A cell phone tracking app is a software that's installed on another device to track their activity including GPS location, call log, text messages, and more. This type of software can also be used to track activity on a computer or tablet as well.
Phone tracker apps are widely used by parents to spy on their child's phone activity to keep them safe or by companies that want to monitor their employees’ activity while on the job.
But with over 20+ different phone tracking apps to choose from, picking the right one can feel overwhelming to say the least. Some software only have basic options such as GPS location tracking, while others have more advanced features such as phone call recording, social media monitoring, and remote camera access.
My name is Steven Moore and I’ve been reviewing products in the technology industry for the past 10 years. I’ve reviewed everything from mobile apps, cell phones, laptops, cameras, and everything in between.
Although it is possible to track a cell phone without someone's permission, as the app is invisible on the target phone, it's only legal if the person you're tracking is a child under the age of 18 or if you have the person's consent - such as an employee or a cooperating partner.
I’ve put together this guide to the best cell phone tracking apps to help you find the right phone tracker app for your needs. I’ve analyzed each service on a variety of key factors including features, device compatibility, price, and customer reviews.
Top 5 Best Cell Phone Tracking Apps of 2020
FlexiSpy: Best For Phone Call Interception and Recording
mSpy: Best For Spying on Text Messages and Social Media Apps
KidsGuard Pro: Best For Android Monitoring
Spyic: Best For GPS Location Tracking
Cocospy: Best For Employee Monitoring
FlexiSPY is one of the best phone tracker apps on the market. It's full of useful features that provide convenient smartphone spying and monitoring. FlexiSPY lets you track Android and iOS devices' activities so that you can stay on top of your loved one's behavior in real time. You can also track activity on computers as well.
All you have to do is install the FlexiSPY app on your target device (i.e. your child's cell phone). The phone track app operates discreetly in the background, monitoring activities without drawing attention to itself. This program also comes with a convenient mobile app, allowing you to track all phone activity anywhere you go.
Some of the other features we love include:
Record phone calls
Built-in camera and microphone access for live spying
Phone call interception and alerts
Monitor social media and instant messenger apps
GPS location tracking and history
Track all incoming and outgoing text messages
Access all pictures and videos taken with the phone
Keep track of internet usage and browsing history
Monitor all installed applications on the mobile phone
FlexiSPY comes in three versions: Lite, Premium, and Extreme. The Lite app offers the essential functions at one low price, while the Premium app lets you look at text messages, phone call logs, and images. The Extreme app has a full suite of advanced features, including live call interception.
Although FlexiSpy isn't the cheapest option available, it's the best phone tracker app without permission. It's compatible with all devices and installation is really easy compared to other products on the market.
mSpy is the best cell phone tracker for parents. mSpy allows you to monitor your child's entire phone activity without them knowing so you can make sure they're always safe, wherever they are.
The mSpy app is really easy for parents to use, taking less than 10 minutes to install. The app works discreetly in the background, so your child will never know that it's even installed. The app updates cellphone activity every 5 minutes, so you can be informed on your child's actions in real-time.
Here is a rundown of all the features that mSPY provides:
Call Log Monitoring - You can view all outgoing/incoming calls including information such as timestamps, time duration, and contact info.
Spy on Instant Messaging Apps - You can access chat transcripts from a variety of messenger apps including WhatsApp, Snapchat, Telegram, and Viber.
GPS Tracking - You can track the GPS location of the device as well as view its location history.
Test Message Monitoring - Examine all incoming and outgoing text messages, even if they are deleted from the phone.
Monitor Internet History - Check the browsing history including all internet searches, even if the device is in Incognito mode.
Spy on Social Media Activity - See all the social media activity on major platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Tinder.
View All Media Files - Easily see all videos, photos, and other media stored on the phone and shared with others.
With mSpy, you can easily track both Android and iPhone devices. To get started, you first have to choose your subscription based on the number of features you want. Next, you'll follow the simple installation guide to get the mSpy app on the target device. After installation, you'll be able to login to a control panel to start viewing all the phone activity from one central location.
Trusted by more than 1.5 million parents from all over the world.
Access to a Control Panel to easily monitor all the device's activity.
Perfect for keeping your child away from cyber-bullying or other harmful online activity.
Application works in the background, so users won't be able to see any icon on their device.
You'll get a notification if the user attempts to delete the mSpy app.
You can only cover one device with Basic and Premium subscriptions.
For premium features, Android devices need to be rooted.
3) KidsGuard Pro
As a parent, it's natural to worry about your child. You want to know what they see on social media and where they are at all times. The solution: KidsGuard Pro, a GPS tracker app.
The child-tracking software works best for filtering online content and spotting predators. KidsGuard Pro provides instant access to a kid's social media apps and browser history as well as the phone' s real time location. The proactive spy app is ideal for catching and stopping cyberbullying and other forms of harassment before they get out of hand.
KidsGuard Pro also lets you track a cell phone location without permission since it's about the best app to track someone' s phone. If your child goes into a prohibited area, you'll be the first person to know. As long as you have a 3G or 4G connection, you can get real-time GPS tracking.
This cell phone tracker app includes a range of other features, including:
Call monitoring and recording
Remote screenshot and photo access
iOS and Android capabilities
If you want to keep a watchful eye on your child, KidsGuard Pro can help. This best phone tracker app without permission delivers accurate and cost-effective tracking for all mobile devices. Now you can flex your parental control without breaking a sweat.
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You likely want a phone tracker app without the phone user knowing it's on their device. When you need tracking and spying features for iPhone or Android, Spyic has you covered. This convenient spy app makes location tracking fast and straightforward.
Start tracking someone in as few as three steps. Sign up for a free Spyic account with your email address, and then install the app on the target cell phones. Once the tracking software downloads on each, you can begin to remotely monitor activity on the number without the knowledge of the phone's owner.
The Spyic app covers all the basics of iPhone and Android tracking. That includes remote screenshots, call recording, search alerts, and a Wi-Fi logger. It even provides you with a complete record of phone activity and call logs. Spyic excels at the little things, too, like:
24/7 customer service
100% security with stealth mode
A 60-day money-back guarantee
Spyic has more than a million users worldwide. It's especially useful to track your child without them knowing. You can get started with a free demo by downloading the app from Google Play or the Android Store.
5) Where's My Droid
Have you ever lost your Android phone? Where's My Droid can help you find it. The location-tracking app provides detailed and accurate coordinates to recover your phone. Say goodbye to third-party apps, such as Google - Find My Device and Find My iPhone.
More than five million target devices currently use Where's My Droid. Download the GPS tracker and enable location tracking in the phone's settings. After you fill out device-related information, you can track the cell phone remotely.
Where's My Droid is especially useful if you lose your Android or someone steals it. You can use the app to activate a ringing noise so that you can hear the phone ringing. Another app feature lets you erase all your stored information if your phone falls into the wrong hands.
Where's My Droid is full of other cool features, like:
Remote phone locking
No battery drain
Geofencing on Google Maps
Track the location of your Android devices for less than a dollar a month. The modestly priced phone tracker is one of the best values on our list. Download the GPS tracker app on Google Play to begin your trial.
Important Features to Look for in a Mobile Phone Tracking App
GPS Location Tracking
Use GPS location to keep an eye on your child or loved one. The best phone tracker apps let you know the location of the target device track phone within seconds. You can see the user's precise location, whether they're at school, work, or home.
Some apps, such as mSpy and Where's My Droid, also let you see location history. The app records the GPS coordinates throughout the day. When you look at that information in full, you can see whether your loved one went directly to work in the morning or detoured to another location.
Phone Call Recording
Phone call recording involves documenting incoming and outgoing calls. The app automatically records the conversation to your dashboard, where you can download it or listen to it later. Some apps even let you filter your recordings based on the incoming or outgoing phone number.
All the files will appear on the call recording page. You can sort and select the essential recordings while deleting the rest. Note that this feature works regardless of whether the user's phone is an iPhone or Android.
Call Log History
If you need a spy app to track call logs, you're in luck. Many of the leading services offer a reliable way to monitor incoming and outgoing calls. That includes voicemails, missed calls, and deleted messages.
After someone makes or receives a phone call, the app sends you an alert. You'll see the user's contact information, call duration, and the time of the call. Many apps let you download the call logs into a spreadsheet and store the data in one location.
Social Media Monitoring
When you track a cell phone, you also get access to someone's social media apps. The software records a user's keystrokes and passwords. You can use this information to log in from another device. Once you open their account, you can see if a partner is leading a secret life or a child is misbehaving.
Spy apps let you access Instagram, Messenger, Twitter, Tinder, and other social media sites. An app does not work as well if the user has two-factor authentication or location alerts. If you log into their cell phone without them around, they may get a notification from the app about "suspicious activity."
Spy on Text Messages
Tracking software works like a filter on text messages and SMS. You can read relevant incoming and outgoing messages, even after the person deletes them. The feature lets concerned parents watch their child's mobile device without them knowing, enabling you to limit their exposure to inappropriate content.
According to TextRequest.com, the average person gets 94 text messages per day. You can limit the influx of alerts with a keyword filter. The app will only send you notifications when the target device receives or sends a text containing that keyword.
Internet Browsing History
A spy app lets you monitor someone's internet browser history. Even if they use Incognito mode, you'll have access to their past queries and searches. The app offers a list of websites they visited in chronological order, so you know where they were and when.
It's important to be able to know someone's location without raising alarms. The same applies to someone's phone history. Make sure your kids stay away from spam, malware, and other unsavory content online with internet browser monitoring.
The best control panels provide instant access to whatever feature you need. They have clean displays and legible type so that you can navigate smoothly between different sections. If you're concerned about your child's well-being, the last thing you want is to fumble around the control panels looking for the tracking feature.
A simple design shouldn't sacrifice performance. Apps should provide robust functionality that caters to your specific track-phone needs and preferences. Some apps have a customizable control panel so that you can change the display accordingly.
How to Choose the Best GPS Phone Tracker
Ease of Use
Spy software can appear technical and complicated. However, leading Android and iPhone spy apps have intuitive interfaces that are easy to use. Popular apps, such as mSpy and KidsGuard Pro, let you follow a target phone in less than a minute.
If you want to track someone without permission, the best approach is to download a spy app. The discreet software on the targeted phone will disappear after you install it, allowing you to follow them on another device. While you can also track someone with their phone using a number of non-software solutions, like Find My iPhone, these alternatives do not offer the same ease of use.
The best spy apps work on demand. You effortlessly track someone else or monitor driving directions, whether you own an iPhone or Android. Many of the tracker apps function on desktops and tablets, too, so that you can track a target phone on multiple devices.
Make sure the spy app meets your needs and budget. Consider what features you value most and which companies provide them. Where's My Droid is excellent if you want real-time GPS tracking or location history. However, if you're curious about your someone's social media apps, messaging apps, or browser history, Where's My Droid doesn't have the features for you.
A GPS tracker app can get expensive in a hurry. Some of the options on this list can set you back several hundred dollars per year. While you should find a cost-effective app to track your loved ones, remember that their long-term well-being and safety are priceless.
Are There Free Phone Trackers You Can Use?
You can find dozens of free tracking apps, such as Find My Kids, FamiSafe, and Spy Human. The apps feature simple interfaces and cater to parents who want to watch their child or other family members. Most of these options do not feature call recording and are detectable on the target device.
For instance, Sygic's Family Locator app offers a straightforward control panel with easy-to-use features. That includes SOS alerts, geofencing, and locating history. It does not have advanced software that lets you monitor call logs or track a phone without permission.
Can You Track a Phone Without Someone Knowing?
While it is possible to track a person's phone without permission, it's also illegal. States consider it a felony or the equivalent of a felony, resulting in at least one year in prison and a massive fine. That applies whether you record calls, intercept text messages, or go through someone's browser history remotely. Of course, if you get someone's consent to use the tracker, you do not have to worry about legal ramifications.
The one exception to the rule is if you’re tracking the phone of your child and he or she is under the age of 18. The law allows parents to make decisions in their kid's best interest, even if that means tracking their phone without them knowing.