Outlook for Mac and Public Folder Access

Exchange Server 2013 introduced Modern Public Folders and also shift in the way clients access the public folders. Ever since, the Outlook for Mac client had limited or no support for public folders.

This article provides an update on how Outlook 2016 for Mac clients can access public folders in various topologies.

Current Scenario

The Outlook for Mac clients could not access public folders if:

Co-existence with legacy public folders

  • Legacy public folders deployed on Exchange Server 2010 SP3 and user mailbox present on Exchange Server 2013/Exchange server 2016 in the same organisation (Keep in mind, Microsoft doesn’t talk about Exchange 2007 anymore 😉 ).

Modern public folder access in Hybrid topology

  • Exchange Server 2013/Exchange Server 2016 in hybrid mode with an Office 365 tenant.
    • Scenario1 – Modern PF’s deployed on-premises – on-premises users, with mailboxes on Exchange Online, accessing modern public folders deployed in Exchange on-premises.
    • Scenario2 – Modern PF’s deployed in Office 365 – on-premises users, with mailbox on Exchange on-premises as well, accessing modern public folders deployed in Office 365 tenant


The April 2016 update of Outlook 2016 for Mac clients, along with changes in Cumulative Update for Exchange Server, will make public folders in above scenarios work for Outlook 2016 for Mac.

The following table summarises access state for Outlook 2016 for Mac (post-April 2016 update) access to public folder deployments, as well as the minimum Exchange CU required to enable access (again, no Exchange 2007!):

Public folder deployed on User mailbox on E2010 SP3+ User mailbox on E2013 User mailbox on E2016 User mailbox on Office 365 (EXO tenant)
Exchange Server 2010 SP3+ Yes Yes Yes Not supported
Exchange Server 2013 CU13 Not supported Yes Yes Yes
Exchange Server 2016 CU2 Not supported Yes Yes Yes
Office 365 tenant Not supported Yes Yes Yes

We’ll take a look at one of the common scenarios and explain the steps required. TechNet has detailed steps on how to configure public folder access in hybrid, as well as for co-existence scenarios.


EXO users accessing modern public folders hosted in on-premises organisation.


Make sure all of the following pre-requisites are met before making any changes to your configuration:

Client side:

Make sure the Outlook 2016 for Mac client is installed with the April 2016 update, at the minimum. It’s recommended to install the latest available update.

Server side:

1) Exchange organisation is configured in hybrid with Office 365 tenant, and DirSync is working and the mail sync script is performed.

2) The on-premises Exchange Servers, hosting public folder mailbox must be on or above:

  • Exchange Server 2013 CU13
  • Exchange Server 2016 CU2

3) Make sure the user that will be accessing public folders has a user account on-premises and mailbox in EXO.

You should be able to see the user listed in Get-RemoteMailbox:




Pure EXO user mailboxes cannot access public folders hosted on-premises.

4) Make sure the PF mailbox from on-premises shows as Mail User:



Office 365 tenant:



1) Configure public folder access settings at EXO Tenant:



2) The EXO User mailboxes are automatically assigned with DefaultPublicFolderMailbox:


That’s it! Now Outlook 2016 for Mac can subscribe and access public folders!

Related articles

Detailed configuration steps for each scenario are in following articles:

Co-existence with legacy public folders

User mailboxes are on Exchange 2013/Exchange 2016 servers accessing legacy public folders on Exchange Server 2010


Hybrid topology

Scenario1 – modern PF’s deployed on-premises

On-premises users, with mailbox on Exchange Online, accessing modern public folders deployed Exchange on-premises:


Scenario2 – modern PF’s deployed in Office 365

On-premises users, with mailbox on Exchange on-premises as well, accessing modern public folders deployed in an Office 365 tenant:


Written by Misha Hanin

Trusted Business & Technology Advisor, Solutions Managing Director & Senior Solutions Architect at iRangers International Inc. with more than 25 years of experience in the field of information technology, infrastructure analysis and design, implementing innovative and leading technologies for International companies around the globe in public and private sectors.

Over the years I was able to develop very strong technical and engineering skills which helped me to earn trusted advisor status with our clients. As one of the nearly 500 trained Microsoft Certified Masters (MCM) in The World (during 10 years existence of MCM program, just about 500 people in The World participated in this very intensive training), I have a winning track record in building and bringing projects to operational and measurable success.

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