iCloud: Setting Up an Auto-Response

| TMO Quick Tip

When you head out on vacation (you lucky dog, you), it's a good idea to set up an auto-response. This'll mean that every time you get an email, the server will automatically reply to the sender to let him know you're out of town. Trust me, unless you enjoy having to answer emails while you're sitting on the beach, you'll want to do this.

Another good use for auto-responses is when you're switching email addresses and don't want to have to send out a message to your entire contacts list to inform them all. Just configure the auto-response to say you're no longer receiving mail there, give 'em your new address, and you're golden.

But how do you set this up if you've got an @me.com, @mac.com, or @icloud.com email address? It's simple. First, go to iCloud.com, log in with your email address and password, and then click the giant Mail button.

Once you're in the Mail section, you'll see a gear icon in the upper-right of the window. Click on that and choose Preferences.

Now you're almost home free! Select the Vacation tab and toggle on Automatically reply to messages when they are received. Then just type in whatever you want your response to all incoming emails to be and press Done.

Easy peasy, right? Just don't forget to turn your auto-response off when you get back. In fact, it's a great idea to add a reminder or a calendar event so it doesn't slip your mind. I'm sad that iCloud doesn't allow us to set a date range of when the auto-response should be on like Gmail does. Get on that, Apple.

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I agree using an auto responder to let people know of your new address is good.

I would NEVER use it for a vacation notice. All you are doing is telling everyone that your house is unoccupied. Might as well post a ‘steal me’ sign on your front door.

Lee Dronick

Auto responders also verify that a spammer has reached a valid address.


I wish it had the Gmail option which allows you to specify that only your contacts will receive the auto response thus not alerting any spammers to a valid address.


@Lee, good caveats (You beat me to it) to avoid being plundered.
@Mellissa, A follow-up post, about automatically screening/limiting who gets the response would be wonderful.

A better auto-response might be something like:
“I’m taking a few days off from email, but I’ll respond later, if appropriate.”

Billy Bom Bom Bom

This cannot be set-up via iOS device itself correct? I can’t get to www.icloud.com Log In screen using Safari on my iPod Touch.

Melissa Holt

Thanks for the responses and thoughts, everyone!

ibuck, as far as I know, there’s no way to limit who gets the responses through iCloud (as you can see in my third screenshot above, the choices are pretty limited). However, if you’re OK with telling your machine not to sleep while you’re gone, you could set up a Mail rule (e.g., using the “Sender is VIP” rule or the “Sender is in my Contacts” one). That way, the auto-response would get sent from your Mac instead of through the iCloud server.

Hope that helps!

Jon Taylor

Melissa, great tip for iCloud. We also worked out an easy way to set an auto reply using our iPhones. We created “Redponder” for iOS. We have a version for Google, Exchange, and Kerio Connect. Since business folks seem to use OOO more often, it made sense.

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