Notifications and synchronization

This article discusses notification and email synchronization functionality and configurations for Secure Mail.

Secure Mail for iOS background app refresh

If Secure Mail for iOS is configured to provide notifications through iOS background app refresh (and not APNs), Secure Mail email refresh works in the following ways:

  • When users enable Background App Refresh on the device from the Settings menu and Secure Mail is running in the background, mail is synced with the server. The sync frequency depends on various factors.
  • If the user disables Background App Refresh, the app never receives email while running in the background.
  • When users move Secure Mail to the background, the app continues to run within a grace period before the app is suspended.
  • While running in the foreground, Secure Mail shows real-time email activity, regardless of the Background App Refresh setting.

Secure Mail and ActiveSync

Secure Mail syncs with Exchange Server via the ActiveSync messaging protocol. This functionality gives users real-time access to their Outlook mail, contacts, calendar events, automatically generated mailboxes, and user-created folders.


ActiveSync doesn’t support the synchronization of Exchange public folders. In Exchange Server 2013, ActiveSync doesn’t sync the Drafts folder.

To sync user-created folders, follow these steps:


  1. Go to Settings > Auto Refresh.
  2. Set Auto Refresh to On.
  3. Tap On. A list of all mailboxes appears.
  4. Tap the folders you want to sync.


  1. Go to the Mailboxes list.
  2. Tap the mailbox you want to sync.
  3. Tap the More icon in the lower-right corner.
  4. Tap Sync options.
  5. Under Check frequency, select how often you want the folder to sync.

Exporting contacts in Secure Mail

Secure Mail users can continuously sync their contacts with the phone address book, do a one-time export of an individual contact to the phone address book, or share a contact as a vCard attachment.

To allow these features, set the Export Contacts policy for Secure Mail in the Endpoint Management console to ON.

When the policy is ON, the following options are enabled in Secure Mail:

  • Sync with Local Contacts in Settings
  • Exporting individual contacts
  • Share contacts as vCard attachments

When the Export Contacts policy is set to OFF, those options do not appear in the app.

When the policy is enabled, to sync contacts from the mail server to the phone address book continuously, users need to set Sync with Local Contacts to ON. As long as Sync with Local Contacts is ON, any updates to contacts in Exchange or Secure Mail triggers an update to local contacts.

Due to Android limitations, if any Exchange or Hotmail account is already set to sync with local contacts, Secure Mail is unable to sync contacts.

On iOS, Secure Mail contacts can be exported and synced with the phone contacts. The contacts can be exported and synced even if users have Hotmail or Exchange set up on the device. You configure this feature in Endpoint Management through the Override Native Contacts Check policy for Secure Mail. This policy determines if Secure Mail overrides the check for contacts from an Exchange/Hotmail Account configured in the native Contacts app. If On, the app syncs contacts to the device even if the native Contacts app is configured with Exchange/Hotmail Account. If Off, the app continues to block contacts sync. Default is On.


When you enable Sync with local contacts, only the default contacts folder syncs. Any subfolders you may have are not included to the synced contacts.

Secure Mail notifications

The following table lists how notifications are handled for supported mobile devices when Secure Mail is running in the foreground or background.

With Secure Mail running in the foreground or background: Notifications are handled for iOS Notifications are handled for Android
Foreground Secure Mail maintains a persistent ActiveSync connection to sync email and calendar activity. Secure Mail maintains a persistent ActiveSync connection to sync email and calendar activity.
Background (or terminated) Secure Mail receives notifications through the iOS background app refresh functionality or, if configured, APNs. Secure Mail maintains a persistent ActiveSync connection.

For configuration details, see Push notifications for Secure Mail for iOS.

Notifications and synchronization