Check-in / accompaniment: Instructions for the way home feature on the iPhone

With iOS 17 “Check-In” or “Guide” comes to the Apple iPhone as a new messaging feature. If you and your contacts have installed the new operating system, you can use the new security function. Check-in serves as an accompaniment and as an opportunity to automatically inform contacts when you have arrived home, have finished your trip, a meeting is over or similar. Not only is the way home at night, the trip alone or the first date with an online acquaintance protected, you can also keep an eye on the kids' way to school without sharing their location.

Check-in or companionship is the name of the feature introduced with iOS 17 that you can use via iMessage messages to make the way home or your trip safer.
Check-in or companionship is the name of the feature introduced with iOS 17 that you can use via iMessage messages to make the way home or your trip safer.

What is check-in / travel assistance on the Apple iPhone?

Check-in is an alternative to location sharing that does not inform contacts about the current status permanently, but only for a specific occasion. You can use the messaging app to set selected contacts to be notified when you arrive at a predetermined location. You can also set a time period after which you have to interact with the iPhone to show that you are okay and nothing has happened.

Under Settings -> Messages -> Data (in the “Guidance” area), you can subsequently change whether you want to send “limited” or “full” data. In restricted mode, the last location as well as information about the battery level and cellular signal from iPhone and Apple Watch are sent. In full mode, the route traveled is also displayed, including the places where the iPhone was unlocked or the Apple Watch was removed. Details on this below.

Tip: Before using it for the first time, deal with the guide

Adding a companion to communication via the messaging app / iMessage is extremely easy (see below). However, you should decide beforehand whether you want to send limited or complete data, whether you want to specify the route and a destination at all or just use a timer, and so on. The timer is e.g. B. used to request feedback after a certain time. If you do not interact with the check-in feature after the set time, the contact will be notified.

Requirements for using the iPhone route companion

  • Your contact must also be using iOS 17 or newer
  • You must have iMessage activated (Settings -> Messages)
  • You must have exchanged at least one iMessage message with the contact
  • Mobile data (mobile internet) must be activated on your device
  • You must have Location Services enabled (Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Location Services)

Send a companion: This is how it works!

Open the Messages app on your iPhone and select an existing chat or create a new conversation with one or more contacts. If you haven't exchanged messages with this contact via iMessage yet, briefly send "Test" or "I'll send you a companion" or something like that. Otherwise you will get an error message when creating the route companion.

If no iMessage message has been exchanged with the person before, the companion will not register them. Send a message to use check-in.
If no iMessage message has been exchanged with the person before, the companion will not register them. Send a message to use check-in.

Now tap on the plus symbol (+) to the left of the input field above the keyboard. If the route guide is not yet displayed here, tap the “More” symbol at the bottom. Now “Guide” should appear at the bottom (yellow circle with black check mark). Tap on it and set the settings for the route companion (you can edit them later to change them). If you use Check-In on your iPhone for the first time, you will receive an introduction. Read it carefully to get to know the companion feature best.

This is how you choose your companion. Is the option missing? Then check whether all the requirements (see above) are met and your contact has also activated iMessage.
This is how you choose your companion. Is the option missing? Then check whether all the requirements (see above) are met and your contact has also activated iMessage.

Once you have everything set up and the guide is ready, send it using the send symbol (blue circle with white arrow pointing up, to the right of the input field). If you want to make adjustments later (enter a new time or cancel the companion), then tap the companion in the message history, select their details and make the changes.

Introduction to the travel companion on the Apple iPhone

If you use the new function for the safe route home and the monitored journey for the first time, there are full-screen instructions and instructions. You should look at these and read them through and then tap “Continue”. You can now also choose whether data is sent limited or completely. This can be adjusted later in the iPhone's settings.

Examples of the information screens that appear in the Messages app the first time you use the route companion.
Examples of the information screens that appear in the Messages app the first time you use the route companion.

Guidance: Limited or complete data?

If you are not sure what to expect for a particular route, then it is better to send complete data. This way, after the time has elapsed or if you don't arrive, the selected contacts will find out which route you chose, when you last unlocked your iPhone and/or when you put down your Apple Watch, and so on. The mobile phone signal and the battery level are also transmitted. Otherwise, the limited data is used to only transmit the cellular signal, battery level and the current location of the iPhone in an emergency.

What messages are received by the selected contacts?

  • When sending the escort: The destination and approximate arrival time are shared with the contact(s). If the timer is used instead of a destination, the desired time is transmitted.
  • Arrival at the destination: The contact(s) will be automatically informed of arrival at the destination. You will also be informed about the positive termination if you respond to the message on your iPhone after the timer has expired.
  • Delay or lack of response: A notification will be displayed on your iPhone if you are late, fail to respond to the end of the timer or make an emergency call. If you do not respond within 15 minutes, the contact(s) will be informed with the previously specified information (limited or complete).
  • Device is offline: If your iPhone is offline for a longer period of time (no mobile data activated or switched off), then the contact will also be informed.

Where can I find the companion settings in iOS on the iPhone?

As mentioned briefly above, you can change the details for using Check-In in the iPhone settings. You won't find these options in Privacy & Security or in Location Services, but in the Message Settings. This is how you get there:

  1. Opens the Settings on the Apple iPhone
  2. Choose the point in it News from
  3. Tap under “Guidance” data an

If you can't find these settings, you'll have to try sending a companion to a contact as a test. It is probably necessary to initially determine which data should be transmitted in the introduction shown above. Only then can you change this in the settings. This explains why the point described may not be displayed before using the route guide for the first time.

Your experiences with check-in/accompaniment on the iPhone

The new companion function is practical for ensuring the safe journey home of children coming home from school or friends after the party. It is also a little insurance for people who are on a first date. There are certainly many other application examples. What do you use the travel companion for? What experiences do you have with checking in on the iPhone? Feel free to leave a comment on the topic - even if I forgot something important that still belongs in the post!

Instructions from Apple: iOS 17 online manual

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