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Best Spy Apps for ALL Smartphones: 2022 Buyer’s Guide

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*** This post was updated on: August 2, 2022 ***

In this buyer’s guide we compare the best phone spy apps, their key tracking features, and how to use surveillance apps to monitor Android and iOS devices.

Spy apps track phone calls, text messages, social media activity, chat apps, emails, GPS location, and more. Some apps even offer call recording and live call interception. These apps are designed to monitor a child, an employee, or a loved one.

As of 2022 there are more than 60 different smartphone spyware apps on the market! Many of these apps offer very similar spying features, but a few ARE better than the rest.

Just starting your search for the best phone surveillance software? You will find all the information you need to make an informed decision including:

  • how to choose the best solution based on phone type
  • the best way to monitor a child’s, employee’s, or spouse’s phone
  • the best monitoring app for social media apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram
  • how to buy, download, install, and use cell phone spy software
  • refund policies to be aware of

All the apps in this guide offer a free trial or money back guarantee, so you can try them out risk-free.

Contents of this Guide

My Top Pick Overall

Product Why I Like It Price
  • Simple install – no root & or jailbreak required
  • Powerful – access the most social media apps
  • Live phone tech support
  • Best refund policy in the industry
  • Compatibility with ALL major phone brands
Click for Best Price

What Are Phone Spy Apps?

A spy app is phone surveillance software. Spy apps are designed to track and monitor activity on iOS and Android-based phones.

Spy apps track a phone’s location, social media accounts, SMS texts, iMessages, website browsing history, incoming and outgoing phone calls, chat and dating apps, and more. Learn more about these features in the Feature Explanation section.

Why Do People Use Phone Spy Apps?

Below are the three main reasons people use phone spying apps.

  1. parents use cell phone spyware to monitor the online activities of their children
  2. employers use spying apps to to track their employee’s phone usage and GPS location
  3. people in relationships who want to snoop on their partner’s cell phone and computer activity. A recent study showed that 1 in 10 people snoop on a current or former partner.

The first two are legal. The third is only legal if you get the consent of the person being monitored.

List of the Best Phone Spy Apps

Below is a list of the best spy apps for any phone or app.

Best Phone Spy App Overall: uMobix

umobix home page

The uMobix cell phone spy app monitors both iPhones and Android smartphones.

uMobix offers more monitoring features than any other phone spying app. It monitors all cell phone activity including: GPS location, web browsing history, call logs, SMS text messages, social media activities, and more.

uMobix functions as a parental control app for monitoring a child’s phone. It can also be used as a smartphone tracking system for businesses to track their employees (Or by a spouse who suspects their partner of cheating).

The uMobix annual subscription plan is the best value. It costs $11.66 per month. All of their plans include a 14 day money back guarantee and LIVE customer support.

This is the lowest price they’ve ever offered, so you’ll save a ton of money vs their competitors. Just be sure to click the link below to get the new price.

Click Here for Best Price

Check out my full uMobix review for more information.

Android Phone Spy Apps: Top Pick uMobix

umobix Android tracker product page

PROS

  • Simple and quick installation
  • Most social media monitoring capabilities
  • Stealth mode so it’s completely hidden
  • powerful keylogger feature
  • LIVE Support
  • Great for business owner or parent
  • Real-time GPS tracking feature

CONS

  • Requires access to target Android device (all Android spyware requires this)

The uMobix Android spy app logs keystrokes, monitors social media accounts like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, LINE, Viber, Tinder, TikTok, Kik, WeChat, Skype, Signal, Telegram, Reddit, and more. uMobix is completely hidden and undetectable once installed.

uMobix is compatible with all devices using Android 4.0 and newer. This includes the Google Pixel, Motorola, Samsung Galaxy, Kyocera, and Nokia.

uMobix requires access to the target cell phone for a few minutes to complete the installation. The app is not available in the Google Play Store. You must download the app from the company website. It does NOT require rooting the device.

uMobix offers LIVE, US-based customer service and support. The uMobix Android monitoring solution costs $11.66 per month.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Click Here for Best Price

For more information about features, compatibility requirements, and installation requirements see my list of the best spy apps for Android.

Top Spy App for iPhones: uMobix

PROS

  • Simple installation process
  • More social media tracking than any other app
  • works with 2-factor authentication
  • Real-time GPS tracking feature
  • minimizes phone data usage

CONS

  • no call intercept or live call listening
  • No access to Snapchat
  • requires users iCloud email and password

The uMobix spy software offers the most monitoring features for Apple iPhones and iPads. It works with all versions of the iOS operating system, and does NOT require jailbreaking the device.

This phone tracker app is not available in the App Store. Installing the app requires the target user’s iCloud account email address and password. Tracking GPS location and Internet browsing history requires a couple minutes of access to the device.

Here are the specific iOS spying features you can only get with uMobix:

  • see Facebook Messenger and files
  • see their Facebook account as though it were your own
  • see their Instagram account and messages
  • see Skype messages
  • view entire conversations in WhatsApp

Once you make your purchase you will have FULL ACCESS to all these real-time features in just minutes. So you can start monitoring today with just the user’s iCloud login details.

uMobix is the best iPhone spy app on the market. And at this price, which is the lowest price they’ve ever offered, you’ll save a ton of money vs competitive products. Just be sure to click the link below to get the new price.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Click Here for Best Price

For more information about features, compatibility requirements, and installation requirements see my list of the best spy apps for iPhones.

Snapchat Spyware for iPhones: EyeZy

PROS

  • view outgoing Snapchat messages

CONS

  • limited functionality
  • requires jailbreak

The EyeZy cell phone tracking app allows you to monitor outgoing Snapchat messages using a keylogging feature. Unfortunately you cannot monitor any other Snapchat activity.

This is primarily due to how Snapchat stores their data. In fact, there are no Snapchat spy solutions for iPhones that give you any more access.

Click Here for Best Price

Snapchat Spy App for Android: uMobix

umobix snapchat monitoring web page

PROS

  • No root required for Snapchat monitoring on Android
  • See Snaps, conversations, and post interactions
  • See Snapchat friend names

CONS

  • no screenshots from Snapchat
  • no screen-time restrictions

Monitoring Snapchat on an Android device with uMobix is simple and straightforward. The uMobix Snapchat spy feature is built into their standard tracking app.

With this app you can see Snapchat conversations, Snaps, media, user interactions, and even deleted messages.

This app is ideal for anyone who needs to monitor someone’s Snapchat usage.

The installation of uMobix requires a few minutes of access to the target phone. Once is is installed this hidden spy app allows you to see Snapchat conversations, images, and videos.

Click for Best iPhone Price

Read More: Snapchat Spy Apps Buyer’s Guide

Spy App with Call Recording: FlexiSPY Extreme

PROS

  • Listen LIVE or Record Calls
  • screen recorder feature
  • Ambient listening of device surroundings
  • Remotely control camera and apps
  • See phone call records, text messages, location & more.

CONS

  • iOS installation requires jailbreak
  • Rooting required on Android
  • Higher cost than other options

FlexiSPY is the best spy software for recording cell phone calls. FlexiSPY monitoring software works on both Android and iOS smartphones.

The FlexiSPY Extreme package offers more advanced features than any cell phone monitoring app on the market. These advanced features include:

  • intercept and monitor phone calls
  • monitor video calls
  • sms commands

To record phone calls on Android requires rooting the phone. Recording iPhone conversations requires jailbreaking the phone

Their technology allows you to listen to live phone calls in real-time. You can also monitor FaceTime calls.

The easiest way to install FlexiSPY is to buy the phone from them with the app pre-installed. This is a great solution for business owners as it makes employee monitoring very easy.

FlexiSPY does NOT offer live phone support. One software license is needed for each phone.

Read more about it in my full FlexiSPY review.

Click Here for Best Price

Facebook Messenger Spy App – uMobix

how to log into someones facebook without them getting a notification

PROS

  • See their entire Facebook account
  • See all Messenger messages
  • No jailbreak on iPhone
  • No root on Android

CONS

  • Access to Android device required for installation

The uMobix mobile spy app gives you full access to someone’s Facebook account and Facebook Messenger chats. You’ll see posts, pictures, videos, comments and more.

The uMobix Facebook & Messenger spy app features work on both iOS (iPhone) and Android devices. It does NOT require you to root or jailbreak the device.

For Androids you will need a couple minutes of access to the device to install the app.

iPhones only require that you know the user’s iCloud username and password. If they have 2-factor authentication enabled, you will need to get the code that is sent to the device.

Click Here for Best Price

Read More: Our Facebook Messenger Spy App Buyer’s Guide

Instagram Spy App for Androids – Glassagram

Glassagram home page

PROS

  • See all their direct messages
  • See interactions with others
  • No root on Android

CONS

  • not compatible with iOS devices

The Glassagram spy software is the best solution for monitoring Instagram on Android devices. It tracks all of the following Instagram activities:

  • view stories anonymously
  • view videos anonymously
  • view post interactions
  • read direct messages (DMs)
  • track location data

No other spy tool on the market allows you to anonymously monitor Instagram accounts.

Click Here for Best Price

Read More: Instagram Spy App Buyer’s Guide

Instagram Tracker for iPhone – uMobix

uMobix Instagram tracker web page

The uMobix Instagram tracker for iPhones allows you to view the target person’s Instagram account as though it were your own. The app allows you to do all of the following:

  • See Instagram DMs (direct messages)
  • see post engagement
  • view contacts
  • scroll their news feed
  • view stories
  • restrict content
  • block users
  • post & delete comments

No other Instagram spying app allows you so much access to the target person’s account.

Click Here for Best Price

Best Spy App for Parents with Teens – Kidsguard

Kidsguard parental monitoring web page

The KidsGuard parental monitoring app is the best way to keep track of your child’s smartphone usage. It includes several features designed specifically for parents.

Key Features:

  • block apps, games and websites
  • track app usage
  • capture screenshots
  • lock the phone
  • GPS location tracking feature with geofencing
  • detailed activity reports

If you need parental control features like app blocking and geofencing, KidsGuard is the best solution on the market.

Click for Best Price

Read More: My Favorite Parental Control Apps

Best App to Catch a Cheater – FlexiSPY Extreme

spying apps to catch your spouse cheating

PROS

  • See nearly everything on target phone
  • Listen to live calls & record calls
  • See ALL chat apps
  • 24/7 GPS location tracking

CONS

  • Android version requires root
  • iPhone version requires jailbreak

Do you suspect your significant other or partner is cheating? If you need to see EVERYTHING that someone is doing on their phone, the FlexiSPY Extreme Package is the best solution.

It gives you access to nearly everything on the mobile phone including a few spy features that are not offered by any other app.

This includes intercepting and listening to live calls, recording phone calls, eavesdropping on conversations with the microphone, screen recording, and live GPS location tracking.

The only downside is that the installation is a bit more complex. For iPhones you will be required to jailbreak the device and Androids require rooting to get this level of access.

FlexiSPY offers support to help you through this process. Or you can buy a phone with FlexiSPY Extreme app pre-installed.

Make sure you understand your country’s laws before spying on your partner. In some cases it is illegal to spy on someone’s phone without their permission or consent.

Click Here for Best Price

Read More: Buyer’s Guide for Apps to Catch a Cheating Spouse

Whatsapp Spy App – uMobix

whatsapp logo

PROS

  • See all their direct messages
  • See interactions with others
  • No jailbreak on iPhone
  • No root on Android

CONS

  • Requires access to target device to install on Android

WhatsApp is one of the most popular communication platforms in the world. It allows you to send encrypted messages to your friends and family.

The uMobix spy app allows you to access all WhatsApp messages. You can also view links, images, and videos.

Android devices do not need to be rooted for this functionality. And you can view all their messages on iPhones without having to jailbreak them. All you’ll need is their iCloud login information.

Click Here for Best Price

Read More: Whatsapp Spyware Buyer’s Guide

Tinder Spy App – SpyBubble

tinder logo

PROS

  • See all chats
  • See pictures posted in chats
  • capture screenshots
  • No root on Android

CONS

  • Android requires physical access for installation
  • iPhone installation requires jailbreak

SpyBubble is the best solution for monitoring someone’s Tinder account.

Many mobile spy apps can monitor Tinder, but only SpyBubble has the ability monitor on both the Android and iOS operating systems.

The iOS version of the app does NOT require jailbreak. And the Android version does NOT require rooting.

The app shows you all their chats, pictures, and more.

Click Here for Best Price

Read More: Best Tinder Spy Tools Buyer’s Guide

Best Free Spy App – iKeyMonitor

ikeymonitor logo

PROS

  • Basic but powerful spy app
  • FREE Trial 3 Days
  • Monitor Internet connection, chat messages, & More
  • Monitor chat apps
  • Screenshot capture
  • Limit screen-time

CONS

  • Powerful features require jailbreak or rooting

iKeyMonitor is one of the only free spy apps on the market. That said, the free version is VERY limited.

It has a user-friendly online dashboard for viewing data from the target devices.

You will be required to root or jailbreak the device to get the access to the most spying features. If you are uncomfortable with the jailbreaking process you should go with uMobix.

The keylogging 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.

For more information on this mobile spying app, go to https://ikeymonitor.com/ or check out my iKeyMonitor article.

Click to Try iKeymonitor

Best Mac & PC Spy Software – WebWatcher

webwatcher websites

WebWatcher is a monitoring app for both Mac & PC computers. It allows you to see emails, instant messages and chats, social media activity, websites visited, search engine searches, screenshots and more.

WebWatcher has to be installed directly on the device you want to monitor. There is no way to remotely install the app. Installation takes just a few minutes. The app is completely safe to use on Mac, Windows-base PCs, iPhones, and Android phones.

The WebWatcher app records activity in real-time, so information is available in your dashboard almost immediately.

WebWatcher will alert you when the user visits certain types of websites or when they type certain keywords. You can also sign up for email notifications that will alert you to all activity on a schedule that you specify.

If you need to monitor multiple devices you will need one license per device.

Read more in my WebWatcher review.

Spy App Features Explained

Below is a comprehensive list of spy app features with a detailed explanation of how each feature is used.

Monitor Social Networks & Messaging Apps

Social Media monitoring is one of the most popular spying features. This feature allows parents to track their child’s activities on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and more.

This feature also tracks chat app conversations using Line, Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram DMs, and Facebook Messenger

Track GPS Location

A good spy app tracks the current GPS location of the device you’re monitoring. Many phone tracker apps only provide you with this information every few hours. If you need more frequent updates make sure your app offers real-time location tracking.

The GPS location tracking feature can be used to find a lost phone, or to find the location of a child, employee, or spouse.

Geofencing

Geofencing is an advanced GPS tracking feature. Geofencing allows you to create zones on a map. When the target phone enters or leaves one of these zones you receive a notfication.

This feature can be used to ensure your child makes it safely home from school. It can also be used to ensure they don’t stray too far from home.

Monitor Text Messages

People send text messages for all sorts of reasons. Any great app has the ability to hack someone’s text messages. SMS text messages can be monitored on mobile phones without the need to root (Android) or jailbreak (iPhone & iOS devices).

Phone Contacts List

One of the more common features of a spy phone app is the ability to see the contacts list of the target person. This will show you phone numbers, email address, and more for each contact. Even a budget option will include this functionality.

See Web Browser History

Web browser tracking gives you insight into what websites someone is viewing on their phone. Most cell phone monitoring apps offer this feature. The internet browsing history function is a great feature for employee monitoring. Some apps will even let you see history from Incognito mode.

SIM Card Notifications

Some apps stop working if the SIM card of the device is changed. The spyware apps listed above will notify you of any SIM card changes.

Reading Emails

Most monitoring software will allow you to read emails from the target device. Some apps even allow you to see email’s from the target phone’s Gmail account.

Viewing Call Logs

The call logs feature displays all incoming and outgoing calls. It includes timestamp, phone numbers, and duration of the call.

Recording Phone Calls

More advanced phone surveillance software allows you to record phone calls. This feature usually requires rooting or jailbreaking the target device.

Camera Control

The camera control feature allows you to remotely turn on the camera to take pictures or record videos.

Keystroke Logging

A keystroke logging feature captures anything that is typed on the phone keyboard. This includes chats, texts, emails, usernames, and passwords. Some trackers will even notify you when specific keywords are typed.

The keylogging function will even let you see search engine queries.

Custom Alerts

Alerts allow you to monitor even when you’re busy. Alerts can be setup to tell you when the phone enters restricted areas, or when certain words are typed.

How Are Smartphone Spy Apps Installed?

The installation process for spying apps is relatively straightforward. It differs depending on the operating system of the phone. Below is a brief explanation of how to install spyware on an Android and iOS device.

Installation Process for Android Devices

Android spy software must be installed directly on the target device. This requires physical access to the phone and the user’s passcode.

The installation process for Android devices is as follows:

  1. Sign up for an account with a spy app company.
  2. Choose your subscription plan and pay.
  3. Change the necessary security settings on the target phone per the emailed instructions.
  4. Download the spyware software onto the target device.

Installation Process for iOS Devices

iPhone spyware apps are not installed directly on the phone. All data is pulled from the target user’s iCloud account.

The installation process for iOS devices is as follows:

  1. Sign up for an account with a spy app company.
  2. Choose your subscription plan and pay.
  3. Enter the user’s iCloud email address and password in your account dashboard.
  4. Enter the 2 factor authentication code that is sent to the target phone.

How Do You Use Phone Surveillance Apps?

Phone surveillance apps are used by logging into an online control panel. From this panel you can do all of the following:

  • view all phone activity and location information
  • adjust the data update frequency
  • enable text updates via cellular or WiFi connection
  • enable media updates via cellular or WiFi connection
  • disable or enable phone functions

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Phone Cell Phone Spying Apps Work?

Phone spy software works by transferring data from a target phone to a server hosted by the spyware company. The phone’s data can then be viewed by the person who purchased the spy app using an online control panel.

Spy software designed for the Android operating system upload data directly from the phone to a server. This data is then viewed through an online control panel.

Spying software designed for iOS devices (iPhones & iPads) logs into the iCloud account of the phone’s owner. These backups are then transferred to a server at regular intervals. The data is viewed using an online control panel.

How Does Spy Software Track a Phone’s Physical Location?

Spy software uses cell tower triangulation, GPS signals, and nearby WiFi networks to track the physical location of a phone.

Can Spy Apps Work Without Internet Access?

Yes, spy apps can work without Internet access by using the SMS communications channel on a cell phone.

Smartphone surveillance software can also be programmed to wait until your cell signal or Wi-Fi connection is restored to send data.

Will Spy Apps Work If the Target Phone is Turned Off?

Some functions of spy apps will work even if the target phone is turned off. iOS-based surveillance software monitors iCloud backups. Any data uploaded to this cloud account is accessible.

Android surveillance software cannot transmit data while the phone is off. It will transmit once the phone is turned back on.

Where Can You Buy Spy Apps?

Spy apps can be purchased directly from the company’s websites. These apps are not available in the App Store or the Google Play Store because they are classified as spyware or stalkerware.

What Are the Most Common Types of Spy Apps?

The most common types of spyware apps are for smartphones and computers. These apps work with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac devices. Some apps will monitor the BlackBerry OS.

Are spying apps safe and secure?

Spying apps are generally safe. Most companies used encrypted communication to transfer phone data to their servers. This data is stored using powerful encryption. This ensures only the owner of the account can view data from the target device.

It is important to choose a reputable vendor when purchasing a spy software. Studies have found dangerous security vulnerabilities in some phone monitoring apps.

Are FREE phone spy apps any good?

iKeyMonitor is a good free spy app with limited features. The free version does not offer advanced features or technical support.

What is the best free phone spy app?

iKeymonitor is one of the only free hidden spy apps out there. They offer a free Android version of their spy software. Unfortunately the free version only offers a few features compared to the paid version.

What is the cheapest paid spy app?

The cheapest spy app is uMobix. A 12 month subscription costs $11.66 per month for an iPhone or Android phone.

What is the refund policy for spy apps?

Spy app refund policies vary greatly depending on the company. Some companies offer refunds within 72 hours of purchase. Others companies, like uMobix, offer a 14-day refund policy.

You should CAREFULLY read the refund policy before purchasing any spy software.

Can I get my money back if the spyware app doesn’t work?

Most companies will issue a refund if you cannot get their surveillance software to work. When choosing an app, read their refund policy carefully, because many companies have clauses that make it difficult to get a refund.

Can spy apps monitor someone’s social media activity?

Spy apps can monitor someone’s social media activity. Which social media networks can be monitored depends on the type of phone. Below we list which networks can be tracked on Android and iOS phones.

Android Social Media & Messaging App Tracking

Below are all of the social media and messaging apps that can be tracked on an Android device.

  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram
  • Tinder
  • TikTok
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • KIK
  • Zoom
  • Hangouts
  • Skype
  • Telegram
  • Line
  • Viber

iOS Social Media & Messaging App Tracking

Below are all of the social media and messaging apps that can be tracked on an iOS device.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Skype

iOS based spy software cannot monitor Snapchat, Tinder, Line, TikTok, or KIK.

Can spyware apps be detected?

Spyware apps can be detected by anti-virus software programs like Norton, Kaspersky, Bitdefender, Avast. To combat this, software like uMobix, will disable the installation of antiv-virus software to remain undetected.

Can someone spy on my phone?

It is possible for someone to spy on your phone using monitoring software. If you suspect your phone has spyware you should download an anti-virus app like Norton or Kaspersky immediately.

What Spy Apps Can Be Installed Remotely?

It is not possible to remotely install a spy app on Android mobile devices. You must have access to the target Android device.

iPhone spy software downloads data from the user’s iCloud backups, so no installation is required. You will need access to the iPhone to capture an activation code if 2 factor authentication is enabled on the phone.

Are phone spy apps legal?

Spy phone apps are legal in most countries if used for legitimate purposes. This includes monitoring your child’s phone or an employee’s company phone. Monitoring an adult’s phone without notifying them is illegal.

For more information you can check out this article on the legal requirements of phone spying apps.

Conclusion

uMobix is the best hidden spy app for Android and iOS smartphones. It is easy to install, reasonably priced, offers great customer support, and offers a 14 day money back guarantee.

About the Author

Jason has over 25 years in the information and internet security industry. He is passionate about smartphones, gadgets, and technology. He also got a solid background in programming and software.  This includes Python, C++, app development and more.

jason thompson