Wednesday, 13 April 2011

iPhone & Exchange: the passcode lock


The perfect scenario! Your boss has just received his new iPhone 4. He is quite proud of it - and maybe a little bit scared due to his age - and he starts playing around with it. Since you are the ITC manager, it is quite clear that this means troubles. Yes, the damn phone is great - you have one yourself - however you perfectly know that such a piece of technology in the hands of a person who barely uses the basic functions of a pc (and that's troubles, you already know) is a problem. So, you slowly walk towards your miserable fate.
Now, after playing with his new toy a while, your boss asks for emails on the iPhone. No problem. You set up the Exchange account on the shiny new piece of technology easily and professionally in just a few clicks.
Happy and satisfied, you return to your beloved world - a.k.a. your desk with your stuff!
Just a few moments later, your boss comes back saying that the iPhone is not working. That is the usual problem: whenever something is not doing whatever a user expects, the technology behind it (either software or hardware) is inevitably broken. That is what I personally hear every day.
"Marco, my computer is not working."
"Why? What's wrong?"
"Can't send an email..."
"Please, explain what is happening..."
"I send it, and I receive a message back"
"Ok, what's the message?"
"I don't know. I haven't got the time to read it..."
"... but it says something about wrong mailbox ... I don't know ... Would you come over and see?"

The iPhone is not working
Let's get back to the topic. Your boss's iPhone is broken. What's the problem?
In fact, the iPhone is asking for a passcode. Before accessing the Exchange mailbox, the iPhone asks to insert a passcode lock. Ok, no problem! You boss has actually inserted the passcode and now everytime he slides to unlock the phone, the passcode is required. And he doesn't want it!
Easy, isn't it? You go to Settings --> General --> Passcode Lock to remove the lock. But you can't!! The disabling button is not available. And the iPhone - happily - keeps asking for the damn passcode every now and then. What's happening?

The solution
You actually have configured your Exchange server perfectly. What is the problem?
If you open Exchange and check the Mobile Services object (right click and properties), you will find something about protection or password (Device Security...). Click on it and you can then easily find a checkbox about enforcing password on device. That's your problem!
I won't say to remove it or else. It depends on your needs about security. Anyway that is causing the iPhone to asks for a passcode. If you eventually decide to remove that feature, after resyncing the device, you'll be able to remove the passcode.

Now your boss is happy again!

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