Web based option for Active Sync / Exchange email reading?
December 3, 2013 3:11 PM   Subscribe

My company uses Exchange for email. Since they block POP and IMAP access for security reasons, I cannot use Gmail (or Google Apps) to read my email. They do support Active Sync, so Apple Mail and Outlook both work fine. I would prefer a web based option, as close to gmail as possible. Are there any other options out there for me?

I am starting a freelance company and I am affiliating with a company for back-end support. OWA is awful. I don't mind paying for it.

Why don't I want to use Mail on my mac? Because I'm used to web based email, I don't want to have another app open all the time, I have a macbook air with limited hard drive space and would prefer to archive emails on the cloud, and I have multiple email addresses and would like them all to come in to one inbox.
posted by kdern to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Heh. I was looking for this for years. TouchDown just released an ActiveSync for Mac OS app. It's basically a little VM that runs on your Mac, with PIN and all. It works great. It's $30, but worth it for my needs.
posted by planetesimal at 3:25 PM on December 3, 2013


Note: TouchDown isn't web based, but you can restrict the amount of synching/space needed in the settings pane.
posted by planetesimal at 3:29 PM on December 3, 2013


It's a bit of a hack, but you could run davmail on your computer (it sits in the background), which slurps up OWA and presents an IMAP or POP3 server which you could point Gmail at. It does the same trick for calendaring as well (handy for offline clients like Thunderbird / Lightning that don't speak ActiveSync)
posted by firesine at 3:50 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Check Zoho, I believe they support ActiveSync.
posted by COD at 4:55 PM on December 3, 2013


Zoho Mail is a full-on hosted email service. it supports ActiveSync but that's for getting your mail out, not in, unless I missed something. TouchDown is a more-or-less traditional email client, it seems.

The davmail thing looks interesting - you could set up a simple VPS or something and set it up there, rather than hosting it locally (which would be far better than trying to get Google to try retrieving your mail from your laptop). I've found options I wouldn't consider horrible for something only I would be using for < $30 or so - for example, a friend recommended SoftSys to me, and there's Cloudatcost that looks really cheap, and also Dreamhost. If you do that, you can drop Kite on there too and then have a fully self-hosted Gmail-like experience.

Another possibility: can you set your mail to forward to another address? You ought to be able to do this through OWA, actually, depending on who's actually hosting your email and what version of Exchange and all that. (Some providers have a control panel for that, if they're using a hosted service. On version 14/2010, you can set rules by going to Options->Organize E-Mail and then you just create a rule to forward everything in OWA.) If you can do this, forward it to your existing Gmail account. There's a feature in there to allow you to send mail using your existing address. This is probably your best option unless you're willing to host stuff.

Obvious question is obvious: do they not allow POP/IMAP at all or will they allow you to connect with SSL? (I would imagine you might have already asked this, but if not it might be something to run by them.)
posted by mrg at 6:41 PM on December 3, 2013


If you could compromise on one thing and stand to have the Mail app open all or most of the time, and if you'd be allowed to connect Mail to Gmail via IMAP (even if you can't access your Exchange email via POP or IMAP—I was unclear whether you couldn't use IMAP in your workplace across the board, or whether you could feasibly use it for any non-Exchange email you have), you could set up Mail with accounts for both your company's Exchange server and Gmail, then use a Mail rule to move over all of your work email from the Exchange inbox to your IMAP Gmail inbox. Then you can work with all of your mail in the Gmail Web interface. That's what I did when faced with the prospect of either working out of Mail all the time or using OWA.

The downsides are that 1. I still have to have Mail open all the time; 2. I lost the ability to transparently send mail from Gmail as my work email address (without that pesky "on behalf of" nonsense in the "From" line or messages getting sent straight to people's spam folders); and 3. Mail stops pulling in new mail from the Exchange server multiple times a day (but I don't know whether that has anything whatsoever to do with the Mail rule—I think it mostly means either Mail or my company's Exchange server is broken).

But this method does provide a free, fairly straightforward way to get all of my work email in one inbox in Gmail.
posted by limeonaire at 9:35 PM on December 3, 2013


Atmail Cloud looks like it would work but I don't know the cost.
posted by Dansaman at 9:52 PM on December 3, 2013


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