Can Life360 See Your Texts?
Life360 is an app that’s often misunderstood. As a family locator app, it does have some features which may be similar to those of various spying apps. But it also follows some very clear limitations and anti-intrusion protocols.
There are things that can be tracked and monitored and things that can’t, regardless of how many permissions you grant the app. Let’s take you through the important tracking features, what the app can do and can’t do for you, depending on what type of member you are.
What You Can Do with Life360
Life360 allows you to keep track of family members or close friends without having to jailbreak or root your smartphone. It’s a family locator app, available for free and with a few extra premium perks for people who would like a few additional features for peace-of-mind and safety.
The basic functions of the app include allowing multiple devices to be connected and communicate with each other on a map. Another feature is granting control over location sharing. The app can also be used to track lost or stolen devices, as long as the location feature is turned on and the app active on the misplaced phone.
In addition, there’s a location history that you can use to see what other members like to do, or what routes they prefer to take. One of the coolest features, however, is the alert feature. You can use a panic button-like feature to send out a mass SMS or text alert with your GPS coordinates.
This feature only works for one circle at a time. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about broadcasting your location to family members, drinking buddies, coworkers, and everyone else simultaneously.
One of the most common issues with Life360 and all other apps like it is what can the app actually monitor and share about you. A lot of people are wondering if Life360 can track texts. Well, yes and no. It can track texts sent between circle members since the app allows the devices to be linked.
But does it also broadcast your location based on a text sent to other contacts on your phone? No. Life360 will only notify circle members of your location when your app is active (it will run in the background of your phone assuming the permissions are set to let it do so). But it won’t alert them to your interactions with people outside the circle.
Now, it is important to point out that with the paid service, Life360’s Safe Driving Detection feature may show that you are texting while you’re driving. Every person in the circle can turn this off from their own phone. But, it may show under the ‘Phone Usage’ tab that you were doing something on your phone.
Privacy concerns aside, here are some of the coolest benefits of using Life360, full features and all, the way it was intended to be used.
Now that we’ve cleared up what Life360 can and can’t monitor, let’s talk about some of the other features available. Reviewing this list, you can decide whether or not this app is right for you.
When you’re in a circle with other members you can get directions to their current location without having to ask them via text or call. Here’s how:
- Launch the app.
- Go to your circle.
- Find the family member you want to get with on the map.
- Tap the member’s avatar.
You’ll need location tracking activated on your phone for this to work. If the app can’t get your current location, it won’t matter if the other person is being tracked by the app.
Once you’ve enabled GPS tracking, the app can calculate the distance between you and that member and devise with a travel plan.
Here’s another feature, reserved for premium members, that can make your life easier and safer while traveling. Once you’ve become a premium member, you’ll get access to the ‘Call Roadside Assistance’ button.
You’ll find it under the ‘Safety’ tab. Using this feature will connect you by phone with a representative from Life360. If you have your location services activated then the representative will know exactly where you are, what you’re doing, who you are, etc.
You should then be able to solve your problems with a bit of assistance. Another cool thing about this feature is that it can help you if you can’t place a call yourself. Once connected to a live representative from Life360, you can ask for a tow truck or other type of roadside intervention.
Here’s another reason you might want to make full use of Life360’s tracking technology. For premium US users, a feature called Driver Protect is also available. This feature might not work perfectly unless you have a newer generation smartphone, but, in essence, it uses the sensors in your phone to detect impacts occurring at speeds of a minimum of 25mph.
Once a crash has been detected, Life360 will contact you as well as all other members in your circle via text or email. The app can also notify emergency contacts as well as dispatch emergency services to your location.
What’s cool is that this feature works whether you’re a driver or a passenger. Again, it won’t tap into your car’s onboard computer but use your phone’s sensors instead. Therefore, your position in the car doesn’t matter at all.
But it won’t be able to detect if someone crashes into you if you’re just a pedestrian out walking. So, keep that in mind before thinking that the app offers the ultimate tracking and crash detection technology.
Another feature of Life360 is the type of alerts it sends. From low battery life to your arrival at certain destinations, the app is unique. When you first setup Life360 you will get two free destinations. Whenever someone in your circle arrives, you (and everyone else in the circle) will receive an alert. You’ll also receive an alert when someone leaves one of these places.
You can turn on Safe Drive notifications for teen drivers or even someone who travels a lot that you may be concerned about. Each week, every member of the circle automatically creates a safe driving report. Safety incidents can include rapid acceleration, hard braking, and even phone usage (although it won’t show the activity it may pick up on movements of the phone that indicate unsafe driving).
The Cost Versus the Payout
Life360 has three tiers of service not including the free option.
The Silver option is $4.99/mo or $49.99/year. This option Unlimited Check-Ins, Crash Detection, Driving Summaries, and $100 toward the replacement of a lost or stolen phone.
The Gold option is $9.99/mo. or $99.99/year. You get a little more with this option like Emergency dispatch, roadside assistance, and $250 toward the replacement cost of a lost or stolen phone.
Finally, the Platinum option gives you everything Life360 has to offer for $19.99/mo. or $199.99/year. It still doesn’t give you the option to see what someone is actually doing on their phone (like texts, emails, phone calls) but it does give you 30 days of driving history. This means you can go back and look at routes the person has taken.
Life360’s plans (including the free plan) allows users to have 10 people in their circle at one time.
Life360 Is Not to Be Underestimated
Hopefully, now you can rest assured that Life360 is not an app that will monitor and record your every move. There are plenty of things you can do privately, such as communicate with others inside or outside your private circles, without the app storing every last detail.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, it’s probably best to avoid the app altogether. Even though we know that no one can see your actual phone activity (other than your battery life), it is quite invasive. Depending on what your situation is, you may want to spoof the location on Life360.
Let us know if you’ve noticed anything else that didn’t seem on the up and up regarding privacy settings. Do you still feel like you’re being monitoring more than you should be? Or do you find Life360 to be less intrusive and easier to use than other similar apps? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.