How to Set an “Out of Office” Auto-Reply Email Message on iPhone or iPad

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How to set an Email Auto Reply on iOS

If you’re an iPhone or iPad user with an Exchange email account configured on your device, you can setup auto-responders for automatic “Out of Office” or vacation auto-reply messages. Effectively this means that if someone sends you an email, your iOS device will automatically respond with a pre-defined message to that recipient, usually saying something along the lines of “I’m away from the office right now, if this is urgent then contact Santa Claus at 1-555-555-5555”.

These automatic email replies are fairly common (or even necessary) with some work environments, and so if you’re interested in setting one up on your iOS device then read on.


It’s important to note that not all email accounts support the auto-reply functionality on iOS, which is why we’re focused on Exchange email accounts primarily. If your email account service doesn’t support this feature, then the setting won’t exist on your devices iOS settings for that mail account. This is notably different from the Mac, where you set an auto-responder in Mail for Mac for any email account. Additionally, many mail providers allow you to set an auto-reply for vacations or “out of office” messages directly on the server, or through the web, but that process is different for each email provider and thus will not be covered here.

How to Set an Email Auto-Responder on iPhone and iPad

Here is how you can configure an automatic reply feature in a compatible email account for iOS:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your iOS device
  2. Settings icon

  3. Choose “Accounts & Settings” (on older iOS versions you will tap on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” instead)
  4. Select the email account to configure the auto-reply for
  5. Scroll down and tap on “Automatic Reply”
  6. How to setup iOS Automatic Reply in Email on iPhone and iPad

  7. Flip the “Automatic Reply” setting switch to the ON position
  8. Next, set the “End Date” for when you want the auto-responder to stop (or just remember to turn it off manually yourself)
  9. Under the ‘Away Message’ section, set your desired automatic email response reply
  10. Adjust any other settings if desired, then tap on the “Save” button to set the automatic responder for the email account
  11. Exit out of Settings as usual

If you’re using multiple email accounts and want each of them to have the automatic reply enabled, you will need to enable the feature for each specific account.

Again, remember that not all email account and email providers support the automatic responder feature, so this will not be a feature that is available in all mail accounts on iOS. Some third party email providers will support these features if you set them up as Exchange however, so if you want to research that on your own you could always add the email account to iOS as an Exchange account if that is applicable to you.

You can also set an email auto-responder on Mail for Mac if desired, and as already mentioned you can also setup auto-reply messages directly from many email providers on the server side too.

If you didn’t set an End Date during the configuration process, remember that you’ll need to turn off your email automatic reply manually when you no longer want it to be active. That can be done just by going back to the Settings app and turning “Automatic Reply” off again.

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