Monday, June 21, 2010

Fix: missing "Never" option under Auto-Lock on iPhone

I have an iPhone and noticed that the screen suddenly started dimming after a few minutes and it's not supposed to. I distinctly remember turning off the auto-lock feature and now it's locking itself after 5 minutes. WTF!? I tried to set the auto-lock setting to "Never" but that option was no longer there! At first I got angry with my iPhone. Then I got Angry at Apple. Then I learned the truth about what was causing this problem and was able to get it fixed.

If you have an iPhone and this same thing has happened to you, I have good news for you. There's a fix.

First, to see if you are affected by this, try going to your iPhone's settings and just disable contacts, calendar and email for your company's activesync server account. Now look in the auto lock settings under General in your iPhone Settings. Did the "Never" option come back? If so, then you just proved that it has something to do with your corporate email server.

Fortunately for me, I'm an Exchange 2007 Administrator. If you're not, then you're going to need your Exchange administrator's help. Pass this page along to them and as long as your company doesn't require auto-locking for connected devices, they should be able to help you. This is a very quick fix and should only take an administrator a minute or two of their time.

Here's what your Exchange administrator should do:

  1. On the exchange server launch the Exchange Management Console
  2. Open Organization Configuration -> Client Access
  3. Right click on the default activesync mailbox policy and select properties
  4. Select the password tab
(Exchange 2007)
The default properties window should look like this:

If any of the boxes are grayed out and checked, you need to check Require password so you can uncheck them. Then you can uncheck Require password again.

After this has been done, on the iPhone, disable this activesync account (no need to delete it, just turn it off) and then turn the Auto-lock setting back to "Never." Now go back and turn your activesync account back on. Your auto-lock setting will now will stay at "Never."