For a while now my contacts quit synching on Android with an Exchange 2010 server. Calendar and Mail syncing still works, both directions. This problem is described elsewhere ( e.g. here ) and I tried all the proposed fixes:

  • Click "sync now" in accounts, deactivate contacts, click again, re-activate contacts, click again
  • Check that the account is really a "Microsoft Exchange" (i.e. active sync) account, not IMAP, etc
  • Create a new dummy contact on phone or Outlook and sync again...
  • Use the Dev Tools Sync Tester on Android (always returned empty stats=[], no errors...) :-(


  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Android 4.3 (Cyanogen 10.2 on Motorola Defy+)
  • Hi! Please make sure that only the question is included in the question, then answer your own question with what turned out to be the answer :)
    – pzkpfw
    Nov 8 '13 at 12:59
  • 1
    Thanks, I was wondering how to properly use the Q/A style storytelling over here :) Will do!
    – Tourendal
    Nov 8 '13 at 13:00
  • I must wait 8 h because of my low rep.
    – Tourendal
    Nov 8 '13 at 13:08
  • All right, well don't lose hope and please keep contributing :)
    – pzkpfw
    Nov 8 '13 at 13:14

It turned out to be a sync error for some contacts with malformed birthday field created on Android which causes exchange to silently fail.

You can debug it, by getting the Exchange server-side logs, by going to your Exchange Webmail (Outlook Web Access, OWA):

  1. Login in to webmail.yourdomain.com
  2. go to: Options -> All options -> Phone
  3. mark your current device and click -> "Start Logging"
  4. Start sync on the phone
  5. in webmail click "Stop Logging" and look at the new mail create in your inbox

In the log I got three of these errors:

X-MS-ASError: Message = The 'Contacts::Birthday' element is invalid - The value '1979-11-24' is invalid according to its datatype 'http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema:dateTime' - The string '1979-11-24' is not a valid XsdDateTime value.; Severity = Error

... which causes the whole sync and all subsequent contact syncing to silently do nothing. I had to remove the birthday field from these contacts on Android.

I hope this helps someone!

Here is some more information on the various date formats created on Android devices: http://dmfs.org/carddav/?date_format

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