Review of GPS Tracking Pro (Life 360) App for Android and iOS Smartphones

Useful for Family Members Boating


The GPS Tracking Pro app for Android and iOS smartphones makes it easy to keep track of the location of participating family members and offers a number of features useful for people who want to know what each other are up to.

While not designed specifically for boaters or sailors, this app can be used if someone onshore wants to know the past and current location of someone else on a boat - such as parents keeping track of their child who has sailed out of sight.

Version reviewed: 6.02
Requires Android 2.1 and up (iOS 5.0 or later)
Developer: Family Safety Production
Available at Google Play Store (and iTunes Store) - free
Tested on Samsung Rugby smartphone running Android 2.3.4

Key Features

Note that there are two apps on Android with different names that seem virtually identical: GPS Tracking Pro and Life360. Both are from the same developer, and in fact they may actually be the same app that has simply changed its name. On iTunes it is listed only as Life360

Once the app is installed on two or more smartphones within the same "family circle," either user can with a single tap see the present location of the other user(s) on Google Maps, even if the app itself is not open on the other phone (it apparently runs in the background) - as long as there is connectivity. The app uses location services, which can generalize the other's location even if the GPS is turned off.

It has other features also and allows a range of communications within the app (data services, not SMS messaging):

  • You can see a track showing the person's movements in recent hours.
  • You can with a single tap send one of different built-in messages (check in = "I'm ok"; a standard message like "Running late" or "On my way"; or an alert message "I need your help!"), or type your own message.
  • Alerts are sent by app message, email, and cellular call and will go through even if the intended receiver does not have the app open.

Although the app is intended primarily for family use, such as a couple keeping track of each other or parents watching over their children, boating and other recreational uses have other value also. Boaters in different vessels can keep track of each other's location in real time. Parents can know where their kids have sailed or paddled off to. And if someone goes missing (or the phone is shut off or drowns in the water), the app will display its last known position.

The Downside

Privacy buffs may find all this rather creepy, particularly the fact that your phone is sending out your location even when you aren't running the app. The locating function can be turned off only by shutting down the phone itself. One would imagine teenagers wanting to uninstall the app immediately, for example - even if parents promised they were tracking them only when at risk (on the water, hiking, etc.).

Perhaps an ideal tracking app for adults would function only when both parties deliberately run the app - but then, of course, there's the risk of forgetting to start it or shutting it down accidentally.

Related apps to consider:

  • The BoatUS app is an easy way to let others know where you are, showing your location on a map.
  • In an emergency your phone can send a Morse code SOS light beacon into the dark to be seen by rescuers.
  • Marine Weather is a decent app for both Apple and Android devices that also includes tides, radar, and more.
  • A comparison of 5 Android apps for boat charts and navigation to help you choose the one best for you.
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Your Citation
Lochhaas, Tom. "Review of GPS Tracking Pro (Life 360) App for Android and iOS Smartphones." ThoughtCo, Feb. 29, 2016, Lochhaas, Tom. (2016, February 29). Review of GPS Tracking Pro (Life 360) App for Android and iOS Smartphones. Retrieved from Lochhaas, Tom. "Review of GPS Tracking Pro (Life 360) App for Android and iOS Smartphones." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 19, 2017).