5 Best Apps to Monitor & Track ANY Phone

cell phone spy app buyers guide

OK, we all know that you shouldn’t have to resort to tracking someone’s cell phone to keep tabs on who they’re texting, what websites they visit, and where they go, but sometimes you just NEED to know.

The reasons are many.

Perhaps you have an employee that has been caught looking at porn on the job. Maybe you have a child that is being cagey when you ask were they went after school. Or perhaps there's someone else you need to keep tabs on.

Whatever your reasons, sometimes you just need to know FOR CERTAIN what's going on. You can’t be there to monitor their phone every time they use it, so you need a way to keep tabs to protect yourself, your business, or your child.

In attempt to keep tabs on our kid's (and how they use of their phones) I've installed and tested well over a dozen spy software programs.  Here I'm compiling everything I've learned to help you pick the best spy app for your needs.

In this article you'll learn:

  • ​My Top-Rated Tracker Apps and how much they cost
  • How to track an iPhone or Android device without them knowing
  • What is spy tracker software and what capabilities do they offer
  • What features you should consider

Our Top 3 Picks

Top Pick:

mSpy

Most Features:

FlexiSPY

Budget Pick: Highster

Compatibility:

iOS & Android Phones

Compatibility:

iOS & Android, Nokia, & Blackberry

Compatibility:

iOS & Android Phones

Notable Features:

Access SMS Texts and Messaging Apps

Notable Features​:

Record Calls, Access SMS & Messaging Apps and More

Notable Features​:

Budget price, Access SMS & Messaging Apps

Jailbreak Required:

Only for advanced functionality

Jailbreak Required:

Advanced Features Require Jailbreak

Jailbreak Required:

Not required

Best Balance of Price & Functionality

Highest Priced, but Most Powerful Features

Bargain Price

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Top 5 Mobile Spy Apps:  iPhone & Android

smartphone spy apps for iphone and android

With dozens of companies producing what they claim to be the best spy apps on the market, what truly separates one from another?

In my experience two things.

Reliability and technical support.

Most of these apps operate in EXACTLY the same way and offer the same features.  Where they differ is in the difficulty of installation, reliability, and customer support. 

We want to make your buying decision as easy as possible.  So in this article we're going to highlight the MUST HAVE features and dig into the 5 best cell phone spy software packages on the market.  This includes:

  • ​A clear pricing comparison
  • Whether the app require jailbreaking or rooting the phone
  • Location tracking & message reading functionality
  • Super spy functionality
  • Other useful features
  • Custom/technical support assessment

We're going to jump right into our Top 5 phone tracker apps.  If you want to look at the basic features you should expect to find in these software suites jump to the bottom.

#1 - mSpy (Top Pick for iPhone & Android)

mSpy is one of the most popular cell phone monitoring and tracking software packages on the market.  It works on both iOS (iPhones & iPads) and Android devices.  It's also capable of monitoring both Mac and Windows based computers.

One of the biggest advantages of mSpy is you don't have to jailbreak or root the target device to begin monitoring.  If you're not technically savvy this can save you quite a bit of time and some frustration as well.

mSpy logo
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Of all the tracker apps we tried mSpy had the easiest and most intuitive interface.  From one dashboard you can quickly see all the pertinent information about the target phone.

Best Spy App for Androids & iPhones

Regardless of whether your target uses an Android or Apple device, mSpy has you covered.  ​It offers all of the basic features including monitoring text messages, instant messages, contacts, call logs, and pinpointing the phone's GPS location.  mSpy also offers some extras that you won't find anywhere else.

Powerful Features Offered by mSpy

GEO-Fencing
geo fencing from dashboard

This particular function is very clever.  Not only is this app a great tracker when you want to know they're current location, but by using your control panel you can setup zones that are considered safe or unsafe.  The software tracks when the phone enters or leaves one of these areas you are immediately notified. 

Let's say you want to track your child's activity throughout the day.  Simply setup a safe zone around your home and their school.  Any time they leave one of these designated "safe zones" you'll be notified immediately.  This same technology can be used to monitor the activity of an employee (or a spouse if you're so inclined).

Keylogging Tracker

The keylogging feature from mSpy allows you to capture all keystrokes from the target phone.  From here you can see what's being typed in various apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.  It also allows you capture internet searches, usernames, and passwords. 

Control Access to Apps and Websites

Another great feature of the mSpy spyware is it's ability to block specific applications and websites from being accessed.  You specify the apps that are blocked and the user will be unable to open them on their phone.  The same goes for websites you deem inappropriate.

App Activity Tracker

If you're willing to go through the trouble of jailbreaking the target phone mSpy allows for very nearly complete access to everything on the phone.  This includes popular social media apps like Snapchat, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Line, Tinder, and Telegram.  This means no matter how the user chooses to message, you'll be able to monitor it closely.

Customer Support

When it comes to anything technical solid customer support is a must.  As you'll see in our reviews of other apps the functionality of each of these differ only slightly.  What separates mSpy from the others is their highly intuitive interface and their 24/7 customer support.  Yes you pay more to get this level of service, but if you don't enjoy troubleshooting technical issues this can be a Godsend.

Works with iPhones and Androids

Many spy software packages work with only one operating system or another.  mSpy can work with both.  Even if you're looking to monitor both an iPhone and and Android device they've got you covered.  You can quickly switch between phones in your control panel.

3 Available Software Packages

mSpy offers 3 different pricing structures based on the features you need.  Here's a quick rundown of what you'll get with each.

No Jailbreak Tracker Package:  can be installed without jailbreaking the device.   In fact you don't even need physical access to the device if you have the user's iCloud credentials and the phone is setup to perform regular backups.  The mSpy software will simply extract all of the necessary data from the phone's iCloud account and post it to your dashboard to view at your convenience.

As Low As

$16.65/mo

While it is the most convenient in terms of installation, the no-jailbreak package offers the fewest capabilities in terms of tracking the phone.  Here's what you get.

  • Text messages
  • WhatsApp
  • iMessage
  • Call history & contact list
  • Calendar, notes, & tasks
  • Installed applications
  • Website history
  • 24/7 chat and email support

What you wont get is access to Geo-fencing, apps like Snapchat, Tinder, or Line, keylogging features, or GPS tracking.

Basic Tracker Package:  available with or without jailbreaking the phone.  The Basic package offers many of the same capabilities as the no-jailbreak package. 

That said the functionality increases dramatically if you're willing to jailbreak the device. 

As Low As

$8.33/mo

You can either do this yourself or you can have a technician at mSpy do it for you remotely for a small additional fee.  Either way you will need to have physical access to the phone.  In addition to the features in the no-jailbreak package you'll get the following features.

  • Keyword alerts
  • Email
  • Browser bookmarks
  • Photos and videos
  • GPS Location
  • Uninstall alerts
  • Installation help
  • 24/7 email support

Premium Tracker Package:  the Premium package basically offers you full access to everything on the phone from your dashboard.  Getting the full feature set from the Premium package does require jailbreaking the device.  As with the basic package you can do this yourself or have an mSpy tech do it for your remotely.

As Low As

$16.67/mo

Quick video highlighting installation of this tracker app on an iOS device.

This does require having physical access to the target device.  In addition to the features of the basic and no-jailbreak package you'll get the following functionality.

  • Geo-fencing
  • Keylogging
  • App & website blocking
  • Incoming call block
  • Remote device lock & wipe
  • Remote device lock & wipe
  • Snapchat, Tinder, Line, Skype, Telegram, Viber, & Hangouts
  • Facebook Messenger
  • 24/7 chat & email support

Try Before You Buy

mSpy wants you to be completely comfortable with their product before you make your purchase.  They offer a full demo on their website that allows you to see exactly how their tracker app works.  Check it out yourself by going to their website http://www.mspy.com/demo

Pros

  • No Jailbreak required
  • great feature set
  • intuitive dashboard
  • excellent customer support

Cons

  • higher priced
  • No-jailbreak version requires iCloud credentials

Final Thoughts

mSpy is far and away our favorite spy software of the group.  It offers both a non-jailbreak and jailbreak version, simple installation, intuitive control panel, and very competitive pricing. 

While it's feature set for non-jailbroken phones is somewhat limited, the full version offers everything you could possibly want.  GPS tracking, monitoring of SMS messages and all the popular social chat apps. 

While it doesn't offer some of the advanced features of our 2nd choice (call intercept or call recording), this spyware offers the best value overall.

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Or check out our in-depth analysis of mSpy

#2 - FlexiSPY - Most Powerful Features

FlexiSPY is another popular option in the cell phone spy program market.  This app offers all of the features of mSpy as well as a few incredibly powerful features not offered by any other software out there. 

They've been around since 2005 and in that time have set the bar in terms of advanced monitoring and tracking capabilities.

flexiSPY tracker software
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Most Powerful iPhone and Android Tracker

The app will work on a wide variety of phones including the Android, iPhone, iPad, Nokia Symbian, and the Blackberry.  While it is undoubtedly the most powerful app we've covered it is more appropriate for those who are technically savvy.

As with mSpy you'll have the option of either jailbreaking (or rooting in the case of Androids) the phone or not.  To get the advanced features of this cell phone monitoring software jailbreaking or rooting is required.  FlexiSPY also offers a service to jailbreak the device for you for an additional cost.

Once jailbroken and installed this spyware app allows you to track and record activities such as text (SMS) messages, phone calls, voicemails, GPS location, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp messages, emails, all photos and videos (even within apps) contacts, and much more.

All of these capabilities are pretty standard.  Where FleixSPY really shines is in it's advanced feature set.  In fact they read like a list of CIA or NSA hacks for phones that you read about in the news. 

FlexiSPY Spy Software Advanced Feature Set

Track and Intercept Calls

The call intercept feature allows you to listen to incoming and outgoing calls as they happen.  From your dashboard you can setup notifications for calls coming from or going out to specific numbers. 

Once the call is placed your phone will be notified and you will be patched in via 3-way calling.  Neither the user or the phone or the person they're talking with will be aware that you are listening in.  (You will want to mute your phone as your connection is truly that of a 3-way call)

Record Phone Calls

You can also have the app record all incoming and outgoing phone calls allowing you to review them at your convenience.  Each call is stored in your dashboard for easy access.  As with call intercept you can also specify contacts or numbers to automatically record.

Ambient Listen Mode

This handy feature allows you to discretely turn on the microphone of the phone allowing you to listen to the ambient surroundings of the phone.  You can either schedule the recordings based on specific times and have them recorded to your control panel or listen live. 

Remote Camera Control

This feature allows you to enable the camera whenever you like to take a picture of the phone's surroundings.  These pictures are then uploaded to your dashboard for viewing at your convenience.

Additional Features​

​In addition to tracking messages from the largest number of apps FlexiSPY allows you to record and listen to VOIP calls from Skype, SnapChat, and other apps.  It also allows you to use FaceTime to monitor an iPad using the microphone and camera to see and hear all that is going on around the phone.  You can even use SMS text spoofing to send text messages on behalf of the target phone.

Spy on Text Messages

Spoofing of text messages allows you to send texts on behalf of the target phone and is a clever way to get additional information from contacts who will have no idea the text didn't originate from the owner of the phone.

Spy on iPhones, Androids, Nokia, and Blackberrys

In addition to offering the most powerful features, FlexiSPY also works on a wide range of devices.  Spying on iPhones, Androids, Nokia phones, and Blackberry's is all within this software's capabilities.

The FlexiSPY spy software is available in two different packages:  Premium and Extreme.  Let's break down what you get in each package and it's cost.

FlexiSPY Premium:  While you can use FlexiSPY without first jailbreaking or rooting the phone, to get the full functionality you should plan on performing this first step.  There are dozens of sites like this one that lead you through how this is done. 

You can also pay an extra fee to have someone from FleixSPY do it for you remotely.

As Low As

$149

 For 12 mo

The Premium package from FlexiSPY offers all of the functionality of mSPY including access to phone call logs, text (SMS) messages, Facebook Messenger, and videos and photos, and a long list of other chat and social media apps. 

Extreme Package:  the Extreme package from FlexiSPY could be compared to the backdoor access the CIA and NSA supposedly have to our phones. 

With this package you can track and record just about everything that happens on and around the phone.  It is ideal for those that are relatively tech savvy and want extremely detailed information.

As Low As

$349

 For 12 mo

This includes the following:

  • Call interecept
  • Record incoming & outgoing calls
  • ambient listening mode
  • remote camera control
  • text spoofing

Pros

  • Allows access to just about everything
  • easy to use dashboard
  • invisible on target phone
  • excellent customer support

Cons

  • more expensive
  • requires rooting or jailbreaking

Is FlexiSPY Right for You?

If you're comfortable with technology and are willing to spend a bit more FlexiSPY is a great choice.  It will allow you to keep track of just about everything that happens on the target phone.  The Extreme package offers capabilities that are unmatched.

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Or check out our in-depth analysis of FlexiSPY

#3 - Highster Mobile (Budget Friendly)

Highster Mobile Pro is geared towards monitoring the phones of your children or your employees.  Of course how you use this tracker tool is totally up to you. 

It offers many of the same powerful features as the other apps we're covering.  But because of how easy it is to install and configure Highster is a good solution for those who aren't as technically savvy.  The interface and online dashboard capabilities are very similar to both mSpy and FlexiSPY, but it doesn't have some of their advanced capabilities.

highster mobile pro spy software
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Cheapest Spyware Tracking App

The Mobile Pro Edition from Highster is one of the best values on the market.  It doesn't have as many advanced features as mSpy or FlexiSPY, but it still offers some of the most important capabilities at a much lower price.  If you're looking for a budget tracker, the Highster Mobile pro product is a great choice.

Features of Highster Mobile Pro

GPS Tracking

In real-time you can monitor the location of the target phone from your control panel.  The location of the device will be displayed on a map and is accurate to within 20 meters.

Call Tracking

From your control panel you'll be able to see a log of all incoming and outgoing calls.  This includes time and duration of the call. 

Access Photos & Videos

All photos and videos stored on the target phone will be available for you to view from your control panel.  This allows you to keep tabs on what pictures your kids are looking at and what sorts of videos they're sending and receiving.

View Browsing History

You'll be able to look at the browsing history of the target device.  This helps you keep tabs on what your kids or employees are looking at using their phones.  All of the data is stored remotely on Highster's servers so even if the browsing history of the phone is cleared, you'll still be able to access all the URLs.

Social Media & App Tracking

Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and other popular social media apps are all popular ways for kids to communicate.  Highster allows you to track the usage of these apps as well as viewing the chats themselves.

SMS Text Messages

Like many of the apps in this comparison Highster also allows you to see a log of text messages from the target phone.  Even if the texts have been deleted on the phone you'll still have a record in your control panel.

Phone Camera Control

Want to literally see what's going on around the target phone?  Highster allows you to take pictures at any time and have them sent to your dashboard for viewing. 

While mSpy and FlexiSPY offer the greatest amount of functionality, Highster is designed to be EXTREMELY user friendly.  It works well on wide variety of devices such as iPhones and Androids.  The installation and setup is hassle free. 

On top of that they offer a one-time payment instead of monthly plans.  Yes, it is missing some of the advanced features like call intercept or ambient recording, but it is still a robust spy software package and is worth considering.

Another nice feature that Highster offers is a support package.  For about $30 you get telephone support.  This can be extremely helpful when technical difficulties come up.

Pros

  • Best pricing at $69 lifetime
  • Phone technical support ($30)
  • Easy installation and setup
  • no jailbreak or root required

Cons

  • no call intercept
  • no ambient noise recording
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For more information and pricing check out http://www.highster.com

You can also read our  in depth Highster Mobile review.

4 - Mobile Spy

The Mobile Spy phone tracker from Retina-X Studios is another innovative product for monitoring and tracking an iPhone or Android phone.  Like most of the spy software apps we've covered so far it gives you the ability to view text messages, call logs, social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp), photos and videos, GPS location, plus some impressive extras.

This app is specifically designed for parents and employers to track everything happening on the phone of their choosing.  They have integrated multi-device support directly into the dashboard allowing you to quickly switch from one phone to the next.

You'll want to verify the device you're looking to monitor is compatible.  This can be done quickly using the compatibility wizard on their website.  Once verified, installation and setup of this tracker app were both quick and painless.  While this phone tracker app will allow you to monitor a phone without permission, that is not it's INTENDED use. 

Of course how you use it is up to you.  🙂

mobile spy software for iPhone and Android
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Mobile Spy requires that you jailbreak ALL iOS devices you plan to monitor.  If you're not comfortable with this process you're better of checking out one of our other options like mSpy or Highster Mobile

For Android devices you can get most functionality without rooting the device.  But accessing applications like Skype, Viber, Line, and Facebook Messenger will require that you root the device.

While Mobile Spy offers many of the same functions offered by other spying apps we've covered here it does have a few unique features that make it worth your consideration.

Mobile Spy Features

Live Control Panel

​The LIVE Control Panel allows you to connect to the device live to see what is going on.

View the Screen

A unique feature offered by Mobile Spy, this function allows you to see a screenshot from the device which is updated every 90 seconds.

Instant GPS Tracker

Quickly locate the phone on a map so you know exactly where the device (and it's owner) are at all times.

Keylogging

This feature allows you to capture all keystrokes entered into the device, even those that have been deleted.  You can view them under the General Logs for the device.

In addition to these features you'll also be able to setup GEO-fencing to let you know when the device enters or leaves safe and/or restricted areas, keyword notifications notifying you of the use of particular words or phrases, and profanity notifications letting you know when profanity is used or viewed.

The Mobile Spy tracker app also allows you to block specific applications, remotely lock and unlock the phone, view Youtube videos that have been watched on the device, and even view gmail messages (requires rooting/jailbreaking the device). 

review mobile spy screenshot

By default the Mobile Spy app will notify the user of the phone that they are being monitored.  If you want to enable "stealth monitoring" you'll need to set “Show Icon and Notification” setting to the off position.  This will allow you to monitor the phone without the user having any idea of what is going on.

Mobile Spy Pricing

They offers two different packages:

The Basic Plan starts at $49.97 for three months.  Or you can opt for the yearly plan of $99.97.  This package includes the following features:

  • Photos
  • Online Commands
  • SMS Text Messages
  • GPS Location Tracking
  • Call Information
  • Web Activity
  • Social Media Tracking
  • Multimedia Messages
  • Gmail (rooted) & email
  • iMessages
  • Blackberry PIN Messages
  • Apps Installed & App Blocking
  • Contacts
  • Calendar and Tasks
  • Cell ID Locations
  • SMS Commands (lock/unlock/GPS)
  • Alerts
  • Stealth Mode
  • Live Chat
  • Support Tickets

The Premium package includes all of the features from the Basic package plus the following:

  • Live Control Panel
  • View Screen Live
  • Instant GPS Map​ Tracker

This package starts at $64.97 for three months.  The yearly plan is offered at $139.97.

Pros

  • app can be hidden or not
  • Live control panel offers ultimate access
  • Easy installation and setup
  • built-in multi-device support

Cons

  • fairly expensive
  • no ambient noise recording
  • requires jailbreaking or rooting for most features.

Final Thoughts

The Live Control Panel is a nice add-on but where this app really excels is when you need to monitor multiple devices.  It allows you to quickly switch between each from your control panel saving lots of time. 

By default there is an icon on the screen of the monitored device as well as notifications that the device is being monitored but this can be disabled if you like.  You'll certainly get more honest information if the user isn't constantly reminded they're being watched. 

​Mobile Spy's customer support is also top notch.  You can find answers to just about any question on their website.  And if that's not good enough you can contact their excellent tech support team.

All in all the Mobile Spy product is a solid choice.  You can find more information and a demo of the spy software on their website. 

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5.  iKeyMonitor (Basic Functionality)

iKeyMonitor is another powerful and user friendly cell phone monitoring app.  It offers many of the same features as the other apps we've covered and includes an online dashboard for reviewing data on the target device.

You will be required to jailbreak or root your device to get the full functionality from the iKeyMonitor app.  So if you're uncomfortable with that process you might be better off looking at mSpy or Highster Mobile.

ikeymonitor logo
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Important Features of iKeyMonitor

Free 3-Day Trial

iKeyMonitor is one of the only products out there that let's you put the product through it's paces before buying it.  Their 3-Day trial allows you to test all of the spy software's functionality and capabilities to ensure you're comfortable with how it performs before signing up.

Powerful Keylogger

One of the most powerful features offered by iKeyMonitor is it's keystroke logging.  It can record ANY keystroke entered into the phone.  This provides LOTS of data from just about every app on the target device.

Even passwords that are hidden from view on the phone will be visible in the logs sent your dashboard or email.

Screenshot Capture

Want to get a look at exactly what's happening on your child or employee's phone at a particular time?  The screen capture function allows you to do exactly that.  You'll see exactly what the phone's user sees: apps used, websites visited, chats or video chats etc.

Social Media Tracking

iKeyMonitor offers one of the most comprehensive lists of social media app monitoring out there including:  Tinder, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Skype, Line, Kik, QQ, SnapChat, and more.

Limit Screentime

Want to make sure your kids aren't spending too much time on their phone each day?  This feature allows you to set a maximum amount of time they can use their phone. 

iKeyMonitor Pricing

There are two different packages offered.  The first is the STD or standard package.  Pricing for this package starts at $29.99/mo or $11.99/mo when you sign up for a whole year.  Here are the features included:

  • SMS Messages
  • Call history tracking
  • Keystroke logger
  • Screenshot capture
  • Touch actions
  • Websites tracking
  • WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line
  • Kik, Hangouts, Facebook
  • Block apps/games
  • GPS location tracker
  • Contacts
  • Logs to Email/FTP
  • Invisible after un-install

The only problem with the Standard package is that you don't get the online dashboard.  This is pretty limiting.  For that reason we only recommend the Online Package. 

The Online package starts at $44.99/mo or $22.49 when you sign up for an entire year.  This gives you access to all the information from the target device in an online dashboard that is very similar to those used on the other apps in this comparison.  There are also some additional features included such as:

  • Voice messages
  • Call recording (Android only)
  • Ambient Listen (Android only)
  • Photos
  • Photos
  • Clipboard
  • Calendar & Notes
  • Wifi History

Final Thoughts

Overall the iKeyMonitor package is pretty solid.  Installation in particular was a bit more technically involved than most of the other apps we tested, but once it's installed and setup it seemed very stable.  All the functionality works as advertised.

The app does require you to root (Android) or jailbreak (iOS) the device for full functionality.  If you're not comfortable with this process you'll be better off going with one of the other apps that offer to do this for you for a small fee, or don't require it such as Highster.​

From a value perspective you'll be paying $6 per month more than you would with mSpy for basically the same functionality.  For this reason it came in number 5 in our comparison.  One thing worth mentioning though is that the keylogger feature truly does record everything that happens on the phone.  So if you're willing to search through the logs, you won't miss anything that's typed on the device.  For more information go to https://ikeymonitor.com/

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Two of the more popular cell phone tracking apps are mSpy and FlexiSPY.  We've covered  both of these products in depth.  mSpy is our favorite and your can read our mSpy review here.  FlexiSPY requires that you jailbreak iPhone or root an Android phone, but it also offers more features.  We cover all the details in our full FlexiSPY review.

Choosing the Best Software Your Needs

The best spy software for Android type phones isn't necessarily the best choice for an iPhone.  While many of these spy software packages will work on either platform, there are differences in the phone operating systems that limit capabilities and functionality. 

Best iPhone Spy Apps

Apple phones run on the iOS software platform.  iPhone spy apps generally fall into two categories; those that require jailbreaking the device and those that don't.  But there is one notable exception.

The iPhone spyware package from mSpy allows you to get MOST of the information from the phone without even installing the software directly on the phone.  It does require that you know the iCloud login credentials of the user.  From there it can access all of the backups that are regularly stored by the phone.

Compared to other spy apps for iPhones it offers the greatest amount of flexibility.  It's also great for those that aren't comfortable dealing with complex technology.

Best Android Spy Apps

Samsung and Google phones run on the Android operating system which was developed by Google.  The different versions go by a wide range of strange names.  The latest is called Oreo.

The best spying app for Android phones is also mSpy.  Again, the functionality you get depends on whether or not you root the device.  This allows you to access more information.  Android spy software doesn't offer the equivalent of iCloud backup spying as they don't use a similar backup method.

Regardless of the type of phone you're trying to track, most of the features offered are essentially the same.

So what all CAN you track using one of these spy applications?

Key Features to Look For in a Phone Tracking App

Whether you're planning on monitoring the phone of a child, employee, or anyone else there are a few key features you should look for before choosing a tracking app.

Tracking the Cell Phone's GPS Location

One of the most important pieces of information for a concerned parent, employer, or spouse is the location of the phone or person.  Every app that we've covered allows you to track the exact location of the target device.  Some take this capability even further by logging their location over a specific time frame.

Some tracking apps allow you to setup zones as well.  When the phone enters or leaves one of these zones you'll be notified on your phone.

How to Hack Your Child's Text Messages Without Them Knowing

Pretty much everyone that owns a phone now knows how to send text messages.  And knowing how to spy on text messages to monitor what's being said is a must for any tracking software.  Every one of the apps we'll be highlighting offer this capability.  You can even read someones text messages without installing software on their phone.

Some spy software even allows you to log all texts.  So even if the user of the target phone deletes their messages you'll still have them in your control panel.

Hacking into someone's text messages is a powerful tool to keep track of who they're talking with and what they're saying.  mSpy even allows you to hack someones text messages with installing software on their phone.  It only requires you know their iCloud login credentials.

Monitoring Social Media and Chat Apps

Now days it's hard to keep track of all the ways people use to communicate.  Kids especially like using chatting apps on their phones.  These include Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, SnapChat, Tinder, LINE, Skype, and more. 

Spying on conversations on Whatsapp or Tinder is a bit more involved than seeing SMS texts or a phone call log, but we'll be covering several tracker software packages that offer this capability and even more.  The beauty of the software is that it allows you to hack into all their chat conversations across multiple platforms.  And you can see it all from one easy-to-use dashboard.

How to Spy on Someone's SnapChat

Want to learn how to hack someone's Snapchat? Before you'll be able to see someone's Snapchat texts and photos you'll have to jailbreak or root the target phone.  Some of the tracking apps we're covering offer the ability to spy on certain apps without taking this extras step, but Snapchat's security requires it. 

mSpy and FlexiSPY spy programs both allow you to spy on someone's Snapchat messages and pictures, but you'll need to jailbreak the phone first.

How to Hack Someone's Snapchat Password

Keystroke logging tools are another method of hacking someone's Snapchat account.  With a keystroke logger you'll see EVERYTHING that is typed into the phone including usernames and passwords. 

Once you have their information you'll be able to see their Snapchat chats, photos, and videos, and history.  Several of the tracking apps we'll be covering below include keylogging features and work on both iPhones and Andriods.

How to Hack Into Someone's Facebook Messenger

The same basic rules apply to Facebook Messenger as to Snapchat.  Some of the more powerful apps we'll be highlighting offer the ability to read these messages.  You'll have to jailbreak or root the device, but from then on you'll be able to see exactly what they see on their phone including history.

The keylogging feature would also allow you to login using their username and password but keep in mind they might not enter this very often so it could take a while to get their login credentials.

Tracking Emails

While email communication isn't as popular among kids and teens it's still something that should be monitored closely.  Any app you're considering should offer the capability to monitor incoming and outgoing emails.

Tracking Cell Phone Call Logs

The ability to see a log of incoming and outgoing phone calls let's you know EXACTLY who they call and who calls them.  Many of these apps will store calls in a log that you can review whenever you like.  Some of the better tracking applications will even let you record all calls.

Tracking & Capturing Keystrokes

A keystroke capture feature allows you to see anything that is typed on the phone.  This includes chats, texts, emails, usernames, and passwords.  Some of these trackers will even notify you when specific keywords are typed. 

Solid Customer Support

Good customer support is crucial anytime you're dealing with technology.  All of the phone tracking applications we're covering offer good tech support.  Some offer chat only, while others offer phone or email.  Depending on your level of technical expertise one may be better than another.

Tracking an iPhone or Android Without The User Knowing & Without Permission

track an iOS device without the user knowing

For as long as there have been smart phones there have been ways of tracking them.  Cell phone tracking and monitoring software and apps have been around for more than a decade.  We'll be digging into our favorite apps further down in this article.

But first we want to give you an idea of what these spy apps are capable of, what people use them for, and how they're installed on a target device.

​For the purposes of this article we'll be leaving all reservations based on morality at the door.  Yes it might be shady (and in some cases illegal) to track a phone that you do not own.  But if you ARE the owner of the phone you can install whatever software you like on it.

Even if you AREN'T the owner of the phone, sometimes the situation just requires you to know what's going on for your own protection. 

Whether or not you tell the person who is using the phone is up to you.  Obviously in most cases you will get better information from your efforts if the phone's user doesn't know they're being watched. 

Along that line, all of the applications and software we'll be covering are undetectable to the user of the phone.  In most cases you WILL need to have physical access to the phone to install the software, but from that point on all monitoring and tracking is done remotely.

There are ways of tracking a phone or device without the owner being aware.  We talk about how to track a cell phone location without them knowing in another article.

Compatibility with Android and iPhone Devices

Some software is designed to specifically spy on iPhones, while others are intended to spy on Android devices.  Some software is platform independent and will work on both.  If you're planning on tracking both you'll want to ensure that the app you choose can work on both operating systems.

Common Uses for Cell Phone Tracker Apps

There are dozens of reasons why you might feel the need to know what someone else's phone is being used for.  The majority of these apps offer cell phone tracking as well as a vast array of other options.  Here are the most common.

Best Parental Control Apps for iPhone and Android Cell Phones

monitoring your kids usage of their Android or iPhone

When it comes to your kids there's very little you wouldn't do to protect them.  And while you want to trust them to live their own lives, smart phones give them access to SO MUCH information and expose them to all sorts of potentially unsavory characters.

One of the most common questions we get is "how can I monitor my childs text messages without them knowing?"

With a phone tracker app you'll have the ability to track who they're talking to, chatting with, what websites they browse, and they're physical location can help you make sure they're not getting into TOO much trouble.

Maybe your daughter is just old enough to start dating.  Wouldn't it be nice to know that she and her date are going where they said they would?  The best parental control apps allow you to track your daughter's phone to within 20 meters in most cases.  Some software even allows you to set up "safe" and "unsafe" zones based on GPS and notify you when she enters or exits them.

All of this can be done without permission and without her even knowing.  It's a small price to pay for peace of mind.  One such product is TeenSafe.  You can read more about it here.

The best parental control apps will work on iPhones, iPads, and Android phones.  Some also work on Nokia and Blackberry products.

How to Track Your Husband or Wife's Phone

best spy apps for android phone users

Has  your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife ever lost their phone?  It happens all the time.  My wife has left her phone at the gym several times.  Using tracking software we were able to pinpoint it's location in a matte of minutes.

Of course these spy apps also allow you to track incoming and outgoing calls, texts, chats, social apps (like Tinder), and GPS location.  

You can even see a history of every place they've visited over the last 24 hours all laid neatly out on a map.​

You simply install the tracker software on their phone and it runs in the background.  Then you use a web-based control panel to view everything that takes place on their phone.​

Tracking an Employees Phone Location and Usage

As an employer you need your employees need smart phones for communicating with you, fellow employees and clients.  Unfortunately with all the games, websites, and social media apps that come with today's smart phones there are lots of opportunities for them to goof off.

Cell phone tracker apps allow you to track your employees location, app usage, messaging and more.  You do your best to hire trustworthy individuals, but sometimes you need to be able to keep a close eye on your employees to makes sure they are where they're supposed to be, and doing their job rather than playing games on their phones.

In some cases you might even have to worry about your employees communicating with competitors.  Under these circumstances you might need to be able to listen to their phone conversations as well.  Some of the tracker apps we'll cover will allow you to log and record every incoming and outgoing call from their phone.  It may seem sneaky, but it can be worth it to protect yourself and your business.

Depending on the amount of information you want to track there are some free options for tracking someone else's iPhone without them knowing.  This one doesn't even require installing additional software.

Spy App FAQ

Here are some answers to some of the more common questions people have about installing and using phone spyware.

Can I remotely install spyware on a cell phone?

​No.  You need physical access to a the target phone to install spy software on it.  There are apps that can circumvent this requirement by allowing you to directly access the phone's information via their iCloud account, but these only work on iOS devices.  All others require you to have the phone in hand for at least a few minutes.

While this is a limitation, the amount of information you can get from the phone is much greater if you can get physical access.​

Can mSpy Be Installed Remotely?

Yes. mSpy CAN be installed remotely if you choose the non-jailbreak version.  It offers fewer monitoring features than the standard version, as it utilizes the iCloud storage to harvest data.

Can you track the location of a cell phone?

Absolutely.  All of the spyware software packages we've reviewed in this article allow you to track the physical location of the phone.

​Apps like "mSpy" and "FlexiSPY" allow you to track mobile phones even if they're not connected to the internet by utilizing their GPS location data.

What is the best app for phone tracking?

Our top pick in the spy software market is mSpy.  It offers the best balance of price and features and offers terrific customer support.

How does a spy app work?

​After installation you can monitor a phone's activity from a remote location.  You'll need to find out if the phone itself is compatible with the spyware.  Most cell phone spy apps require that you download the software package to the cell phone.

Can Snapchat be monitored by parents?

Yes.  A software called mSpy enables parents to monitor everything their children are sending on Snapchat.  They can also see who they're calling, messaging, texting, emailing as well as their physical location. The software must be downloaded onto their child's device first.  mSpy  can also monitor apps like Skype and WhatsApp.

What are the Best Spy Programs for iPhone?

Here are our current picks for the best spy applications for iPhone/iPad (iOS) devices.

  • mSpy
  • FlexiSpy
  • Highster Mobile
  • TeenSafe

What are the Best Tracking Apps for Monitoring Android Devices?

Here are our current picks for the best tracking apps for Android devices.

  • mSpy
  • FlexiSpy
  • Highster Mobile
  • TeenSafe

In Conclusion

While theses top spy apps are our favorites, there are others out there that are popular as well.  Teensafe is one that is very popular with parents for keeping tabs on location, messaging, and pictures being sent.  There are dozens more as well.  But if you want the best, my recommendation is to go with mSpy.

About the Author Jason

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.