** This post was updated on: October 2, 2019 ***
Table of Contents
The last thing you want is to waste good money (and time) on a phone tracking app, only to find it rarely works.
I wrote this mSpy review because after testing over a dozen spy apps I now feel uniquely qualified to help you pick one that actually DOES work.
The phone spy app market is overflowing with products all offering the SAME basic capabilities. It can be difficult and frustrating trying to compare them to find the best one for your needs. Not to mention one that doesn't crash all the time.
And good luck talking to a real person when something goes wrong.
Two things separated mSpy from all the other apps I tried:
This isn't to say I didn't have some frustrations with the product, but they were handled very efficiently. (Read about the issues I encountered here)
More on that in a bit...
I finally settled on mSpy because it offered the best balance of price, features, and most importantly, customer support.
Let's take a look at why.
I'm leading off with my frustrations because they were exactly that. Frustrating.
This is in no way an excuse, but all the variables involved in monitoring different phones, on different carriers, and encryption levels make this a complicated procedure.
Of course all the monitoring app websites make it sound simple.
The truth is it's not. And so you end up with difficulties with installation, updates, usage, updating location data etc.
Since we wanted to monitor everything happening on our daughters phone it was necessary to root it. Verizon doesn't allow you to do this if you don't own your phone outright. This is in mSpy's FAQ, but I neglected to see it.
I spent well over an hour fighting it. Not a good way to start.
My other frustrations came after successfully installing the app.
These frustrations aside I've been pretty impressed with the app itself, and SUPER impressed with their chat support. The support staff (Mike Hoover especially) are incredibly patient and will literally work with you for as long as it takes.
If you're still interested in moving forward at this point I would encourage you to do the following:
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, on to the full review...
When it comes to phone monitoring or spying apps there are dozens to choose from, but only a few have the right feature mix, price, and customer support to make them worth more than a cursory look.
One of the top names in the phone spy app market is mSpy.
It's relatively easy to install, simple to setup and use, gives you access to practically EVERYTHING on the target phone (with the jailbreak version), and offers a very intuitive interface.
All of this is backed up by mSpy's 24/7 email and/or chat-based customer service.
Unlike some monitoring apps on the market mSpy does not REQUIRE you to jailbreak or root the target phone, although there is significantly enhanced functionality if you're comfortable with taking this additional step.
If you're not tech savvy or if you're just not comfortable jailbreaking the phone or handling the installation mSpy will handle the entire process for you (additional fee). The tech I worked with was Mike Hoover. He had me up and going in no time.
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.
mSpy is an application 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 user of the device. This dashboard is available from either a computer or mobile device.
mSpy took first place in our phone monitoring app comparison. It offers the best balance of features, ease-of-use, and cost. You can check out the results of the comparison here.
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 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.
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.
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.
mSpy is an application that is installed onto the target device of your choosing. Once installed you can choose to hide the icon for the app or not. This will keep the user of the phone from knowing the software is installed.
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) 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.
The functionality built into this app is quite comprehensive. Let's take a quick look at each feature to give you a clear idea of what mSpy can and cannot do.
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:
There are also some key functions you can perform remotely using your mSpy dashboard. These include:
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.
One popular feature 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.
This feature is 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.
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.
mSpy can 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. You can even learn read someones text messages without having their phone.
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.
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 the calendar 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).
Another powerful feature of the mSpy app is the GPS tracking. Using the phone's built in GPS system you'll be able to instantly locate it's physical whereabouts 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.
Using the GPS fencing capabilities of mSpy you can 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 you will be notified immediately. It's the best peace of mind you can buy.
Now days there are dozens of ways to communicate from a smart phone or tablet using any number of social media apps. Monitoring text messages just isn't enough.
mSpy also allows you to monitor some the most popular social apps. This includes:
In your mSpy dashboard you'll be able to see all of the installed applications on the target phone. 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.
With the Keylogging feature the default target keyboard is replaced with a mSpy keyboard that tracks all keystrokes. You can force mSpy to always load it's keyboard by selecting "Force Keyboard" button in your control panel.
This function is helpful for monitoring for certain language usage or logging usernames and passwords to websites.
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 searches through text messages, apps, browsing history, and more to let you know ANY time it sees this word or phrase.
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.
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.
1. Target device must be running iOS 6 - 8.4 or 9.2
2. Device must be connected to the internet
3. Device must be jailbroken
4. You have physical access to the device
1. mSpy is compatible with all versions of iOS
2. Device must be connected to the internet
3. No physical access required if you have the devices iCloud login credentials
4. Physical access may be required if iCloud backups are NOT enabled
1. Requires at least Android 4.0 or higher
2. Device must be connected to the internet
3. You will need physical access to the device
4. 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 Capitan
2. Physical access to the computer is required
1. device must be using Windows XP x32, Windows Vista x32, x64, Windows 7 x32, x34 or Windows 8, 8.1
2. Physical access to the computer is required for installation
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.
1 month $29.99/mo
3 months $19.99/mo
12 months $8.33/mo
1 month $69.99/mo
3 months $39.99/mo
12 months $16.65/mo
1 month $69.99/mo
3 months $39.99/mo
12 months $16.65/mo
As a paying customer you will have access to either 24/7 email support (basic package) or 24/7 chat and email 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.
The installation proecess is slightly different depending upon which device you'll be targeting and which package you purchase.
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.
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.
If you're not tech savvy or if you're just not comfortable jailbreaking the phone or handling the installation you can pay an additional fee for mSpy to handle the entire process for you.
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 app, but the enhanced functionality of monitoring Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook, Skype, Line, Snapchat and Gmail will require that the device be rooted.
Once you've completed the installation the software will begin monitoring the phone immediately. From here on out all activity can be monitored from your control panel.
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.
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.
When utilizing the jailbreak version, all iPhones from iOS 6 - 8.4; 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
Yes, so long as the device is connected to the internet the app 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.
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.
How can you track an iPhone (or Android) without the user knowing? Simple, mSpy doesn't have to be "installed" on the target phone at all. It simply allows you access to all of the online backups in the users iCloud account. If you need even more information from the apps they use you can jailbreak the target phone and install software. This of course requires physical access to the device.
Each device you want to monitor requires a separate subscription. 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.
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.
During the installation 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.
Installing 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.
While mSpy offers powerful functionality, there are other options out there that don't offer the same features but are also much less expensive. To check out our favorite budget option click here.
We recently finished our FlexiSPY review (https://www.thetoolreport.com/flexispy-review) and thought it was time to compare it to some of the competitive products on the market.
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.