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How To Auto-Reply to Texts on iPhone

Posted by Jamie on February 5, 2019

If you’re driving and don’t want to keep contacts waiting, you can configure your iPhone to auto-reply. If you have friends or colleagues for whom an hour is a lifetime and if they don’t hear from you immediately they begin thinking you’re ignoring them or have done something wrong, this page is for you. This tutorial is going to show you how to auto-reply to texts and calls on iPhone.

We all have friends who begin panicking or thinking you hate them if you wait longer than ten seconds to reply to a message. We have all experienced or heard of bosses or clients who do much the same thing. Situations like this is where auto-reply comes in. You can set them up for email and texts but I’m concentrating on text messages today.

As I have experienced this while driving, I am going to cover both how to auto-reply to texts and how to stop receiving alerts for texts while at the wheel. Driving can be hard enough sometimes without distractions every five minutes!

Setting up auto-reply on iPhone

You obviously need to set up auto-reply in advance so it doesn’t disturb you when you’re otherwise occupied. The function is built into iOS so it takes less than a minute to do.

First, let’s add Do Not Disturb to the Control Center for easy management.

  1. Select Settings and Control Center on your iPhone.
  2. Select Do Not Disturb and add it to Control Center.

You will now be able to quickly turn DND on or off as needed. Then we need to set up the message and reply settings.

  1. Open Settings and Do Not Disturb on your iPhone.
  2. Select Auto-Reply.
  3. Fill out a message that will be sent to the person who contacted you.
  4. Select All Contacts, Recents or Favorites to reply to.

Once configured, all you need to do auto-reply to texts is to turn on Do Not Disturb.

Keep your auto-reply message short and sweet. Something like ‘Sorry, I am unavailable right now. I will reply to your message as soon as I can.’ This should work for friends, colleagues, bosses and anyone else who might message you and may not be able to contain themselves for the time it takes for you to arrive or be able to reply.

You can set up several canned responses if you like but you can only use one a time.

Auto-reply to calls on your iPhone

Did you know you can also auto-reply to calls on your iPhone? It works in a very similar way to replying to messages. If you don’t want to let the phone ring or send the caller to voicemail, an auto-reply is another option. It isn’t exactly automatic as you need to select Message during the incoming call but it’s better than having to answer it.

Let’s set it up first:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Select the Phone app and select Respond with Text.
  3. Select a canned response and customize it to your needs.

Now, when a call comes in, select Message above the Accept button on your iPhone to reply with the canned response you just configured. Just select the message in the popup window and confirm and you’re good to go.

Unlike auto-reply for texts, you can choose from several canned responses to calls. You manually have to select a reply when you select Message so you get to choose what response you send depending on who is calling.

Stop call or text alerts when driving or busy

If you’re trying to navigate busy city streets, or generally trying to navigate, the last thing you want is to be disturbed by an incoming call or text. The same Do Not Disturb function we have already used can help here. The iPhone has a specific setting for Do Not Disturb While Driving and we can use it here.

First, let’s add it to Control Center.

  1. Select Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Select Control Center and Customize Controls.
  3. Select the car icon next to Do Not Disturb While Driving and add it.

Then, when driving, swipe up to bring up the Control Center and select the car icon to initiate Do Not Disturb While Driving. When you’re in motion, the phone should detect it and stop pestering you with call or text alerts.

Setting up auto-reply to texts on iPhone is useful if you travel a lot or are often in situations when you don’t want, or cannot, answer a text or call. It shows good manners and helps with those friends or colleagues who cannot stand to be kept waiting!

2 thoughts on “How To Auto-Reply to Texts on iPhone”

Claire Fitzmaurice says:
The auto reply for text only works if calls/text are coming in whilst driving. Can this be set to any time ? Just turning on DND doesn’t work? Any help grateful received as I really NEED an auto text reply
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Cmax says:
This is great, but I use my phone for business and not everyone who texts me is in my contact list. If I’m going away, there’s no way to auto reply to those not in the contact list. So new clients either get ignored or my vacation is spent responding to texts!
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