Let Your Family Know When You Get Home Safely

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

One of the coolest new features in iOS is called Check In. This iMessage feature allows friends to temporarily see your location and automatically notifies them that you have made it to a specific location safely. Read on to find out how to use Check In on iPhone.

Why You’ll Love This Tip:

  • Automatically let your friends or family know when you get home safely.
  • Easily alert loved ones if something delays your return home.

How to Use iMessage’s New Check In Feature

System Requirements

This tip works on iPhones running iOS 17 and later. The recipient must also have an iPhone running iOS 17 and later. Find out how to update to iOS 17.

Within your iMessage apps is a new safety feature called Check In. This handy tool allows you to automatically notify friends or family when you reach your destination safely. I’m particularly excited about this feature since I can now automatically let my friends know when I get home safely after leaving their place. For more iPhone safety tips, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

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Now, here’s how to get started with the new Check In feature in iMessage. Keep in mind that this tip will show you how to use Check In for the first time. When you use it subsequent times, the steps may be slightly different, since you have already set the feature up.

  1. To start, tap the plus icon in any text conversation with another iPhone.

    iphone new message screen with red circle around plus icon
  2. If you don’t see Check In in the list of apps, tap More at the bottom.

    iphone imessage apps list with more button circled in red
  3. Tap Check In.

    iphone imessage apps list with check in app circled in red
  4. Your iPhone will offer an explanation of how Check In works. Tap Continue, and Continue again.

    iphone check in setup screen with continue button circled in red
  5. Choose whether you’d like to share limited information with your friend or share full information.

    iphone check in setup screen with red circle around limited data or full data options
  6. You can also tap Show Example to see an example of what data your friend will see.

    iphone check in setup screen with show examples button circled in red
  7. Limited shows your current location, as well as the battery levels of your devices and whether or not you have cell reception.

    iphone check in limited data example with limited tab circled in red
  8. Full shows the same data listed above, as well as where and when your iPhone was last unlocked, where and when your Apple Watch was removed (if applicable), and the route you took from your previous location. I prefer to choose Full when sending a Check In to close friends so that they can see exactly where I am and whether or not I’m almost home.

    iphone check in full data example with full tab circled in red
  9. Once you have chosen how much data to share with your friend, tap Continue.

    iphone check in setup data screen with continue button circled in red
  10. Tap Send a Check In.

    iphone check in setup with send a check in button circled in red
  11. Tap Edit.

    iphone check in with edit button circled in red
  12. Choose either When I arrive or After a timer.

    iphone check in settings with when i arrive tab circled in red
  13. Under When I arrive, you can tap Add Destination to select a location. If this is your first time using Check In, your iPhone might automatically suggest a location, so make sure this is correct before leaving this screen.

    iphone check in settings when i arrive tab with add destination button circled in red
  14. Tap the Search Bar and type in a location.

    iphone check in location settings with search bar circled in red
  15. Tap Done to return to the When I arrive screen.

    iphone check in location settings with done button circled in red
  16. Tap your preferred travel method to select an Estimated Travel Time.

    iphone check in when i arrive tab with estimated travel time section circled in red
  17. You can also tap Add Time to extend how long the estimate is.

    iphone check in when i arrive tab with add time button circled in red
  18. If you choose the After a timer tab instead, you will be prompted after the timer finishes counting down to let your contact know that you have arrived safely. If you do not respond within 15 minutes, they will be notified.

    iphone check in after a timer tab with timer settings circled in red
  19. Tap Done when you have chosen your preferred Check In method.

    iphone check in after a timer tab with done button circled in red
  20. Tap the send icon to the right of the text field.

    iphone check in imessage with send button circled in red

Note: When sending a Check In to a contact for the first time, they may receive a pop-up asking them to Allow critical alerts. If they decline, they may not receive notifications about your progress.

If your iPhone detects that you are not making progress toward your destination, it will send you notifications and ask you if you need more time. If you fail to respond within 15 minutes, your friend or family member will be notified that you haven’t made it to your destination, so be sure your destination location and estimated time of arrival are both accurate before sending your Check In!

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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.