We’ve all had a friend or family member say, “Text me when you get home,” because they want the peace of mind from knowing you arrived safely. But what if something goes wrong—or you forget—so they never receive that text? They’ll be worried and won’t know where you are, if you’re OK, and so on.
In iOS 17, Apple has introduced the Check In feature to provide peace of mind—or in the worst case, to help emergency services. It’s conceptually simple. Before you leave to go somewhere, you create a Check In with someone—call them a safety partner—in Messages. You specify where you’re going and whether you’re driving, taking transit, or walking. Then, when you arrive, the Check In automatically ends, alerting your safety partner that you arrived. If you’re delayed en route, Check In takes that into account and extends the expected arrival time appropriately. If you fail to arrive, Check In shares your location and route with your safety partner. Also, if you make an Emergency SOS call or your iPhone or Apple Watch calls emergency services automatically during the Check In, it notifies your safety partner.
Not all situations revolve around following a specific route to a location, so Check In also supports timers. Perhaps a college student is going for an hour-long trail run and wants a friend to check on her if she’s not back as expected. She can use Check In to set a timer for 1 hour, share it with her friend, and when the timer ends, either tap the End button if she’s back or add more time if the run is going fine but taking longer than expected.
Although Check In may seem targeted at friends and family, it could have business uses as well. For instance, a destination Check In might work well for keeping tabs on a colleague traveling to a make-or-break pitch presentation.
Before you start using Check In with someone—in either direction—explain Check In to them and discuss an appropriate response if you or they fail to end Check In successfully. Responses should probably start with a quick text, followed by a phone call. If initial efforts to reach out are met with silence, contacting other people—friends, family members, neighbors, etc.—may be appropriate. At some point, depending on various factors, it will be time to call law enforcement. Of course, if the other person triggers an Emergency SOS during the Check In, call law enforcement immediately. At least in the US, if the person isn’t in your area, don’t call 911. Instead, find the law enforcement website for where the person is and call that organization’s 10-digit number. And here’s hoping it never comes to that!
To get started with Check In, follow these steps:
Note that safety partners can’t reject Check In cards.
Once you trigger a Check In, it can end in a few ways. First, you can cancel it before the timer completes or you arrive at your destination. Second, it can end successfully when you tap End when the timer finishes or when you arrive at your specified location. Third and finally, there’s the core purpose of the Check In, which is to alert your safety partner if you fail to respond to a timer or arrive where and when you said you would.
It can take some practice to become fluid with Check In, so it’s worth testing it in everyday situations before using it when it might really matter. Once you use it a few times, you may notice Siri Suggestions offering to start it for you, making it even easier to initiate regularly. We hope you find that it provides some peace of mind and, in the worst-case scenario, helps someone in need of emergency services.
(Featured image by iStock.com/PeopleImages)
Social Media: The new Check In feature of iOS 17 can provide peace of mind by letting you specify a safety partner who will automatically be notified if you fail to arrive at your destination or complete a timer.