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I have added an Exchange/ActiveSync email account to my Android phone. This required me to set the email application as a device administrator so that ActiveSync can control certain features of my phone.
One of the controlled features is the way I can unlock my phone (from the lockscreen). Exchange seems to limit me to the "PIN" and "Password" options. But I prefer to use a pattern lock.

Please note that I have administrative access to the domain in which the Exchange server is running and I would like to control this behaviour from the server side. I do NOT want to circumvent restrictions on my device.

I have already created a new ActiveSync profile (which doesn't enforce any password restrictions) for my user account, but it doesn't seem to affect the issue. It seems like ActiveSync in general restricts me to a password/PIN unlock and the profile can just control the complexity rules for those.

I realize this isn't really an Android issue, but I assumed this would be the best place to ask.

Update: Please note that this seems to be a new feature introduced with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). When I was using Android 2.3, I was able to use pattern lock just fine.

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I have an exchange account on my device, and I can use pattern lock. If you remove the exchange account, it lets you use pattern lock? – Ryan Conrad Feb 1 '12 at 15:20
@RyanConrad Yes. This only started happening after I flashed ICS on the device. – Oliver Salzburg Feb 1 '12 at 15:23

My work account limits me from using pattern lock. The way I get around it is by using Swype and a password that is a real word, that way you Swype the pattern of the word to unlock your phone.

Get Swype from

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The only way to get this to work was for us to do the following in our Exchange server.

  1. Create a new Exchange ActiveSync Mailbox Policy in the Client Access Organization Configuration.

  2. Make sure that Require password is disabled for the policy.

    enter image description here

  3. Go to the mailbox of the user in question, in the Recipient Configuration and open the Properties for the mailbox. In the Mailbox Features tab, select Exchange ActiveSync and open the Properties.

    Select your newly created ActiveSync Mailbox Policy and confirm your selection.

    enter image description here

  4. You might need to remove and re-add the the account on your phone to make sure that it no longer asks you to set a password.

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