*** This post was updated on: May 2, 2021 ***
Welcome to my comparison of the best phone spy apps for Android and iPhones.
My first experience with a mobile phone spy app cost me over $100, hours of frustration, and it NEVER worked.
If you’ve spent any time researching cell phone spy apps you know the choices are confusing.
Once you’re finished reading this guide you’ll know which of these top rated phone spy apps is the best solution for you.
I’ve spent 100+ hours testing phone spying apps for Android phones and iOS devices. I’ve found 8 that have all the best features, a good price, and can be setup in 5 minutes or less.
|Product||Why I Like It||Price|
| ||Click for Best Price|
| ||Click for Price|
| ||Click for Best Price|
I don’t care why you need to spy on someone’s phone. I’ve been there and I get it.
A day of not knowing what someone is doing behind your back on their phone can feel like an eternity.
But the fact is, some of the companies in this business are scammy as hell. This guide will help you avoid the mistakes I made when you buy a phone spying app.
Here is my list of 8 best spy phone apps on the market…plus one to AVOID.
After thorough testing, here is my list of the top performing hidden spy apps:
Here are my detailed reviews of the 8 best spy apps for iPhones and Android mobile phones. These monitoring solutions are hidden and undetectable.
SPYIC is the best Android spy app on the market. It allows you to monitor sms messages, social media messages, web browser history, phone call logs, contact lists, and includes a GPS tracker. All of these features are available WITHOUT having to root the Android phone. This makes SPYIC my #1 pick among all Android spy apps.
In fact it’s also one of my favorite iPhone spying apps.
It also has some advanced features you won’t find with any other app.
SO WHY IS SPYIC MY FAVORITE FOR ANDROID PHONES?
SPYIC gives you access to Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Snapchat, WITHOUT rooting the phone. It includes a powerful keylogger that records everything typed on the device.
It’s cheaper than apps that offer similar features. mSpy (my #2 pick) requires an expensive “family plan” to unlock these powerful features.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY
All the best spy apps for Androids require you to have physical access to the target phone.
SPYIC is no exception. But you don’t have to root the phone to get access to advanced spying capabilities.
Most smartphone surveillance apps use a keylogger for social media chat messages, but this only lets you see what is typed on the phone you’re monitoring. It DOES NOT let you see what the other person typed.
SpyIC’s Android spyware does have a keylogger, but it also allows you to monitor all of these apps natively, so you can see both sides of the conversation. In fact, no other spy application 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 it’s the best of 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 Android spy apps is they are often unstable. But the SpyIC app was stable through reboots and software updates.
Trust me, reinstalling or troubleshooting software on someone else’s pone is the last thing you want to do.
Overall Spyic is my favorite Android spyware solution. This powerful mobile spy app allows you to see everything that happens on the target device (iOS and Android). It’s a great monitoring app for employees, your kids, or whoever.
If you need to monitor an Android device, this is the best solution. The price is competitive, the app is stable, and it has the best Android keylogger, and has a no-nonsense refund policy.
uMobix is my pick for the best iPhone spy app. You can monitor text messages, social media chats, location data, phone call logs, emails, and web browser history of any iOS device. The installation process does not require physical access to the phone. uMobix offers LIVE phone tech support. All of this makes uMobix the best spy app for iPhones that you can buy.
They also have the most transparent, hassle-free refund policy in the industry.
It has all the monitoring features of the other hidden spy apps on the market, plus a few powerful features not offered by any other cell phone spy apps.
Most iPhone spyware requires you to jailbreak the device to see things like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp chats.
uMobix’s smartphone surveillance software does NOT require jailbreak.
All you need to start monitoring an iPhone is the users iCloud username and password. All of the phone’s information will be visible in your control panel.
While SPYIC (see my #1 pick) is my top pick for Android spy apps, uMobix does offer a powerful keylogger feature for Android phones.
This keylogger does not require you to root the device. This allows you to track EVERYTHING typed on the targeted Android device, regardless of what app they’re using.
The keylogging feature captures every keystroke entered into the phone. You can see all of this in your web based control panel.
The app itself is stable, and their support is responsive and efficient. Check out my full uMobix Review for more information.
Because it was programmed from the ground up with a focus on stability, uMobix was the most reliable app I tested. On top of that their keylogger allows you to see EVERYTHING that is typed in ANY app.
Trust me, the last thing you need if you’re trying to monitor someone’s phone is to have to re-install software or troubleshoot.
If you’re looking for a product that is stable and reliable, uMobix is a great solution. This powerful cell phone monitoring software will allow you to keep an eye on just about everything that happens on the target phone.
The annual “Full” package is the best value. And their refund policy is the easiest and most transparent in the industry.
uMobix will work on a wide variety of devices including Android devices and iOS tablets. To date it is the most reliable app I’ve tested.
mSpy has been in the phone spying app business for a long time and at one time were my #1 pick.
Until recently mSpy had fallen behind other spy apps in terms of innovation. But their new screenlogger feature (requires the Family version), puts mSpy once again solidly in the top 3 spots for Androids.
Many of the best phone spy apps for the Android platform require you to root the phone to see chats from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. mSpy now has this built in.
uMobix and SpyIC come close, but both require the installation of a keylogger that only lets you see what is typed on the target phone. mSpy allows you to see the 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 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, a good tech support team 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 app does not require jailbreaking and is great for those who struggle with technology.
It offers the ability to monitor WhatsApp, but no other social media activity. The full version of mSpy gives you significantly more features including the phone location. It is also undetectable once installed.
mSpy is my #2 spying app for Android devices.
The only reason I would recommend SpyIC or uMobix is if you need to monitor Facebook messenger. Otherwise 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.
It’s a great app for monitoring a child, loved ones, or anyone else. Their features include everything you would get with SPYIC.
The control panel has an easy to use menu that allows you to quickly see all the phones information.
While many Android spy apps are unstable, Cocospy was easy to use and never crashed. The Cocospy app was stable through reboots and software updates. It offers a great user experience.
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.
It has all the real time monitoring features of the other products I’ve listed, plus a few incredibly powerful advanced features not offered by any other mobile phone monitoring solution out there.
This powerful app actually allows you to record and listen to calls as well as 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.
Where this product REALLY shines is when you order a device with FlexiSPY preinstalled on the target Android 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 not only allows for call monitoring, you can ever to make call recordings, listen live to calls, spy on 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 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 reviewing data on target devices.
You will be required to root or jailbreak (iPhone) the phone to get the full services iKeyMonitor. So if you’re uncomfortable with that process, you might be better off looking at our top review. The keylogger functionality is quite powerful but requires either rooting or jailbreaking the target device.
iKeyMonitor is among the best apps for spying on an Android. 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 Androids.
The Spyera app 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 Android spy app in our 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.
The XNSPY app shows you call logs, allows social media monitoring of apps (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp), photos and videos, GPS location tracking features, and has some impressive extras.
You can read XNSPY reviews here.
This control 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 this app 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.
The Highster Mobile Spy app is a complete waste of time and money and should be avoided at all costs. It lacks the advanced spying features, their tech support is non-existent and their refund polices are downright shady.
I was first drawn to Highster Mobile because they offer a one-time payment option. It sounds great, but I was never able to get the app to work. And, of course, no one responded to my request for a refund.
You get what you pay for and the Highster Mobile app isn’t worth it.
The apps above are my favorites, but there are other popular names including Famisafe, Spyier, and Minispy. I haven’t had a chance to test these apps, but Famisafe, Spyier and Minispy look solid.
I want to make sure your buying decision is as easy as possible.
In this section I’m highlighting the MUST HAVE features in any cell phone spy app. Whether you are monitoring children, employees, or whoever, these are the minimum features you’ll want.
I’m also covering:
To make my list of the best mobile spy apps for Android each product needed to offer monitoring of Facebook, text messages, location tracking, phone call logs, and social media messages.
The most powerful cell phone spy software will even allow you to record calls or listen to the ambient surroundings of the device.
And of course a good phone tracker app MUST have a simple setup process and be undetectable once installed on the target device.
The top app for Android isn’t necessarily best iOS spyware. Many packages are compatible with either one, but there are differences in the operating systems that limit capabilities and functionality.
One of the most common problems that come up when trying to use spyware is that some software requires you to root the phone to get the most advanced spying features. While uMobix, mSpy, and Spyic allow you to track a cell phone’s location without installing any software, this is only available for iOS devices.
Android cell phones are more difficult. Since the user’s phone data isn’t stored in the cloud you will need to install phone spy apps directly onto the device. This requires you to have physical access to the phone.
Regardless of what you’re trying to track, any cell phone monitoring application will offer essentially the same features.
So what data CAN you track using these spyware apps?
Whether you’re planning on monitoring a child, employee, loved ones, or anyone else, there are a few key features you should look for before deciding on a spying app. Here’s my list of the most important features.
A free spy app will never offer the same level of performance as a paid one. There are plenty of free spy apps out there for a wide variety of mobile devices, but I’ve never had success getting any of them to work. And you’ll never get any kind of customer support.
One of the more cell phone monitoring features for a concerned parent, employer, or spouse is the user’s location.
Each cell phone spying application we’ve covered allows location tracking of the target device. Some apps now take this capability even further by logging the location history over a specific time frame.
Check out this post for the best cell phone tracker app without permission. They allow you to set up notification zones as well. When the user enters or leaves this location, you’ll be notified.
The GPS tracker software that comes with each spy app above allows you to see where the phone is currently. Keep tabs on your kid, spouse, or whoever.
Many of these apps will allow you to track the location of mobile devices without installing any software. They’ll also show you a GPS tracking history to show you it’s GPS locations for the last 24 hours or so.
Pretty much everyone sends text messages about their personal life, business, or things they are hiding from someone else. And knowing how to monitor text messages to spy on what’s being said is a must for any tracking app.
SMS Messages can be monitored on any phone without the need to root (Android) or jailbreak (iPhone & iOS devices). If you need to monitor SMS messages any of the spy apps listed above would work.
One of the more common features of a spy phone app is the ability to see the contacts list of the target person. This should show you phone numbers, email address, and more for each contact. Even a budget option will include this functionality.
Web browser tracking gives you insight into what someone is doing on their phone. Any good spying application will offer features like this. The internet browsing history function is a great feature for employee monitoring.
Spy apps that use a keylogger function will even let you see search engine queries. Google Family link is another good alternative if you’re looking for something that will work on a child’s phone and will track their web history.
You can even monitor wi fi networks the phone has used.
Some apps stop working if the SIM card of the device is changed. The spy apps listed above will notify you of any SIM card changes.
Even if you are using a Facebook Messenger hack, it’s hard to keep track of all the ways the end user might communicate, especially with chatting apps. Your spouse or child could be using apps like WhatsApp, SnapChat, Tinder, LINE,Viber, Skype, or others.
Spying on conversations on social media platforms and instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp or Tinder is a bit more involved than seeing SMS text messages or a log of calls, but we have covered several Android apps that now offer the capability to monitor instant messages.
Although e-mail communication isn’t as popular among kids and teens, this is still one of the key features. Email communication is something that should be monitored closely. Any Android spy app you’re considering should offer the capability to monitor incoming and outgoing emails.
The ability to see a log of incoming and outgoing phone calls (with name) lets you monitor EXACTLY who your kid calls and who calls them. Some of the better apps will even let you record all calls on the phone.
All of the top phone spying apps allow you to monitor data such as call duration and numbers. Flexispy is the only one that can record real time live phone calls, and also makes it easy to turn on the phone’s microphone for in-room recording without the device users knowledge.
As parents, the ability to activate the camera of the device and record or take a photo, without the user knowing, are powerful features. This is a great way to see what your kid is up to.
A keystroke capture feature allows you to spy on anything that is typed on the phone. This includes chats, texts, emails, usernames, and passwords. Some trackers will even notify you when specific keywords are typed.
Some programs are designed specifically for an Android phone, while others are platform independent and will work on all types of devices.
While very similar to parental monitoring apps, many of these apps allow you to spy on Android or iOS devices. But they don’t always offer the same features you might want for keeping track of your kids. For more information you can read my parental control app reviews.
Here are the answers to common questions people have about installing and using a mobile spy app.
Mobile spy apps do work and can give parents, business owners, or whoever complete access to most phone’s information including web browsing history and much more.
You can read more about how cell phone spy software works here.
mSpy, uMobix, and SpyIC allow you to spy on a cell phone without installing software on the target phone if it’s an iOS device. Android devices require spy apps be installed on the phone. So you’ll need to know the user’s passcode to unlock the phone screen.
Absolutely. All the tracking apps we’ve reviewed allow you to track the physical location of a target smartphone.
Hacking a phone with a phone tracker is actually quite straightforward. In this article we discuss how to hack a cell phone using software that is installed on the device.
uMobix, mSpy, and FlexiSPY all allow you to track a mobile device, even if it is not connected to the internet by utilizing the GPS location tracking data. Other popular names include Famisafe, Spyier, and Minispy. I haven’t had a chance to test these apps, but Famisafe, Spyier and Minispy look solid.
The legality of spy apps depends on where you live and who you want to monitor. For more information check out my article discussing when it is legal to spy on someone’s phone. Phone spying apps are extremely powerful, and it’s important to understand the legalities of using one before making your purchase. Because these apps are somewhat controversial, you won’t find them in the Play Store.
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.