This mSpy review is an honest look at one of the world’s most popular spy apps.
mSpy is the top selling parental control and monitoring app in the world. mSpy software monitors mobile phones (Android and iOS) and computers (both Windows PC and macOS).
But is it the best?
This review of the mSpy cell phone tracker will help you decide if it’s the right solution for your needs.
Hey there, I’m Jason.
Over the last few years I’ve spent well over 120 hours testing and reviewing cell phone spy apps.
In that time I’ve learned a lot about which ones work, and which ones are a complete waste of money.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this post:
- my experience with installing and using the mSpy app on both iPhone and Androids
- a couple frustrations (you’ll want to read this so you don’t waste time and money)
- how I managed to save 15% when I bought mSpy (click here to see if the discount is still available)
- why uMobix is now my #1 choice INSTEAD of mSpy (click here to learn why)
When I needed to monitor the phone of a loved one I found out the hard way that smartphone security is REALLY tough to beat.
Phone spy software companies make lots of big promises about how simple their apps are to install and use.
The truth is, most of them are unstable and have terrible tech support.
And if you’re stressing out over what someone’s doing on their phone, you don’t need to waste money (and time) on a phone tracking app that will NEVER work.
My mSpy Review
mSpy is one of the best spy apps because it offers lots of features without jailbreaking or rooting the target device.
In fact, mSpy was my favorite spyware app for several years. But to be completely honest, mSpy has fallen behind.
My current favorite spy app is uMobix.
uMobix offers more features (especially for iPhones) than mSpy and they offer LIVE phone support. Here’s a quick comparison between the two.
- LIVE telephone support
- Access MORE social media accounts and chat apps
- No Jailbreak or Root Required
- 24/7 Chat based support
- Limited access to social media chat apps without Jailbreak or rooting
There are a FEW cell phone surveillance apps out there that work well, and mSpy is one of them.
This isn’t to say I didn’t have some frustrations with mSpy.
But most of my issues with mSpy were handled very efficiently by their tech support team.
More on that in a bit..
While mSpy is a bit more expensive than other monitoring apps, it offers a great balance of features, customer service, and stability.
Before You Do Anything Else
If you’re interested in moving forward with mSpy at this point I would encourage you to:
- Check out the FREE demo of their mobile spy software (see below)
- Read ALL the FAQ’s on the mSpy website to ensure your phone is compatible.
- Avoid any monitoring software that requires jailbreaking or rooting the phone. It’s NOT WORTH THE HASSLE.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, on to the full review…
The functionality built into this app is quite comprehensive. Below I’ll show the features for both the iPhone and Android versions of the mSpy app.
Social Media Apps on iPhone without Jailbreak
Now days monitoring text messages isn’t enough. There are dozens of ways to communicate from a smart phone or tablet using any number of social media apps.
mSpy also allows you to monitor some the most popular social apps. This includes:
- Skype – track calls and read chats
- Whatsapp – track all chats
- iMessage – read all iMessage chats
- Viber – monitor call logs, chat messages and photos, and group messaging
- Snapchat – view all content (video, photos, drawings), date and times. Read more here.
- Line – name & phone number target uses, incoming/outgoing messages, times sent and received, and even view hidden chats.
- Telegram – view all contacts, incoming/outgoing messages, and hidden messages
- Tinder – view target’s profile, view matches, superlikes, and messages sent & received
- Google Hangouts – view photos, browse maps, view contact list, emoji’s, and stickers
Website Monitoring and Blocking
One of the most popular features for parents and employers is website monitoring and blocking.
This feature allows you to see which sites the target device visits, pages they have bookmarked, and can even notify you when specific keywords are typed into the browser.
It’s especially nice for parents that want to be able to keep an eye on the content their kids are viewing. You can’t always be there peering over their shoulder to make sure they’re not getting into trouble.
With site monitoring you can see for yourself what they’re looking at.
mSpy also allows you to block specific sites.
The blocking feature is very useful, but it is somewhat browser dependent.
If the owner of the phone uses Chrome, Safari, or the native Android browser you’ll be able to block sites, but if they download third party browsers like Opera, they can get around this feature.
Incoming and Outgoing Calls
From your control panel you’ll be able to see all incoming and outgoing calls from the target phone. You’ll see call times, duration, their name if they are a contact on the target device, as well as the total number of calls.
You control when calls are deleted from the dashboard’s call log. If the phone’s user deletes their call log, you’ll still have a history regardless of what is stored on the phone itself.
There are two additional functions that make mSpy a truly powerful app.
- You can setup incoming call blocking for specific numbers or contacts.
- You can block ALL incoming calls within a curfew window that you control. If you don’t want your daughter getting calls from 10PM until 8AM you can set this in your dashboard.
Tracking Text Messages with mSpy
One of the most frequent questions we get is how to get text messages from another phone sent to mine.
One of mSpy’s most powerful features is the ability to track all incoming and outgoing text (SMS) messages from the target device. From your dashboard you’ll be able to see the phone number, the time, and the text message itself.
Just like the call log, you control when messages are deleted from your dashboard. Even if the owner of the phone deletes text messages you’ll still be able to see them.
Read Incoming & Emails
As with texting, email is another area where a child or employee can get into trouble. mSpy allows you to see all incoming and outgoing email messages in a log file located on the dashboard.
Here you’ll see the email address of the sender/recipient, the time stamp of the email, and the content of the email itself.
This log file operates the same way as the call log and SMS text log. Even if the user deletes the emails you’ll still be able to see all the information in your dashboard.
Access Calendar & Contact Information
From your dashboard you’ll be able to view all of the target device’s contacts. You’ll see names, phone numbers, email addresses, and even physical address information.
You’ll also have full access to calendar events and schedule of the target device. This allows you to see scheduled meetings (and any associated details), all calendar entries, and any scheduled tasks (and their details).
Any time a new appointment or contact is added you’ll see the entry reflected in your dashboard within minutes (depending on the update schedule you set).
Track the Physical Location of the Target
Another powerful feature of the mSpy app is the GPS tracker. Using the phone’s built in GPS tracking system you’ll be able to instantly track a phone’s location to within about 20 meters.
In addition to seeing their current location you can also see a map of their location over a specified amount of time.
By utilizing wi-fi you’ll even be able to track the phone when it’s not capable of receiving GPS signals.
With the Keylogger feature the default target keyboard is replaced with a mSpy keyboard that tracks all keystrokes. You can force mSpy to always load its keyboard by selecting “Force Keyboard” button in your control panel.
A keylogger captures keyboard input no matter what app they are using. The mSpy app includes a built in keylogger for Android and iOS devices. The iPhone keylogger requires jailbreaking the device first.
In addition to the mSpy GPS tracker, you can also set up restricted zones for the target device. The number of zones you setup is unlimited. The phone will automatically log when and how often each of the zones is visited.
You can even have the phone send you an email notification letting you know when specific zones have been entered and exited.
This is an extremely powerful feature for parents. You can setup a “safe zone” around your home, your child’s school, and any other areas they normally visit.
If they leave one of these safe zones mSpy’s GPS tracking will notify you immediately. It’s the best peace-of-mind you can buy.
Target Phone Information
From your dashboard you’ll be able to see quite a bit of information about the target device. Some of this is just informational, but there are some key functions built in as well. Here are the stats you’ll be able to see:
- mSpy software version
- remaining battery life
- target device’s operating system information
- memory space available
- cellular service provider
- installed apps
- last time the phone synced with you dashboard
- whether or not the target device is rooted or jailbroken
There are also some key functions you can perform remotely using your mSpy control panel. These include:
- wiping the target phone in case it is lost or stolen
- disable the app on the target device
- restart mSpy on the target device by sending a text message of “777”. This can help if the target device has disappeared from your control panel. The user won’t see this incoming text.
- unlinking the current target device
- clear all the logs in your control panel
- export the logs in your control panel for storage. Formats supported include PDF, XLS, or CSV.
- remotely reboot the target device
- remotely lock the device
Settings for the Target Device
From this section in your control panel you’ll be able to set the default behavior for the target device. Once this is setup the software will operate with these settings until you change something.
You’ll want to be sure to set everything to “auto-update” to that all of the recorded information is automatically sent to your control panel for viewing.
Because uploading all of this information on a regular basis can be taxing for both the battery life of the phone and the data usage of the phone you can tell mSpy which types of information to send over specific connections.
Videos, for instance, are quite large. You can tell the app to only upload videos when the phone is on wi-fi rather than a cellular connection. This will keep the mSpy app from chewing up the data plan.
You can also set the update interval for data and location information. The lower the setting, the more frequent the updates will take place. It’s important to strike a balance that doesn’t drain the battery of the device too quickly. In most cases updating data every 30 minutes and location information every 2 min is fine.
Monitor & Control Access to Installed Applications
In your mSpy dashboard you’ll be able to see all of the installed applications of the target user. From this same menu you can choose to block or unblock access to the application. As new apps are added the list will be updated in your control panel.
This helps you to ensure that your children aren’t accessing any apps that could be harmful to them or their phone. It also helps ensure that employees are staying on task and aren’t using apps that could be a liability for you or your business.
This function is helpful for monitoring for certain language usage or logging usernames and passwords to websites. If you need to learn how to hack a cell phone this is one of the most powerful features out there.
Would it be useful for you to get a notification every time a specific word or phrase was used on the target phone? Drugs, sex, porn, alcohol, or any keyword of your choosing can be set to enable an immediate notification to you and your phone.
Simply enter all of the keywords you want tracked and you will be notified any time it is used. mSpy shows you text messages, apps, browsing history, and more to let you know ANY time it sees this word or phrase.
View Target Device Media
The mSpy dashboard allow you to view all photos and video taken with the target phone. You will also see date and timestamp for each image/video. Pictures can be viewed as a thumbnail or in full size. Videos can be viewed in their entirety.
mSpy has all the same capabilities of the top spying apps on the market: tracking websites visited, incoming & outgoing phone calls, text messages, social media conversations, keystrokes typed, app and website blocking, and location tracking.
But UNLIKE many spy apps, you DON’T have to jailbreak or root the phone to get all this information.
Why is this important?
Because it will save you time, the headache of trying to crack a phone, and it won’t void the warranty of the phone.
The mSpy app is relatively easy to install and setup. The user interface is easy to navigate and it gives you access to practically EVERYTHING on the target phone.
All of this is backed up by mSpy’s 24/7 email and/or chat-based customer service.
While the installation of mSpy is more involved than some apps that are simply downloaded to the phone, the step-by-step instructions that are VERY easy to follow.
We’ll dig more into that a little further down the page. First let’s dig into what this monitoring app gives you as a parent or employer.
What Can mSpy Track?
mSpy is a spying app designed to monitor a target phone, tablet or PC/Mac.
Once installed it allows you to see the target device’s call log, SMS text messages, internet browsing history, GPS location, emails, media (pictures & video), instant messages, and several popular social media applications.
Through your web-based dashboard you’ll be able to view all of this and more safely, securely, and without the knowledge of the target phone user. This dashboard is available from either a computer or mobile device.
There are a variety of uses for an application like mSpy. Some customers use it to keep tabs on their children. There are plenty of good reasons for kids to have smartphones.
Unfortunately you can’t always be there to make sure they’re not using it in ways they shouldn’t.
mSpy Parental Control Features
mSpy performs very well as a way to keep track of your kid’s online activities. In fact I rated it one the best parental control apps on the market.
It gives you the ability to monitor what websites they go to, who they talk to and when, who they text with, and who they connect with through various social media apps.
It also allows you to physically track the phone at any give time to make sure they are where they said they would be.
As a parental control app, mSpy is a solid choice. It allows you to keep close track of everything that happens on your child’s phone including internet usage, call history, contact names. Here is a great article if you are specifically interested in apps for parental control.
Keeping Tabs on Your Employees with mSpy
When you’re running a business time is money. You hope that your employees are trustworthy, but sometimes it pays to have a backup. And as a business owner you could be liable for their behavior and actions.
With mSpy you can make sure employees are arriving on job sites on time and leaving when scheduled.
You can track how much time they spend on the phone each day and who the text with while at work. You can monitor the websites they visit from their device to make sure they’re not doing anything that might cause harm to your business’s reputation.
Keeping Track of Your Spouses Phone with mSpy
While most of us practically LIVE on our cell phones, occasionally they do get lost or left behind. mSpy is a great way to quickly see the exact location of your lost phone. You can even remotely disable it so no one else can use it.
You can choose to keep mSpy completely hidden on the target phone. This makes it invisible to the phones owner.
mSpy’s dashboard allows you to see their exact location 24/7. You can see who they text with, who they call and when, and see who they chat with in certain popular social apps.
My Frustrations with mSpy
Most reviews paint a pretty glowing picture of the mSpy cell phone tracking app.
I’m leading off with my frustrations because I want you to know what to expect.
When I needed to secretly monitor the mobile phone of a loved one I signed up for an account with mSpy.
Their instructions said that I would just need their iCloud user ID and password.
But when I logged into their iCloud account I found out that a 2-factor authentication code would be sent to the user’s phone.
So much for being secret 🙁
Luckily I was able to get the code from their phone without being noticed.
Since I wrote this review, mSpy has updated their instructions AND come up with a way to set it up without ever touching the target phone.
My other frustrations came after getting everything setup.
- The first had to do with seeing what number sent pictures via text messages. The documentation or FAQ never mentions that if the phone gets a picture via text message and the person that sent it isn’t a contact, all you see is a bunch of zeros.
- The second was that the location data can sometimes be a bit off. This can lead to some unnecessary conversations regarding “where you were hanging out”
These frustrations aside I’ve been pretty impressed with the app itself, and SUPER impressed with their customer service.
The support staff (Mike Hoover especially) are incredibly patient and will literally work with you for as long as it takes.
For iPhones they offer the most features of anyone in the industry and:
- you don’t need to jailbreak the phone
- you won’t need physical access to the phone
The Android version of their app is also very powerful, but like ALL Android spy apps, it requires a couple minutes of physical access to the phone to install it.
This means you WILL need a few minutes of physical access to the phone.
How Does mSpy Work?
mSpy is a mobile monitoring application that is installed on a cell phone and allows you to monitor phone calls, social media activity, instant messages, location data, and more. Once mSpy is installed on the phone it runs in the background and is completely hidden.
For Androids the app must be installed on the device itself, requiring physical access.
For Apple devices you will need the Apple ID and password of the target user so that mSpy can access their iCloud account.
Regardless of whether or not it is hidden, there are no settings that can be manipulated from the app on the target phone.
Once installed on the target device the mSpy has access to just about everything on the phone or tablet. It collects this data and sends it to your online dashboard for viewing at your convenience. From here you’ll be able to view text messages, voice call logs, contact details, and a lot more.
mSpy utilizes the internet connection of the phone (wifi or 3G/4G/5G) to send all of the data to your dashboard. This means that the target device must be internet capable. It is not location dependent and operates anywhere in the world so long as there is a connection to the internet.
How To Get mSpy
Getting mSpy is easy. Simply follow one of the links on this page and you’ll be able to see all of the features and capabilities for yourself.
There are several different purchase options. You can buy it outright for a one-time fee or if you’re looking to spend a bit less you can pay for it monthly.
Before you go any further in the process it’s important to know if your intended target device is compatible with the mSpy app. Getting the most functionality out of the software requires that you root an Android phone or jailbreak an iPhone.
Many of the latest versions of the iPhone won’t allow you to jailbreak them. Here is a list of compatible devices and compatible operating systems.
mSpy for iPhones or iOS Devices
mSpy no longer offers a version for a jailbroken iOS device. If you are looking to monitor a jailbroken device, you’ll first need to reset it to factory defaults.
iOS Devices (iPad or iPhone) That Have NOT Been Jailbroken
1. mSpy is compatible with all versions of iOS2. iOS Device must be connected to the internet3. No physical access required if you have the devices iCloud login credentials4. Physical access may be required if iCloud backups are NOT enabled
mSpy for an Android Devices
1. Requires at least Android 4.0 or higher2. Device must be connected to the internet3. You will need physical access to the device4. Tracking of instant messengers, Facebook, Facebook, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Wi-Fi Networks and Gmail requires rooting the target
1. Must be running Mac OS 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, OS X 10.11 El Capitan2. Physical access to the computer is required
Windows Based Computers
1. device must be using Windows XP x32, Windows Vista x32, x64, Windows 7 x32, x34 or Windows 8, 8.12. Physical access to the computer is required for installation
mSpy Price & Packages
There are several different packages available from mSpy. For phones that have been rooted or jail broken they range from the “Basic” package to the “Premium”. There’s also a no-jailbreak package which has a more basic installation, but doesn’t offer as much functionality.
Below is a breakdown of each plan, it’s cost, and features. As you can see there are significant costs savings for paying either quarterly or annually.
mSpy Customer Service
As a paying customer you will have access to either 24/7 email support (basic package) or 24/7 email and chat support (premium and no-jailbreak packages). Their technical support team can help you with any issues that come up during installation or use of the product.
You should expect to receive an email reply in less than 30 minutes. Chat wait times are significantly less. We never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a support representative to respond to our chat requests.
mSpy Installation and Setup
No review would be complete without covering the installation of the mSpy app itself.
The process is slightly different depending upon which device you’ll be targeting and which package you purchase.
iOS Devices without Jailbreak
If the device you want to monitor is an iPhone and you don’t want to have to jailbreak it, you can install mSpy Without Jailbreak. You will need the users iCloud credentials to proceed with the installation.
Start by logging into your Control Panel. Choose the installation option that matches your equipment. Then follow the step by step instructions.
Make sure that iPhone backup is enabled. iPhones backup to the cloud once a day, but they must be connected to Wi-fi, plugged in, and locked.
To check that backups are enabled go to the targets Settings menu, then make sure that “iCloud Backup” is set to “On”. Then go to “Backup” and click the Backup Now button. This will synchronize all the target phone’s data with your control panel.
iOS Devices with Jailbreak
The “Full Pack” is mSpy’s jailbreak version for iPhones an iOS devices.
Here’s a resource if you’re unfamiliar with jailbreaking a phone.
The first step to installing the full version of mSpy is to jailbreak the device.
Refer to this compatibility table to make sure your device can be jailbroken. Many of the newer iPhones don’t have a jailbreak available yet. If this is the case with your target device, you’ll need to use the “No-Jailbreak” version of the software.
To check the iOS version on the target device go to the Settings->General->About->Version.
Once you’ve successfully jailbroken the phone you can go to your control panel dashboard and choose “iPhone” to continue the installation. You should expect the entire procedure of jailbreaking the phone and installing the software to take about 30 minutes or so.
mSpy for Android Devices
For installation on an Android device you will need to have physical access to the phone. From your control panel select “Android”. Then follow the step-by-step installation instructions.
Androids do NOT require rooting for basic functionality of the mSpy app, but the enhanced functionality of monitoring of certain apps will require that the device be rooted.
Once you’ve completed the mSpy installation procedure the tracking software will begin monitoring the phone immediately. From here on out all activity can be monitored from your control panel.
Where to Buy mSpy?
There are literally dozens of phone and tablet monitoring apps on the market. mSpy has proven itself to be a leader by offering a solid, stable package that is very reasonably priced.
Yes FlexiSPY offers a few features that mSpy doesn’t such as call intercept and call recording, but for the money it’s the best app out there for monitoring your kid’s, employee’s, or spouse’s phone.
Here are a few common questions that come up when trying to choose a phone monitoring app like mSpy.
Are There Any Good mSpy Alternatives?
There are several apps I would recommend instead of mSpy based on features and pricing. Here is my list of the best mSpy alternatives.
Other comparable products include:
Is mSpy a Scam?
While there are lots of people who have had bad experiences with mSpy, the software DOES work as advertised. Many of their customer reviews are less than flattering.
Unfortunately many customers don’t read the mSpy return policy before making their purchase, struggle to get it working, and leave reviews saying it’s a scam.
Is mSpy Safe?
mSpy is completely safe. The different versions require different methods of installation, but both will have no impact on the phone and can be completely removed when no longer needed.
Is mSpy Compatible with iPhones & Androids?
When utilizing the jailbreak version of mSpy to track an iPhone, iOS versions 6 – 8.4 and 9 – 9.1 are supported. When using the non-jailbreak version it is supported on all iOS versions.
For Android devices it must use Android 4+.
Windows computers running the following versions are supported:
Windows XP x32; Windows Vista x32, x64; Windows 7 x32, x64; Windows 8, 8.1; Windows 10
MAC computers with the following operating systems are supported:
Mac OS 10.7 Lion, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, OS X 10.11 El Capitan
Will mSpy Work Anywhere in the World?
Yes, so long as the device is connected to the internet mSpy will send information from the target device back to your control panel. Obviously you will experience delays whenever the device is turned off or is out of range.
Is Using mSpy Legal?
Yes, using mSpy is completely legal. However, there are a few caveats. You must be the owner of the phone. For example, if you want to monitor a phone that your company provides to your employees this is completely within the law. It IS required that you notify your employee that their phone is being monitored.
Another example would be to monitor your child’s phone. At that point it’s up to you whether or not you let them know you’re monitoring their phone.
If you’re looking to install mSpy to monitor a spouse or significant other you suspect of infidelity, telling them obviously reduce the chances of catching them in the act. This is at best a grey area. Many would argue that it’s more important that they know for sure.
Read more: Are Cell Phone Spying Apps Legal?
Will the Phone’s Owner Know mSpy is Installed?
mSpy doesn’t have to be “installed” on the target phone at all if it is an iOS device. It simply allows you access to all of the online backups in the users iCloud account.
Android phones still require physical access to the device, but the app remains hidden and invisible.
Can mSpy Monitor Multiple Devices?
mSpy now features a Family plan. All of the devices will be shown in your dashboard so that you can quickly change from one to the next. This is ideal if you’re monitoring a number of employees or several children.
The Family plan also unlocks the most powerful features from mSpy.
Does Jailbreaking an iPhone Void the Warranty?
Technically jailbreaking an iPhone does void the warranty. However, by updating the iOS or resetting the phone to it’s factory default you can reverse the jailbreak. This will allow you to use the warranty should it be needed.
How Often is the Data in My Dashboard Updated?
During the installation of mSpy you decide how frequently the target device uploads it’s data. It can be set as low as ten minutes or as high as once per day. The higher the frequency the more drain the app will cause on the target device’s battery.
If you’re using the app for tracking purposes it can be beneficial to have it update more frequently. Generally once every half hour is sufficient.
How Do I Uninstall it?
Removing mSpy is very simple. For iOS devices you simply open the app click “Installed”, click “iPhoneInternalService”, click “Modify”, and then click the “Remove” option.
For Android devices go to the “Phone Settings”, Security, Device Administrators, Update Service, Deactivate, Get Back to Settings, Apps, Update Service, and Uninstall.
Looking for a Budget Cell Phone Tracker?
While mSpy offers powerful functionality, there are other options out there that don’t offer the same features but are also much less expensive.
We recently finished our FlexiSPY review and thought it was time to compare it to some of the competitive products on the market.