Office 365 Management Activity API FAQs and troubleshooting

The Office 365 Management Activity API (also known as the Unified Auditing API) is a part of Office 365 security and compliance offerings, that:

  • Allows programmatic access to multiple auditing pipeline workloads (such as SharePoint and Exchange)

  • Is the main interface used by a variety of third-party vendor products to aggregate and index auditing data

The Management Activity API shouldn't be confused with the Office 365 Service Communications API. The Management Activity API is for auditing end user activities in the various workloads. The Service Communications API is for auditing status and messages that are sent by the services that are available in Office 365 (such as Dynamics CRM or Identity Service).

Frequently asked questions about the Office 365 Management Activity API

How do I onboard to the Management Activity API?

To get started with the Office 365 Management Activity API, see Get started with Office 365 Management APIs.

What happens if I disable auditing for my Office 365 organization? Will I still get events via the Management Activity API?

No. Office 365 unified auditing must be enabled for your organization to pull records via the Management Activity API. For instructions, see Turn audit log search on or off.

What events are audited for a specific Office 365 service?

Office 365 Management Activity API schema documentation has a comprehensive list of events. For details, see Office 365 Management Activity API schema. Also see the "Audited activities" section in Search the audit log in the Security & Compliance Center for a list of events for most of the Office 365 services that are audited.

Are there any differences in the records that are fetched by the Management Activity API versus the records that are returned by using the audit log search tool in the Microsoft Purview compliance portal?

The data that is returned by both methods is the same. The only difference is that with the API, you can get data for the last 7 days only (more details in the questions below). When searching the audit log in the Security & Compliance Center (or by using the corresponding Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet in Exchange Online PowerShell), you can get data for the retention period in effect when the data is generated (for example, 90 days or one year).

What is the maximum time I will have to wait before a notification is sent about a given Office 365 event?

There is no guaranteed maximum latency for notification delivery (in other words, there is no SLA). Typically, most notifications are sent within one hour of the event. Often the latency is much shorter, but this period might be longer since this varies from workload to workload.

How long before events show within the Office 365 service?

The Office 365 Audit service doesn't guarantee a specified time when events will be delivered. Audit tries to deliver data as quickly as possible. However, some issues may arise (such as server outages) upstream from the Audit service and are unavoidable. Because audit events are often used for forensic investigations, Microsoft prioritizes data completeness over latency. For core services (such as Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams) event availability is typically 60 to 90 minutes. For other services, event availability may be longer. While these are typical event delivery times, we acknowledge that anomalies may occur. For these reasons, Microsoft doesn't commit to a specific delivery time.

Aren't webhook notifications more immediate?

No. Recently, there have been longer wait times for notifications when using a webhook compared to querying the API directly with the /content operation.

How long will the content remain available to fetch via the API?

Content is available to fetch via the API for 7 days after the notification of the content availability. Even if the notification is delayed for an unusually long period (for example, in the case of a service interruption), you would still have 7 days after the first availability of the notification to download the content blob related to the originating event.

Can I query the Management Activity API for a particular event ID or RecordType or other properties in the content blob?

No. The Management Activity API provides all the event details for a particular log. It can be used to download the entire details, and then you can implement your own query logic on the downloaded data; for example, by using a custom application or a third-party tool.

How do I know the data coming from my existing auditing solution, which collects data from the Management Activity API, is accurate and complete?

The short answer is that Microsoft doesn't provide any kind of a log that allows you to cross-check any given application or third-party (ISV) application. There are other Microsoft security products that obtain their data from the same pipeline, but those products fall outside the scope of this discussion and can't be used to directly cross-check the Management Activity API. If you're concerned about discrepancies between what your existing solution is providing and what you expect, you should implement the operations illustrated above. But this can be difficult, depending on how your existing tool or solution lists and indexes data. If your existing solution only presents data sorted by the creation time of the actual event, there's no way to query the API by event creation time so that you can compare result sets. In this scenario, you'd have to collect the notified content blobs for several days, index or sort them manually, and then do a manual comparison.

What is the throttling limit for the Management Activity API?

All organizations are initially allocated a baseline of 2,000 requests per minute. The throttling limit is then adjusted based on a combination of factors, including the number of seats in the organization. Also, Office 365 E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 organizations will get approximately twice as much bandwidth as non-E5 organizations. There will also be cap on the maximum bandwidth to protect the health of the service.


Even though each tenant can initially submit up to 2,000 requests per minute, Microsoft cannot guarantee a response rate. The response rate depends on various factors, such as client system performance, network capacity, and network speed.

I'm encountering a throttling error in the Management Activity API. What should I do?

Open a ticket with Microsoft Support and request a new throttling limit, and include a business justification for increasing the limit. We will evaluate the request, and if accepted, we will increase the throttling limit.

Why are TargetUpdatedProperties no longer in ExtendedProperties in the audit logs for Microsoft Entra activities?

TargetUpdatedProperties were appearing in ExtendedProperties. However, they have been removed from ExtendedProperties and now appear in ModifiedProperties.

Why aren't audit logs with UserAccountNotFound "LogonError" for Microsoft Entra sign-in activities available via the Management Activity API?

Starting in November 2020, audit logs for Microsoft Entra sign-in activities are ingested into the unified audit log from Microsoft Entra Event Hubs. As a result of this change, populating the "LogonError" property with the UserAccountNotFound value is not possible. Starting the first week of February 2021, the ErrorCode property in the Microsoft Entra logon auditing schema now matches AADSTS error codes. Also, the UserId parameter will not be populated with the user name from the attempted login for UserAccountNotFound errors because that user name doesn't exist in the organization's Microsoft Entra directory.

Troubleshooting the Office 365 Management Activity API

One thing that should be made clear for anyone who's getting started with the Office 365 Management Activity API is that there is no concept of querying by event specifics, such as date that the event occurred, which site collection an event might have been fired from, or the type of event. Instead, you create subscriptions to specific workloads (for example, SharePoint or Microsoft Entra ID) and each subscription is per tenant.

The following sections summarizes the most common questions that customers have in using the Office 365 Management Activity API:

We'll show a selection of simple PowerShell scripts that can help you answer the most common questions asked by customers or get you started implementing a custom solution by demonstrating the main operations. Not all the operations are explained in these sections, but they are all listed in Office 365 Management Activity API reference.

Questions about third-party tools and clients

The most common category of questions come from customers using third-party products to download and aggregate auditing data. Depending on the third-party product, customers may encounter difficulty with the setup or experience an interruption or an inconsistency in the data exposed in those products. Here it should be stated that the first action such customers should take is to contact their vendor's support organization. Typically, a tenant-specific vendor configuration or service problem is the cause of customer complaints.

Enable unified audit logging in Office 365

If you've just set up an app that's trying to use the Management Activity API and it's not working, be sure that you've enabled unified audit logging for your Office 365 organization. You do this by turning on the Office 365 audit log. For instructions, see Turn Office 365 audit log search on or off.


The unified audit log configuration change can take up to 60 minutes to take effect.

If unified auditing isn't enabled, you'll typically receive an error that contains the following string: Microsoft.Office.Compliance.Audit``.DataServiceException: Tenant <tenantID> does not exist.

Connect to the API

Most applications connect to the API using a straightforward Client Credentials OAuth2 flow. Therefore, the first step is to create a Microsoft Entra application that has the permissions needed to access the Management Activity API data. It's outside the scope of this article to explain the steps to create a Microsoft Entra App registration. For more information, see Register your application with your Microsoft Entra tenant.

Azure application permissions

The three permissions currently used for the Office 365 Management Activity API are:

  1. Read activity data for your organization

  2. Read service health information for your organization

  3. Read Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy events, including detected sensitive information


You should enable both the Application Permissions and the Delegated Permissions for at least the first two of the above permission sets. Read DLP policy events will only be necessary if you are interested in the DLP workloads.

Get an access token

The following PowerShell script uses the App ID and a Client Secret to obtain the OAuth2 token from the Management Activity API authentication endpoint. It then places the access token into the $headerParams array variable, which you'll attach to your HTTP request. For the value for the API endpoint (in the $resource variable) use one of the following values based on your organization's Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription plan:

  • Enterprise plan:

  • GCC government plan:

  • GCC High government plan:

  • DoD government plan:

# Create app of type Web app / API in Azure AD, generate a Client Secret, and update the client id and client secret here
$ClientSecret = "<YOUR_CLIENT_SECRET>"
$loginURL = ""
$tenantdomain = "<YOUR_DOMAIN>"
# Get the tenant GUID from Properties | Directory ID under the Azure Active Directory section. For $resource, use one of these endpoint values based on your subscription plan: Enterprise -; GCC -; GCC High:; DoD:
$resource = "https://<YOUR_API_ENDPOINT>"
# auth
$body = @{grant_type="client_credentials";resource=$resource;client_id=$ClientID;client_secret=$ClientSecret}
$oauth = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -Uri $loginURL/$tenantdomain/oauth2/token?api-version=1.0 -Body $body
$headerParams = @{'Authorization'="$($oauth.token_type) $($oauth.access_token)"} 

The $oauth variable will contain the response object, which has several properties including the access token. Here's an example of a response:

token_type     : Bearer
expires_in     : 3599
ext_expires_in : 0
expires_on     : 1508285860
not_before     : 1508281960
resource       :
access_token   : eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJSUzI1NiIsIng1dCI6IjJLVmN1enFBaWRPTHFXU2FvbDd3Z0ZSR0NZbyIsImtpZCI6IjJLVmN1enFBaWRPTHFXU2FvbDd3Z0ZSR0NZbyJ9.eyJhdWQiOiJodHRwczov…

Check your subscriptions

If you've experienced an interruption in data flowing to an existing Management Activity API client or solution, you might wonder if something happened to your subscription. To check your active subscriptions, add the following to the previous script:

Invoke-WebRequest -Headers $headerParams -Uri "$resource/api/v1.0/$tenantGUID/activity/feed/subscriptions/list" 

Sample response

StatusCode        : 200
Status Description : OK
Content           : [{"contentType":"Audit.Exchange","status":"enabled","webhook":null},{"contentType":"Audit.SharePoint","status":"enabled","webhook":{"authId":"","address":"https://mvcwebapiwebhookreceiver.azurewebsite...
RawContent        : HTTP/1.1 200 OK
                    Pragma: no-cache
                    Content-Length: 266
                    Cache-Control: no-cache
                    Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
                    Expires: -1
                    Server: Microsoft-IIS/8.5,Microsoft-IIS/8.5
Forms             : {}
Headers           : {[Pragma, no-cache], [Content-Length, 266], [Cache-Control, no-cache], [Content-Type, application/json; charset=utf-8]...}
Images            : {}
InputFields       : {}
Links             : {}
ParsedHtml        : mshtml.HTMLDocumentClass
RawContentLength  : 266

This says that the tenant has both Audit.Exchange and Audit.SharePoint subscriptions enabled. The Exchange subscription has no webhook enabled (null) and the SharePoint subscription has a webhook enabled with the address of the registered endpoint shown.

Create a new subscription

To create a new subscription, you use the /start operation. For the API endpoint, use one of these values base on your subscription plan:

  • Enterprise plan:

  • GCC government plan:

  • GCC High government plan:

  • DoD government plan:

Invoke-WebRequest -Method Post -Headers $headerParams -Uri "https://<YOUR_API_ENDPOINT>/api/v1.0/$tenantGUID/activity/feed/subscriptions/start?contentType=Audit.AzureActiveDirectory"


Remember that $headerParams was populated in the first part of the script listed in the Connect to the API section in this article.

The previous code will create a new subscription to the Audit.AzureActiveDirectory content type, with a webhook that is null. You can then check your subscriptions using the code in the Check your subscriptions section in this article.

Check content availability

To check what content blobs were created during a certain period, you can add the following line to the script in the "Connecting to the API" section.

Invoke-WebRequest -Method GET -Headers $headerParams -Uri "$resource/api/v1.0/$tenantGUID/activity/feed/subscriptions/content?contentType=Audit.SharePoint"

The previous example will get all the content notifications that became available today, which means from 12:00 AM UTC to the current time. If you want to specify a different time period (keeping in mind that the maximum period for which you can query is 24 hours), add the starttime and endtime parameters to the URI; for example:

Invoke-WebRequest -Method GET -Headers $headerParams -Uri "$resource/api/v1.0/$tenantGUID/activity/feed/subscriptions/content?contentType=Audit.SharePoint&startTime=2017-10-13T00:00&endTime=2017-10-13T11:59"


You must use either both starttime and endtime parameters or neither.

[{		"contentUri" : "https://<your_API_endpoint>/api/v1.0/<your_tenant_guid>/activity/feed/audit/20171014180051748005825$20171014180051748005825$audit_sharepoint$Audit_SharePoint",
		"contentId" : "20171014180051748005825$20171014180051748005825$audit_sharepoint$Audit_SharePoint",
		"contentType" : "Audit.SharePoint",
		"contentCreated" : "2017-10-13T18:00:51.748Z",
		"contentExpiration" : "2017-10-20T18:00:51.748Z",


  • The contentUri property is the URI from which you can retrieve the content blob. The blob itself is what contains the event details; it will contain details about 1 – N events. While there may be 30 JSON objects in the collection, there may be many more events detailed in those 30 content URIs.

  • The contentCreated property is not the date that the event being notified was created. This is the date the notification was created. The events detailed in that blob may have been created well before the content blob was created. Therefore, you can never query the API directly for events that occurred within any given period.

Page contents for busy tenants

Many larger Office 365 tenants have thousands of events being generated every hour. If this is the case with your organization, and you try to execute a query for a 24-hour period like in the example above, you may need to retrieve more notifications than can be returned in one response. In this case, you'll need to implement a logical loop of some kind, each time checking the response headers for the NextPageUrl: header value. See the Pagination section in the Office 365 Management Activity API reference for more details.

IF the NextPageUrl header is present in the response... 

THEN issue a new request substituting the Uri parameter in the above Invoke-WebRequest example for the value of the NextPageUrl header...
ELSE exit the loop

It will be difficult to test this looping code unless you have a very active tenant. In our testing, we tried to execute several thousand update operations in a script and was unable to generate a large enough number of notifications to require the NextPageUrl header to be sent.

Use webhooks

There two ways to get a notification that content blobs have been created. The push approach is implemented with a webhook endpoint, which is a web application that you create and host yourself or on a cloud platform. You register the webhook at the time you create a subscription to an audited content type. You may also add a webhook registration to an existing subscription using the approach shown below. The pull approach requires you to query for a particular timespan (no more than 24 hours) using the /content operation. The response will tell you which content blobs were created during the period specified.

Before you add a webhook, be aware of the following two issues:

  1. Webhooks are being de-emphasized by Microsoft because of the difficulty in debugging and troubleshooting. Typically, you would host a WebApi endpoint that responds to incoming requests. Many customers either use hosting environments (which they don't have full control over) or on-premises environments (that have difficulty allowing incoming HTTP requests). Support has seen many problems where the incoming requests from the Office 365 auditing pipeline have been blocked by a firewall or router. In this case, the API will implement a back-off algorithm, which can be confusing and may result in disabling the webhook in the subscription.

  2. The webhook must be ready to immediately respond to a validation request after the start operation is executed. If there is a bug in the webhook application, the validation will fail, and the webhook will not be enabled. For information about the validation request schema, see the Webhook validation section in the Office 365 Management Activity API reference. You should seriously consider the challenges in producing a production-ready webhook to respond to Management Activity API notifications.

If you decide to implement a webhook, it should be tested to verify that the endpoint is prepared to respond with an HTTP 200 response to both the validation request and the normal notification requests before any /start operation that specifies a webhook endpoint is called for the first time. Typically, you would use a mocked request from the API to test this readiness. Carefully read and observe both the Webhook validation and Retrieving content sections in the Office 365 Management Activity API reference to understand the schema of these two types of requests.

To add a subscription with a webhook endpoint, add a body parameter to the POST to the /start endpoint; for example:

$body = '{
    "webhook" : {
        "address": "",
        "authId": "o365activityapinotification",
        "expiration": ""
$uri = "$tenantGUID/activity/feed//subscriptions/start?contentType=Audit.SharePoint"
Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -uri $uri -Headers $headerParams -Body $body

Immediately following this call, a validation request will be sent out to … and there should be a listener ready to respond, as per the description in the Webhook validation section in the Office 365 Management Activity API reference. Your listener must respond with HTTP 200. If you immediately run the /list operation at this point, you'll not see the webhook shown as other than null until the validation has returned successfully.

Check notifications to webhooks

It's important to distinguish between the /notifications operation and the /content operation. Checking notifications is only relevant if you have subscribed with a webhook endpoint. This operation will let you know if attempts to send notifications to your webhook have been successful or not. This operation should not be used to list available content. To cross-check the availability of content against what you may have already received in your webhook, you would use the /content operation. But be sure to first check for failed notifications using the /notifications operation.

Request content blobs and throttling

After you've obtained a list of content URIs, you must request the blobs specified by the URIs. The following is an example of requesting a content blob (using the API endpoint for Enterprise organizations) using PowerShell. This example assumes you have already used the previous example in the Get an access token section in this article to get an access token and have populated the $headerParams variable appropriately.

# Get a content blob
$uri = '<<your-tenant-guid>>/activity/feed/audit/<<ContentID>$audit_sharepoint$Audit_SharePoint'
$contents = Invoke-WebRequest -Method GET -Headers $headerParams -Uri $uri

Note the following things about the $uri variable in the previous example:

  • We used single quotes so that the $ symbols aren't interpreted as variables in PowerShell

  • The entire URI will be returned in the contentUri property of the response to your previous call to the /content endpoint. The placeholder tokens shown are just for illustration.

When attempting to retrieve the available content blobs, many customers (mostly working with busy tenants) have experienced errors that look like this:

Response Code 403: {'error':{'code':'AF429','message':'Too many requests. Method=GetBlob, PublisherId=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000'}}

This is likely due to throttling. Note that the value of the PublisherId parameter likely indicates that the client didn't specify the PublisherIdentifier in the request. Also, keep in mind that the correct parameter name is PublisherIdentifier even though you see PublisherId listed in the 403 error responses.


In the API reference, the PublisherIdentifier parameter is listed in every operation of the API, but it should also be included in the GET request to the contentUri URL when retrieving the content blob.

If you're doing simple API calls to troubleshoot problems (for example, checking if a given subscription is active) you can safely omit the PublisherIdentifier parameter, but absolutely any code that is eventually meant for production use should include the PublisherIdentifier parameter on every call.

If you're implementing a client for your company's tenant, the PublisherIdentifier is the Tenant GUID. If you are creating an ISV application or add-in for multiple customers, the PublisherIdentifier should be the ISV's Tenant GUID, and not the tenant GUID of end user's company.

If you include the valid PublisherIdentifier, then you'll be in a pool that is allotted 60K requests per minute per tenant. This is an exceptionally large number of requests. However, if you don't include the PublisherIdentifier parameter, you'll be in the general pool allotted 60K requests per minute for all tenants. In this case, you'll more than likely find that your calls are getting throttled. To prevent this, here's how you would request a content blob using the PublisherIdentifier:

$contentUri = ($response.Content | ConvertFrom-Json).contentUri[0]
$uri = $contentUri + '?PublisherIdentifier=82b24b6d-0591-4604-827b-705d55d0992f'
$contents = Invoke-WebRequest -Method GET -Headers $headerParams -Uri $uri

The previous example assumes that the $response variable was populated with the response to a request to the /content endpoint and that the $headerParams variable includes a valid access token. The script grabs the first item in the array of content URIs from the response and then invokes the GET to download that blob and put it in the $contents variable. Your code will likely loop through the contentUri collection, issuing the GET for each contentUri.

Service tags

The Office 365 Management Activity API and Office 365 Management Activity API Webhook now support service tags to find the required IP address prefixes that need to be allowed through the firewall. A service tag represents a pre-defined group of IP address prefixes that is managed and updated by Microsoft. Service tags help minimize the complexity for security rule creation.

The following service tags include the IP address prefixes that support the Office 365 Management Activity API and Office 365 Management Activity API Webhook:

  • M365ManagementActivityApi

  • M365ManagementActivityApiWebhook

For a list of the IP address prefixes that are encompassed by previous service tags, download one of the following files:

After you download the appropriate file, search for the strings "M365ManagementActivityApi" and "M365ManagementActivityApiWebhook" to find the section that contains the IP address prefixes for each service tag.

Configure service tags for network security groups

You can use Az or AzureRM PowerShell cmdlets to set the network security group rule with service tag. You can configure security group rules with service tags, and then add those rules to a new network security group. A few resources, such as Azure Functions, also provide a service tag option to configure network security groups using the Azure portal

For information about using Az or AzureRM PowerShell to set up network security rules and network security groups, see:

Here's an example of a AzureRM PowerShell script that restricts outbound traffic to all IP address prefixes except for the ones included in M365ManagementActivityApi service tag. The example script creates two outbound network security group rules. The first one allows outbound traffic to the IP address prefixes included in the M365ManagementActivityApi service tag. The second one denies outbound traffic to the Internet. The rules are then added to a network security group, which can then be configured to specific Azure services.

$allowMyServiceRule = New-AzureRmNetworkSecurityRuleConfig ` -Name "AllowMyService"  -Access Allow  -Protocol Tcp  -Direction Outbound  -Priority 100 -DestinationAddressPrefix M365ManagementActivityApi  -SourcePortRange * -SourceAddressPrefix * -DestinationPortRange *
$denyInternetRule = New-AzureRmNetworkSecurityRuleConfig -Name "denyInternetOut" -Access Deny `
-Protocol Tcp -Direction Outbound  -Priority 4000 -DestinationAddressPrefix Internet -SourcePortRange * -SourceAddressPrefix * -DestinationPortRange *
$nsg = New-AzureRmNetworkSecurityGroup `
-ResourceGroupName $resourceGroupName `
-Location $location `
-Name $nsgName `
-SecurityRules $denyInternetRule,$allowMyServiceRule

An inbound rule to accept traffic only from M365ManagementActivityApiWebhook can be configured in a similar way.