Welcome to my best cell phone tracker app comparison.
I’ve spent well over 100 hours testing phone tracker apps, so I know how confusing the choices are.
But I’m going to save you a ton of time, technical headaches, and hopefully some money.
Below I’ve listed the best phone tracker apps for Android and iPhone that allow you to track a mobile device without the permission of the owner.
You’ll learn which are the most important features of any phone tracker app, as well as what to expect in terms of service and tech support from some of the top names in the industry.
You’ll also learn which apps to AVOID so you don’t get scammed like I did.
The list of includes my 6 best mobile phone tracker apps, pros and cons of each, important features, and answers to some frequently asked questions to help you choose the best tracker app for your needs.
uMobix is my pick for the best mobile phone tracker app that can be used without permission because it offers some of the best features in the industry, is competitively priced, and they offer LIVE telephone support.
And of course you get GPS location tracking so you can monitor the mobile phones of loved ones and family members including their current location and location history.
The uMobix cell phone tracking app uMobix allows you to track a user’s iPhone without them knowing and without installing any software.
iOS devices don’t even require that you hav e physical access to install an app. You’ll simply need the iCloud username and password of the phone user and you’ll be ready to go.
Because of Apple’s tight security, you will only be able to track a limited number of social media apps (limitation is the same for any iPhone spy app), but location and a great deal of other data will be visible from your control panel.
uMobix for Android is currently the most powerful monitoring solution on the market that doesn’t require rooting the phone. However, like every other Android tracking app on the market, it DOES require you to install software on the loved ones phone.
While many cell phone tracker apps require you to root an Android before accessing social media apps, uMobix does NOT. You get access to all of the following:
No other GPS location tracker app currently offers this much access to an Android mobile device.
uMobix is the best way to track someone’s phone without them knowing. It can be installed without permission on either an iPhone or Android.
While KidsGuard Pro offers many of the same features as other phone tracker apps I’m covering, it’s marketed for a parent looking to monitor a child.
It comes in as my 2nd best phone tracker app without permission and is a great solution for keeping an eye on your kids.
KidsGuard Pro offers the same iPhone monitoring solution as most other tracker apps in the industry. This is done by accessing the phone user data through their iCloud account. This installation method can be performed without permission of the phone’s owner.
Unlike many other monitoring solutions, Kidsguard Pro also offers a jailbreak version for iPhones. This allows you to see ALL social media chat apps on the iPhone.
The only reason I would go this route is if you need to monitor Snapchat or some other social media platform. Otherwise it’s not worth the hassle of jailbreaking the iOS device.
The jailbreak version of KidsGuard pro currently works with iOS 9.0 – iOS 14.
I typically don’t recommend jailbreaking an iPhone as this will void its’ warranty. However, you can get around this by resetting it back to factory defaults.
Expect the GPS tracker information to be slightly delayed as the data in your control panel is only updated when the phone performs a backup.
The KidsGuard Pro app offers the same monitoring capabilities as uMobix for Android mobile devices.
Physical access to the device is necessary for the installation of the Android phone tracker app. Once installed it is completely hidden.
The KidsGuard GPS tracker updates with the same frequency as other spy apps I’ve covered here. It is somewhat dependent upon cell coverage.
For more information you can check out my full Kidsguard Pro review.
FlexiSPY is my #3 mobile phone tracker application due to its dependability, ease-of-use, accurate GPS location tracking, and 24/7 support. With FlexiSPY, you can get accurate, real-time location information sent directly to your control panel.
You can also receive a notification when the phone moves into pre-designated zones.
Unlike uMobix and KidsGuard pro, FlexiSPY’s software DOES require you jailbreak or root the device you want to monitor. This doesn’t necessarily require the user’s permission, but it does require you to have physical access to the device.
FlexiSPY also has a great “animate” feature that shows you real time location details on a map and can help you visualize the route the target device traveled between each point.
FlexiSPY also offers the standard cell phone monitoring features such as text message and email monitoring, internet activity tracking, call log access, and just about any messaging app.
They also offer some features that you won’t see in other apps such as the ability to listen to calls live and turn on the phone’s microphone remotely.
Devices need to be rooted or jailbroken (iPhone) for the tracking features to work, but you can have tech support do this for you. You can also purchase a pre-configured cell phone where the app is already installed in stealth mode.
FleixSPY is also a great tracking app due to the 24/7 chat support. If you prefer to talk to someone on the smartphone, FlexiSPY has a number you can call anytime for further assistance.
With it’s best in class monitoring features FlexiSPY is our top choice in a cell phone tracker app without permission. The live call monitoring feature isn’t offered by any other app on the market. All this is backed by one of the best support teams in the industry.
These same features also make it the ultimate parental control app for parents who are worried about what their kids might be doing on their phones.
mSpy is also one of the best phone tracking apps that uses a GPS location tracker to monitor someone’s phone without them knowing.
You don’t have to root Android devices, though Apple devices will require jailbreaking. mSpy lets you view in real-time the location and movement of the target device and easily search movement history with specified time details.
You can also set geo-fencing parameters which allow you to mark areas as “safe” or “no-go” zones. When the target device enters or leaves one of these areas, you will receive an alert about the activity. You can also view how long the target device stays in certain areas.
mSpy also offers an impressive array of additional monitoring capabilities including call monitoring, keylogging, web browser controls, and social media monitoring. The mSpy app runs reliably, but if you do have issues, competent and helpful staff are on-hand to answer any questions.
mSpy doesn’t have a live chat support option, but they do have a number you can call 24/7.
mSpy is one of the more expensive options on the market, and the location information can sometimes lag depending on the activity of the target device.
But because of the stability of the spy app and the solid tech support, it’s still one of the best options out there for mobile phone tracking on Android or iPhone devices.
mSpy is a close second place in the Android and iPhone tracker category. The app was the most stable and least susceptible to updates of any that we’ve tested to date.
The main reason it came in second was the lack of some of the features offered by FlexiSPY. That said, their tech support is VERY helpful and the pricing is good. If you don’t need the advanced features of FlexiSPY, we would recommend this app instead.
Spyzie is another affordable phone tracker app that offers accurate GPS location information that is easy to monitor.
You can also search location history and easily track the location of the target phone in real-time. Spyzie also offers geo-fencing capabilities.
This cell phone tracker app doesn’t require rooting or jailbreaking in order to use any of the features on Android devices, including location tracking. iPhones don’t need to be jailbroken, but you will need the iCloud credentials to download the app information.
This app also offers a good range of phone monitoring features including the addition of an alert which will let you know if the SIM card is removed from the phone. This is generally done if the phone has been stolen or someone is trying to switch the phone over to another network.
Unfortunately, Spyzie also struggles with performance issues and instability.
The app crashes often, especially if the tracking software is trying to update or if the phone gets rebooted. This app also has almost no customer support. Your only option to request support is an email submission that can take up to 48 hours to get a response.
Spzie’s spy app doesn’t really offer anything to separate it from our top three. Their tech support was disappointingly unresponsive and the app is relatively expensive.
We would highly recommend going with FlexiSPY or mSpy instead. You can read more in our Spyzie review.
iKeyMonitor is another phone tracker that offers the basics of any other tracking app including location monitoring, the ability to review past and real-time location data, and time stamps to tell when the phone was in a certain location and for how long.
This tracker app also includes some geo-fencing options. In addition to letting you track the location of your family via their mobile phones, this app also includes basic phone monitoring features such as call and text mess
You can also remotely trigger the microphone on the target device to hear what is happening near it.
This phone tracker software is one of the most expensive and unstable options. The tracker app frequently struggles to run smoothly, and if it does crash, you need access to the target phone to download the app again.
While there is a chat option if you need help, the customer support is notoriously unreliable and unresponsive.
iKeyMonitor is a great spy app if you’re on a budget. It’s not as elegant of a solution, but it does get the job done.
We do wish the keylogger was available in the non-jailbreak version as that would allow you to track chat apps without having to root or jailbreak the device. All in all a solid product.
FamiSafe is another product designed more specifically for parents who need software to track the phone of their child or children.
While FamiSafe has some great features, it’s designed more as a parental control app, than a smartphone tracker.
It offers features like website filters, screen time limits, activity reports, and location tracking.
It does NOT offer things like social media monitoring, viewing of text messages and other more advanced functions.
You can see my full FamiSafe review here.
The Highster Mobile spy app is less expensive and doesn’t require rooting or jailbreaking to use the cell phone location tracking features.
That said, I had a horrible experience with this product.
First and foremost it was incredibly difficult to install. Every other spy app on this list was up and running within minutes.
The Highster app required multiple attempts to contact their support and they were unresponsive at best.
The GPS phone tracking feature is reliable, but the location information is uploaded periodically instead of continuously. This can give you a good idea of the activity of the target phone as it happens, but it’s not the same as real-time tracking.
Highster also doesn’t offer any geo-fencing options, so you can’t receive alerts when the device enters pre-designated safe or dangerous zones. They do offer a general array of phone monitoring features including the ability to read emails, text messages, and social media messages and view internet and call activity.
Highster also includes some extra features like the ability to turn on the device’s camera and take pictures remotely.
Unfortunately, this spy app is somewhat lacking in technical support. They have a number you can call, but you’re not always guaranteed to reach someone immediately.
They prefer you fill out a ticket on their website and promise to respond within 24 hours. This app frequently encounters operating issues and has a tendency to crash during updates, so lack of support could be a significant frustration.
Highster is a great budget option tracking app. We did experience some stability issues on occasion, but only during major phone operating system updates.
This is something that many apps struggle with. If you don’t need the more advanced features of our top 2 Highster is a solid choice.
Smartphone tracking apps help keep your family safe by ensuring your kids aren’t going to dangerous places, and if something does happen to them, you can have updated, real-time information about their location. Tracking apps can also help you find a device if it’s lost or stolen.
If the app you choose doesn’t work properly, you might as well not have a tracker app at all! Many apps also require rooting to track a device properly which can seem intimidating.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to avoid having to root a smartphone including selecting an app that can track without rooting or choosing one where tech support will root the target device for you.
A phone tracking app that is too difficult to use is worse than no tracker app at all – you still won’t be able to monitor the location and safety of your family, but now you have the added frustration and expense of a phone tracker app that doesn’t perform as promised.
It’s important to find the right phone tracker that lets you keep your family safe with location monitoring, boundary setting, and any additional phone monitoring requirements you may have.
If you’re going to go through the effort and expense to install a phone tracker, you want to make sure the software is reliable and will keep working the way it should.
No phone tracker is perfect, so it’s important to be aware of the limitations of each product and phone tracking in general in order to make the best informed decision you can.
Some software doesn’t offer stealth mode so the app is visible to the user. If you’re considering an app that is NOT on this list, make sure it offers a stealth mode option.
Not every mobile tracker is compatible with every mobile phone, so it’s important to choose one that is capable of tracking the phone of whichever family member, loved one, or employee you are worried about.
You often get what you pay for when it comes to applications for a mobile phone, but more expensive doesn’t always mean the best set of features.
It’s important to carefully weigh all the information when choosing the best phone tracker for your situation. Price plays an important role, but shouldn’t be the only determining factor.
Highster Mobile, for example, has a great price. But the value they offer for that price is nonexistent.
I would advise you to beware of any free phone tracker app that claims to be able to accurately track a phone. You get what you pay for and most free apps are worthless.
All technology is bound to develop issues eventually, so it’s important to have the best customer support you can to help you resolve problems when they do occur.
Phone security is incredibly strong and manufacturers are always updating their software, so hacking a phone is becoming increasingly difficult. The responsive tech support is one of the main reasons uMobix is my favorite mobile tracker.
This can help you get a feel for which phone tracker will be best for your needs before you pay for it.
Not all the spying app products reviewed here offer this option, but a quick visit to their websites will help you find a free trial or live demo of their software if they’re available.
uMobix, KidsGuard, mSpy, and Flexispy are the best spying apps for Android and iPhone devices. All three of these will allow you to track a phone without permission.
For any Android you will need a few minutes of physical access to the physical access to the device to install the app.
There is no way to track someone via their cell phone number, so be wary of companies that promise this ability. You will need software.
However unless they are using an iOS device that allows for access via iCloud, you will probably need to physically download the tracker before you can start monitoring the mobile phone in question.
But once this is done you will be able to track a phone without them knowing.
As long as you can install the tracker, you should be able to track your kid’s and their phone activity. Since they are your kids, this requires no permission.
Kids are often the best at figuring out quirks with their devices, though, and there are some ways of knowing there is a tracker running in the background such as unexpected decrease in mobile data or overheating of the targeted device.
iPhone and Android devices allow you to track a phone using maps software or the Google Find My Device app.
You can easily track a phone on Google maps but the Google find my device app DOES require permission to do so.
Apple maps will also allow you to track a phone as well, but again, you’ll need permission to do so.
Every phone tracker app uses Global Positioning System (GPS) to track a device by using a network of satellites to track a specific signal pinged from your family or loved one’s phone when the tracker activates.
Data containing the devices’ exact location or address is then sent directly to you.
Yes. As long as you own the phone you’re tracking they are legal.
However, if you are tracking an employee or a spouse you MUST give them notification that you are monitoring their phone. If it’s a spouse or partner you will also need permission to be completely legal.
You can read more about the legal issues of using a phone tracker app here.
Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and can contact him via email.