Some users might find Life360 relatively intrusive. It can show you where other members of your circles are at any given moment, and it allows them to know your location.
When you install it, the app will ask you for several permissions right off the bat. That means that you give up some of your anonymity in exchange for the services. But how much can it see, can it see other apps on your phone?
Mostly Yes, and Sometimes No
Members of your circles know what you are doing, where you are going, and so forth. That also means the people running Life360 also see where you are and what you are doing.
Life360 makes it clear that they are monitoring your phone. They say so both overtly and in their terms and conditions, but can they tell which specific apps you have on your phone? In most cases, they can. The crash detection and location functions require the knowledge of particular apps, especially if these apps use features like GPS.
There are also “Distracted Driving” protocols. If you use your phone while driving, then Life360 can see if you are talking on the phone or texting. It can also see if one of your apps is running in the foreground. It can read what the app’s name from its uninstall page.
However, it doesn’t tell people in your circle which apps you are using. For example, if you are on a dating app, it will not tell people in your circle, it will merely show that you are driving and you are being distracted.
Why Would Life360 Need to Know Which Apps You Have?
There is a prevailing theory that Life360 can only see apps you use while Life360 is active. There is also a chance that the app reads your registry and knows which other apps you use too.
If that’s true, Life360 could hypothetically find out sensitive things about you, such as which bank you use, and harvest information that the company could sell to marketers. Yet, there is just as much chance they are ignoring such info, or are maybe not registering and storing it.
For the “Distracted Driving” feature to work, Life360 needs to know which apps you have because some can appear in the foreground while not being used. For example, if you play an album or a playlist in the music app and leave your phone active, then your music player is in the foreground. However, Life360 doesn’t have to assume that you are distracted if your music is playing. On the other hand, if you are driving and Angry Birds is playing, then they can be sure you are distracted while driving.
Is There a Security Risk?
When you install an app, you are taking a risk, even if the company doesn’t ask for any special permissions. But, Life360 has two things going for it. The first is that the company behind the app wouldn’t want to risk its reputation by harvesting and selling information or stealing identities.
The second reason is that you are a tiny fish in a vast ocean. Even if a malcontented employee at Life360 started stealing information, there is still a slim chance of you being affected because there are so many other Life360 users.
It is true that Life360 requires lots of permissions and that it can be intrusive. It monitors your position, what you’re doing, and which apps are active on your phone. Yet, it doesn’t make this app any riskier than a social media app that wants access to your contacts and photos, or a driving app that wants access to your GPS.
Conclusion – Life360 Can See Most of Your Apps
When you sign up with Life360, you give the app a series of permissions. Some might be uncomfortable with providing an app so much access and info. However, you can rest assured that the company behind the app won’t work behind your back. After all, it built its multi-million dollar business on quality service and the trust of their clients.
Do you agree with the risk? Is Life360 worth it? Let us know in the comments.