later date if needed.

This worked well enough for me until I recently synched all 741 of my Outlook 2007 contacts into my new iPhone. The iPhone has has unique ‘home’, ‘work’ and a customizable ‘other’ email fields.  During synchronization, the iPhone assigned ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’ fields to all my Outlook 2007 email addresses! The result – a complete hodge podge.

Conversely, specifically added ‘work’, ‘home’ or any customized ‘other’ email address fields that I added directly into iPhone contacts, do not appear as ‘work’, ‘home’ or ‘other’ email addresses in Outlook 2007 after synchronization.

The Answer

A bit of study revealed that Outlook 2007 and the iPhone do sync e-mail fields in the following very predictable ways:

  1. Outlook’s Default ‘E-Mail’ Field = iPhone’s ‘Work’ Field: All Outlook email addresses added into the default ‘E-mail…’ field, always end up as ‘work’ email addresses on the iPhone. Conversely, all email addresses added to the “work” email field on the iPhone end up in the first “E-mail” field in Outlook.
  2. Outlook’s ‘E-mail 2’ Field = iPhone’s ‘Home’ Field: All Outlook email addresses added into the ‘E-mail 2’ field, always end up as ‘home’ email addresses on the iPhone. Conversely, all email addresses added to the “home” email field on the iPhone end up in the second “E-mail 2” field in Outlook .
  3. Outlook’s ‘E-mail 3’ Field = iPhone’s ‘Other’ Field: All Outlook email addresses added into the ‘E-mail 3’ field, always end up as ‘other’ email addresses on the iPhone. Conversely, all email addresses added to the “other” email field on the iPhone, including all customized iPhone email fields, end up in the third “E-mail 3” field in Outlook .

The Consequence

In order for email addresses in your Outlook 2007 contact list to sync properly with the iPhone (ie: properly show up as ‘work’, ‘home’ and/or ‘other’ email addresses) you’ll need to go through each contact in your Outlook 2007 contact list and, for each one, make sure that the email address in the:

  1. Default ‘E-mail…’ field is the individual’s or company’s ‘work’ email address (or empty if you do not have their work/company email address);
  2. ‘E-mail 2’ field is the person’s ‘home’ email address (if applicable); and
  3. ‘E-mail 3’ field is the person’s other email address, if applicable.

When you Only Have A Person’s ‘home’ Email Address

Unfortunately, If you only have a ‘home’ email address for a given contact, that means you’ll need to:

  • leave the default Outlook 2007 ‘E-mail’ address field empty;
  • click on the pull-down menu icon (as seen in the picture above);
  • click on the ‘E-mail 2’ field; and
  • add the home email address there

Remember, when you go back later to edit that person’s record in Outlook 2007, it will appear on first glance that there is no email address for that person (until you click on the pull-down menu and select ‘E-mail 2’.

Going the Other Way – from iPhone to Outlook 2007

Going the other way is easier since the iPhone has built-in, specific email address fields for ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’. And, as you can see from the picture below, you can also create custom ‘other’ fields. In the example below I created a custom ‘blackberry’ email address field.

Here’s what you’ll see after creating a new contact and adding email addresses in to these fields on the iPhone:

iPhone to Outlook Contact Sync Example

And here’s how the email addresses for that test contact look in Outlook 2007 after synching:

Outlook 'E-mail...' Outlook 'E-mail 2...' Outlook 'E-mail 3...'

Notice that even though the ‘home’ email address appears above the ‘work’ email address on the iPhone, and even though the ‘home’ email address was added before the ‘work’ email address, in every test I did, the iPhone ‘work’ email address always ended up in the default ‘E-mail…’ field in Outlook 2007, the ‘home’ email address always ended up in the ‘E-mail 2…’ field in Outlook 2007 and any ‘other’ email address (including customized email fields such as the ‘blackberry’ field shown above) always ended up in the ‘E-mail 3…’ field in Outlook 2007.

Conclusion

With a little jiggering, including a one-time run through all your Outlook contacts, you can be sure that the ‘home’, ‘work’ and ‘other’ email addresses for all your contacts are properly synched between Outlook 2007 and the iPhone – error free.

[Note: My comments in this post relate to an up-to-date, SOHO, non-Exchange implementation of Outlook 2007. It may be that Exchange-supported versions of Outlook 2007 provide unique email fields. Please leave a comment if you know how Outlook Exchange email fields sync with iPhones.]

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  • Anonymous

    I’d never noticed this change until I synced my first-gen iPhone after updating it to the 3.0 firmware. Your explanation was clear and exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  • Peter

    I'd never noticed this change until I synced my first-gen iPhone after updating it to the 3.0 firmware. Your explanation was clear and exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  • Peter

    I'd never noticed this change until I synced my first-gen iPhone after updating it to the 3.0 firmware. Your explanation was clear and exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  • Peter

    I’d never noticed this change until I synced my first-gen iPhone after updating it to the 3.0 firmware. Your explanation was clear and exactly what I needed. Thank you!

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