iOS 17 Messages App Features: Check In, Stickers, and More

Apple made a number of changes to the Messages app in iOS 17, introducing a new look, updated stickers functionality, and important new safety features that help people traveling alone feel safer.

iOS 17 Messages Feature
This guide highlights all of the features that Apple is adding to Messages in ‌iOS 17‌.

Design Updates

Apple updated the design of the Messages to cut down on clutter. The "+" button on the left side of the compose window houses all of the Messages apps and tools. Tapping on it brings up a dropdown list of options, that include Camera, Photos, Stickers, Cash, Audio, Location, Store, and Messages apps that have been installed.

ios 17 messages redesign
You can tap on one of the options to open its related function. So instead of tapping on the little photos icon to add a photo as you did in iOS 16, you will tap on the "+" button and then the ‌Photos‌ option to get to your Camera Roll in ‌iOS 17‌.

In iOS 16, Apple had a camera icon and an App Store icon that could be tapped to expand the available options. Apps expanded across the top of the keyboard horizontally, so the cleaner vertical design is a notable change. It makes for a much more simplified design, and it's easier to tell what's what with the larger icons and text descriptions.

Check In

Check In is a safety feature that you can use when you're traveling to have someone else keep an eye on your progress. You can let a friend or family member know that you're going somewhere, and they'll be automatically notified when you reach your destination.

messages check in
To use Check In, you'll need to select a conversation with a trusted person, tap on the "+" button, and choose the Check In option. From there, you can input the location that you're going to and the time you're set to arrive.

ios 17 messages check in messages
The person on the other end will be notified that you're heading somewhere and when you should get there. If you stop making progress while you're on your way, Messages will check in with you to see what's going on, and if there's no response, your battery level, full location, and cellular status will be shared with the person you selected.

ios 17 messages check in receiving end
You can customize the amount of data that you share. Limited shares location, network signal, and battery level, while Full shares all of that plus route traveled, location of last iPhone unlock, and location of where the Apple Watch was last removed.

messages check in changes
When you arrive at your destination, your friend or family member is notified that you got there safely and the Check In ends successfully.

ios 17 messages check in confirmed


Stickers have been in the Messages app for years now, but they haven't gotten a lot of attention. Apple is changing that in ‌iOS 17‌, because all emoji are now considered stickers, in addition to actual stickers.

ios 17 messages stickers
Emoji now behave the same way as stickers, so in addition to simply inserting them into a conversation, you can also drag them anywhere on a message, and you can layer them on top of one another to create little emoji scenes. To put an emoji on a message, just open the emoji keyboard, select an emoji, and drag it up to the message you want to accent.

If you open up the Stickers section of the Messages app, you'll see stickers from apps you've downloaded, stickers you've created, emoji, and Memoji in one spot.

Creating Stickers

Apple in iOS 16 introduced a Remove Subject From Background option, and in ‌iOS 17‌, you can use it to create and save your own stickers. Choose any of your photos and long press on the subject of the photo to get to the "Add Sticker" option.

ios 17 stickers create
Choose that and it will be added right to your sticker collection, and if it's a Live Photo, it will animate.

There are a number of effects that can be added to make your digital stickers look more like real stickers, including a white outline, comic-like shading, a puffy 3D look, and a shiny, holographic finish. The sticker effects will animate and reflect the light appropriately, making your self-created stickers look professionally done.

Sticker Reactions

With emoji able to be placed anywhere on an iMessage, you can use them in place of tapback reactions. Just drag the emoji to the message that you want to respond to rather than long pressing for a tapback. Later in the year, Apple plans to allow stickers to be used right in the tapback interface.

ios 17 stickers messages

Sticker Expansion

Stickers can now be used anywhere that emoji can be accessed, including third-party apps, pictures, emails, and more. So once you create your stickers from photos, you can do more with them than just send them to people using Messages.


Apple added new halo, smirk, and peekaboo Memoji stickers to go along with the existing still Memoji sticker options.

ios 17 memoji stickers


If you get behind on a Messages chat with a friend or with a group of people, ‌iOS 17‌ shows you a catch-up arrow. If you tap it, it will jump to the first message in a conversation that you have not seen. Catch-up is a feature that will be coming in an update to ‌iOS 17‌ and it won't be in the launch version of the software.

Swipe to Reply

If you want to reply to a specific message in a conversation, just swipe from left to right to bring up the reply interface. This is a much quicker way to reply to something specific someone has said because you no longer need to long press and tap the reply button.

ios 17 messages swipe reply

Search Improvements

Apple improved Messages search in ‌iOS 17‌ with an option to combine multiple filters. If you're looking for images from a certain person, for example, you can type in "photos" and then the person's name, tapping to select each search filter to narrow down your search results.

ios 17 messages search

Audio Message Transcriptions

If someone sends you an audio message and you're somewhere where you can't listen to it right away, ‌iOS 17‌ will transcribe it for you so you can read it instead.

ios 17 audio transcription

Auto-Delete Verification Codes

Many websites and services use texted one-time passcodes for verification purposes, and those one-time codes can clog up the Messages app. In ‌iOS 17‌, there's an option to have those messages auto delete after the code is autofilled and used for a login. Apple should ask you if you want to enable this when you use the autofill feature after upgrading to ‌iOS 17‌, but it can be toggled on manually under Settings > Passwords > Password Options > Clean Up Automatically.

verification code clean up ios 17

Location Sharing

With the "Location" setting under the Messages options, you can share your location or request a friend's location directly from the Messages app. You can also set a pin at a specific location you're going to be going to without opening the Maps app.

ios 17 messages location pin

Read More

More information on all of the new features in the ‌iOS 17‌ update can be found in our iOS 17 roundup.

Related Roundups: iOS 17, iPadOS 17
Related Forums: iOS 17, iPadOS 17

Top Rated Comments

SilenceBroken Avatar
11 weeks ago
The new + design/layout is terrible and clicking to add a photo takes upwards of double digits at times to actually work.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
11 weeks ago
My all-time favorite.. Apple Stickers. I have stepped up my game. ✨

Attachment Image
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
11 weeks ago
What I really want is the option to restrict a group chat to notifying me only once every 1, 5, or 20 minutes. No matter how many messages are sent. Having that repeated tap on my wrist when a big group chat is going crazy is one of the most annoying things my technology does.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cthompson94 Avatar
11 weeks ago

The new + design/layout is terrible and clicking to add a photo takes upwards of double digits at times to actually work.
Agreed, it takes much longer to add a photo from before, the other things aren't as bad imo, but the change to add photos is very annoying
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
squirrellydw Avatar
11 weeks ago
Apple should really make the messages app icon Blue instead of Green, since Apple to Apple has a Blue bubble.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mburkhard Avatar
11 weeks ago
All pretty meaningless unless Apple finally starts to add support for RCS. The reason is simple, in my country no one uses iMessage, even if the iPhone density is rather high. People just use WhatsApp.
So without Apple finally adding RCS to iMessage I'll be forced to use rubbish WhatsApp forever... well thank you, Tim Apple, you make me continue to support the Zuck, even if I don't want to! And no, obviously I cannot get all my friends and colleagues to buy an iPhone, how silly of you to think that would be the result of denying us RCS.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 Details: Action Button, USB-C Port, Face ID, and More

Wednesday September 27, 2023 1:34 pm PDT by
Significant changes are expected to arrive with Apple's fourth-generation iPhone SE, in terms of both design and hardware, MacRumors has learned. The iPhone SE 4, known internally under the codename Ghost, is expected to receive a new design derived almost entirely from the base model iPhone 14. According to our sources, the iPhone SE 4 will use a modified version of the iPhone 14 chassis...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 for All iPhones and iPads

Tuesday September 26, 2023 12:47 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 updates, with the software coming five days after the releases of iOS 17.0.1 and iPadOS 17.0.1. Today's iOS 17.0.2 and iPadOS 17.0.2 updates arrive as build 21A351 and can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Note that iOS 17.0.2 was previously made available for iPhone...
iOS 17

Everything New in iOS 17.1 Beta 1

Wednesday September 27, 2023 1:57 pm PDT by
Just a week after releasing iOS 17, Apple has seeded the first beta of iOS 17.1 to developers. iOS 17.1 adds some features that Apple promised were coming to iOS 17 in the future, plus it refines and improves some existing features. This guide covers everything new in the first iOS 17.1 beta. Apple Music Favorites You can favorite songs, albums, playlists, and artists in the iOS 17.1...
iPhone 15 Pro lineup

iPhone 15 Pro Overheating Concerns Highlighted in Two More Reports

Thursday September 28, 2023 6:25 am PDT by
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max overheating concerns continue to make headlines this week, with the topic highlighted by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. Both of the reports document anecdotal complaints from customers, and outline potential causes, but it's unclear how many devices are actually affected. Bloomberg said the overheating could be caused or compounded by the iPhone's setup...
iPhone 15 Pro Lineup Feature

Kuo: iPhone 15 Pro Overheating Issues Likely Due to Thermal Compromises, Not 3nm Node

Tuesday September 26, 2023 9:12 am PDT by
Complaints about heat issues with the iPhone 15 Pro models are not related to TSMC's 3-nanometer node that was used for the A17 Pro chip, according to well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo says that overheating could be caused by "compromises made in the thermal system design" that allowed Apple to cut down on the weight of the iPhone 15 Pro models. Kuo says that the reduced heat...
iPhone 15 USB C Port Keynote

Some USB-C Power Banks Fail to Work With iPhone 15

Thursday September 28, 2023 2:06 pm PDT by
Apple added a USB-C port to the iPhone 15 lineup this year, allowing it to work with USB-C cables, USB-C power banks, and more. It turns out that some USB-C battery packs are not working properly with Apple's iPhone 15, resulting in charging issues. As highlighted on Reddit and the MacRumors forums, not all existing USB-C power banks can be used with the iPhone 15 models, perhaps due to the...
Mac Gaming

Apple Explains How Game Mode Works in macOS Sonoma

Wednesday September 27, 2023 2:24 am PDT by
In macOS Sonoma, Game Mode prioritizes CPU and GPU performance for gaming purposes on Macs. For those unfamiliar with Game Mode, Apple on Tuesday published a support document providing more information on how to use the new feature. Game Mode optimizes your gaming experience by giving your game the highest priority access to your CPU and GPU, lowering usage for background tasks. And it...