The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

Access Outlook PST Files on Your iPhone or iPad

Last Updated Mar 10, 2011 11:59 AM EST


The PST is the lifeblood of Outlook, the file that stores each and every e-mail message you've sent and received, every folder you've stored them in, and so on.

New app Pst Mail brings Outlook PST files to iOS devices, namely the iPhone and iPad. It provides offline mobile access to your entire e-mail database, a potentially huge benefit for Outlook users who frequently need to refer to older messages.

The app effectively copies one or more PST files to your device, then provides a fairly straightforward interface for navigating folders and viewing mail. This isn't intended as a replacement for the stock Mail app, though you can reply to and forward messages.

Pst Mail offers robust search capabilities, far better than what you get with Mail. Search parameters include not only sender, recipient, and subject, but also attachment filename and message-body text. You can also search within a date range and add or remove subfolders.

In my tests, the app worked quite well, though a few things about it weren't very intuitive. For example, to access sorting and view settings, you have to swipe your finger across the message-list toolbar. Why not just provide a button?

Furthermore, and this is perhaps Pst Mail's biggest flaw, it doesn't actually sync with your PST file. If you want the latest messages, you'll have to copy the PST over manually -- again and again.

That could prove to be a dealbreaker for some users, but I think most folks yearning for offline access to their Outlook e-mail will find Pst Mail an incredible asset. The app costs $9.99, but there's a free trial version that lets you test the waters before buying.


More on BNET:
  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.