Let Your Loved Ones Know You Arrived Safely With iOS 17 Check Ins

If you’re the friend who always says, “Drive safe!” or the parent asking your kids to text you when they arrive somewhere, this iOS 17 feature is for you. The newest software update gives iPhone users the ability to send and receive check-in notifications.

The new iOS 17, launched earlier this year, makes sending and monitoring check-ins easy. The feature uses messaging and location-tracking services to automatically alert your chosen recipients when you arrive at your destination. If you’re delayed or don’t respond for any reason, your recipients are automatically notified. 

This feature is a great way to send safety checks to your friends and family, especially if you don’t live near your loved ones or sometimes forget to respond to texts asking if you arrived somewhere alright. It’s one way to help reduce travel anxiety and keep tabs on your loved ones, even when you aren’t nearby. 

Here’s how the new Check In feature works and how to send one. Note that this feature is only available when both the sender and recipient have iOS 17 installed. You can learn how to install iOS 17 here.

screenshot of Apple Check In with text reading "Let your friend know you've arrived with Check In."

Screenshot by Katelyn Chedraoui/CNET

How iOS 17’s Check-In feature works

Check In combines features of Apple’s messaging and location-tracking services. When you send a Check In, Apple uses your location data to alert your chosen recipient when your phone, and by association you, arrive at a certain place by a certain time. If there are delays, if you fail to respond to prompts or make an Emergency SOS call, your recipient is notified.

For senders, all you have to do is send a Check In message before you begin traveling and let Apple do the rest. If you end up delayed, you can assure your recipients you’re still on track and can add on additional time to your ETA when prompted.

If you’re on the receiving end of a Check In, you’ll get four kinds of notifications: 

  1. When you’re sent a Check In: This lets you know someone has initiated a Check In.
  2. When they arrive at their destination: This happens automatically and ends the Check In.
  3. When they’re delayed and do not respond when prompted: You’ll be notified if a sender is delayed and does not respond to a prompt within 15 minutes. 
  4. If their iPhone goes offline for an extended period of time. If the sender’s iPhone places an Emergency SOS call, you will also be notified.

Apple secures all information shared in a Check In by using end-to-end encryption.

How to send a Check In

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Navigate to the chat with the person you want to send a Check In to.
  3. Tap the + icon to the left of the message bar.
  4. Tap More. 
  5. Tap Check In. The options are organized alphabetically, and Check In is a yellow icon.

The first time you send a Check In, Apple will prompt you through some instructions. You’ll have to choose how much of your information you want Apple to share with recipients: limited or full.

If you choose to give your Check In recipients limited data, they will be able to see your iPhone’s current location, battery charge and network signal. 

If you give full data, they will be able to see all that, plus your travel route and the location of the last place you unlocked your iPhone or removed your Apple Watch. 

You can always change what information your recipient has access to when setting up your Check In. 

Once you’ve gotten your settings the way you want them, set your destination and travel time for your recipients to see:

  1. Tap Edit in the yellow Check In widget to set your travel information.
  2. Swipe to which option you want: When I arrive or After a timer.
  3. Under Destination, use the built in Apple Maps feature to search and select where you are headed.
  4. Select your mode of transportation, Driving, Transit or Walking or add an estimated time by tapping Add Time.
  5. Double check what information you are sharing under Check In Data.
  6. Tap Done in the upper right corner and verify your information in the yellow Messages.
  7. Tap Send to begin the Check In process.

For more iOS 17 tips and tricks, check out how to create live stickers, using Maps offline and how to share Air Tags.

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