New Changes to SFU Mail


See the changes and new features coming to SFU Mail with Exchange Online.


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Shared Calendar and Folders will be unavailable June 28 – July 1

During the June 28 – July 1 long weekend, shared calendars and shared mail folders will be unavailable to graduate students, staff, faculty and sponsored accounts as part of their SFU Mail upgrade to Exchange Online.

Please avoid editing permissions on shared calendars, folders and mailboxes during these times even if they seem accessible.


Aligned with the university’s What’s Next Objective: Transform the SFU experience and SFU's digital transformation, SFU is upgrading to Exchange Online, a new cloud-based email system. This upgrade aims to enhance IT security, improve user experience, and enabling access to Microsoft’s suite of products like OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint.

Between now and 2025, all SFU mailboxes will be upgrading to Exchange Online.

This article describes the SFU Mail changes coming with Exchange Online:


New Features





  • When creating a new calendar event/meeting on Outlook on desktop, there will be additional settings to generate a Microsoft Teams meeting link.



  • Your Microsoft Teams status is automatically set based on your SFU Outlook Calendar.

    Note: If you don't wish your status to appear "busy" during calendar events or meetings (that you own), be sure to change the "Show as" of the event to "Free".

    For meetings you are tentatively attending or haven't accepted into your calendar, your status will appear "free" during those meetings.

  • Your Microsoft Teams out-of-office message will automatically sync from your SFU Outlook automatic replies (out-of-office) and appear on your Microsoft Teams status.


New Requirements

Why are there new requirements?

As technology evolves, it is crucial to continuously assess and adjust our IT standards in an evolving cybersecurity landscape. The updates to SFU IT standards are aligned with What’s Next: The SFU Strategy and SFU’s digital transformation goals, and are designed to enhanced cybersecurity measures and protect research, academic, and business data across the university.

With the addition of Exchange Online, every third-party application that connects to SFU Mail is considered a “system integration”. This requires SFU to update IT security and compliance standards to comply with provincial privacy requirements. Each of these systems integrations requires a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and a Security Assessment.

Can I use my personal email app to access SFU Mail?
Only third party tools approved for use by a University-supported initiative and backed by Privacy Impact and Security assessments will be enabled for SFU Mail access. Personal productivity and personal preferences for workflow aren't sufficient to allow third party tools that consume SFU email or calendar data.
We encourage you to try Microsoft Outlook to access SFU Mail, as it's SFU's fully supported email client for personal desktop and mobile use while providing the most seamless experience.
My App is critical for research, learning, or other university business needs. How do I get my app approved?
If you believe that your third-party application is critical for research, learning, or other university business needs, visit External Apps/Tool Changes and FAQs for details on getting your application approved by IT Services.

Note: Exact timing will vary depending on your role at the university and will coincide with your mailbox migration to Exchange Online. Be sure to prepare any changes to your personal or business work flows.


Below are the approved desktop email applications that can connect to SFU Mail:

  • Outlook for PC and Mac (this application is recommended and fully supported by the university)
  • Apple Mail
  • Mozilla Thunderbird w/ TBSync Plug-in (alternatively, OWL Plug-in via OWA protocol)

No other applications will be able to connect to SFU Mail.

Note: Outlook for PC is part of Microsoft 365, which is only available to current SFU staff, faculty and students. Alternatively, Outlook on Web Browser is available to all SFU Mail users.



Below are the approved mobile email applications that can connect to SFU Mail:

  • Outlook for Android or iOS (this application is recommended and fully supported by the university)
  • Apple Mail
  • Gmail (Android only)*
  • Samsung Mail

No other applications will be able to connect to SFU Mail.

*Gmail for iOS currently does not support Modern Authentication (OAuth2). You will see "Incorrect username or password" when attempting to sign into Gmail on iOS until the vendor implements support.



Below are changes on connecting to SFU Mail through protocols:

  • IMAP, SMTP and POP configurations will require the OAuth2 or "Modern Authentication" authentication method to connect to SFU Mail once you are upgraded to Exchange Online. Additionally, such connections need to come from an approved application.
    • POP configurations are not recommended since most clients automatically delete old messages which may be unintended.
    • These configurations may not be supported on some versions of Outlook for Desktop.
  • IMAP, SMTP and POP connections will need to be reconfigured to a new server. For instructions, see IMAP Setup.



Third-party tools and integrations refers to applications connected to SFU Mail that sync or modify your SFU Mail inbox, calendar, or contacts. For instance, any tools/applications that connect to your SFU Mail account for activities like: Event or meeting booking (e.g. Calendly, Doodle AG), Project coordination (e.g. Asana), Productivity tools (e.g. Notability).

Visit External Apps/Tools Changes and FAQs for details on upcoming changes in Summer 2024.


Service Changes and Limits


By moving to a cloud-based environment, Exchange Online has introduced new service limits to all mailbox storage. These mailbox storage limits are determined by your SFU account's Microsoft licensing. As a general guideline, the following are:

  • SFU faculty and staff and other users who are eligible for Office 365 (such as sponsored accounts with A3 Licensing) have a mailbox storage limit of 100 GB
  • SFU students have a mailbox storage limit of 5 GB
  • SFU retirees, emeritus, adjunct professors, and other users who are eligible for Office 365 online (such as sponsored accounts with standard licensing) have a mailbox storage limit of 50 GB

Note: If your mailbox is reaching these storage limits, evaluate your use of SFU Mail and efforts to reducing the volume of email stored. You may need to reconsider if an email system is the appropriate place for storage of the information currently being kept there.



Exchange Online has accident prevention features, such as soft-deletes (Deleted Items or "Trash bin") and item recovery (Recover Deleted Items). To ensure efficient use of resourcing, neither Microsoft nor SFU provide indefinite backups to user data caused by personal mistakes.

If you have accidentally deleted an item recently, you may be able to recover them. For more details, visit the Microsoft Support page on Recover Deleted Items in Outlook.

Note: If your mailbox requires additional data resiliency, you are responsible for backing up your data.



Exchange Online (or SFU Mail) at SFU is protected by the enterprise-level security from Microsoft. Microsoft also provides the following to SFU Mail:

  • Data access to files and folders on a user’s Exchange Online Mailbox is only limited to the user account,
  • Data replication of core user data to at least two geographically distributed Microsoft data center for disaster recovery purposes, and
  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest.

To learn more about Microsoft’s trust and security related information, visit the Microsoft Trust Center.




In order to connect to SFU Mail, your device will need to have a mail application that supports Microsoft's Modern Authentication (OAuth2).

The following is a list of email applications that support Modern Authentication and its operating system:

  • Outlook Mobile
    • Android 8+ (i.e., Samsung Galaxy S7 and newer)
    • iOS 15+ (i.e., iPhone 6S or newer)
  • Apple Mail
    • Mac OS X 10.14
    • iPadOS 13.1
    • iOS 11+ (i.e., iPhone 5S or newer)
  • Gmail for Android only
    • Android 5.0+ (i.e., Samsung Galaxy S5 and newer)
  • Samsung Mail
    • Android 8+ (i.e., Samsung Galaxy S7 and newer)

If your device does not support Modern Authentication, you will either need to upgrade or switch to another device. If that's not possible, you may use SFU Mail through a web browser.



Generally speaking, unsupported browsers would be browsers versions with a release date prior to 2018. Visiting SFU Mail on an unsupported browser will display a light version of Outlook.

Details for support browsers and minimum requirements for SFU Mail (powered by Outlook on the web) can be found on Microsoft's page about Supported browsers for Outlook on the web.


Encountering issues? Visit our SFU Mail Migration FAQs and Common Issues.

Looking for further support? Send a support ticket using the SFU Mail - Report Migration Issue form.




Article ID: 6854
Tue 9/26/23 2:47 PM
Fri 6/21/24 12:16 PM