How to set up an automatic email reply in Mail on Mac

Automatic email replies are handy little ways to reply to messages without lifting a finger. We receive them all the time for things like technical support questions we submit, or payments we make. You might even set up automatic replies of your own for emails coming into the office when you leave on vacation.

If you want to do the same type of thing with the Mail app on Mac, it’s easy to do. Here’s how to set up an automatic email reply in Mail on Mac.

set up an automatic email reply on Mac

Set up the rules for your email reply

1) Open the Mail app, click Mail in your menu bar, and select Settings or Preferences.

2) Click on the Rules option on the top right of the window.

3) Click Add Rule.

4) Give your rule a name in the Description field.

Name Rule in Mail app

Now, in the If section underneath the description, you’re going to enter the rules for who should receive your automatic reply.

If you want all conditions you set up to apply, select all in the drop-down box. If you want any of the conditions you enter to apply, choose any instead.

Next, you’ll add in the conditions. Here are a few examples:

  • Messages from a specific email address
  • Messages sent or received within a certain date range
  • Messages from people in your contact list
  • Messages marked as high priority
  • Messages with a certain word in the subject line or body

There are many more options to pick from, and the conditions are quite flexible. So, start by choosing your condition from the drop-down list and then add any necessary parameters in the fields next to it.

Conditions for Rule in Mail app

You can set up more than one condition if you like. Take a look at our full tutorial for additional details on working with the Mail app Rules.

Create your automatic email reply

Once you have the conditions set up for your automatic reply, it’s time to actually create it.

1) Under Perform the following actions, choose Reply to Message.

Actions for Rule in Mail app

2) Click the Reply message text box that appears when you pick the action above.

3) Type in your reply text and click OK.

Reply Text in Mail app

4) When you land back on the Rules screen, click OK.

You then have the option to apply your new rule to messages in your inbox. Choose either Don’t Apply or Apply, per your preference.

Your new automatic reply rule will now appear in your list of Rules. The checkbox for it should be marked, but if not, mark it.

Once you finish creating your automatic reply, as with any other Mail rules you set up, it’s a good idea to test it out and make sure it works.

Test Automatic Reply EMail

If it doesn’t work as you intended, go back to the Rules area in your Settings. Select the rule and click Edit to make the necessary changes.

Keep in mind

There are a couple of things to remember when creating these automatic replies.

  • The Mail app must be open for the Rules to run and your automatic replies to be sent.
  • If you cannot leave your Mail app open, consider creating an automatic reply directly through your email provider, such as iCloud, Exchange, or Gmail.

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