Scoping application permissions to specific Exchange Online mailboxes

Some apps call Microsoft Graph using their own identity and not on behalf of a user. These are usually background services or daemon apps that run on a server without the presence of a signed-in user. These apps make use of OAuth 2.0 client credentials grant flow to authenticate and are configured with application permissions, which enable such apps to access all mailboxes in a organization on Exchange Online. For example, the Mail.Read application permission allows apps to read mail in all mailboxes without a signed-in user.

Administrators who want to limit the app access to a specific set of mailboxes can use the New-ApplicationAccessPolicy PowerShell cmdlet to configure access control. This article covers the basic steps to configure an application access policy.

These steps are specific to Exchange Online resources and do not apply to other Microsoft Graph workloads.

Configure ApplicationAccessPolicy

To configure an application access policy and limit the scope of application permissions:

  1. Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell. For details, see Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell.

  2. Identify the app’s client ID and a mail-enabled security group to restrict the app’s access to.

    • Identify the app’s application (client) ID in the Azure app registration portal.
    • Create a new mail-enabled security group or use an existing one and identify the email address for the group.
  3. Create an application access policy.

    Run the following command, replacing the AppId, PolicyScopeGroupId, and Description arguments.

    New-ApplicationAccessPolicy -AppId e7e4dbfc-046f-4074-9b3b-2ae8f144f59b -PolicyScopeGroupId -AccessRight RestrictAccess -Description "Restrict this app to members of distribution group EvenUsers."
  4. Test the newly created application access policy.

    Run the following command, replacing the AppId and Identity arguments.

    Test-ApplicationAccessPolicy -Identity -AppId e7e4dbfc-046-4074-9b3b-2ae8f144f59b 

    The output of this command will indicate whether the app has access to User1’s mailbox.

Note: Changes to application access policies can take up to 30 minutes to take effect in Microsoft Graph REST API calls.

Supported permissions and additional resources

Administrators can use ApplicationAccessPolicy cmdlets to control mailbox access of an app that has been granted any of the following application permissions:

  • Mail.Read
  • Mail.ReadBasic
  • Mail.ReadBasic.All
  • Mail.ReadWrite
  • Mail.Send
  • MailboxSettings.Read
  • MailboxSettings.ReadWrite
  • Calendars.Read
  • Calendars.ReadWrite
  • Contacts.Read
  • Contacts.ReadWrite

For more information about configuring application access policy, see the PowerShell cmdlet reference for New-ApplicationAccessPolicy.

Handling API errors

You might encounter the following error when an API call is denied access due to a configured application access policy.

    "error": {
        "code": "ErrorAccessDenied",
        "message": "Access to OData is disabled.",
        "innerError": {
            "request-id": "2f038156-cf40-403d-8e46-831fe42a8229",
            "date": "2019-05-24T10:16:21"

If Microsoft Graph API calls from your app return this error, work with the Exchange Online administrator for the organization to ensure that your app has permission to access the mailbox resource.

See also