Life360 is a family safety and location sharing app that helps families stay connected. With over 50 million users worldwide, it has become one of the most popular apps for location tracking and coordinating families.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an in-depth Life360 review covering how it works, its key features, pricing, privacy, and more. We’ll also compare it to competitor apps and provide tips on using location sharing apps safely.
Overview of Life360
Life360 is available for both iOS and Android devices. The app allows family members to share their real-time location with each other. This enables them to view where their loved ones are at any given moment for added peace of mind.
Some of the key features of Life360 include:
- Real-time location tracking – See family members’ locations updated every few minutes on a map.
- Location history – View where family has been over a certain time period like the last 30 days.
- Place alerts – Get notifications when a family member arrives or leaves key locations like home, school, or work.
- Driver safety features – Monitor driving habits of family members such as speeding, phone usage, and hard braking.
- SOS alert – Members can send an emergency alert to notify family of trouble and share their location.
- Crash detection – App can automatically detect a potential car crash and notify emergency contacts.
- Groups/Circles – Add specific family members to a group to selectively share locations.
- Communication – Built-in messaging and location check-ins keep the family connected.
The app offers free and paid subscription plans with varying levels of features. It’s aimed primarily at families, especially parents seeking peace of mind about their kids’ whereabouts.
How Life360 Works
Life360 has a simple setup process to get started. Here’s an overview of how to use Life360:
- Create an account and register for free or paid membership.
- Set up “Circles” and invite family members to join.
- Once a Circle is set up, members can view each other’s real-time locations on a map.
- Adjust app notifications and location sharing settings as desired.
- Use features like Place Alerts, SOS, messaging, etc.
- Drive monitoring provides insights into driving habits and safety.
- Review location history timeline for an overview of where family members have been.
Settings allow you to control the location accuracy, frequency of updates, battery usage, and more. You can also pause location sharing temporarily or set up a “Bubble” to only share approximate area rather than precise location.
Overall, Life360 aims to provide peace of mind by sharing locations while also fostering family communication and safety.
Key Features of Life360
Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the key features Life360 offers:
Real-Time Location Tracking
The main appeal of Life360 is its real-time location tracking. Once a family group or “Circle” is set up, you can view all members’ locations on a map updated every few minutes.
Tapping on a person shows their current street address. You can also search addresses and get directions to any family member’s location.
Location History and Timeline
Life360 stores location history for up to 60 days. This allows you to look back at where family members have been over a certain time period.
The timeline shows each person’s daily movements and highlights significant places like home and work. It provides an easy way to get insight into family members’ location patterns.
Location Sharing Settings
You have granular control over location sharing in Life360. You can set frequency of updates from 1-30 minutes. Battery saver mode minimizes battery usage.
For privacy, members can turn off location sharing or use “Bubble” mode to only show approximate area on map. Great for when you want privacy but still want family to know general whereabouts.
Place Alerts and Geofencing
Place alerts let you mark custom locations like home, school, or workplace. You’ll get notifications when family members arrive or leave those places. Useful for monitoring kids coming and going.
You can have unlimited place alerts on paid plans. It essentially functions as geofencing by setting up custom radii around key locations.
Driving Safety andMonitoring
Life360 offers powerful features to monitor driving habits and safety. You can view top speed, phone usage while driving, hard braking events and more.
Crash Detection can automatically detect a potential collision and notify your emergency contacts right away along with your location to send help. This can really be a lifesaver in the event of an accident.
SOS Emergency Alert
The SOS Alert is like an emergency panic button. When you trigger it, Life360 will notify everyone in your family Circle along with your exact location.
This quickly summons help in an emergency situation. It can also contact emergency services if you have that enabled.
Family Communication Tools
Life360 facilitates family communication with built-in messaging and check-ins. You can quickly message individuals or groups directly in the app.
Check-ins allow you to manually update family on your location and status. Useful when you want to share your location on your own terms.
Some supplemental tools Life360 includes:
- Battery monitoring – See family’s current battery levels so you know if someone needs a charge.
- Crime reports – View recent crime incidents around your location and family members’ locations.
- Friend requests – Members can request connections so families can expand Circles.
- Smart notifications – App learns routines and optimizes notifications over time.
Life360 Pricing and Plans
Life360 offers free and paid subscription plans:
|Basic||Free||Location sharing, place alerts (2), crash detection, communication|
|Gold||$14.99/month or $99.99/year||30-day location history, Driver Safety features, roadside assistance|
|Platinum||$24.99/month or $199.99/year||24/7 emergency dispatch, stolen phone replacement|
- Paid plans enable expanded location history, more place alerts, and driving safety monitoring.
- Higher plans add roadside assistance, emergency services dispatch, and phone replacement insurance.
- All plans support adding unlimited family members to location sharing Circles.
The free plan is very capable for basic location sharing among families. Paid plans provide more utility through driving safety and insurance-like protections.
Many families can get by with the free version, but the paid plans are affordable and provide additional peace of mind. Life360 often offers deals like free 1-month trials of paid plans.
Life360 App Review: Pros and Cons
- Excellent real-time location tracking and history.
- Useful driving safety monitoring and crash detection.
- Handy communication tools and emergency alerts.
- Affordable paid plans with family protections.
- Easy to set up groups and invite family members.
- Customizable location-sharing settings and privacy options.
- No web interface or desktop access – mobile app only.
- Can be too invasive for some families’ preferences.
- Potential battery drain and data usage.
- Requires all family to actively use the app.
- Some users report app glitches or inaccurate locations.
The biggest benefit Life360 provides is peace of mind through location sharing and enhanced coordination/communication. The driving safety features are also a key advantage for many families.
However, the need to install on all family members’ phones is a downside, along with potential battery drain. And location tracking at all times may be overkill for some families.
Life360 Privacy Concerns and Data Security
With any location-tracking app, privacy concerns exist. Here are some top things to know about Life360 and privacy:
- Data collection – Life360 collects location data, messages, contacts, and information like usage habits and crash incidents. They use this data to provide services and improve the app.
- Data sales – Life360 does sell aggregated, anonymized data to third parties. You can opt-out in settings.
- Permissions – App requires enabling location permissions and providing access to contacts.
- Children’s privacy – Life360 is compliant with children’s privacy laws like COPPA in the U.S., not collecting data from under 13 without consent.
- Law enforcement – Life360 will only share user data with law enforcement if compelled by a subpoena or similar court order. This is standard practice.
- Security – Encrypted data storage and transmission. No known security breaches. Ability to report unsafe members.
Overall, while no location-tracking app can provide complete privacy, Life360 does implement reasonable security practices and offer ways to limit data sharing. Be sure to adjust settings and thoroughly understand how the app works before deploying it for your family.
Life360 vs. Competitor Apps
Some top alternatives to Life360 include:
- Find My Friends – Apple’s free location sharing app for iOS users. More basic features.
- Find My Device – Track lost Android and iOS devices. Limited groups and no driving tools.
- FamiSafe – Parental control app with location tracking and geofencing. Many family safety tools.
- GeoZilla – Tracks family’s locations and driving habits. Designed just for parents.
- Glympse – Simple temporary location sharing. Free with limited usage.
For a detailed comparison of Life360 and another family tracking app, see this Life360 vs Family Orbit review.
Life360 tends to offer the best overall blend of family coordination features alongside driving safety and emergency response capabilities. But plenty of simpler free options exist if you just want to share locations occasionally.
For parents specifically looking to monitor kids, a parental control app like FamiSafe provides more well-rounded supervision and security capabilities beyond just location tracking.
Tips for Using Life360 Safely
While location sharing apps provide peace of mind for many families, they should be used thoughtfully. Here are some best practices for safely using Life360 or similar family tracking apps:
- Discuss expectations and boundaries openly as a family when deciding to use monitoring apps. Get buy-in from kids and agree on reasonable privacy.
- Take time to learn about the app’s features and adjust settings accordingly rather than just installing and enabling everything by default. Start with more basic sharing and increase monitoring features over time if needed.
- Limit app access to family members and close relations only. Don’t overshare locations with extended networks.
- Use privacy settings prudently like temporarily disabling sharing or using Bubble mode to prevent constant monitoring when unnecessary.
- Avoid obsessively watching family members’ every move via the app. Leverage smart notifications and check-ins first to respect autonomy. Open the app only when needed.
- Monitor driving safety features to coach good habits but don’t penalize or shame family members excessively over inevitable slip-ups. Focus on positives like celebrating safe driving streaks.
- Remind family members to charge devices and enable location services so tracking works reliably when it matters most.
- Lead by example in using the app responsibly, not hypocritically exempting yourself from monitoring and shares.
Above all, openly communicate with your family as you use apps like Life360 so everyone understands the benefits and tradeoffs. Make reasonable adjustments over time as needed. Location tracking works best as a tool when not taken to Big Brother-like extremes.
Life360 Review: Conclusion and Key Takeaways
Life360 delivers an effective solution for families who want to easily share locations and stay coordinated on the go. Key strengths include:
- Excellent real-time monitoring and history with flexible privacy options.
- Helpful driving safety insights and crash detection capability.
- Useful messaging and alerts for family communication.
- Affordable paid plans with premium protections.
Potential downsides to weigh include the need for all family members to use the app, battery usage, and questions about data practices.
Compared to alternatives, Life360 provides one of the more robust blends of family location tracking, safety features, and communication tools. The free plan makes it easy to try out.
For most families seeking peace of mind along with driving safety and emergency response capabilities, Life360 is a compelling choice. Just be sure to use it in a thoughtful, consensual way as you would any monitoring technology.
- Life360 enables families to share real-time locations via iPhone and Android app. Paid plans add more features.
- Helps parents monitor kids through location history, place alerts, driving tools, etc.
- Provides communication options and emergency response capabilities like crash detection.
- Reasonable pricing plans compared to competitors, starting with free basic features.
- Consider battery usage, data practices, and family buy-in when using any tracking app.
- Focus on using Life360’s monitoring responsibly with reasonable expectations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Life360
Does Life360 drain my phone battery?
Yes, constantly tracking location in the background does use additional battery life. However, Life360 offers battery saver options to limit this impact, and you can customize location update frequency. For average use, expect around 10% faster battery drain.
Can I temporarily turn off Life360 location sharing?
Yes, members can stop sharing their location temporarily or use Privacy Modes like Bubble to only show approximate areas. You can also turn off background location access completely but still manually check in. Settings provide flexibility.
Is Life360 accurate for tracking locations?
In general, yes. Life360 uses GPS, Wi-Fi and cell towers to accurately pinpoint locations. However, there may be occasional glitches due to connectivity issues that show incorrect locations. Overall it is quite reliable.
Can police or Life360 staff see my location?
No, only the family members you explicitly share your Life360 Circle with can view your location. It is not visible to Life360 employees or law enforcement without proper legal procedures.
Does Life360 work internationally?
Yes, Life360 works globally in over 195 countries. Some supplemental services like emergency dispatch may be limited based on region. But core location sharing works internationally between family members.
Can I use Life360 on multiple devices?
You can install the Life360 app on as many iOS or Android devices as you want. However, you can only be logged into one device at a time for actual usage and location sharing. It does not work on tablets or computers.
Is there a desktop version of Life360?
No, Life360 is only available as a mobile app for iOS and Android. There is no web version or desktop application. This allows the real-time location tracking capabilities but limits accessibility to phones and tablets.