HolidayToday's smartphones mean you are never unreachable and people can call, send text messages, send instant messages, and email you. anytime anywhere You can be on a beach lying in the sun and still be in touch with work contacts, friends and so on. Don't forget the away message though...

A constant stream of emails, especially work messages, can ruin a holiday, so before you set off you should set an automated vacation response in Gmail to tell everyone you are away and that you'll get back to them as soon as you return home. You will have much more fun on your holiday without the constant distraction of work emails.

Most email services have vacation responses and Gmail is no exception. You can tell it when you are on holiday, create an email reply, and then when anyone sends you a message they will automatically receive the vacation response you created.

Gmail's vacation response can be set up on a desktop computer of course, but just for fun (getting in the holiday mood perhaps), let's see how to do it using Gmail on the iPad.

1 Open the Gmail side panel

Start the Gmail app and press the menu button in the top left corner. A panel slides out on the left. What we want is the gear icon, which accesses the settings.

Gmail on the iPad

2. Turn on Vacation Responder

Press the gear icon to go to the app settings and a panel is displayed with various options. One of these is Vacation Responder. It is currently set to Off, so tap the button to turn it on:

Gmail settings on the iPad

3. Set the start and end dates

This reveals new options and the obvious ones are the start and end dates of your holiday. Tap each of the dates and set them from the calendar that is displayed.

Gmail vacation response options

4. Set the response

After setting the dates for the start and end of your vacation, there are two boxes, one for the email response subject line and another for the body of the email. Tap the subject and body boxes to bring up the keyboard and enter the subject and text of the message you want to send to people when you are away. You can make the message as long as it needs to be, or just keep it short and simple like this:

Set Gmail's vacation responder

5. Limit replies to contacts

Notice the option below which enables you to limit vacation responses to only those people in your contacts. You might not want the whole world to know you are away on holiday, so turn on that option if you just want people that know you to get the response.

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