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How to Configure LDAP or CardDAV Contacts Accounts for Your iPhone

With an iPhone, you can import contacts from many sources, including shared information from business and other organization settings. iPhone has a way for you to easily access LDAP and CardDAV accounts from your phone.

LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and CardDAV (Card Distributing Authoring and Versioning) are Internet protocols that allow access to data on a remote server. Multiple users can access the same information, so it is often used in business and organization settings.

The difference between the two is that LDAP data remains on the server — you access it from your iPhone via an Internet connection, but it isn't synced to your iPhone. CardDAV data is synced over the air (and copied) to your iPhone, and, depending on the way the server is set up, you may be able to search the server for contact information.

If your employer uses a contacts program that uses the LDAP or CardDAV formats and that you want to access or sync with your iPhone, you can add an LDAP or CardDAV account. You'll need some account information from your IT department or network support person:

  • Server: This has your company or organization information.

  • User Name: This is your identification.

  • Password: A password is required.

  • Description: This name shows up on the list of accounts on the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings screen.

After you've gathered the necessary information, set up the account on your iPhone by following these steps:

  1. Tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

  2. Tap Add Account.

  3. Tap Other.

  4. In the Contacts section, tap Add LDAP or Add CardDAV Account, whichever is indicated.

  5. Type in the information requested.

  6. Tap the Next button in the upper right corner.

    After your account information is verified, make sure Contacts is turned On, and the contacts data are added to your iPhone.

  7. Tap the Save button in the upper right corner and you return to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings screen.

    When you open Contacts, your contacts are automatically synced.

  8. Tap Fetch New Data.

    The Fetch New Data screen opens.

  9. If your server supports push notifications, Tap Push On.

    Anytime changes are made on the server where the contacts reside, that change is pushed to your iPhone, and vice versa.

  10. If your server doesn't support push or you want to conserve battery power, select a default fetch interval — every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, or hourly.

    Your iPhone contacts the server for new data at the interval you select.

If your contacts are in another program, you can try exporting them as vCards (the file will have a .vcf suffix) and then importing them into Address Book (OS X 10.7 or earlier), Contacts (OS X 10.8 or later), or Entourage or Outlook 2011 on the Mac or Outlook or Windows Address Book on a Windows PC. Follow the previously outlined procedure for syncing.

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