Family Orbit vs Life360: Which Family Phone Tracking App is Better?

November 24, 2023

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Parental control and family tracking apps have become increasingly popular for monitoring kids’ locations, apps, and online activities. Two of the most widely used options are Family Orbit and Life360, but they have some key differences.

This in-depth comparison of Family Orbit vs Life360 will go over the features, pricing, and pros and cons of each to help you decide which family phone tracker is best for your needs.

By the end of this comprehensive side-by-side comparison, you’ll know exactly which platform you should choose for tracking your family’s devices and ensuring their safety.

Location Tracking

The core feature of both Family Orbit and Life360 is real-time location tracking to see where your kids are throughout the day.

Family Orbit offers accurate location tracking that lets parents view family members’ location history and set up geofences to get alerts when they enter or leave specified areas. One limitation is that it only updates locations every 5 minutes, so it’s not completely real-time.

Life360 has more advanced real-time GPS tracking that updates every 30-60 seconds for precise visibility into family members’ locations. You can view detailed location histories and get push notifications whenever they arrive or leave places. Famisafe vs Life360 offers similar real-time tracking capabilities.

Overall, Life360 is better for real-time location tracking and geomapping features. But Family Orbit still provides sufficient monitoring with location history and geofencing.

App Blocking and Time Limits

Both apps allow parents to block usage of specific apps and set daily time limits for app categories to prevent phone addiction.

Family Orbit has robust app blocking based on age ratings. You can easily block all 18+ apps if your child is under 18 or set custom app restrictions. Daily time limits are also available for app categories like social media, games, etc.

Life360 offers app blocking for your child’s most used apps, but doesn’t have age-based app restrictions. It also lacks daily time limits other than a single daily usage limit you can set.

For app blocking and time management, Family Orbit is the better parental control app. Life360 has basic app blocking but fewer time limit options.

Communication Monitoring

Monitoring your child’s communication can be important for safety. Both apps provide this, but in different ways.

Family Orbit lets parents view full SMS text message histories, see call logs, and block unwanted contacts. You can even set text and email keyword alerts.

Life360 takes a more hands-off approach. It doesn’t record messages or calls, but will send driving alerts if your child texts and drives. Parents can also request their child’s location at any time.

If seeing full communication details is important, Family Orbit is the better choice here. Life360 has less communication visibility but can alert dangerous texting while driving.

Ease of Use and Installation

When choosing a family tracking platform, the app’s ease of use and installation process are important factors.

Family Orbit has a streamlined process to install the app on your child’s phone in around 5 minutes. Management is done through Family Orbit’s simple parental dashboard. For parents less tech-savvy, the ease of use is a major plus.

Life360 also offers one-touch installation. The app itself has an intuitive interface families find simple to use. But some parents report the online dashboard is more clunky and confusing than Family Orbit’s.

For most families, both platforms are easy enough to set up and use. Family Orbit offers a slight edge with its straightforward parental dashboard.

Pricing and Plans

Pricing is often a major factor in choosing a family safety service. Here’s how the costs of Family Orbit and Life360 compare:

Family Orbit Pricing:

  • Basic: Free
  • Premium: $7.99/month or $95.88/year
  • Premium Plus: $9.99/month or $119.88/year

Life360 Pricing:

  • Basic: Free
  • Monthly: $2.99/month for single plan or $4.99/month for family plan
  • Annually: $26.99/year for single plan or $47.99/year for family plan

Family Orbit has free options, making it more accessible. But for full functionality, the premium plans cost more yearly than Life360.

So if you want robust features for free, Family Orbit is better. But Life360 has cheaper premium pricing, especially for families with multiple devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ages are Family Orbit and Life360 good for?

Both apps can be used to monitor children of all ages. Family Orbit is particularly popular for tracking younger kids under 13. Life360 works well for teens who are starting to drive. The platforms can also be used among adult family members.

Can you monitor a phone without installing software?

No, both Family Orbit and Life360 require downloading an app on the monitored device in order to track its location, apps, texts, etc. For iOS phones, the app must be installed through the child’s Apple ID.

Is there a way to use Life360 secretly?

No, Life360 alerts users when it’s monitoring their device. Family Orbit does have a “stealth mode” allowing hidden monitoring, but explicit consent is better for building trust.

Do either apps work internationally?

Family Orbit and Life360 both work internationally by using cell tower locations or WiFi networks to track devices when GPS isn’t available. So you can monitor family when traveling abroad.

What happens if my child deletes the app?

Both apps send real-time tampering alerts if anyone tries deleting the app. Parents will get notified so they can re-install monitoring and talk to their child.

Can parents read WhatsApp, Snapchat, or Telegram messages?

Family Orbit can view messages on these platforms since it logs texts directly from the device. Life360 doesn’t record actual messages, but can alert driving if texting occurs in those apps.

Do the apps drain my child’s phone battery?

Family Orbit and Life360 are designed to have minimal battery drain compared to continually running GPS in the background. Smart battery-saving is used so the apps won’t noticeably reduce battery life.

The Bottom Line

Both Family Orbit and Life360 offer helpful ways to monitor your family’s locations, apps, driving, and communication. They provide peace of mind about your kids’ safety.

When choosing between Family Orbit vs Life360, here are some key facts to consider:

  • Life360 has better real-time GPS tracking and location features.
  • Family Orbit has more extensive app blocking and time management capabilities.
  • Family Orbit gives parents more visibility into texts, calls, and messages.
  • Both platforms are easy to set up with a parent dashboard, but Family Orbit’s interface is more intuitive.
  • Family Orbit has free accounts, but Life360 has cheaper premium pricing for families.

For real-time tracking and driving safety alerts, Life360 wins out. But parents wanting expansive app limits and communication monitoring will prefer Family Orbit.

Ultimately, assessing your priorities for family safety and cost will determine if Family Orbit or Life360 is the right fit. Both apps provide robust protection – so choose the one catered to your family’s needs.