How To Spy on a Cell Phone Without Installing Software on the Target Phone

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spying on a cell phone without using software

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”?

Having been in this situation myself, I know exactly where you’re coming from.

When I needed to track the location of a cell phone without installing software,  I spent hours trying to find the best way to do it.

But I’m giving you a shortcut to the best phone spying solutions.

By the time you read this entire article, you’ll know exactly what to do.

In this article I’ll reveal the following:

  • how YOU can spy on someone’s phone without installing software on their phone
  • what information you will need in order for it to work
  • will you need physical access to the device?
  • how I learned the hard way what apps to AVOID

How You Can Spy on Someone’s Cell Phone Without Installing Software on It

Spying on cell phones is way easier than it should be. All you need is the right software and the knowledge to do it.

But the ONLY reliable way you can spy on a cell phone without installing software on the target phone is by using a spy app.

However, only iPhones can be monitored without installing software on the target phone.

Spying on an Android phone isn’t quite as easy.

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 can install their app remotely, watch out. It’s probably a scam.

How to Spy on an iPhone Without Installing Software

Spying on an iPhone is WAY easier than it should be if you have the right tools a couple KEY pieces of 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.

If the device has 2-step authentication enabled this could stop you from spying on their phone, but there is a way around it.

Simply login to their iCloud account on your computer BEFORE you request the code. This will cause the code to be sent to your computer.

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.

This will show you everything you want to know including: texts, phone activities, and the phone’s exact location, without installing software.

Below is a list of my favorite apps for either an iPhone or Android phone.

My Favorite App: uMobix

uMobix is my top pick when it comes to iPhone spying apps. It has all the important features. Plus it’s stable, reliable, and has 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.

uMobix Compatible Devices

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.

Android Phone

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.

How Do I Monitor?

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.

Features of uMobix

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.

Powerful Keylogger

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.

Contact List and Call Logs

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.

SMS Text Messages

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.

GPS Tracker

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.

Browsing History and Book-Marked Pages

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.

Messengers and Social Accounts

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 logo

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 my mSpy reviews 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 Compatible Devices

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.

How Does It Work?

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.

What’s Unique About MSpy?

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.

Key Features of mSpy

Call History and Contacts

Helps in tracking recent call logs and gives a list of all the contacts on your child’s phone or tablet.

Tracking Text Messages

Keeps you informed on the messages that are received, sent and deleted. It supports iMessage for iPhone users as well.

Monitor the Messaging Applications

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.

Application Blocking

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.

View Multimedia Files

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.

Monitor Internet and Read Emails

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.


flexiSPY logo

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.

How FlexiSpy Works

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 Compatible Devices

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).

How to Install the Software?

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 Premium Version

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

  • Track your target via GPS tracker
  • Monitor call logs
  • Text messages
  • Browser history and bookmarked pages
  • Access to multimedia files
  • Connect to social applications such as Facebook activities, Whatsapp, Messenger, Instagram etc.

FlexiSpy Extreme Version

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:

  • Call Recording and Call Interception – With the live call intercept, you can get hooked into a call as a third party without the target user knowing. Your phone stays muted, and you will be able to hear their conversation. The only requirement is that the target device should have a 3-way calling feature in order to have this available to you. Call Recording helps you record the conversation, which can then be monitored at a later point in time. This includes Whatsapp calls and Skype calls that can be directly downloaded to your computer.
  • SpyCall Option – this feature lets you activate the microphone in iPad or smartphone and listen to the surroundings. This acts as a secret bug to hear the noises of the location.
  • Ambient Recording – It is similar to voice recording but also secretly records the sound around the phone. Once you set the timer, it records the voice around the target phone and saves it on the server. This is a top-notch feature for high end users.
  • Take Photos and Videos Remotely – This automatically enables the camera option and helps in taking pictures without the knowledge of the user. These photos are saved and can be downloaded through your browser.

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.

Phone Monitoring

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.

Track GPS Location

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.


You can create safe zones under which they are not necessarily tracked, but when the target moves out of the zones you created, the app will notify you and you won’t miss out on that information.

Monitoring Browsing Details And Read Emails

  • Tracks emails: All the sent and received emails can be accessed from the default email address of the target phone.
  • Tracking web browser history: The entire history of browsing details, the number of times they have visited the website and a count of the login times into a particular web page can be obtained.
  • Wifi Network Log: Most interesting part is the wifi connected locations along with date and time. It also stores the wi-fi connection history to get it monitored.
  • Bookmarks Bar: The targets bookmarked websites can be accessed to gain information on their interests and likes.

Phone Call Recording and Ambience Recording

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.

About the Author

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.
jason thompson