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I have to use Hotmail, not Gmail, as I primarily use Outlook on a PC, and Gmail provides no (free) Outlook sync method for contacts and calendars. With iPhone, you just add your Hotmail account and it syncs your contacts both ways seamlessly.

Now I have a Google Nexus 6 on Android 6, I can't find any way to do this. I have tried the following:

  1. Add Hotmail as an exchange account

    This puts your Hotmail contacts into the Android phone app. This is HALF the job. However, if you edit a contact, it does not sync back to Hotmail. The edit is local to the phone. If you lose your phone, you lose the number.

    Note: to get this to work, you have to create a manual setup, chose Exchange, then set the server to m.hotmail.com.

    So I removed the account and went back to zero contacts in the Android phone app.

  2. Install the Outlook app and add a Hotmail account

    Next, I installed the Outlook app and added my Hotmail account. Your contacts are visible in the people tab of Outlook, but you can't edit them or add new ones.

    It also adds an Android account called "Outlook", and puts your Hotmail contacts in the Android phone app. Great, no? NO. Again, if you edit a contact, it stays on the phone, the sync is one way. Even worse, if you add a new contact as a Hotmail contact, it does not sync anywhere.

Am I missing something, or is Outlook/Hotmail on Android completely broken/only half-implemented?

Surely there is someone who uses Outlook on a PC and has an Android phone, and needs to sync contacts two ways, something I have been doing without issue for the last 10 years with Windows CE phones and iPhones?

=== Update ===

Recently, MS "upgraded" Hotmail to use exchange protocols for synchronization, rather than the Hotmail connector, so I decided to dust off the Nexus and try again.

  1. Start off with no contacts in the phone app, Outlook for Android installed with no accounts

  2. Add hotmail.com email as an Exchange account in Outlook for Android

  3. Wait

  4. Now I see

    • all my contacts in Outlook for Android, but they are not editable, they are read-only. If I change a contact in Outlook on my desktop, I see the change in Outlook for Android. But no way to get changes or new contacts back the other way. Unfortunately, contacts in Outlook for Android are largely useless as I don't use email on my phone and would rarely use Outlook for Android, I only installed it to try to get contacts to sync. I need the contacts in the phone's phone book.

    • all my contacts appear on the Android phone app, but it's one-way sync only. If I change a contact on the phone, the change is not reflected or saved anywhere. If I add a new contact, it's not synced or saved anywhere. If I updated a contact on the PC or in the Hotmail web browser, this change is synced back to the phone, overwriting any changes I have made to an existing contact on the phone. Contacts are correctly marked as belonging to the Hotmail/Exchange account.

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  • Alternatively I would download a third party contacts app and check whether they support it Feb 9 '17 at 11:55
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You didn't write explicitly that "sync contacts" is turned on, but I assume it is. If it is, well then you don't really have an alternative other than contacting Microsoft support, send them a mail and ask - if you don't get an answer by anyone else that is. I would be surprised if this function isn't implemented.

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  • Thanks WhatIf. Yes, "sync contacts" is on, and they update to the phone, but not back. I have not been able to find out in my months of research if this feature is implemented. Opinion is split: some say it is, some say it isnt. MS have not ventured to answer the posts on the subject. Feb 10 '17 at 10:59
  • By default, contacts does not sync when you are on metered connection (Mobile Data). Try to connect to Wifi and the contact should sync back to outlook.com. At least they did in my case.
    – Liero
    Aug 23 '17 at 13:52

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