How to tell your friends you got home safely with the new iPhone Check In feature

Image Credits: Apple

Making sure loved ones get home safely at the end of the night is something we all try to do. But it can be easy for that “Safe Home! ” message to get lost or forget. Apple’s new Check In feature for iPhone is a simple and nifty way to alert your friends or significant other that you’ve arrived safely. Here’s how to use it!

Let’s get this straight first: this feature is only for iPhones for now, because it uses iMessage. If you have a cross-platform group, check out one of the strong security apps out there for now.

Check In lives in iMessage’s new expandable apps menu: the little plus sign to the left of the text field. Open the thread with the person or people you want to be notified when you get home. Tap the plus sign, and from the list of apps that appears, choose Sign up.

Your iPhone almost certainly already knows where you live, since that’s where you spend most of your time. It will check where you are now and give you an estimate of how long it will take you to get home, whether you’re walking or driving. If you assume wrong (maybe it’s a long walk or a short drive), hit the big “Edit” button and you’ll be able to adjust that time.

This even works if you’re already home; Let’s say you’re going to run to the store late at night, or you’re going for an early morning run, and you want your husband to know when you’re back safely. He simply calculates the duration of the trip and will let you know when he returns.

If you meet a friend on your run or decide to stop at the store on the way home, you can easily open Check In and add a few minutes to your expected arrival time.

Your phone will monitor your progress and if something seems wrong, it will ask you if everything is ok; otherwise, you can send an alert.

To be clear, Check In does not share your location in real time; you can do it separately if you want, but that’s up to you. However, if you don’t get home on time and you don’t turn it off, your friends will be able to see your current location, the route you took to get home, and your phone’s battery and signal levels. This is all encrypted, by the way!

When you return, everyone you’ve included in your Check In ad will receive a notification that you’ve returned. Of course, it’s still possible to miss this on their end, but it minimizes the chance that you’ll go straight to bed without anyone knowing you made it. And if something goes wrong, they’ll know right away.

If you or some members of your group don’t use iPhones, there are still options to let your loved ones know it’s okay; just browse security apps to find one that suits your needs. But for iPhone users, Check In’s ease of use and integration with iMessage will likely propel it to become the most used in no time.