One of the most frequent questions I get from readers is “how can I spy on a cell phone without installing software on the target phone”?
The honest answer?
Having been in this situation myself, I know exactly where you’re coming from. Getting physical access to the device you want to monitor can be very challenging when someone has something to hide.
The fact is, if you’re stressing about what someone else is up to on their phone, you don’t need to waste a bunch of time looking at solutions that aren’t going to work.
But there is hope.
I was once in your shoes and now I’m sharing what I’ve learned.
By the time you read this entire article, you’ll know exactly what to do.
In this article I’ll reveal the following:
The ONLY reliable way you can spy on a cell phone without installing software on the target phone is by using a spy app.
Spying on cell phones can is way easier than it should be. All you need is the right monitoring software and the knowledge to do it.
However, only iPhones can be monitored without installing a spy app. The Android operating system doesn’t allow this.
If you need to spy on an Android cell phone you WILL have to install software. To do this you WILL NEEED physical access one time to the phone.
If some company is telling you they can do it, watch out. It’s probably a scam.
Generally, the way to do it on an iPhone, is to spy by using the user’s iCloud (Apple ID) account, since iOS devices are in sync with Apple cloud storage.
This will show you everything you want to know including: texts, phone activities, and their exact location, without installing software.
There are only a handful of apps where you can spy on a cell phone without installing any software. Before choosing a particular app, make sure it is compatible with your target phone and meets requirements.
Below is a list of my favorite apps for either an iPhone or Android phone.
uMobix is my top pick when it comes to spying apps. It has all the important features. Plus it’s stable, reliable, and they have the best customer support in the industry.
They also offer the best refund policy.
The app has a lot of useful features, better than you might be looking for. The popularity of this app has increased in a short period of time, as it targets the medium through which the child gets access to inappropriate content and notifies parents instantly.
uMobix is designed to work with any type of cell phone on the market. It is compatible with both Android and iOS cell phones.
The app is compatible with any Android device running versions 4 and above. For iOS it is compatible with all versions current versions.
It’s actually quite easy to spy on an iPhone if you have the right information.
All you need to do is to provide the iCloud (Apple ID) credentials of the user to setup cell phone monitoring. This can even be done through remote installation on an iOS mobile phone.
However, the device might prompt you to provide the 2 step authentication code before monitoring can take place, upon which you would need to check with the target cell phone owner in order to get access.
Unlike the iPhone, an Android phone requires physical access to install the spy app. The target device can then be monitored after the successful installation.
Not to worry though, as uMobix will give you certain options while you are setting up the app that allows for discrete monitoring of any Android device.
Once uMobix is installed in the target cell phone, you can access it to monitor on a regular basis by simply logging into the website online. You can access the website through any browser on any device to receive the information.
uMobix uploads the data in the cloud and it gets updated every 15 minutes. This enables you to monitor instantly and in real time. Even the call logs and search history can be tracked using the same. It does its work silently in the background, and the target phone will not be able to view this application installed under the “Settings” icon.
Although uMobix is relatively new to the market, it handles the difficulties of cell phone spying better than any other spying application out there. If you want a more in depth look at the app check out my uMobix reviews or you can visit their official website for more details.
Let’s take a look at the unique features that makes this product unique from the rest.
While it still requires you to install an app on the Android device, the keylogger that is included with uMobix does NOT require you to root the phone.
They are the only spying app to offer this capability on an Android device. It allows you to see EVERYTHING that is typed from the target mobile device.
uMobix provides you with access so that you can monitor the contacts on the target phone; like phone numbers, emails and a list of the most frequent people contacted recently.
One of the most popular features is the ability to read text messages from someone else’s cell phone. For iPhones this can be done without installing any software if you know the users iCloud login information.
uMobix helps you to view all the messages that have been sent, received, and deleted along with details about the person and number of messages received, without the phone’s owner being aware.
Yes, even deleted messages can be retrieved and viewed through uMobix. This can come in very handy.
You can check the places they have been visiting the most and track your child’s routines. The GPS tracker helps keep them connected even when you are busy at your work location. It is easy and convenient to use with a live tracking facility.
This is another great feature that helps you monitor all the browsing history and the pages they have saved in the bookmarks bar, as well as provide you with daily notifications on the number of times they have visited this website.
Not only does it just track texts, but uMobix helps you track their social accounts along with the sent and received messages, which it accesses directly from their user profiles.
Group chat messages, deleted messages and private chats in Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram can also be monitored on a regular basis.
MSpy is one of the leading software for parental control. While it used to be my #1 pick, it’s now in second place. You can read more about it by clicking here.
All you need to do is install the application on the target phone and your child will not even notice that there is a monitoring app on their phone.
It has two versions, and based on the features you want, you could opt for a basic or premium version of the application.
It provides you with reports from your MSpy account, through which you get detailed information on the activities of your target person. One major advantage of this application is that it can be installed on an iPhone, iPad, Android mobile phone and even on your desktop and laptop.
MSpy supports both Android and iOS users. You can check your device compatibility through the MSpy website. It supports Android smartphone users above Android Version 4.0+ and Jailbroken iOS versions 7.0 – 8.4 and 9.0 – 9.1.
However, non-Jailbroken iOS apps are compatible on all versions of iOS they run on.
For desktop users, it supports Windows, Mac OS and Linux users. This helps tremendously in tracking not just mobile phones, but also keep track of computer desktop use.
Once MSpy is installed on the target phone, you are required to create a login account, then you can log onto your control panel and get reports from any browser. You will get regular notifications and updates on the phone you are tracking.
The software gathers the data from the target phone and sends it as a viewable dashboard version to access and monitor.
You can even use it to monitor multiple cell phones, though a subscription is required for each.
The key features that makes this app popular is its stable network connection.
One other unique feature of this spy app is the MSpy keyboard, which replaces the default keyboard in the target device. This is useful in monitoring their most used keywords, the usernames and passwords of the website they log into.
One major highlight feature is that in case the target phone is lost or stolen, parents can factory reset the target device, which would help you protect your device and at the same time help track it. You can restart or lock your child device without physical access to it.
As it has a lot of features, it is quite expensive when compared to other parental applications and has very minimal customer reviews, making it take second place in the eyes of the customer according to reviews.
Helps in tracking recent call logs and gives a list of all the contacts on your child’s phone or tablet.
Keeps you informed on the messages that are received, sent and deleted. It supports iMessage for iPhone users as well.
Messaging applications like Skype, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Twitter, Viber and Tinder can also be tracked, and you can view all the multimedia files that are stored in the gallery.
You can set safe zones like “home”, “school” and “Grandma’s house” and you can set alerts when your child leaves those safe zones. In case of an emergency, if your child is far away from your home at a particular time it alerts you to keep you updated.
You can take control of the list of applications that are installed on your target phone and can uninstall the applications which you don’t wish your child to use.
This keeps track of all the photos and videos saved on the phone. If your child records a new photo or video, it gets uploaded to your MSpy account.
This feature monitors all the websites that your child has visited and gets you access to block unwanted sites. All the incoming and outgoing emails can be tracked with the use of this feature.
Not only does it do this, it also helps you know the events scheduled on their calendar activities.
The most advanced parental control application is FlexiSpy. Are you looking for something much more advanced like voice recording?
This is your best option.
But these advanced features come at a price. The FlexiSpy Extreme package starts at $199 per year.
However, two different versions are available to support customers based on their expected features.
The application has to be installed on the target phone where it silently monitors in the background. The data from the target mobile will be uploaded to the server and is available in your control panel.
One unique feature in choosing this application is that it allows you to record the phone’s microphone, which acts as a bug to the parent. The information gathered can be accessed by using your login credentials.
FlexiSpy is supported by operating systems including Android versions above 4.0.3. It also supports iOS versions up to iOS 11.4.1 and Blackberry versions 5.0 to 7.1
You can install this application on desktops and laptops that support Windows and Mac OS as well. The Windows versions are compatible with and support Windows versions 7 and above as well as Mac OS 10.9 (X Mavericks) up to Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra).
FlexiSpy is not available on the Apple Play Store or the Google Play Store. The app is available straight from the company’s website where you can directly download it.
One thing to take into consideration before downloading the application is to physically have the target phone with you. If the device is an iPhone or iPad, you would need to jailbreak before getting it installed.
For Android users, you need additional features to get access to the root before getting it installed on the target device. While you install the software, it is necessary for you to log in to your online portal.
FlexiSpy has two major versions to support customers based on the features they like the best.
FlexiSpy Premium is the standard version with all the basic features that can also be seen in other spy apps. It allows you to
The extreme version has advanced features that can act as a bug to track the target phone. The unique features that come under extreme includes:
Read my full review to see more about this powerful app.
This application is more expensive than any other spying software as it provides you with high end features and better performance. If you do not mind paying a higher price, then this could be a good choice for you.
While the apps in the list above are by far my favorite spy apps, there are plenty of others on the market. Here are a few of the features you should expect to get with anything you might buy.
Track call logs: With the use of spy apps you can track the incoming, outgoing and even the missed calls instantly with accurate data on the date and time. It also provides you with the duration of the call.
Phone Messages: All the received, sent and deleted messages can be retrieved from the target phone with contact details.
Live location tracker and visited places : Xnspy helps you track the target’s current location and also track them frequently through live tracking. When you want to have access to the person’s whereabouts, the location history log will help you get that.
All the phone calls are automatically recorded and stored on the server. Whenever you need to access them, you can download the dashboard and listen to them
Ambient Recording: It helps to record the external surroundings in order to know what is going on at the target’s environment by sending commands remotely. This data can be accessed in the future through the dashboard.
Of course you don’t want to spy on someone’s phone, but you might as well use something that actually works. While you’ll only be able to monitor iPhones without installing software, there are ways to monitor just about any phone.
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.