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Update: Google says iOS 4 update problems with email sync now fixed

Update: Google says iOS 4 update problems with email sync now fixed

Summary: There were widespread reports of Google Apps and Microsoft Exchange not working after users install iOS 4 update on first day.

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Update, Wed June 23rd, 10 am PT: Google says that as of Tuesday, most of the sync issues should be fixed. According to the statement by 'Advisor Angela', the slowdown was not caused by any technical bugs related to iOS 4, but simply due to the update forcing too many users at once to re-download all of their data from Google's servers. I've bolded the interesting bits:

The sync issues with email, calendar, and contacts for devices using Google Sync should now be resolved.

Yesterday’s release of iOS4 and the subsequent re-syncing of data by tens of thousands of users led to a high level of demand which overloaded our servers, disrupting Google Sync services for all devices. Our engineering teams have been working nonstop to add more resources and stabilize the service, and have made several improvements to ease the problem. Sync performance should be much improved now, and we’ll continue to monitor it closely.

Please note that Google engineers have tested a pre-release version of iOS4, and are continuing the certification process with the final build. We’re using it internally and it seems to work well. We’ll post an announcement to this forum when our tests are complete and if we find any compatibility issues with the upgrade.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience this recent outage has caused. We use the service too and we know how frustrating it can be when it’s not working well. We’re working to improve the quality of the Google Sync service, and thank you for your patience. We recognize the importance of increasing the reliability of our system and will continue to make improvements towards that end.

Sincerely, Angela

Update, Tuesday July 22, 10:30 am PT: Google employees posted several updates in their user forums yesterday and today. They don't single out Microsoft ActiveSync or iOS 4, instead admitting to"unplanned maintenance" and "sync delays for mail, calendar and contacts on all devices" that "coincided with today's release of iOS4 from Apple and reflect additional load due to the upgrade."

In the most recent message posted Tuesday at 8:10 am PT, Google says that "unfortunately new mail delivery will still be slow for many users. Sorry things didn't wrap up as quickly as I thought they would yesterday.  I don't have an ETA to resolution at this point, but the team is actively hustling to improve performance and stabilize service for you."

I pinged Microsoft's PR late Monday for a comment on re: Exchange ActiveSync, but no reply so far. Meanwhile, problem reports continue to crop up on Twitter.

Balancing out all of the enthusiastic user reports and media reviews of iOS 4's new consumer features (multi-tasking + Pandora music = Killer App) is some news of concern for iPhone-using enterprise workers.

There are widespread reports on Twitter today from users who say they lost access to their e-mail, contacts or calendar on Google Apps or Microsoft Exchange after installing iOS 4 on its first day.

On a Google support forum, a Google employee called 'MrEvan' confirmed the problem's existence in the late afternoon, and promised a a fix within the hour. He did not disclose the cause of the problem.

Important note: this problem only appears to affect Google Apps, the small-business/enterprise package. I'm running the Google iPhone App, which includes GMail, Calendar, etc., on my iPhone 3GS with iOS 4, and everything comes down fine. But then so do my Google and Hotmail e-mails in the iPhone's Mail app - those continue to work.

Some are blaming something in how iOS 4 interacts with Microsoft's ActiveSync technology, which is used by Google Apps and Exchange to synchronize e-mail, contacts and calendar between server and iPhone.

Jason Hiner, the influential editor-in-chief of IT user site, TechRepublic.com, said he was able to get his Calendar and Contacts from Exchange, but not his e-mail. Via Twitter, he blamed his company's use of Exchange 2003, adding that "sounds like people on Exchange 2007 and 2010 are doing ok."

As of late Monday night, neither Microsoft nor Apple had officially commented. Ironically, one of iOS 4's touted new features is support for multiple Exchange accounts via ActiveSync.

Not all enterprise workers are having similar problems. Sybase's iAnywhere Mobile Office client lets users securely access their Exchange or Lotus Notes calendar, mail, tasks and contacts. A quick search of Twitter turned up no reports of major problems. That jibes with my own experience, as an iPhone 3GS owner who had upgraded to iOS 4 and found no problems with Mobile Office afterwards (though, admittedly, we at Sybase internally use Lotus Notes for our e-mail, not Microsoft Outlook/Exchange).

Judging by past history, we can probably expect a fix for the iOS 4 problem from Google, Microsoft or Apple within several days, if not by the day's end.

Topics: ÜberTech, IT Employment, Software, Microsoft, Google, Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Cloud, CXO, Apps

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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11 comments
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  • Google iPhone App? Google Apps?

    I'm not sure what you mean by the 'Google iPhone App'. This app just has links to the web versions of GMail and Calendar. Were you mentioning it to make the point that Google's web-based versions were still functioning? If so, it was put a little confusingly.

    Also, this issue is affecting anyone using ActiveSync with their Google accounts. You don't need an apps account to use ActiveSync with your account.

    Please do a little research on the technologies you're writing about (although if you're writing about them you should probably know about them already).
    JustRez
    • RE: iOS 4 update causes 1st-day problems with Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange

      @JustRez Good point on the Google iPhone app working being not that relevant. However, I did note that my iPhone 3GS's Mail App still syncs fine with my gMail.
      ericylai
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  • IOS4 Update doesn't surprise....

    In regular apple fashion, the IOS4 update doesn't work. I'm on an i5 Imac. Downloaded the update alone and then later tried to install. 3 hours later it had not backed up. I checked an hour after that and it had crashed and locked itunes.

    I LOVE apple and their products, but just like everyone else, I hate aspects of them. One of which is the fact that their updates NEVER WORK. You name me a time that they did and I'll name you a liar. GET YOUR S*$T APPLE!
    seriously3456
  • iOS Google Apps problem solved

    No sooner had I found this article to explain my contacts/calendar/mail sync problems, than it was solved.

    End of the day indeed, only took them 4 hours from the time this was written. Good work apple, google, et al.

    to Seriously3456: It took my older-PC 6 hours to complete the backup and then only 30 minutes to reinstall and restore everything. I had the same thoughts and emotions you did, it appeared to be stalled many times, but with patience, it did complete the backup. The update does work.

    Thanks Eric.
    Starsky2010
    • RE: iOS 4 update causes 1st-day problems with Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange

      @Starsky2010
      scopes
    • RE: iOS 4 update causes 1st-day problems with Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange

      @Starsky2010
      What and where was the solution to Google Contacts ???
      Ron
      scopes
  • Also exchange 2010 problems

    We are using exchange 2010 after installing IOS4 mail, contacts agenda all sync fine. But when i trie to send a message i get an error that delivery failed. I was able to contact all of our users before they install the update so no harm so far. but i hope there will be a patch soon from Apple. When people are blaming Microsoft just think why there were no problems synchronising before the update........... ;)
    wilconizer
  • Use Exchange with Gmail settings

    This solution with iPhone 3G worked for me:

    Delete your Gmail account on iphone.
    Then add a new Exchange account (http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252)
    Then do this:
    http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252

    Worked perfectly after!
    jj91709
  • RE: iOS 4 update causes 1st-day problems with Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange

    I did some testing which ActiveSync Policies (EAS) really works on iPhone OS 4.0. This is the result: http://www.sysadminlab.net/activesync/iphone-os-4-and-exchange-activesync-policies-what-really-works
    jbaaa1