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How to Use iOS’s Focus Mode to Automatically Reply to Texts While Driving

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We’ll show you how to use the Focus feature to make your iPhone automatically reply to texts for you when you’re driving.

Using Focus Mode on an iPhone

The iPhone’s Driving focus mode was released in iOS 15, and it’s a very handy tool, especially because it lets you reply to your text messages without having to touch your phone. Apple’s making sure no one has an excuse for texting and driving with this feature.

If you want to let your loved ones know you’re on the road and can’t pick up your phone right now, just get the Driving focus set up on your iPhone and it will send out an automatic text you while you’re driving.

Let’s find out how to set up and use auto-replies in Driving focus.


Set Up a Driving Focus

Before you can begin using this feature, you need to set it up. Make sure your iPhone is updated to iOS 15 or later to get the feature first.

Read More: How to Set Up and Use Focus Modes in iOS 15

Note that you will not receive notifications of texts when Driving focus is enabled (unless you specifically choose to let certain contacts send notifications), and automatic replies will be sent without an alert.

Read on and follow the steps to create a Driving focus:

  1. Go to Settings and choose Focus.
  2. Tap the plus (+) sign in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Driving from the list of options.
  4. Tap Next, choose notification settings (you can change these later) and then press Done.

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Turn On Auto Replies for Driving Focus

Once your Driving focus is set up, you can now turn on auto-replies to automatically reply to a text while driving. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open your Driving focus in the Settings and tap on Auto-Reply.
  2. Choose any of the four options: No One, Recents, Favorites, and All Contacts.
  3. You’ll see a text box at the bottom of the screen that says Auto-Reply Message with a pre-written reply already typed in. You can choose to keep the same message or alter it by tapping and typing.
Image Gallery (2 Images)

Choose Who You Automatically Reply To

It’s understandable if you don’t want to send everyone an automatic reply when you’re driving. You can make your own custom list of the contacts you want it to be sent to instead. This is a two-step process. Here’s how to begin:


  1. Open the Driving focus in your Focus settings. Tap on Auto-Reply.
  2. Choose Favorites from the list under Auto-Reply To. Alternatively, choosing Recents will mean an automatic text is sent to anyone you have been in contact with in the last day.

After this is done, you need to create a list of contacts in your Favorites list. These are the only contacts that will be sent an automatic reply when Driving Focus is turned on with the above setting. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Open the Phone app and go to Favorites.
  2. Tap on the plus (+) sign in the top-left corner.
  3. Choose all the contacts you want to be added to your Favorites. Make sure you choose the Message option. These are the people who will be auto-replied to.

How Will My iPhone Know I’m Driving?

The question is, how will your iPhone know when you’re driving to know to send an automatic reply? Well, you can change your iPhone settings yourself or let it detect that you’re driving automatically.

Related: How to Schedule and Automate Different Focus Modes in iOS 15

To enable Driving focus yourself, open Control Center, tap the Focus button and choose Driving.

If you want your iPhone to do the job for you, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Driving focus in Settings and tap on While Driving.
  2. Choose Automatically from the list of options.
Image Gallery (2 Images)

Your iPhone will use your location and movement to determine when you’ve started driving.

Automatically Reply to a Text Without Picking Up Your Phone

Focus Mode has many great features that make your iPhone a lot easier to use. One of them is the Driving focus, that allows you to automatically reply to text messages when you receive one, letting them know you’re driving. You can even choose who your iPhone automatically responds to.


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