How to Set up an Out-of-Office Auto-Responder in iCloud Mail

A businessman working at a desk and dreaming of being at the beach
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Email replies are like a lottery, except with the latter game of luck one can—and should—know the chances.

If you want to let people who email you know chances of getting a personal reply are about 0 during your absence, an out-of-office auto-responder can be most helpful; of course, you can also add when you'll be back and right at sending out answers.

With iCloud Mail, setting up a vacation auto-responder is easy—as easy perhaps, as going on vacation.

Set up an Out-of-Office Auto-Responder in iCloud Mail

To make iCloud Mail reply to incoming emails with an out-of-office message automatically and on your behalf:

  • Click the Show Actions menu gear in iCloud Mail's lower left corner.
    • If you cannot see the gear icon or the mailbox list, click > (Show Mailboxes) at the top of the message list.
  • Select Preferences… from the menu.
  • Go to the Vacation tab.
  • Make sure Automatically reply to messages when they are received is checked.
  • Enter your out-of-office auto-reply over Add vacation message.
    • Be purposefully vague; revealing too much information in an auto-reply—including whether you will be out of town or phone numbers of people to contact in your absence—does pose a security risk.
    • Do include when senders can expect a personal reply—or whether they should resend their message if it is still relevant after you will have returned.
    • iCloud Mail will respond to each sender only once.
    • Note that the original message will not be quoted in the automatic reply.
  • Click Done.

You can turn off your newly employed iCloud Mail auto-responder at any time, say when you return.

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