No, NameDrop in iOS 17 Isn’t a Privacy Concern. Here’s How to Use It

One of the prominent new features in iOS 17.1 and watchOS 10.1 is NameDrop, which makes it easy to exchange contact information with someone merely by putting your iPhone or Apple Watch next to theirs. When you do that, you can share your contact card and receive theirs, or just receive theirs—nothing happens unless you initiate an action.

Unfortunately, some police departments have posted warnings about NameDrop on Facebook, insinuating that it’s a privacy concern. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, NameDrop requires the devices to be almost touching, so it’s implausible that it could be triggered inadvertently, and second, you must unlock your iPhone and tap a button to share your contact information with the other person. If you lock your iPhone or move it out of range, Apple says the transfer will be canceled.

There’s no harm in turning NameDrop off by default other than losing access to the feature, but it’s a sufficient win that we encourage you to leave it enabled.

Imagine you meet someone new at a conference and want to share contact information. Previously, you would have had to find your contact card at the top of the Contacts app or Phone app, tap Share Contact, choose which fields to share, tap Done, and then share it via AirDrop (which may require them to enable their receive settings in Settings > General > AirDrop > Everyone for 10 Minutes), Messages (after entering their phone number), Mail (after typing their email address), or another method. It’s a pain.

Here’s how sharing contact information with someone new works in NameDrop. (It only supports sending new contact information, not updating an existing contact.) Both of you must have an iPhone running iOS 17.1 or an Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 7 or later, or second-generation Apple Watch SE running watchOS 10.1. To get started, either:

  • Share from an iPhone to another iPhone or an Apple Watch: Hold your unlocked iPhone close (almost touching) to the top of the other person’s iPhone or Apple Watch.
  • Share from an Apple Watch to another Apple Watch: Open the Contacts app on your Apple Watch, tap your picture in the upper-right corner, tap Share, and then put your watch close to the other person’s Apple Watch (Apple’s animation shows them being positioned face to face).

Keep the devices close together until NameDrop appears on both screens. On the iPhone, tap Share to exchange contact information or Receive Only to get theirs without sending yours. On the Apple Watch, you have only a Share button.

Next time you meet someone new and want to exchange contact information, give NameDrop a try. Alas, if they’re an Android user, you’ll have to fall back on the old, clumsy methods.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Caiaimage/Martin Barraud)


 

Networking Gear Does Wear Out—Suspect It in Internet Slowdowns and Dropouts

We’ve helped some clients recently with networking problems that seemed to be related to Internet connections. Most notable was intermittently slow Internet performance, causing the client to call their ISP to upgrade to a higher bandwidth connection with guaranteed throughput. But that extra monthly expense turned out to be unnecessary once we tracked the problem to a malfunctioning cable modem. Other problems we’ve seen involved occasional network dropouts (a bad Ethernet switch), flaky Wi-Fi access (a dying AirPort base station), and Internet slowdowns (squirrels gnawing on an outdoor coaxial cable).

Networking infrastructure is often the very definition of “out of sight, out of mind.” Modems, routers, and switches are usually hidden away in corners, closets, or machine rooms where few people notice them regularly. In addition, most users rely on Wi-Fi–equipped laptops, tablets, and smartphones and put no thought into how those Wi-Fi connections get their Internet access. Nor do many people realize the extent that physical cables—Ethernet, coaxial, fiber optic—are required.

Plus, because network cables and gear are so hidden, they tend to stay in place for years. For the most part, that’s fine. Most network devices other than those involving network-attached storage have no moving parts to fail, and cables that aren’t exposed to extreme environmental conditions or physical movement will last for a long time. But even solid-state electronic devices wear out, and while cables seldom degrade on their own, they’re easily damaged by movement. And never underestimate the damage mice and squirrels can inflict!

It’s worth making sure you or someone in your organization has a solid knowledge—and documentation—of your network infrastructure. For instance, can someone answer these questions:

  • Where does your Internet connection come into the building?
  • What cable modem or other router are you using? Do you own or rent it?
  • Does your network rely on multiple Ethernet switches? Other networking gear?
  • Is your Ethernet cabling Cat 5 (obsolete, limited to 100 Mbps), Cat 5e (capable of 1 Gbps), Cat 6 (up to 10 Gbps), Cat 6a (10 Gbps at longer distances), or Cat 6e (a meaningless marketing term)?
  • Where is your Ethernet cable strung, and is it reasonably accessible? Can you isolate portions of your network for testing?

We also recommend putting an installation date sticker on the bottom of your network devices. That way, if you’re troubleshooting a problem like poor performance or intermittent connections, you can check quickly to see if any suspect devices are truly ancient. Even when older devices like cable modems seem to be working correctly, they may lack support for newer standards or firmware updates that provide better stability and throughput. We’ve also seen that issue with powerline networking adapters that are useful for extending connectivity to areas that can’t easily be served by Wi-Fi or Ethernet—newer adapters can provide significantly more performance. Plus, hardware does degrade over time—in particular, we’ve seen Ethernet switches and Wi-Fi routers get flaky as they age.

Finally, if solving a network problem requires new gear or cables, we strongly encourage purchasing quality hardware and cabling. Spending a little more upfront can save a lot of money in troubleshooting down the road, especially when it comes to pulling new cables. We are here to help!

(Featured image by iStock.com/klmax)


 

Things You Need to Know Before Moving to a New iPhone

Are you among the millions of people planning to get a new iPhone 15? It’s exciting, we know, but don’t move too fast when getting started with your new iPhone, or you might cause yourself headaches. Instead, follow these instructions when you’re ready to transfer your data—and, for many people, much of your digital life—to the new iPhone. Apple also has a series of videos you can watch.

read more…

When Should You Upgrade to macOS 14 Sonoma, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, and tvOS 17?

September is upon us, so Apple will soon start releasing major upgrades for all its operating systems. Note that we say “start.” Apple will undoubtedly release iOS 17 and watchOS 10 alongside new iPhone and Apple Watch models in mid-September. The company hasn’t said when it will release iPadOS 17, although it’s likely to accompany iOS 17. macOS 14 Sonoma may wait until the release of new Macs later in the fall. tvOS 17 isn’t interesting enough to worry about much either way.

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The Hardware You’ll Need to Run Apple’s 2023 Operating Systems

At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, the company unveiled the upcoming versions of its operating systems: macOS 14 Sonoma, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, and tvOS 17. They won’t be available until September or October of 2023, and even once they ship, we recommend waiting a few weeks before upgrading your smaller Apple devices and holding off on macOS upgrades for a couple of months.

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Learn to Identify and Eliminate Phishing Notifications

Email may be the most common form of phishing, but it’s not the only one. Modern Web browsers support a technology that enables websites to display system-level notifications just like regular apps. These push notifications have good uses, such as letting frequently updated websites inform users of new headlines, changed discussion threads, and more.

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At WWDC23, Apple Releases New Macs, Previews New OS Features, and Unveils Vision Pro

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote (full video or 2-minute recap) is primarily an opportunity for Apple to give developers a first look at new features coming in its operating systems, and this year was no exception. However, Apple sandwiched those feature reveals between announcements of new Macs and the unveiling of its mixed-reality Vision Pro headset, due next year. Here’s what you should know.

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Apple Starts Releasing Rapid Security Responses for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac

By now, you’ve probably seen a new form of update for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS: the Rapid Security Response. Early in May, Apple released the first instances of these updates, which the company had promised for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 Ventura when those operating systems were first announced. Let’s answer some of the questions we’ve been hearing.

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What to Do If You’re a Mac User Who Needs Some Windows Software

For the most part, the days of Mac versus PC are over. Common apps now exist on both platforms, and when they don’t, there are plenty of alternatives in nearly every app category. Plus, many apps either run entirely on the Web in any browser. Large organizations now regularly run “employee choice” programs that allow people to pick the platform where they’re the most comfortable.

But the fact remains that there are many more Windows-based PCs out there than Macs, and particularly for an old or unusual app, or for software needed for specific hardware peripherals, sometimes the only available option is a Windows app. What’s a modern Mac user to do? Our team is here to help when you”re ready. Here are a few possibilities.

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Make Sure to Back Up iPhone Photos on Your Mac

If your iPhone were to be stolen or suffer an unfortunate accident, would you lose all your precious photos? Those using iCloud Photos are probably shaking their heads smugly, thinking that all those baby and vacation photos are backed up securely in iCloud. iCloud Photos does indeed store a copy of all your photos, but you shouldn’t assume that everything in it is completely protected. Although it’s extremely unlikely that Apple’s systems would fail so that you’d lose anything, the contents of your iCloud account aren’t as safe as would be ideal.

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How Often Should Macs Be Replaced?

It’s a question as old as the personal computer. When should you replace your current Mac with a new model that’s faster and more capable? If money were no object, the answer would be easy—whenever you feel like it. For the rest of us, and particularly for organizations with multiple Macs and limited budgets, the question is harder to answer. But answer it we must because most of us can’t do our jobs without a Mac.

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What to Do If Your iPhone Takes a Plunge

No one intends to drop their iPhone in a pool or fall off a boat with their iPhone in a pocket. But accidents happen. Happily, Apple has designed the iPhone with significant levels of splash and water resistance, so brief exposure to rain or even a quick dunk might not cause any problems. If your iPhone does get wet, follow our advice below to dry it out before calling for more help.

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Apple’s 2022 Harvest: Four iPhones, Three Apple Watches, and New AirPods Pro

Apple’s September crop has ripened, and the company has once again picked a basket of new and updated hardware for us. At its Far Out event on September 7th, Apple unveiled four iPhone 14 models, three new or updated Apple Watch models, and the second-generation AirPods Pro.

After the announcement, Apple said that iOS 16 and watchOS 9 would become available on September 12th, with iPadOS 16.1 and macOS 13 Ventura to arrive in October. As we’ve said before, wait a week or two before installing iOS 16 and watchOS 9 on essential devices to avoid any last-minute bugs. Regardless of when you upgrade, make a backup right before, in case something goes wrong and you need to erase and restore.

Let’s look at each of the new products.

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When Should You Upgrade to macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16?

September is here, which means that Apple will soon start releasing major upgrades for all its operating systems. Note that we say “start.” Apple will release iOS 16 and watchOS 9 alongside new iPhones and Apple Watch models in September. However, Apple has now acknowledged that iPadOS 16 will ship later in the fall—perhaps in October—as version 16.1, likely in conjunction with iOS 16.1 and possibly alongside macOS 13 Ventura. tvOS 16 isn’t interesting enough to worry about much either way.

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Apple’s Peek Performance Event

At its March 8th Peek Performance event, Apple freshened its iPhone and iPad product lines with a new third-generation iPhone SE and fifth-generation iPad Air, along with new green hues for the iPhone 13 line. Then Apple focused on the big announcements of the day: the entirely new Mac Studio, powered by the insanely fast M1 Ultra chip and accompanied by the stunning 27-inch Studio Display.

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macOS Monterey is now available

macOS Monterey showcasing new features on a MacBook Pro.

macOS Monterey delivers groundbreaking new features that help users connect in new ways, accomplish more, and work seamlessly across their Apple devices. FaceTime includes new audio and video features that make calls feel more natural and lifelike, and new Continuity tools like AirPlay to Mac enable Apple devices to work even better together. Live Text and Visual Lookup bring new intelligence features to surface useful information, Safari includes powerful tab organization with Tab Groups, and the ease of automation comes to the Mac with Shortcuts. Coming later this fall, SharePlay will enable Mac users to have shared experiences together through FaceTime, and Universal Control will make it easy for users to work effortlessly across their Mac and iPad. macOS Monterey is available today as a free software update on Macs with Apple silicon and Intel-based Macs.1

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Apple’s 2021 Crop: Four iPhones, Two iPads, and an Apple Watch

September is traditionally when new iPhones are ripe for the picking, and this year’s crop is no exception. At its California Streaming event on September 14th, Apple unveiled four iPhone 13 models. Apple also announced the expected Apple Watch Series 7, but entirely unanticipated were an upgrade to the iPad and a redesigned iPad mini.

Left to the fine print in Apple’s press releases was the fact that iOS 15, iPadOS 16, and watchOS 8 will become available for download on September 20th. As we’ve said before, you should wait at least a week or two before installing them on essential devices, just in case some unpleasant bug manifests itself. Regardless of when you upgrade, make a backup right beforehand, just in case something goes wrong and you need to erase and restore.

Let’s look at each of the new products. read more…

WWDC 2021

At its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Apple announced a boatload of new features that we’ll see in macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and watchOS 8 later this year. Here are the ten features we think you’ll most like:

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Apple Announces New M1-Based 24-inch iMac, iPad Pro, AirTag, Apple TV 4K, and More

On April 20th, Apple took to the Internet to stream its “Spring Loaded” event. Pundits had been unable to figure out a theme based on the name, but Apple was being blunt: the event was taking place in the spring, and it was loaded with announcements.With Apple CEO Tim Cook bookending the presentation—and doing a cameo as a master thief at 37:26 into the presentation—the company announced an M1-based 24-inch iMac, M1-based iPad Pro models, the long-rumored AirTag item tracker, and an enhanced Apple TV 4K with a redesigned Siri Remote. All these items can be ordered on Friday, April 30th, but some won’t ship until the second half of May.

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Concerned by the Privacy or Results of Google Search? Try These Other Search Engines

Google is big. Google Search generated $225 billion in revenue in 2022, thanks in part to being the default search engine on all Apple devices. To retain that position—and continue to reap the ad revenue that it generates—Google pays Apple about $18 billion every year. Along with Apple, Google pays billions to phone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Motorola; major wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and browser developers like Mozilla and Opera.

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Time Machine Now Offers Daily and Weekly Frequencies

Since its inception, Time Machine has backed up on an hourly schedule. It then keeps hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the last month, and weekly backups back to the start of the backup. Once free space on the backup drive gets low, Time Machine deletes older backups to make room for new ones, always maintaining at least one copy of every backed-up file. The traditional hourly backups are usually fine, but starting in macOS 13 Ventura, Apple lets you choose a daily or weekly schedule instead. One of those might be useful for Macs that are turned on infrequently or where very little important data changes. It also might reduce resource usage and how much data Time Machine backs up. Most people shouldn’t need to change the backup frequency, but if you’ve always wanted to, now you can.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/STILLFX)


 

How to Merge Two Similar Folders in the Mac’s Finder

You’ve ended up with two folders whose contents—hundreds of files or more—are similar but not identical. Perhaps you’re recovering from a sync failure, or maybe you pulled an old version of the folder from a backup and aren’t sure what’s different. Regardless, here’s how you can merge them in the Finder. Make sure the folders are named identically and are in two different locations on your Mac. Press and hold the Option key, then drag the folder that contains more files to the location that contains the folder with fewer files. In the dialog that appears, click Merge to copy only newer files from the source and those not already in the destination. (It’s not a two-way sync; for that, you need an app like ChronoSync.) The Merge button appears only if the source folder contains files not in the destination; if the folders contain just different versions of identically named files, you’ll get only Stop and Replace buttons. For safety, always work on copies of your folders and check your work afterward to ensure the right things happened.

(Featured image by iStock.com/RerF)


 

Keep Your Contacts Current by Adding Siri-Suggested Content

Remembering to update your contacts with new email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses can be hard. But if you’ve received that information in Mail or Messages, Siri’s data detection capabilities can help. Open Contacts on the Mac and press the Down arrow to cycle through your contacts. When you see one with information in light gray and a parenthetical like (Siri Found in Mail), click the ⓘ button to the right ➊ to see some context in the source message. If the information is correct, click Add to Contact ➋ to keep it.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Brett_Hondow)


 

Turn Your Most-Used Sites into Safari Web Apps in macOS 14 Sonoma

The concept of site-specific browsers has been around for a long time, but in the version of Safari that comes with macOS 14 Sonoma, Apple brought it to the big time by making setup easier than ever.

Put simply, a site-specific browser is a Mac app that encapsulates a single Web app or site. The goal is to break a website out of a Web browser and turn it into what looks and works like a regular Mac app. Gmail the Web app can become Gmail the Mac app.

What kind of websites might you want to turn into a standalone app? Beyond Gmail, consider Google Docs, Netflix, Notion, QuickBooks, and any other Web-focused app that feels more natural as a standalone app. Additionally, a site-specific browser can be helpful for any website you use regularly throughout the day, such as a discussion site, news aggregator, or company intranet.

To create a Web app in Safari, open the desired page, choose File > Add to Dock, and give the app your desired name.

That’s it! Safari saves the Web app to the Applications folder in your Home folder (not the regular top-level Applications folder), adds it to the next open spot on the Dock and in Launchpad, and enables you to open it using Spotlight. The tab you had open in Safari remains open, so close that and launch the new Web app from the Dock.

Web apps look and feel just like Web pages in Safari, with a few exceptions:

  • If you click a link to another page on the same website as the Web app, the page opens within the window, but clicking a link to another website opens it in Safari as a new tab. There are a few special cases, too—double-clicking a document in a Google Drive Web app opens it in a new window within the Web app rather than in Safari.
  • Web apps have their own browsing history, cookies, website data, and settings, which aren’t shared with Safari.
  • Web app toolbars have only back and forward buttons and a Share button. They lack an address bar, bookmarks, tabs, and extensions, but you can switch back to Safari to get those—choose File > Open in Safari.
  • For websites that have notifications, the Web app’s icon in the Dock can show the number of unread notifications.

To tweak the name or appearance of the Web app, click the app’s name in the menu bar and choose Settings. The only option that isn’t obvious is the icon—if it’s too fuzzy or not what you prefer, click it and select a file in the dialog that appears. You can select either an image file or another app. (Hint: To find more icons, search for “AppName icon” in Google or Bing.)

Keep these tips about Web apps in mind:

  • You can remove a Web app from the Dock without deleting it from your drive.
  • To delete a Web app, drag its icon from your Home folder’s Applications folder to the trash.
  • To make the Web app launch at login, add it to your login items in System Settings > General > Login Items.
  • Web apps cannot receive incoming URLs on their own. In other words, if you have a Google Docs Web app and click a Google Docs link that someone sends you in email, it will open in your default Web browser, not your Google Docs Web app. However, you can use the $10 utility Choosy to redirect appropriate links to specific Web apps.

Overall, Apple has done a good job with Safari Web apps. They’re easy to create and provide most of what you’ll likely want in an app that encapsulates a website. Give them a try, but if you find yourself needing capabilities beyond what Safari provides, such as access to extensions, support for tabs, more control over how links open, and choices of different browser engines, check out alternative site-specific browser apps like Unite, Coherence X, and WebCatalog.

(Featured image based on an original by iStock.com/Armastas)


 

Lift Objects from Photos on the iPhone

Have you ever wanted to extract an object from a photo for use in another context? Starting with iOS 16 on a relatively recent iPhone, you can do that with many photos. In the Photos app, touch and hold the object, and if Photos can extract it, you’ll see a highlight run around its edges. Raise your finger, and a popover lets you copy the object, look up information about it, turn it into a sticker (in iOS 17), or share it. Or you can start dragging the object, switch apps with your other hand, and drop it into another app, like Messages. With Universal Clipboard, you can even lift an object on an iPhone, copy it, switch to Preview on your Mac, and choose File > New from Clipboard. File this one under Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law, which states, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

(Featured image by Adam Engst)


 

Use iOS 17’s Check In Feature to Reduce Worry

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!

Create a Check In

To get started with Check In, follow these steps:

  1. In Messages, open a conversation with the person you want to be your safety partner (Check In doesn’t currently work with group conversations).
  2. Tap the ⊕ button to the left of the message field, tap More at the bottom, and tap Check In.
  3. The first time you invoke Check In, Messages walks you through a series of explanatory screens, one of which is important—the privacy level of the data shared with your safety partner if you don’t arrive. Select Full—we can see almost no reason why you wouldn’t want that person to be able to share your exact location and route with emergency services if something has gone wrong. (If necessary, tweak this setting later in Settings > Messages > Data.)
  4. On subsequent uses of Check In, an unsent card appears in the Messages conversation, usually set for an hour in the future. The card isn’t sent automatically so you can customize it before sending it.
  5. Tap the Edit button to adjust the timer or destination.
  6. To change the timer duration, use the time picker and tap Done. Skip to the last step in this list.
  7. To set a destination instead of a timer, tap “When I arrive” at the top of the screen.
  8. Tap the Change button, and in the map, either search for a location or find one manually by pinching and zooming—touch and hold the map to drop a destination pin. At the bottom of the screen, select Small, Medium, or Large to set the size of the area in which you’ll arrive.
  9. Tap Done to close the map and then select Driving, Transit, or Walking so Check In can estimate your arrival time based on your method of transportation.
  10. If you want additional buffer time, tap Add Time and give yourself 15, 30, or 60 minutes beyond when Check In thinks you’ll arrive. This shouldn’t usually be necessary.
  11. Tap Done.
  12. Once you’re back to the Check In card in the Messages conversation, tap the Send button to start the Check In.

Note that safety partners can’t reject Check In cards.

End a Check In

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.

  • Cancel: To cancel a Check In, tap the Details button on the Check In card in Messages, tap Cancel Check In, and agree that you don’t want your safety partner notified. Timer and destination Check Ins look slightly different but act the same way. Your safety partner will only see that the Check In card in Messages says it has ended.
  • End successfully: For a timer Check In to end successfully, you must respond when the iPhone prompts you (below left). All your safety partner sees when that happens is a note in the Check In card that the timer ended (below right). You don’t need to interact with your iPhone for a destination Check In to end successfully—just arrive at the specified location. The safety partner’s Check In card updates to say that you arrived.
  • Check In fails to end (initiator): If you don’t arrive at your destination or fail to tap End when prompted, Check In gives you the option of adding time (below left) but after 15 minutes, tells you that it has alerted your safety partner (below center and right).
  • Check In fails to end (safety partner): More interesting is what your safety partner sees if you fail to complete a Check In. They’ll be alerted and can tap Details to see your location, when your devices were last unlocked, and more. They then have to figure out the best way to respond given your setup conversation.

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)