Get blog posts into your mailbox

Subscribe to the Blog

How Will iOS 11 Affect My Life360 App?

permissions

 

Apple’s new iOS11 comes with new features and changes. Some of these changes will directly affect Life360, and we’ve been working for months to ensure that everything works seamlessly when you and your family update your devices. That being said, we’ve written down a couple of key things that you should know regarding the update so you can have the best possible app experience.

  1. Life360 requires “Always Allow” vs. “Only While Using” location permission.

When you install Life360 as a new user, iOS11 asks for a new tier of location permissions. They grant apps access to your location only while the app is being viewed on your screen.  While this might be enough for many types of apps (such as gaming or shopping), this level of permission is not enough for Life360 to work properly. The Life360 appneeds to be able to access your family’s location even when they don’t have Life360 open. This allows us to make sure everyone’s location is up to date and accurate at all times (and not just when the app is open on your device). If you can imagine: you would like to view your son’s location, but he does not currently have the app open on his phone, so you will not be able to see where he is.

As a result, for Life360 to work properly, it is essential that every one in your Circleselect the “Always Allow” location permission. If you’d prefer not to share your location all the time, the best way to do so is by toggling location sharing directly on or off within the Life360 app itself. To reiterate, Life360 only works with location permissions set to “Always Allow”, otherwise location accuracy will be intermittent and broken.

  1. Do not disturb mode while driving.

iOS11 has introduced a new feature that allows you to mute notifications while a vehicle is in motion, so you can stay focused on the road. When your phone is in this state, you won’t be instantly alerted with Life360 notifications (or any notifications for that matter). While this is ultimately a safety feature, please be advised that Place Alert notifications will not appear during this time, but should show up and be available to you once you stop your drive.

  1. Overall app performance should be the same.

Assuming you select “Always Allow”, Life360 will work the same on iOS11 as it does on iOS10. Remember, in order to have the best possible location accuracy regardless of iOS version, make sure everyone in your Circle keeps their Wi-Fi on. Turning on Wi-Fi on your device dramatically improves location accuracy, even if you are not actively connected to a Wi-Fi network. Your device uses the Wi-Fi sensor to detect nearby Wi-Fi base stations and narrow your exact location based on that information. With Wi-Fi on, your device can quickly locate you within the bounds of a building, but with Wi-Fi off your location accuracy can be off, as your device needs to rely on less precise location inputs (like the location of cell phone towers).  

Location Safety In Case of an Emergency

water

 

This month we saw the devastation that occurred in many parts of the world brought on by natural disasters: Hurricane Harvey and Irma in the US, floods in South Asia, and the recent earthquake in Mexico. They all contributed to very dangerous situations for local residents. While there is nothing worse than a family trying to contact loved ones in times like these, we at Life360 try to be a useful tool to help with communication, connection and peace of mind. Here are some ways you can use Life360 to help before, during and after the next emergency.

1. Check in: If you ever need to give a status update to your family, simply tap “Check in” and you share your location with your family, letting them know that you’re safe and sound.

2. Help alert: Incase of an immediate emergency, send a “Help Alert” and we’ll notify your emergency contact list with your location via email, in-app notification, text and a phone call. Often during these times phone lines may get jammed as families try to contact one another, but Life360 uses such a small amount of data that your location and safety status gets through to our system so we can keep sending out your info until everyone in your family gets it. Make sure you’re prepared by setting up your emergency contact list now.

3. Monitor battery life: In addition to location, Life360 also lists the battery life of users and notifies circle members. When your phone goes into low-power mode, it turns off certain GPS functionalities that degrade location accuracy. Stay charged!

4. Increase location accuracy by keeping your Wi-Fi on: Turning on WiFi on your device dramatically improves location accuracy, even if you are not actively connected to a WiFi network. Your device uses the WiFi sensor to detect nearby WiFi  base stations and narrow your exact location based on that information.  With WiFi on, your device can quickly locate you within the bounds of a building, but with WiFi off your location accuracy can be off by more than a mile, as your device needs to rely on less precise location inputs (e.g., the location of cell phone towers).

How Life360 is helping families affected by Hurricane Harvey

 

The number of people in Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey this week is overwhelming, and our team’s thoughts are with all of the affected families.

 

After seeing the destruction the storm has caused, our team immediately began discussing “how can we help?” Thousands of families in the greater Houston area regularly use Life360. Our app can help them communicate with each other during natural disasters and keep track of loved ones’ whereabouts.

 

For our users who have been in the area affected by Hurricane Harvey over the past several days, we have upgraded your basic Life360 account to Life360 PLUS through September 30 for free. This upgrade has already been applied to the accounts of more than 200,000 of our users in the area affected by the storm. We hope the 30 days of family Location History, unlimited Places Alerts that send you an automatic notification when loved ones arrive or depart a designated area on the map, and 24/7 customer service from our team are helpful to you and your loved ones. Accounts that have been upgraded for free will automatically revert on October 1 to the basic Life360 service you had before the storm.

 

Life360 has also made a donation to the American Red Cross to help fund relief efforts, and we hope others in our community will consider making a donation, too.

 

Many of our users may not know that the idea for Life360 arose following Hurricane Katrina. After watching countless stories of families who could not find their loved ones, we were determined to build an app that could keep families connected and aware of their loved ones’ locations even when cell phone towers are down. Our thoughts are with all families in the areas affected by this storm.

 

Top Ten Back to School Safety Tips For Parents, Students and Drivers

shutterstock_485661592

 

It’s almost that time of year, when kids go back to school, new teen drivers hit the streets and college students start packing for their new dorms. As parents, we’re equally relieved, excited and anxious that our kids are starting the new school year! In fact, we find that it’s one of the most active times of the year for families using Life360. Families add “Places” such as school as much as 50% more. From family location features to drive monitoring, many families use Life360 to make life a little easier, with the peace of mind knowing that their children are safe during the school year.

This time of year introduces new challenges and safety concerns, but with a little bit of education, you and your family can be better prepared. Whether it’s walking, driving, or taking a bus, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 safety tips for traveling to school for a safer experience.

 

phone-showcase-newFor Families

  1. Get Life360 in Your Life: Life360 offers a great way to make sure that you know your kids get to school and arrive home safely! Watch them in real time when they’re traveling and follow their route, or get automatic notifications pushed to your phone for daily peace of mind. With Driver Protect, you can get a report on your teen driver’s speed, braking, and instances of cell phone use while driving. For further safety measures, Driver Protect offers roadside assistance and crash detection in case of emergencies.

“My kids enjoy more freedom and they appreciate the fact that I’m not constantly bugging them about their whereabouts. I can tell where they are and see when they are on their way home. They can take their time driving even after curfew because I can see them making progress on their route (so I’m more understanding). I can also discreetly check that they made the drive safely to school each morning even though our local roads are often snow-covered and slippery and riddled with deer.” – Wendy L.

  1. Know Where to Be Picked Up: If you plan on picking up your child, make sure to set a regular place for pickup that is both easily accessible for a car and is a safe place for your kids to wait, in case you are late. Highly trafficked areas are not ideal (or safe).
  1. Have a Pre-established Route: If walking to school, have a pre-established daily route that you both agree upon. They should not deviate from that route or take any shortcuts which can be unfamiliar to them and not vetted by you. Doing so should help mitigate any dangers or risks.
  1. Walk with Friends! If at all possible, walking with a friend or a group is always safer than walking by yourself.shutterstock_314871770
  1. Don’t Rush to the Bus: If your child is taking the bus, make sure they arrive early so they don’t feel tempted to rush or cut any corners—like running across the street—while trying to catch it.
  1. Obey the Proper Crossing Rules: Make sure your child obeys the rules of the road: it’s important to use the marked crosswalks at traffic signals, wait for the pedestrian walking signs, always be mindful of your surroundings and watch for oncoming cars. Do not use phones, play games or listen to headphones too loudly as they can be major distractions while in highly trafficked areas—especially when crossing the street.

“This app made parent-teen relationships so much better at our house! The kids don’t have to remember to text me. I hear the notifications when they leave school, practice, etc. I don’t even have to stop what I am doing, I just hear it and know they are on schedule. Even if they make mistakes like staying out too late, I can see for myself that they are safe (just late)… no freak-out late-night arguments. I haven’t obsessed about following my family’s every move because using the driving history a couple times showed me they really are doing well on the road. To me this app is a good example of life-improving use of technology!” – Laura R.

For Teen Drivers

  1. shutterstock_81123025Make sure your teen doesn’t distract themselves with their phone while driving. Texting while driving and taking your eyes off the road could result in a serious accident. Don’t change the music on your phone, don’t take a call, don’t text, it can be dangerous—and illegal. With Safe Drive Reviews in Driver Protect, we let you know what occurred during each drive with instant, detailed reviews. Information about the drive including alerts for Phone Usage, Rapid Acceleration, Hard Braking, and the Top Speed are shown on the map at the time of occurrence. As much as 58% of Driver Protect users have reported reduced phone useage while driving!
  1. Don’t Have a Party in Your Car: Blasting the latest Taylor Swift song can be fun, but a car full of screaming, bouncing teens is no joke. Make sure everyone is in their seat, buckled up, with the music at a reasonable volume. Leave the karaoke to sleepovers!
  1. Drive to School Early: Driving while late to class is an easy excuse for speeding. Don’t rush. Accidents increase and defensive driving goes out the window when teen drivers speed to get to class on time. You can help your teens be better drivers by turning on Drive Detection in Life360. Doing so will enable both of you to see the top speed reached during each drive, which can help to reduce and dissuade bad habits.
  1. Slow Down for School Zones: Speed limits are reduced in school zones for a reason. With so many children crossing the street, it’s recommended that you do not pass vehicles, especially school buses. It’s better to be safe and slow than sorry (as well as avoiding any chance of getting a ticket)!

“Great for families! For a family with multiple kids and multiple adults responsible for dropping off and/or picking up the kids from school, this app makes it easy for making sure everyone is in-the-know of where people are in relation to getting the kids. We have set up zones at the school, the bus stop and various homes for the adults. We now know for sure when people are making the pick up or drop off on time. This also makes it easy for family functions, as we can call people and give them directions based on where they are.” – Tremaine K.

Is your family beginning the school year soon? Add “school” as a place today and get notified when your kids arrive and leave! Want to hear more tips, stories and articles from Life360? Join our community on our Facebook page. Have a great school year and stay safe! – Life360

Life360 Driver Protect now available everywhere

Life360driver

 

Today we are very excited to launch Life360 Driver Protect in the UK!

Driver Protect is a new subscription service that provides peace of mind to families on the road. The service uses your smartphone to automatically detect distracted driving events, providing you and your family with actionable safety insights about their driving habits.

The idea of Driver Protect developed as a result of Life360 feedback; families are concerned when their teens are on the road. Teen driving statistics are astoundingly unfortunate. According to research on Mirror, “Almost six in ten road crashes involving teenage motorists are caused by texting and other distractions at the wheel.”

Comprehensive driver safety services used to only be available via in-vehicle hardware diagnostic systems. But we knew we could offer a solution with software instead of hardware! We can give access to driver safety features to anyone with a smart phone and internet connection. Our technology works in any vehicle, so families are no longer tethered to one car. This service protects every member of the Family Circle in a single subscription, and the features travel with everyone on their smartphones, providing peace of mind to families when their loved ones are on the road.

Life360 Driver Protect features:

  • Safe Drive Reviews: Family members can receive safety insights about each drive taken by a loved one in their Family Circle, whether that person is the driver or a passenger. Insights include trip information on a map that shows duration and route, reporting on top speed, and instances of rapid acceleration, hard braking and cell phone usage.

lifedriver-report-ios

  • Weekly Driver Reports: Circle members can see how their distracted driving habits have improved week to week. A quick glance in the app will show graphs of hard braking, cell phone use, and rapid acceleration for the entire week. This gives families an opportunity to sit down and talk about the importance of safe driving and see how habits are improving over time.

 

weeklydrivereport

The subscription also includes features from Life360 PLUS:

    • Unlimited Place Alerts: Subscribers can set up unlimited Place Alerts to get notified automatically when loved ones arrive or depart locations like school, work and home
    • 30 Days of Location History: Thirty days of location history for everyone in the Family Circle is available to easily look back in time at the family’s comings and goings
    • Same Day Email Support: Even the littlest question is a big concern to us. When you contact our support, we’ll give you priority service and respond within 24 hours

Within the first month of using Life360 Driver Protect, phone use amongst users decreased 58%!

Through the Driver Protect product, and specifically the Safe Drive Reviews, we hope to create a family of better, safer drivers. We recently conducted a survey of our users, and 82% of parents with teenagers said they worry about their teen’s safety when driving without a parent. With detailed information around phone usage, rapid acceleration and hard braking, families can have more focused conversations to review specific driving habits they can improve.

The Life360 Driver Protect subscription is now available in the UK and covers all members of the Family Circle.

Tips for talking to your teen about safe driving

Talking to your teen about driving safety is very important. According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Most crashes are preventable, so talking to your teen and establishing safe driving habits as a family can make a big difference

Here are a few tips from our team at Life360 for how to tackle a discussion about safe driving with your teen, and how to keep the conversation going to ensure good driving becomes a habit.

  1. Discuss the importance of safe driving. Although your teen may feel invincible, ensure they understand the laws in your state and that car crashes can change people’s lives in a matter of seconds. Review research and distracted driving statistics with your teen. For example, let them know that responding to a text while driving takes your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds, which is enough time to drive the length of a football field.
  2. Make a safe driving promise. Establish rules of the road for everyone in your family in a written contract. Make a promise that you will always wear seatbelts, follow the speed limit, focus on the road at all times, pull over if you are too tired to drive, and never drive under the influence or while using a cell phone. The CDC offers a parent-teen driving agreement you can print, or you can create your own.
  3. Monitor your family’s driving behavior, and review it together weekly. The Life360 Driver Protect service covers everyone in the family and shows instances of cell phone use, rapid acceleration, hard braking and top speed reached after every completed drive. A weekly driving summary for each family member provides an easy way to sit down together and review that everyone is sticking to your family’s safe driving promise.life360driving
  4. Timing is everything when talking to a teen. You know your family members better than anyone and choosing the right time to talk about safe driving is key. If your teen is not a morning person, don’t discuss driving tips over breakfast. If they have a lot of homework, don’t overwhelm them with a family meeting after dinner. Pick a time that works for your family and make safe driving check-ins a regular conversation.
  5. Set a good example. Parents are the earliest and most influential role models kids have. Follow the rules of the road and you’ll help raise a teen who is more likely to do so, too.

The Life360 Driver Protect service is available within the Life360 app, for iPhone and Android. A single subscription covers everyone in the family Circle and travels with you on your smartphone, in any vehicle. In addition to Safe Drive Insights, the service includes Automatic Crash Detection and Emergency Response and 24/7 Extended Roadside Assistance, providing help when your family needs it most.

How To Handle the End of the School Year

It’s a child’s favorite part of the year: the last few weeks and days of school when it’s warming up, days are longer, and you’re dreaming of at least 6 weeks with no homework!

It can be a parent’s dreaded part of the year: how to entertain your kids for 6 weeks when you have to work, the cost of camps, will they finish everything on their reading list?!

Life360 can’t help make 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea any more interesting, but we can help with the coordination and worry that come with giving your children more freedom to play outside and hang out with their friends during the summer months.

 

Here are few tips from Life360 Parents on how to use the app after school lets out:

 

“Place Alerts for my daughter eliminate the need for constant texts”

You may have set up Place alerts for school and soccer practice, but your schedules and go-to places are different during summer. Set up a Place Alert at the playground and make sure your child takes a phone with them so you know when they come and go from there. Set up a safety zone around your house or neighborhoo so you know if they leave the zone and go into a dangerous neighborhood. Or Set a Place Alert at your childs’ best friend’s house for all those sleepovers.

 

“Vacation Circles help us keep track of each other”

Set up another Circle for vacation. Maybe you travel with another family, your cousins, grandparents, or friends. A vacation Circle makes everything easy to coordinate by knowing where everyone is without having to wait for them to call or text you back. Organize dinners, follow their day, and give yourself piece of mind knowing where everyone is.

 

Have any more suggestions on how to use Life360 to make summer life easier? Let us know in the comments!

 

Win $500 For Being a #Life360SafeDriver

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Life360 wants to call attention to the bad habits many of us have with distracted driving-such as eating food while driving, texting while driving, and looking through music to play while driving.

We have unlocked the Driver Protect feature-Safe Drive Reviews- for all of our US users so that they can see how well every Circle member is driving. The feature is available April 12-18.

To show our commitment to the importance of correcting bad driving habits, we are sponsoring a contest!

Life360 Contest

 

For every Safe Drive Review where a drive shows 0 events, that’s one step closer to winning!

Take a screenshot of the drive from the history view (before you click into the drive) so that it shows your name and 0 events. Post it on facebook, twitter or instagram with the hashtag #Life360SafeDriver and @Life360!

We will determine the winner after April 18th and reward $500! You have until then to enter as many safe drives as you want! Are you a #Life360SafeDriver?

Life360SafeDriver

Safe Drive Reviews: Learn your distracted driving habits

Cell phone use on the road is responsible for 64% of all automobile accidents in the U.S. Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving. During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving.

These are just a few of the scary statistics around distracted driving.

shutterstock_585894350

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and we at Life360 want to bring awareness to you and your Circle. We will be giving all our US users free access to Safe Drive Reviews April 12-18. This is a feature of our subscription, Driver Protect.

Safe Drive Reviews let Circle members know about events occurred during a drive. View:

  • Top Speed
  • Texting and phone use while driving
  • Hard braking
  • Rapid acceleration

The Safe Drive Review map will show the spot where the event occurred.

life360safedrivereview

 

To become a better, safer driver, being aware of these bad habits is the first step to stopping them. Sit down and have a conversation with your loved ones about the dangers of each of these events. Encourage your Circle to complete drives with zero events. We suggest giving out a prize – like a gift card or money – for an entire month of zero drives.

To view a Safe Drive Review for a Circle member, make sure these first steps are completed:

  1. Drive Detection is turned on for every Circle member
  2. Turn on Driving Alerts to receive the drive notifications
  3. When you receive a push notification after a drive, tap it to be taken into the Safe Drive Review

drivingalert

 

Life360 is sponsoring a contest to encourage users to take zero-incident drives all week. A zero-incident drive will show all events at 0 – Phone use, Rapid Acceleration, Hard Braking, and High Speed. We’re awarding 1 winner $500!

To participate, screenshot each zero-incident drive and post on facebook, twitter, or instagram with the hashtag #Life360SafeDriver and @Life360

We will choose one winner from April 12-18 who has posted the most Safe Drives from their account!

 

We leave you with this heart breaking, but touching story of the dangers of texting while driving. Remember – Just Drive.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is observed as Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council. To help raise awareness and encourage discussion about safe driving habits, we will be sharing a number of resources throughout the month – here on our blog and on the Life360 Facebook page.

The National Safety Council estimates that more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year. Cell phone use was the leading cause!

 

Since launching our Life360 Driver Protect service, we have been able look at driving behavior trends across our millions of users. Our data shows that a cell phone is used on average 1.78 times during each drive. This is the national average, and unfortunately cell phone use on the road is much more frequent in some areas. Check out additional insights from the National Safety Council and our own driving behavior data analysis:

 

life360distracteddriving

 

We encourage each of you to start a conversation with your loved ones about how driving safely could save lives! Putting your cell phone in the backseat, waiting to eat, and staying focused on the road are all ways to improve bad driving habits.