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 same organization.

Modern public folder access in Hybrid topology

  • Exchange Server 2013/Exchange Server 2016 in hybrid mode with an Office365 tenant.
    • Scenario1 – Modern PF’s deployed on-premises – on-premises users, with mailbox 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 summarizes 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:


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 CU14 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 organization.


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 organization 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:

  1. Exchange Server 2013 CU14
  2. 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:


Set-OrganizationConfig -PublicFoldersEnabled Remote -RemotePublicFolderMailboxes <Mail User representing on-premises PF>


Set-OrganizationConfig -PublicFoldersEnabled Remote -RemotePublicFolderMailboxes OP1

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:


Public Folder Team

Comments (7)
  1. Vince says:

    Coexistence between EXO and EX2010 SP3+ PF still works for normal Outlook 2016 clients correct?

  2. Justin King says:

    plans for 2010 eventually? There are still lots of customers going directly from 2010 to Office365…

  3. Supported Onpremise Exchange server versions for users that mailbox in Exchange Online doesn’t have a native support for migration of the actual PF’s to Exchange Online. If an Organization migrates PF’s from their ‘legacy’ servers to EX13 or 16 to address the Outlook for Mac limitation, then they put themselves in a road block to migrate their PF’s to Exchange Online (O365).

  4. MM says:

    Can you please provide a scenario and/or guidance for Exchange 2010 SP3 and Exchange 2016 CU2 on-premises Co-existence with legacy public folders. The TecNet article under “Related articles” for “Co-existence with legacy public folders” is out dated and states “Users whose mailboxes are on Exchange Server 2013 won’t be able to access legacy public folders from Outlook Web App or Outlook for Mac.”



  5. Ncorreia says:


    We have Coexistence Scenario with Exchange 2016 CU2 and Exchange 2010 SP3.
    We moved 5 of 120 Outlook 2016 for MAC user’s mailbox to Exchange 2016.

    On 2 Mac users (User X and Y) access to public folder works perfectly.
    On the other 3 (User A, B and C), it doesn’t work.

    All Offices are on latest version (15.25 if I’m correct).
    If a user A B or C logs on MAC of user X, and configures his mailbox on Outlook, it starts working!
    If user X logs on MAC of user A B C, it doesn’t work.

    Very strange and I’m not sure how to proceed now.
    Office was already reinstalled.

    1. Ncorreia says:

      PS: On users where it doesn’t work they can subscribe the public folder and open any item.
      But they cannot see the content of the item, text or attachments.

    2. harry says:


      we have had the exact the some issue as you mentioned. Have you found any fixes for this yet?


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