*** This post was updated on: July 2, 2021 ***
This buyer’s guide will help you find the best Phone Spy Apps for Android and iPhones (iOS).
Researching smartphone spy apps can be very confusing. As of 2021 there are more than 60 different phone spying apps on the market! Unfortunately, many of these apps are junk and their customer support is completely unresponsive.
My first phone spy app cost me over $100, hours of frustration, and it NEVER worked.
Since then I’ve spent more than 120 hours testing spy apps for cell phones and found 8 apps for Android and iOS devices that offer great value, advanced features, and reasonable refund policies.
Table of Contents
I don’t care why you need to spy on someone’s cell phone. I’ve been there and I get it.
This guide will help you pick the right cell phone spyware apps and avoid the mistakes I made.
My Top 3 Phone Spy Apps
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Spy apps are a type of smartphone surveillance software that allows you monitor and track another person’s cell phone activities. These apps allow you to see incoming and outgoing calls, web browsing history, SMS or text messages, social media chats like Whatsapp and Snapchat, instant messaging app chats, contacts, and GPS location tracking.
The best Spy Apps offer many more features and are undetectable and hidden from the phone’s owner.
Here is my list of 8 best Android and iPhone spy apps on the market…plus one to AVOID. All of these apps are undetectable on any Android device or iOS phones.
uMobix is the best cell phone spy app for Android and iPhones.
This cell phone monitoring app has the most features, simple installation, LIVE customer support, and the best refund policy in the industry. Let’s look at why it’s the best phone spying app for both Android and iOS mobile devices.
uMobix is the best spying app for iPhones and iOS devices because it offers the most features you can get without jailbreaking the device.
The following features differentiate the uMobix phone spy app from mSpy and SPYIC (#2 and #3 on my list):
In addition to all of these features it is compatible with ANY version of the iOS operating system.
You will NOT need access to the target phone to start monitoring. All you need are the user’s iCloud login details.
uMobix is the best spying app for Android because it allows you to monitor more social media apps than any other spy app. This includes Facebook, FB Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, LINE, Viber, Tinder, TikTok, Kik, WeChat, Skype, Signal, Telegram, Reddit, and more.
Most Android mobile spyware apps require you to use a keylogger to monitor social media activity. But a keylogger only allows you to see one side of the conversation.
While it has the best keylogger, their app offers social media monitoring natively, so you can see BOTH incoming and outgoing messages. For those apps that cannot be monitored, you will still see every keystroke.
uMobix works with more mobile devices than any other tracking app in the industry. It works with all versions of the Android operating system. It even works Google’s Pixel, which has some of the toughest security of any Android phone.
uMobix is the best spy app on the market because it offers the most spy features, simple installation on Android and iOS devices, and the best and ONLY live phone support in the industry.
Check out my full uMobix Review for more information.
This is the most reliable and feature rich spy app I tested. It is compatible with any Android device or iOS deviecs.
uMobix is the best cell phone monitoring application out there. It allows you to monitor everything the target person does on their phone.
While they offer multiple subscription plans, the annual “Full” package is the best value. And their refund policy is the easiest and most transparent in the industry.
It will work on a wide variety of mobile devices including Android devices and iOS devices. To date it is the most reliable cell phone monitoring apps I’ve tested.
SPYIC is my 2nd favorite spy software. SPYIC differs from uMobix in a couple important ways. Their app won’t monitor as many social media platforms and they do NOT offer live phone support.
If you need text message monitoring, a GPS tracker, web browser history, phone call logs, and contact list, SPYIC has you covered.
It also has some advanced features you won’t find with any other phone spy app besides uMobix.
WHY SPYIC IS NO LONGER #1
While SPYIC gives you access to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more, WITHOUT rooting the phone, it doesn’t offer access to as many apps as uMobix.
They also don’t offer live phone or chat support. If you have a problem during installation you’ll have to submit an email and wait.
This can be incredibly inconvenient if you don’t have regular access to the phone you want to monitor.
SPYIC’s app includes a powerful keylogger that records everything typed on the device.
It’s also much less expensive than apps that offer similar features. mSpy (my #3 pick) requires a more expensive “family plan” to unlock these powerful features.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY
All the best mobile spy apps require you to have physical access to monitor Android phones.
SPYIC is no exception. But you don’t have to root the phone to get access to advanced spying capabilities.
Most smartphone spy apps use a keylogger to capture social media chat messages, but this only lets you see half the conversation.
SpyIC’s Android spyware does have a keylogger, but it also allows you to monitor many of these apps natively, so you can see both sides of the conversation. In fact, no other mobile spy app that I’ve tested gives you access to Snapchat without rooting the phone.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Not having to root the device means:
In terms of stability SPYIC is one of the best in the group. During testing I experienced no crashes and no lag in data. Some apps will stop working after the target phone is rebooted or after a software update. SPYIC had no such issues.
Most importantly, they offer strong customer service and a transparent, hassle-free refund policy.
One of my biggest frustrations with cell phone spy apps is they are often unstable. But SpyIC was stable through reboots and software updates.
Trust me, the last thing you need when trying to discretely monitor someone’s phone is to have to re-install software or troubleshoot.
Overall Spyic is my #2 spyware solution. This powerful mobile spy phone app allows you to see just about everything that happens on the target device (Android and iOS). It’s a great option for monitoring employees, your kids, or whoever.
SPYIC is a good second choice. It’s priced competitively, stable, has, and has a no-nonsense refund policy.
mSpy has been in the cell phone spy software business for a long time. It is the most popular spyware in the world, but mSpy does not offer the features of my #1 pick.
Until recently mSpy had fallen behind other spy apps in terms of innovation. But their new screenlogger feature (requires the Family package), puts mSpy once again solidly in the top couple spots for Androids.
Many of the best spying apps for Android mobile devices require you to root the phone to see chats from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. The mSpy app now has this built in.
Most apps require the installation of a keylogger that only lets you see what is typed on the target phone. mSpy allows you to see instant messages they receive in these chat apps.
mSpy’s offers many common features like GPS tracking, phone logs, contact list, multimedia files and more.
But they also offer phone screen recording and screen time limits so you closely monitor your child’s phone usage. Most software in this category won’t allow you limit your kids screen time.
They also offer very responsive tech support. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you’re not tech savvy, this can be a lifesaver.
For more detailed information, including a look at the user interface, you can read more in my mSpy review.
Their basic monitoring solutions do not require jailbreaking and is great for those who struggle with technology.
It offers the ability to monitor WhatsApp, but no other social media accounts. The full version of mSpy gives you significantly more features including the location monitoring of the target person. It is also undetectable once installed.
mSpy is my #3 pick.
While it doesn’t offer as many social media monitoring options, it’s still a solid choice. You’ll be able to see all texts, iMessages, and WhatsApp messages.
It doesn’t offer some of the advanced tools (like call intercept or call recording) of FlexiSPY, but this cell phone spyware app still offers good value overall. And FlexiSPY (my #5 pick) requires rooting for these advanced features.
Cocospy is a relatively new addition to my list of monitoring solutions. They offer a VERY similar feature set to SPYIC.
It’s a great app for monitoring a kid, loved ones, or anyone else. Their features include everything you would get with SPYIC.
The web control panel has an easy to use menu that allows you to quickly see all the phones information.
One of my biggest frustrations with spyware is that the apps are often unstable. Cocospy was stable through reboots and software updates.
Trust me, the last thing you need when trying to discretely monitor someone’s phone is to have to re-install software or troubleshoot.
Cocospy is a solid app that offers very similar features to SPYIC. It’s great for monitoring kids, employees, or loved ones.
The FlexiSPY Extreme software is hands down the most powerful spying application on the market. While they don’t offer a specific business plan, it is the best solution for business owners as you can order a phone with the software pre-installed. This makes employee monitoring very easy.
It has all the real time call monitoring features of the other products I’ve listed, plus a few incredibly powerful advanced features not offered by any other mobile phone monitoring app out there.
FlexiSPY has a call recording feature so you can record phone calls. You can also listen live to phone calls in real time. No other app offers this functionality.
You can also spoof sms messages, or send them on behalf of the phone’s owner.
On top of that, the app itself is VERY stable, and their support is responsive and efficient.
FlexiSPY differs from uMobix in two important ways. They do NOT offer live phone support. And FlexiSPY requires you to root the target device to get the most powerful features.
Where this product REALLY shines is when you order a device with FlexiSPY preinstalled on the target phone. This gives you full access from DAY 1!
FlexiSPY has set the bar for other spying applications by offering the most advanced features. Most notably it allows you to make call recordings, listen live to calls, Facetime calls, and listen to the ambient surroundings anytime.
If you’re comfortable with technology and are willing to spend a bit more, FlexiSPY is the most powerful spy apps on the market.
While it has high price tag, the FlexiSPY Extreme package has unmatched spy capabilities, allowing you to record calls and listen to live calls.
Where FlexiSPY really shines is in its advanced set of features. You can read more about it in my full FlexiSPY review.
iKeyMonitor is one of the most affordable spy apps available. It has an easy and user-friendly spy app that has many of the cell phone spying features of other apps we’ve covered. It also includes an online dashboard for viewing data on target devices.
You will be required to root or jailbreak the device to get the full services iKeyMonitor. So if you’re uncomfortable with that process, you should go with one of my first two choices. The keylogger feature is quite powerful but requires either rooting or jailbreaking the target device.
iKeyMonitor is another solid smartphone monitoring app. However, it does require you to root or jailbreak (iOS) the device for maximum access. Bottom line, it offers many of the same great features as the others, but at a more reasonable price.
The iKeyMonitor package is pretty solid. Setting up the app was a bit more technically involved than other spy apps we tested, but it seemed very stable. All the spying functionality works as advertised, and the app is hidden from the end user, making it completely undetectable.
You’ll be paying an additional $6 per month compared to our first choice, and getting basically the same functionality, so it came in number 5 in our comparison.
For more information on this mobile spying app, go to https://ikeymonitor.com/
Spyera is another great solution.
Spyera has many of the same features as other monitoring apps. Because Spyera is easy to use, install and configure, it is a good choice for those who aren’t as technically savvy.
The interface and online dashboard capabilities are very similar to the other cell phone monitoring software we’re covering, but this app doesn’t have some of their advanced capabilities. You can read more about this app in my Spyera review article.
Spyera is one of the better budget spy phone apps on the market. This spying software lacks some of the more advanced capabilities.
Spyera offers a ONE-TIME annual payment. Yes, it is missing some features like recording calls, ambient recording, and turning on the camera, but it is still a robust package to spy on someone’s online activities.
XNSPY is another of the more innovative spy apps on the market.
It shows you call logs, allows social media account monitoring of apps (Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp), photos and videos, location tracking features, and has some impressive extras.
You can read more about XNSPY here.
This software is specifically designed for parents and employers to track everything happening on the target device. The dashboard will let you monitor multiple devices and allow you to switch from one to the other quickly.
The Live Control Panel is a nice add-on, but where it really excels is when you need to monitor multiple devices.
XNSPY’s free customer support isn’t all that great. But you can find answers to just about any question on their website.
Highster Mobile is a complete waste of time and money and should be avoided at all costs. They lack advanced spying features, their tech support is non-existent and their refund polices are shady AF.
I was first drawn to Highster because they offer a one-time payment option. It sounds great, but I was never able to get the product working. And, of course, no one responded to my request for a refund.
You get what you pay for and Highster isn’t worth it.
Here are the answers to common questions people have about installing and using a mobile spy app.
Phone spy apps actually work very well. They are a powerful way to discretely monitor someone else’s smartphone. Some apps don’t even require physical access to the target device.
Phone spy apps work by saving data from the target device and storing it on a server to be viewed.
iPhone spy apps work by logging into the users iCloud account. This gives the spyware access to most of the data from the mobile phone.
Android spy apps must be installed on the Android device itself. This requires having physical access to the phone and knowing the passcode to unlock the device. Once installed the app sends activity data to a server for viewing.
The cheapest spy app is uMobix. A 12 month subscription costs $12.49 per month for an iPhone. The 12 month Android subscription costs $14.99 per month.
iKeymonitor is the only free undetectable spy app. The free version only offers a few features compared to the paid version.
The method for checking for spyware is different for both iPhones (iOS) and Androids. This article shows you how to check for spyware on an Android phone.
Some spyware apps require you to root the phone to get the most advanced spying features. None of my top 5 picks require rooting or jailbreaking the target phone.
However, Android spy apps will require you to install the app directly onto the device. This requires you to have physical access to the phone.
Phone spying apps are different from parental control apps. Most parental control software has features like screen time monitoring.
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.