How To Auto-Reply to Texts on the iPhone

If you’re driving and don’t want people to think you’re ignoring your texts, you might want to consider setting up the automatic text while driving features on the iPhone. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid texting while driving, which has become one of the leading causes of car accidents (beating drunk driving).  In this TechJunkie howto article, we’ll show you how to set up auto-reply while driving and related features such as stop receiving text alerts while driving. In this TechJunkie article, we’ll show you how to set up an auto-reply to texts for Do Not Disturb While Driving and iPhone auto-reply texts to phone calls.

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 set your iPhone to auto-reply to texts and calls so you can focus on driving or, frankly, not feel obligated to be tethered to your phone all the time.

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! Don’t let someone else’s sense of urgency impact your driving, increasing the odds you will get distracted and crash your vehicle.

iPhone Auto-reply While Driving

You obviously need to set up an 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 configure auto-reply while driving on your iPhone.

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

  1. Select Settings on your iPhone
  2. Then tap Control Center
  3. Next, tap on Customize Controls
  4. Tap the green icon next to Do Not Disturb While Driving, which will add it to Control Center.

You will now be able to quickly turn Do Not Disturb While Driving on or off as needed. Then we need to set up the message and reply settings.

Now let’s set up a Do Not Disturb While Driving auto-reply:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Do Not Disturbdo not disturb while driving settings
  3. Scroll down to set activate to Manually, When Connected to Car Bluetooth or Automatically
  4. Then set Auto-reply To to All Contacts, Recents, Favorites, or No One.
  5. Finally, if you wish, customize your Auto-reply message or leave the default auto-reply:  “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.”

iPhone do not disturb

While these steps configure your iPhone to auto-reply while driving, you may want to set more granular parameters such as setting your iPhone to only send auto-reply texts to people in your contacts, not people we don’t know or spam texts. And, even amongst people you know, you might not want just anyone to know you’re out driving, so you can set your iPhone to only auto-reply to recently texted people or just your favorites.

And here’s how to configure auto-reply:

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Do Not Disturb
  3. Scroll down and tap Auto-Reply To
  4. Choose who you want to Auto-Reply To from these choices: No One, Recents, Favorites, or All Contacts.

Next, you can choose to either leave the default text or write your own. The default auto-reply text says, “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving Turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.”

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

Your iPhone Auto-Reply Message

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 at 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. Tap the Phone app
  3. Tap Respond with Text.iPhone respond with text

Of course, you can keep the default responses to Response With Text or you can write your own.

Then, 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. These responses will be ready and available making it efficient to notify callers you aren’t available.

Stop iPhone 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. Tap Control Center
  3. Tap Customize Controls
  4. Select the green icon next to Do Not Disturb While Driving to add it to the Control Center.

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 phone call alerts 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.

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

Avatar Lisa says:
Is there a way to send auto reply to ONLY ONE NUMBER? I’m trying to auto reply always, to one phone number with the word “yes”.
Avatar facebook says:
Auto-reply settings in I phone is common, just to set the customize controls and do not disturb in your phone. It will automatically stop alerting you regarding your call.
Avatar 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
Avatar Miriam Doherty says:
Claire Did you get a reply or solution for this?
I teach so I cant use my phone between 8 and 2pm .
I need a message to explain I’ll reply later.
Avatar 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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