Maybe your child has been returning home very late without any good explanation. Maybe they’ve been spending a more than unusual amount of time on their phones. Perhaps, there’s someone else you need to keep an eye on.
In my endeavor to keep a close eye on our kid’s and the multitude of ways they may be using their phones, I’ve installed and tested more than 15 different spy software programs. In this article, I’ve assembled everything I’ve learned about the best cell phone spy software in an attempt to help you decide which to buy.
In the following sections you’ll find out about:
So many companies claim they have the best spy app on the market, but what actually is the difference between one from another?
Here’s the two main differences: Reliability and technical support.
In my extensive research, I’ve found that these spyware apps function very similarly and offer much of the same features. That being said, they do differ in there:
The goal of spy software is to make our lives easier, less stressful, and more certain. To be sure, I’ve decided to highlight for you the MOST IMPORTANT features to consider and offer you the 5 best cell phone spy software packages out there including a
Next, I’ll be helping guide you in your decision to choose the best mobile spyware for the safety of yourself, your children, and the people close to you. Because after all, in my experience you can never be too sure.
Well, let’s get right into it then, shall we?
mSpy is one of the most popular cell phone spy software packages on the market today. It works on iOS (iPhones, iPads, etc.) and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows computers.
mSpy has the clear advantage of not requiring a jailbreak or rooting of the device to begin your monitoring. If you’re not the most tech savvy, then this will surely save you a lot of time and frustration.
If you’re looking for an easy and intuitive cell phone tracker app interface that allows you to quickly see all relevant information on one dashboard about the target device, mSpy is definitely a great pick for you. For a more indepth look check out our mSpy review here.
Are you an Apple family? An Android family? Doesn’t matter. mSpy has got you covered with all of the basic spy features you need. This includes monitoring texts, email spy, instant messages, contacts, call spying, pinpointing their GPS location as well as some extras only the mSpy app offers to spy on cell phone.
mSpy offers a very clever function with its GEO-fencing capability. Not only will you know your child’s current location at all times using the cell phone location tracking capabilities, but you can also setup perimeters or zones which you consider safe or unsafe. If your target enters or leaves these areas, the mSpy spy app will immediately notify you.
mSpy’s keylogging feature gives you the ability to capture all the target phone’s keystrokes. With this you will know exactly what is being typed in various apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger.
Or maybe you need to know what their internet searches, usernames and passwords are? Keylogging from mSpy cell phone spyware does this too.
Are you worried about the unlimited access your child has to the boundless applications and websites right at the tips of their fingers? The mSpy spyware app has a great feature that gives you the ability to specify and block the apps and websites you see as inappropriate.
With just a little extra effort and a jail-breaking (rooting of Android phone) of the target phone, mSpy is the top phone app to give you almost total access to their entire phone. This includes apps such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Line, and Tinder. This powerful spy tool means you can closely monitor your target phone and user’s messaging across any platform they may use.
We all know that when it comes to technology, customer support is a necessity. Although, as I mentioned before, the functionality of these apps only differ a little bit but mSpy stands unique in this category because of its instinctive interface and 24/7 customer support.
You pay for quality here folks — but don’t get me wrong, if you’re willing to spend a little bit extra for your sanity (which if you’ve read this far already, you’re likely prepared to do!), mSpy’s troubleshooting service can save you from any stressful technical issues.
Unlike other spy software packages that will only work with one operating system, mSpy will work for both. You can easily monitor an android phone and do the same for an iPhone at the same time.
mSpy allows you to quickly switch between the devices you’re monitoring or tracking on your dashboard.
Depending on the features you need, mSpy mobile phone spyware has three different price breakdowns. Here’s what you’ll get with each:
This package is installed without the need for jailbreaking your target device. If the device is setup for regular backups and you also have the user’s iCloud log-in information, you’ll get free cell phone spy without access to target phone.
Then the mSpy phone spy app will transfer all of the tracking data and information straight to your dashboard to view whenever convenient.
As Low As $16.65/mo
It may be the easiest to install, but the no-jailbreak package includes the least amount of capabilities in terms of tracking your target’s device. You’ll be able to track:
The no-jailbreak mSpy cell phone spy software does not include Geo-fencing, access to apps like Tinder, Snapchat, or Line, GPS tracking, or keylogging features.
This package is available to you with or without jail-breaking the target phone. The Basic Tracker Package contains similar capabilities as the no-jailbreak package. Nonetheless, if you can jailbreak the target phone, the spy functionality increases considerably.
As Low As $8.33/mo
If you’re a do it yourself kind of parent, go for it. If you need a little extra technical guidance, a technician at mSpy can remotely take care of it for you for a small fee. You’ll need to have physical access to the target device no matter what. This package includes everything offered in the no-jailbreak package, plus:
From your personalized phone spy dashboard, this Premium package offers you total access to everything on the target device. Although you will need to jailbreak the phone, you will get the totality of the feature set and once again, you can do the jailbreaking yourself or have an mSpy technician remotely do it for you.
As Low As $16.67/mo
Yes, you’ll need physical access to the target device, but in return you get all of the features from the basic and no-jailbreak package as well as the following:
mSpy makes sure you are entirely comfortable with their spy app before you purchase. To ensure this, they offer you an mSpy FREE TRIAL on their website to let you see exactly how their phone spy technology operates. Try it before you buy it at their website http://www.mspy.com/demo
mSpy is without a doubt the best spy app for iPhones on the market and my overall favorite spy app. In total it provides no-jailbreak and jailbreak versions, intuitive control panel and dashboard, easy installation, and is very well-priced.
Although the no-jailbreak feature set is slightly limited, if you go for the full version, you’ll get everything you need for total certainty.
FlexiSPY is another one of the most popular and best phone spy apps on the market. This mobile spying app has all of the features of mSpy with a couple incredible features not offered by any of the other phone spy software on the market.
Since 2005, FlexiSPY has been setting the bar for the most cutting-edge monitoring and tracking capabilities out there. For an in-depth look check out our FlexiSPY review. The advanced features make it ideal for parental control of all mobile phone functions.
The app works on a vast array of mobile phones including the iPhone, Android, iPad, Nokia Symbian, and the Blackberry. Although this cell phone spy app is the most powerful out of my cell phone spyware reviews, it is more appropriate for the tech savvy type.
As was with mSpy, you’ll have the option to either jailbreak or root (for Androids) the target device, though to get the most advanced feature sets for this spy app, you need to jailbreak or root the mobile phone.
FlexiSPY will also jailbreak your device for you for a little extra.
This spy phone app, once jail-broken and installed on the target device, will allow you to track and record activities such as phone calls, voicemails, GPS location, SMS messages, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp messages, emails, Viber, all photos and videos (even within apps), contacts, and much, much more.
This feature will give you the ability to listen in on incoming and outgoing phone calls in real-time. Easily and right in your dashboard, you can arrange to be notified for calls coming from or going out to the mobile phone numbers you specify.
Via 3-way calling, after your target has placed a call, you will be immediately notified and patched in to their phone calls. This is not like listening in on a land line— no breathing noises to give you away (as long as you mute the phone on your side)— your target, the person they’re calling, none of them will no you’re listening in.
At work? In a meeting? You can have the monitoring software record all incoming and outgoing phone calls. Listen to them later or at your convenience. The recording will be stored for easy access in your dashboard. Once again, you can specify contacts and numbers and this monitoring software will automatically record the phone calls.
You’re not limited to listening to phone calls. This monitoring software allows you to remotely and discretely flip on the microphone of the target device giving you the ability to listen to the ambient surroundings of their phone.
Want to turn it on at specific times? Go ahead and schedule times and the phone spy will record them to your control panel. You can listen in in real time as well.
This feature will allow you to enable the camera remotely. Turn it on and take a picture of what’s going on around the mobile device. For your convenience, the pics will be uploaded directly to your dashboard.
Not only can you track messages from a huge variety of apps, but FlexiSPY’s monitoring software will give you the ability to record and hear VOIP calls from Skype, SnapChat, and many others. Also, use FaceTime to monitor an iPad using the camera and microphone to monitor all that is going on around the phone.
This monitoring software also allows you to see the browsing history in your control panel, location tracking capabilities, and more.
You can also use SMS text spoofing to secretly send messages on behalf of the target phone. You’ll be in a unique position to gather additional information from your target’s contacts who won’t be able to know its not the owner using the device.
Need to use FlexiSPY’s powerful feature set to spy on other devices? No problem. You can easily spy on iPhones, Androids, Nokia phones, and Blackberry’s.
FlexiSPY spy apps are available in two different priced packages: the Premium and Extreme package. Next I’ll break down the perks of each and their costs.
You can use FlexiSPY (requires jailbreaking or rooting the phone) for full access to the feature set you should perform this first step. You can also pay a little extra to have someone from FlexiSPY to set it up for you from a remote location.
As Low As $149/year
FlexiSPY’s Premium package will offer you all the functions of mSpy. This includes access to phone call logs, SMS messages, Facebook Messenger, videos and photos, and a long list of other conversing and media apps.
FlexiSPY’s Extreme package is akin to the backdoor access the CIA and NSA reportedly have to our phones. This monitoring software allows you to track and record almost everything that happens on and all around the target device including listening to live phone calls.
With a little tech savviness, this package will give you absolute control over monitoring your target at all times, no matter if you’re in the bedroom over or cities away.
As Low As $349/year
The monitoring software includes the following:
Are you tech savvy and willing to spend more for the extra features of this monitoring software? Then FlexiSPY is a great choice. The Extreme package includes unrivaled technology that allows you to know everything your target knows .
Spyfone is another great option for a phone spy app for parent control of your children’s phones. It offers a number of the same powerful features as the other phone spy apps we’ve covered thus far.
It is my pick for the best spy app for Android phones as this is their particular area of expertise.
The ease of installation and configuration you get with Spyfone is great for you parents that may not be the most technically inclined. The dashboard and interface contain very similar capabilities to mSpy and FlexiSPY but doesn’t include some their more advanced capabilities.
Spyfone is a spy app that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It may not have some the advanced features as FlexiSPY, but it still offers important capabilities for monitoring an Android phone.
If you’re watching your pocket and don’t need all of the advanced tracking powers, Spyfone is perfect for you.
Right from your control panel, you’ll be able to monitor the location of your target in real-time. Accurate down to 20 meters, the target device’s location will be displayed on a map in the spy app.
The Spyfone monitoring software will log all incoming and outgoing phone calls and their respective date/time and durations right into your control panel.
All of the photos and videos on the target phone will be available for you to view. That way you’ll be able to see what pictures and videos your kids are viewing and also what they are sending and receiving.
We all know the boundless searching powers that having the internet right at our children’s finger tips gives them. With Spyfone, you’ll be able to keep tabs on the browsing history of the phone.
More now than ever, our kids are using social media to communicate. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and others are all viewable in Spyfone. You’ll have access to the usage and messages sent in these apps.
Spyfone also allows you to see all the text messages sent and received from the target phone. Once again, even if your kid deletes the messages, you’ll still have a record of them through the monitoring software.
This feature give you the literal ability to see with your own eyes what’s going on around your target’s phone. Maybe your kid is hanging around with friends you don’t trust— well, don’t worry, just snap some photos from Spyfone and you’ll know exactly what’s up.
In that same vein, Spyfone has the advantage of offering great technical support through their website. The only option is to chat with a tech support rep, but every time we tested out the support system we received an immediate reply.
For more information and pricing check out https://www.spyfone.com
You can also read our in depth Spyfone review.
Highster Pro cell phone tracker is yet another Android and iPhone monitoring and tracking app for parental control. Like the other spy apps I’ve covered, it allows you to view and store text messages, view browsing history, call logs, social media apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, photos and videos, GPS locations, plus a few other admirable features.
This cell phone spy app is designed specifically for us worried parents and employers.
You can track everything on the target phone with ease and security. Highster Mobile is one of the best mobile apps for parents because they’ve devised a multi-device support system right in your dashboard to easily switch from monitoring one device to the next.
Once you’ve verified the compatibility of the devices you’re looking to monitor (which can be done easily by using the compatibility wizard on Highster’s website), you’ll be able to spy on multiple devices with ease and certainty. Installation and setup are super simple too. Although this is NOT it’s intended use, this spy app will let you monitor a phone without permission by the user.
However, how you use the powerful features of Highster is completely up to you.
Highster Pro requires you to jailbreak your iOS devices before beginning monitoring. If that’s not an option for whatever reason, then you’re better off going with another option like mSpy or Spyfone.
As far as android spy apps go, Highster is a good choice because you can get the most functionality without rooting the device. Though if you want to access apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, and Line you will need to root the device.
Highster has a lot of the same functions as the other best spy apps I’ve covered so far but it does have some distinctive and competitive features that call for your attention.
The LIVE Control Panel gives you the ability to connect to the device live to check in whenever you want.
A special feature offered by Highster Mobile. This allows you to view a screenshot of the target updated every 90 seconds.
Easily locate the target phone on a map so you know the exact location of the owner and the device at all times.
Capture all keystrokes entered into the device. Yes, even those that have been deleted. Then view them under the General Logs.
In addition to the aforementioned features, you’ll have the powerful ability of GEO-fencing. This will notify you when the device enters or leaves your designated safe and/or restricted areas. Also, you’ll get keyword notifications that let you know about your target’s use of particular words or phrases. Additionally, it will notify you of the use of profanity used or viewed by your child on their devices.
Highster phone spy also gives you the power to block certain applications, remotely lock and unlock the phone, see Youtube videos that your child has watched on the device, and it even gives you the capability to view gmail messages (requires rooting for Android/ jailbreaking for iPhone).
One thing to note in this Mobile Spy app review is that by default the target phone will be notified that they are being monitored. To enable “stealth monitoring” you’ll need to configure “Show Icon and Notification” setting to the off position for spy stealth capabilities. The user will have no idea you are monitoring them.
The Basic Plan starts at $49.97 for three months. Or the yearly plan for $99.97. The Basic Plan includes the following:
Includes all of the features from the Basic package plus the following:
The Premium package starts at $64.97 for three months. The yearly plan is offered at $139.97.
Highster is great for many reasons. The Live Control Panel is a really nice touch. For you parents who need to monitor multiple devices, Highster has got you covered. In the control panel you can quickly switch between each device.
And how could I not mention, Highster’s customer support is stellar. You can find answers to almost any question you may have right on their website. They also have a superior tech support team, you can contact whenever.
Highster Mobile Pro spyware for Android phones and iPhone is a great product. Find more info and a demo of the spy app on their website.
iKeyMonitor is yet another one of the best phone spying apps. It is user friendly and a strong monitoring software. It includes many of the same features as the other apps on this mobile spy review in addition to an online dashboard for reviewing the phone’s data.
Jail-breaking or rooting the device is necessary to get iKeyMonitor’s full functionality. If this won’t suit you may want to go with mSpy or Highster Mobile.
iKeyMonitor is one of the very few products out there that gives you a taste before you buy. They give you a 3-Day free cell phone spy trial to test out all of their spy features before you sign up. Figure out if you’re comfortable with their format, feature sets, etc., before you make the investment on your child’s and your own safety. What an offer!
iKeyMonitor boasts an extraordinarily powerful feature with their Keylogger. It can literally record ANY keystroke entered on the phone. Any app, any messenger, you’ll know what’s being inputed, typed and said. And yes, this even includes passwords that are usually hidden from your view. It all will be visible in the logs sent to your dashboard or email.
This feature will let you see exactly what your child sees on their phone at any time of your choosing. Whenever you choose, you can capture the screen. That means, apps being used, websites being visited, texts, messengers, video chats, and more.
iKeyMonitor has one of the biggest lists of social media app monitoring capabilities on the market. This includes: Tinder, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Line, Kik, Viber, QQ, and more.
With the emerging research on the detriments of too much phone screen time on sleep and mental health, maybe we should limit this. This feature allows you to do just that.
$29.99/mo or $11.99/mo when you sign up for a whole year. The features included are as follows:
The only thing about the Standard Package is that you won’t get the online dashboard. I think this is unfortunately pretty limiting and for this reason I highly recommend the Online Package.
$44.99/mo or $22.49/mo when you sign up for a year. This will give you access to all of the information from the device being tracked in an online dashboard. Including the helpful online dashboard, there are some extras:
iKeyMonitor is a solid choice among the top spy apps I’ve reviewed. Installation requires a bit more technical focus than most of the other apps I’ve tested, but once installed and set up it seemed very manageable. All the functionality and features operate as advertised.
This spy app requires rooting (Android) or jailbreaking (iOS) the device in question for full functionality. If this isn’t something you’re interested in doing on your own, then go with a different mobilespy app that will do this for you for a small fee. Or, go with Highster, as that app doesn’t require it.
In terms of value, iKeyMonitor is $6 per month more than mSpy for pretty much the same functionality. This is why it came in number five in my review. For more information go to https://ikeymonitor.com/.
mSpy vs FlexiSPY are the two more popular cell phone spy software. Although I’ve extensively tested both and really like both, mSPY is my favorite and you can read the mSpy review here. FlexiSPY will require you to jailbreak the iPhone or root your Android phone, but also gives you more features. I’ve covered all the specifics in my FlexiSPY review.
Keep in mind, the best spy apps for android type phones may not be the best pick for an iPhone. While many of these cell phone spy softwares will work on both platforms, the discrepancies in the operating systems will be what limit the capabilities and functionalities of the spy app.
Apple’s iOS software platform makes it so that iPhone spy apps can pretty much be categorized as those apps that require jailbreaking the device and those that don’t.
Yet, mSpy is the exception. With mSpy all you need is the iCloud login credentials of the user to get MOST of the information from the phone. This means you’ll be able to access all of the regular backups stored by the phone without installing the software directly to the phone.
For iPhones, mSpy offers the most flexibility. It’s also great for those of us who aren’t the most apt to complex technology. For these reasons, mSpy is my pick for the best spy app for iPhones.
Samsung and Google phones use the Android operating system developed by Google. Once again, the best android spyware is also mSpy. Functionality depends on if you root the device or not. Rooting gives you more access to more information. Spying apps for android don’t offer the equivalent of iCloud backup spying. Androids just simply don’t use that backup method.
You may be wondering, SO what can I all track with one of these stealthy Android spy apps?
Cell phone spy software is meant so that we can have more certainty in our lives. Whether you need to track or monitor the phone of a child, employee, or anyone else, there are a few features you should think about before purchasing.
The importance of this feature cannot be stressed enough. As concerned parents, employers, or spouses, the location of the phone or person is essential to maximizing our certainty. Every app I’ve covered here allows you to track the exact location but some even log their location over a specific time frame.
All of these apps I’ve highlighted offer this powerful feature. For some, you don’t even have to install the software on the phone to see their text messages.
And some will give you the ability to log all texts. So even if the user deletes the messages on their device, you’ll still have them in your control panel.
For parents, this is an invaluable feature. For your children or your spouse, keep track of who they’re talking with and what they’re saying. And if need be, with mSpy you can even hack someones text messages by installing software on their phone. All you’ll need to know is their iCloud login information.
Every day there seems to be a new way that our children can communicate. The endless amounts of chatting apps that kids have begun to use on their phones include Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Skype, Tinder, LINE, and more. This means you’ll need a spy software with crafty, tech savvy features to get full spying functionality.
Although spying on conversations on WhatsApp or Tinder may be a bit more intricate than spying on SMS texts or a phone call log, there are several phone spy apps that offer this capability and more.
What I really appreciate about my best spyware picks is that you can hack into chat conversations across multiple platforms. From there, you can see it all from one intuitive dashboard.
Email communication might not be as popular among kids and teens, but it’s definitely still an accessible, relevant communication tool and therefore should be monitored closely. Any of the apps I review above will offer this capability to monitor email.
The ability to see a log of incoming and outgoing phone calls is crucial to knowing exactly who they call and who’s calling them. Many of the apps will store that information for you to review at your leisure. Some of the best phone apps will let you record calls.
Keystroke capture feature lets you view anything typed. This includes chats, texts, emails, usernames, and passwords. Some of the best phone apps will notify you when specific keywords of your choosing are typed into the phone.
Don’t underrate the importance of good customer support when dealing with technology. All of the spy apps I reviewed offer good technical customer support. Depending on your needs and tech savviness, one app may be better than another.
Some of these spy apps are designed specifically to spy on iPhones, while others are only intended for Android phones. Some spy apps will work on both platforms.
So, if you’re planning on tracking both and an iPhone and an Android phone, you’ll want to check to make sure you choose one that can work on both operating systems.
There are a variety of reasons you may feel the need to know what someone is using their phone for. As a parent, I appreciate the certainty these apps provide me when I’m unable to physically be present to monitor my children’s whereabouts, search history, etc.
These best mobile spying apps offer tracking as well as many other handy tools and options. Here is a list of the most common of uses.
When it comes to our children, we’ll do just about anything to protect them. While in an ideal world, we’d want to be able to trust them to make the best decisions for their health and safety, smart phones give them the ability to access A LOT of information that will expose them to many undesirable and potentially dangerous things and characters.
Kids will be kids. And that’s totally fine! But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect them from being exposed to too much, too early in their lives.
With a mobile phone spy app, you can track (and monitor) what websites they browse, who they’re talking to, chatting with, and they’re physical location to make sure that your kids aren’t getting caught up in anything unhealthy or unsafe.
For whatever reason you may need, this tracking software will allow you to pinpoint the location of your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife with ease.
Not to mention, these hidden spy apps will also allow you to monitor and track texts, chats, social apps (like Tinder), incoming and outgoing calls, and GPS location.
You’ll even see a history of every place they’ve been in the last 24 hours on a neatly laid out map.
Just install one of these apps to spy on phones and then it will run in the background. Then, from your control panel you can view just about everything and ANYTHING that takes place on their phone.
Employers know that employees need a smart phone to communicate with you, fellow employees and clients. The downside of this is that with all the games, social media apps, and websites that they can access with today’s smart phones, there are too many opportunities for even our best employees to mess around when they should be working.
Spy apps for Android and iPhones let you track employers track your employees app usage, messaging, locations, and much more. Although, you place your trust in the individuals you hire, but honestly, sometimes you need to be certain that they’re where they should be, doing what they should be doing (their jobs), and not wasting your time and money sneakily playing games on their phones.
Depending on the level of functionality you need, there are some free cell phone spy software options as well.
Here’s some answers to common question you all have about installing and using these secret spy apps.
No. You need physical access to your target device for installation. The exception is that their are apps that can get around this requirement by letting you directly access the device’s info via their iCloud account. But obviously, these only work on iOS platforms. With all the others, you’ll need to get your hands on the target device for at least a few minutes to install the software.
Yes. mSpy can be installed remotely if you get the non-jailbreak version. Though, as it utilizes iCloud storage to gather data, you won’t get full functionality and it offers fewer monitoring features than the standard version.
Without a question, ALL of these spyware packages I’ve reviewed in this article give you the ability to closely track the physical location of each of your target devices.
By utilizing their GPS location data, spy apps like mSpy and FlexiSPY will allow you to track devices even if they’re NOT connected to the internet.
My top pick in this spy review is mSpy. It gives you the best balance of price and features. Also, not to look past, is their amazing customer support!
After you install, you’ll monitor a device’s activity and location remotely. First, find out if the phone itself is compatible. Most of these cell phone spy apps have a requirement that you download and install the software to the cell phone.
My top picks for the best spy apps for iPhone/iPad (iOS) devices are:
My top picks for the best tracking app for android are:
While these are my favorite spy apps, there are more out there that are popular on the market as well. TeenSafe is another very popular one that allows parents to keep tabs on the messages, physical location, and pictures being sent from your child’s phone.
If you want the best that the market has to offer, my researched recommendation is that you go with mSpy.