Lync 2013 Mobile Phone and Conversation History

So over the past week I’ve been asked by two different clients about conversation history on the Lync Mobile Client.  And then the same conversation came up via an internal distribution list and I decided it was a good time to do a little research to answer this simple question:

Does the Lync 2013 Mobile Client honor retention policies for IM’s?

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Test #1

It is very common in large enterprise organizations to disable two of my favorite client features – Auto Archiving of IMs to Outlook & Auto Archiving of Call Logs to Outlook.  The decision to turn these features off is typically pushed in legal and HR departments.  So let’s take a look at what happens with the different features enabled and disabled.  We will be playing with two primary client policy options.

  • EnableIMAutoArchiving
  • DisableSavingIM

For all of these tests one user is logged in via the full Lync 2013 client running the September 2013 patch.  The second user is running the latest version of the Lync 2013 Mobile Client on Windows Phone 8.

Test #1

  • EnableIMAutoArchiving = $Null
  • DisableSavingIM = $Null

This is the easiest configuration for me to test as this is the default configuration of Lync 2013 out of the box.  So checking on my phone I clearly see that my conversation history is being saved.

Test #2

  • EnableIMAutoArchiving = False
  • DisableSavingIM = $Null

This is where the mobile client does some very interesting and fun things.  The start of a conversation does exactly what you would expect it.  In the first screen shot (below left) we see a conversation on the device.  The second screen shot is more interesting.  Because the mobile device is honoring the no-archiving of messages the moment the Lync conversation IM window is closed on the desktop client the conversation disappears immediately from the mobile phone.

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Test #2 – Conversation Started

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Test #2 – Conversation Windows Closed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So in this configuration we have obtained our desired result of not saving the conversation.  However this configuration poses one significant problem for your mobile users.  What happens if the desktop user happens to simply close the IM window.  Unlike two desktop users, even if user A closed the IM window, the IM window would remain open for user B.  For the mobile user, they would have absolutely no idea the conversation was started.

Test #3

  • EnableIMAutoArchiving = $Null
  • DisableSavingIM = True

In this test we reverse the IMAutoArchiving and SavingIM feature.  This scenario would not meet the company requirements outlined above but curious if anything would be different.  In this test scenario the Lync 2013 Mobile Client behaves exactly the same as Test #2.  I went ahead and tried

Test #4 (EnableIMAutoArchiving = False, DisableSavingIM = True) assuming the result is exactly the same.  As predicted the client did not save the IM history but still makes conversations disappear once the far user closes the IM window.

This problem is exacerbated if the Lync client isn’t in the foreground.  The mobile phone will display the notification on the phone for only a matter of seconds.  Once the notification has disappeared, the mobile user is left with a notification on the live tile that a missed conversation occurred but when you enter the Lync client you do not see who the IM was from.

Test #5

This is a set of tests but I used an iOS device for the mobile device to see if different behavior is noted.  Unfortunately, the process in every test scenario turned out exactly the same.  The only difference I noticed was that on the iOS device when the Lync client is not in the foreground, when you launch the application you see the notification for a split second again.  So if you are lucky, you can see who the person was who sent the original IM, but you will not be able open the conversation.

I wasn’t able to repeat these tests on an Android device as I do not have one available but I see no reason why they would behave differently.

7 comments on “Lync 2013 Mobile Phone and Conversation History”

  1. Simon Reply

    This is so annoying. We are not allowed to archive or save IMs and see the problem on our mobile devices (iPhones). It makes the use of Lync on the phone 50% useful. Little value in staying logged in on the phone due to the risk of missing an IM. Our users only log in when then want to initiate an IM, then log out again.

    The mobile client needs to behave like the full client and leave the chat window open until closed.

  2. al p Reply

    Anyone know if there is a work-around to this “feature”. We have conversation history turned off as well. When a message is sent to a mobile client, and if that message is not read within a couple minutes or if the sender has closed out the message box, the message disappears from the mobile device. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Richard Brynteson Reply

      I’ve asked folks about this before and they didn’t have any good answer yet. The issue is that the client is doing exactly as it’s told to do from UCWA, and that is a BYE is being sent. My guess is we will need to see an update to the UCWA stack.

  3. Dennis DeWitt Reply

    Mobile Lync 2013 has a feature where missed conversations are retained, even when conversation history is turned off. This appears to be an automatic setting and might be a result of the strong feedback from users.

  4. DBH Reply

    Hi there, we’re a small non-profit legal defense organization trying to enforce these policies on our users’ devices when they log on to their work accounts. Our AD structure applies the Lync Policy to all our users, but their devices can still keep a history. Do the policies simply not work on non-work devices? Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂 Thank for you demonstrating it is indeed possible!

    • DBH Reply

      We’re using DisableSavingIM=1 and IMAutoArchivingPolicy=0, but not EnableIMAutoArchiving=0. I suspect that plays into the issue. But still, the DisableSavingIM setting isn’t coming down to the devices. (It’s a Windows registry setting hmm).

  5. Russell Reply

    Our Lync 2013 server has both settings at $NULL but our 8.1 Phones do not show conversation history (that does show in Outlook), and new IMs can’t be responded to unless Lync Mobile is in the foreground.

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