iPhone 4 and Exchange calendar entries marked private

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I just switched to an iPhone 4. From my poor old Nokia E72. Well, that is a real change! Since I work heavily with my calendar in Outlook, I wondered how I can set up the iPhone to sync with Exchange. The setup worked pretty flawless, but then I noticed I couldn't create calendar entries marked as "private".

It has to do with the concept of the calendar system. With the old Exchange - Outlook connection, there was one calendar and I was able to mark personal entries as "private" to hide them from my colleagues who are allowed to look into my calendar for making appointments. My Nokia with Symbian allowed this setting of a private marker too.

The iPhone as well as Android software (as far as I know) do not know a private mark. Rather it is possible to set up several calendars. I learned, that I can subscribe to certain calendars online - for instance to show the week of the year or to show sunrise and sunset. 

That brought me to have a closer look at my Outlook (version 2010 by the way) and the Exchange server behind it (an Exchange 2007 serveR). Thus I found out, that on our company's Exchange server I can create additional calendars.

So what I did now is the following:

- I created another calendar in my Outlook (on the Exchange server), named "Private", to which my colleagues do not have access
- My Outlook 2010 allows me to show the "public" calendar and the private calendar as an overlay, so I see all entries in one window
- my iPhone syncs perfectly with both calendars - so whenever I need to create a private entry I just choose it to go to the Exchange calendar named "private", whereas a public entry goes to the regular Exchange calendar.

In this way I am able to work fine with my iPhone's calendar system. Just a bit time needed to get used to it! :-) So, no need for any add-on! In any case, all googleing only led to the conclusion that marking a calendar entry as private is not possible with the iCal, nor is there any third party software which would offer that function (not even the well known pocket informant nor other similar software).

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Nice article - but one thing is still not clear to me:
You say that "My Outlook 2010 allows me to show the "public" calendar and the private calendar as an overlay, so I see all entries in one window." I still wonder if your colleagues can see that you are busy for every entry you made private? Isn't that the whole point? You want to make sure that no-one book you for a meeting at 11 Thursday, but you just want them to see that you are busy at 11, and not what you actually will do (having lunch with Hilda).

Is this how it works? In that case, thanks a lot. :)

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