We’ve long been fans of NitroDesk’s TouchDown on Android and, in fact, have always recommended it for business use for accessing corporate Exchange Accounts from Android devices to enhance the protection of corporate data. When we heard about the beta for Mac OS X at the end of September, we couldn’t wait to check it out. Well, we did just that and after putting it through the paces over the last few weeks, we can say we’re really pleased with the features and reliability. We recommend it for just about anyone wanting an ‘Outlook-like’ ActiveSync Client on Mac OS X, but especially for security conscious businesses challenged with integrating iMac’s, Mac Pro’s and MacBook Pro’s into their desktop and mobile infrastructure.
TouchDown for Mac is available on the Mac App Store and also as a traditional Mac OS X install image directly from NitroDesk. We usually prefer the App Store approach, with some exceptions, simply for the ease of license management, distribution across multiple Mac’s (those associated with the same Apple ID), automatic installation of application updates as they become available and the promise of “app store approval” enforced standards and quality (though not always true).
That said, we do recommend first installing TouchDown for Mac from the NitroDesk website, taking advantage of the 30-Day Trail to make sure it’s compatible with your mail accounts and that the software fits your expectations. This is very important since the licensing cost is currently $29.99, whether purchased through the App Store or the NitroDesk website. Some may feel that $30 is excessive. For me, it’s been a very good investment and I would purchase it again. Fortunately, with the free trial, everyone can make their own determination.
TouchDown for Mac, as it is for other platforms (iOS, Android), is a Microsoft ActiveSync Client. ActiveSync allows remote clients to securely connect to Microsoft Exchange Servers and other ActiveSync-technology enabled services, such as Outlook.com for personal mail accounts (@outlook.com, @msn.com, @hotmail.com and @live.com). ActiveSync enables complete replication and, most importantly, synchronization of email, contacts, calendar, tasks and notes for all of your configured accounts, across all of your devices, whether desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, agnostic to operating system (Windows, Mac OS X, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, etc.).
TouchDown for Mac provides a very good Outlook-like user experience, where within one single application, you have access to email, contacts, calendar, tasks and notes. For me, there are two key benefits for using TouchDown and this is one of them. I’m a fairly heavy Outlook user when I’m on my Windows PC’s, and I love having everything accessible and integrated through a single, common interface.
To be fair to the faithful, yes, Outlook is also available on Mac OS X. And it’s also very good, except for one thing important to me, which brings me to my own second key benefit of TouchDown – integration of my personal @live.com email, which is now part of Outlook.com Services, as mentioned above. On Windows, there are several good solutions to integrate my @live.com email account with full MS Outlook, such as the Hotmail Connector add-on for Outlook 2010 (and below), or standard ActiveSync with Outlook 2013. And, if you don’t want the integration with Outlook and your business account, then there are other good applications for managing your personal mail such as Windows Live Mail.
However, this hasn’t been the case for Mac OS X. Sure, you can connect @hotmail, @live, etc. to the native Mac Mail client, but only through POP3 or IMAP, which means things are almost never in sync. Not good. And there’s no such thing as the Hotmail Connector for the Mac version of Outlook. You can do POP3 and IMAP there, too, but same issues. And, though I have searched many times in the past, I have never found a very good standalone Mac app for my personal mail. Sure, I could just use the web client, pointing Safari at outlook.com, but there’s no offline access and, besides, we’re talking about having a single, integrated app approach here. The result of all of this – I always end up going back to my Windows VM (under Parallels) if I need my personal email or calendar.
But finally, TouchDown for Mac is available and really works for me. Features are very good and improving rapidly. I won’t go into them here, but I’ll leave you with a few more screenshots from NitroDesk. I encourage you to check it out, maybe it fills a gap for you, as well.
Check out features and benefits at http://mactouchdown.com/ and download the trial from http://mactouchdown.com/download.html. You can learn more about TouchDown for other platforms, including integration into Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools, on NitroDesk’s primary website at http://nitrodesk.com/.
If you have any questions about TouchDown, on any platform, please leave them in the comments section and we’ll try to answer them. As always, thanks for reading!