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Home / Features / What is Apple Check In? The new “Are you home yet?” Messages feature explained

What is Apple Check In? The new “Are you home yet?” Messages feature explained

New iOS 17 feature automatically lets people know when you make it home safely

Screenshots of Apple's iOS 17 Check In feature on iPhone

We’ve all sent a “Let me know when you get home”, “Drive safely”, or “Are you home yet” text to a friend or family member. But for the person making their way home, remembering to fish out their smartphone and reply to the text might slip through the cracks. Apple has thought of a solution for this, with a new feature called Check In arriving as part of the iOS 17 Messages app.

Check In will let your iPhone automatically send updates to your loved ones, letting them know when you arrived safely. But how exactly does the feature work? Here’s everything you need to know.

How does Check In work?

Check In will let your iPhone automatically notify selected contacts when you arrive at a set location safely. Your device can detect when you reach your destination, and then share your location, route, battery level, and signal strength with your chosen contacts.

To use Check In, head to the Messages app on your iPhone. In a conversation, press the + icon text to the message field at the bottom of the app. In the menu that appears, tap on Check In. Your iPhone will then display an estimated arrival time based on your location and traffic, which you can confirm. You can then send the prompt to your contact. Once you reach your destination, or if you’re delayed, your contact will get a notification updating them of your progress. If you haven’t arrived on time, your contact will see your current location and an updated arrival time.

It seems like you’ll have to send the Check In prompt to your contact before you set off, and for each journey. However, Apple hasn’t delved into the full details on this just yet. You may be able to set up automations, or have favourite contacts automatically selected.

Is the feature secure?

Check In is baked directly in to iMessage, so anything information that gets sent is end-to-end encrypted. This means that Apple or any malicious parties can’t see the location data you’re sending. Since you’re only sending it to selected contacts as well, you don’t have to worry about sending notifications to contacts that shouldn’t get them.

Perhaps the most secure element of Check In is that your real-time location is hidden. That means whoever you’re sharing your status with won’t be able to track your movements. If you don’t arrive on time, your current location will be sent, but it won’t update as you continue to move. To use real-time tracking, you’ll have to set up the Find My app on your iPhone.

When will Check In arrive in the Messages app?

Apple’s new Check In feature is part of iOS 17, which is compatible with the latest iPhone 15 series, as well as the iPhone 14 series, iPhone 13 series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 11 series, iPhone XS series, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE (2nd generation or later).

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Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around six years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home