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.
Finding the best phone tracker can be daunting. There are a lot of options when it comes to tracking apps and many of them offer similar features.
However, the thing that separates the good apps from the best is the customer service and tech support they offer. 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 phone including selecting an app that can track without rooting or choosing one where tech support will root the target device for you.
The following is a list of the 5 best phone tracker apps, some of their pros and cons, some criteria for choosing the right app, and some frequently asked questions to help you choose the best tracker app for your needs.
FlexiSPY is my top pick for a tracker app due to its dependability, ease-of-use, accurate GPS 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.
FlexiSPY also has a great “animate” feature that shows you tracking information on a map and can help you visualize the route the target device traveled between each point.
FlexiSPY also offers the standard phone monitoring features such as text message and email monitoring, internet activity tracking, call log access, and chat app monitoring. 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 for the tracking features to work but you can have tech support do this for you, or you can purchase a pre-configured 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 phone, 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 phone tracker 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.
mSpy is also one of the best phone tracking apps with reliable, accurate GPS tracking information that is easy to access and understand.
You don’t have to root Android devices, though iOS 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 parameters.
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 cell phone 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 iOS 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.
Highster is less expensive and doesn’t require rooting or jailbreaking to use the cell phone location tracking features.
It’s relatively easy to install and you can view information in an easily-accessible dashboard.
The GPS phone tracker 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.
Spyzie is another affordable phone tracker 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 cell phone location tracking. iOS devices 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 doesn’t really offer anything to separate it from our top three spy apps. Their tech support was disappointingly unresponsive and the app is relatively expensive. We would highly recommend going with FlexiSPY or mSpy instead.
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 phones, this app also includes basic phone monitoring features such as call and text message viewing, internet controls, call intercept, and social media app monitoring.
You can also remotely trigger the microphone on the target device to hear what is happening near it.
This phone tracker app 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 solution 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.
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 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 it’s 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 do not 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 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.
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.
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 spy software products reviewed here offer this option, but a quick visit to their websites will help you find a free trial or live demo if they’re available.
mSpy, Highster, and some versions of iKeyMonitor will let you track an iOS device without needing to physically install anything on it, though you will need iCloud credentials. You will need to physically install a tracker onto an Android phone.
Yes. A phone tracker can run in the background without being detected. 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 monitor their phone without them ever knowing.
As long as you can install the tracker, you should be able to track your kid’s phone. 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 target phone.
Best practices for a tracker are to use Global Positioning System (GPS) to track a phone 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 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. 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.