Hi, I’m Roger Jacobs and I have been working in the tech industry for a few years now, mostly doing reviews and product testing. My area of expertise is smartphones, so I typically review Android and iPhone products and apps, trying to stay on top of what’s new and what consumers are looking for.
There is a lot of interest in cell phone spy apps, or trackers apps, as they are sometimes called. You should know that it is illegal to use monitoring apps without the consent of the phone user unless that person is your child. If you monitor calls or text messages or look at their browser history without their permission, then you can be fined and be sentenced to a year in jail. So, you want to protect yourself.
You can track a person’s phone with their knowledge using one of these apps, but it is illegal track a person’s phone without their knowledge unless they are your kid and are under 18 years of age. The law allows you to track your kid’s phone without their knowledge because you are permitted to make decisions that would be in their best interests. Anyone else you are tracking has to be notified and has to give you consent for you to be monitoring them within the confines of the law. If you get their consent, then you are fine.
Now that the little disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get into why you might want a spy app. If it is for tracking employees, you may want to know how they are using the company phone. You can use the app to track where they are going with the phone during work hours or what sites they are visiting and if they are being productive.
If you are using it for your kids, you can track where they are hanging out, who they are sending messages to, who they are calling, how long they spend on their phone, what sites they visit and more. It’s a great parental tool to help monitor your children when they are out of your sight.
Now, let’s talk about the best spy apps. There are some very good ones, but they each have their pros and cons, so it’s worth digging into the details on each of them a bit before you make your decision. You want to be informed so you don’t start paying a monthly subscription fee on an app and a service that doesn’t give you everything you need. Bear in mind that I am just listing the best ones, and there are definitely others out there that might be cheaper or give you some other options you could find helpful.
Best Mobile Phone Tracker Apps – Top 5 Spy Phone Apps:
mSpy - Excellent Cell Phone Tracker App with GPS Location Tracking, Great Parental Control App, Ideal for Monitoring Children.
FlexiSpy - Best at Capturing All Forms of Messaging, Records and Intercepts All Types of Calls, 100% Hidden.
KidsGuard Pro- Excellent Spy Phone App, Works Best for Monitoring Android Devices.
Spyic - Great Phone Tracker App for Tracking Phone Location Using Advanced GPS Location Tracking System.
Cocospy- Ideal for Monitoring Employees.
mSpy is built from the ground up to track children’s cell phones. It is made for parents to spy on their children, giving them access to their incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, deleted messages, social media activity, and geolocation. You probably won’t find a more robust spy app for monitoring a child’s cell phone activity.
The social media support in particular can be very helpful, offering access to Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and more. It’s likely that your kid is on one or more of these almost every day, so it makes sense to monitor what kind of content they are posting and responding to.
It offers a really quick install time, taking less than 10 minutes to get set up. From there, the interface is intuitive, and you should be able to figure out pretty quickly how to do whatever you need to on the app.
The price is competitive and affordable as well, because when I checked it, the app was being offered for less than $1 a day. I think the safety of your children and your own peace of mind are probably worth that.
You also get regular updates, and the app can tell you what kind of activity is happening on your child’s phone every five minutes, if you like.
The app works invisibly as well, not notifying the monitored user that it is monitoring their activity. It won’t show up on their phone at all.
The mSpy phone tracker app offers 24/7 customer support for you. It’s easy to get the answers you need right away and not have to wait to find out how to use a feature on the app or how to fix a problem you might be having.
· Competitively priced
· Continual updates on activity
· Easy to use interface
· Lots of social media support
· Needs to be rooted for some Android features
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As the name suggests , FlexiSpy is a very flexible GPS tracking device. It works not just on Android and iPhone, but also on computers. It lets you monitor activity in real time, so you know what is happening as it happens. That makes it perfect for intercepting calls, letting you listen in, know who is calling and when the call is happening. You can listen to calls as they occur or look at the details for each call after the fact, when you have time.
The app has to be installed on the target’s phone, but after that, it is very easy to use and very reliable. It’s not very cheap, but with all the feature it offers, it is still a good value. If you are operating on a tight budget, you may want to go with the cheapest version of the app, the Lite plan. You can always upgrade later to a fuller featured plan, like the Premium or Extreme ones.
It lets you see all the pictures and videos that target phone has taken, and it monitors all internet activity. It also monitors GPS activity, showing you where the target’s phone or other device is located. You can tell where they are going, when they are moving and where they have been.
Like mSpy, this spy app will let you in on social media activity too. You can monitor where your kids are spending their time and what messages or pictures they are posting.
One of the neatest features about this app is that it can provide live video spying. It has built in camera access that lets you see the target user live by accessing the camera on the phone. If I wanted to see what my kid was doing rather than just go by what the GPS tracker is saying or trying to figure it out from their phone activity, I can use the camera function and see for myself.
· Camera access to see what is happening in real time
· Shows videos and messages from the phone and social media
· Several different pricing plans
· Works on numerous types of devices
· Kind of pricey
You can only use KidsGuard Pro phone tracker on Android devices, so please be aware of that. It’s not going to work on iOS devices at all. However, it offers great functionality and unlike many other similar apps, it doesn’t need to root to the device.
It’s a great GPS tracker for kids, following their movements in real time, but it also monitors their activity online. It can look into their social media activity, and it’s compatible with the top social media platforms. It can easily and effectively monitor Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Kik, Tinder and more. It tracks and monitors more than 30 different applications and files for you, giving you lots of data on just about everything you could want. Because of all the features and functions you get with this one, you shouldn’t need to install additional software or other spying programs or use any other methods than accessing this app to effectively watch what your kids are doing.
One of the best things about this cell phone tracker is that KidsGuard Pro is completely undetectable. Your kids won’t know that you are monitoring them through their phone and won’t be able to tell when the app is active and being used on your phone. Nothing will pop up on their phone to notify them of your monitoring activity. You can check on them without them ever getting wise to you, and that’s good for times when you suspect your kid might be doing something unscrupulous or borderline but don’t want to bring your suspicions to their attention.
This is one of the cheaper paid apps that can be used to watch your kids. It costs about 27 cents a day, and as long as you are using Android devices, it should be able to do everything you need for full monitoring. It can track and report on videos being watched by providing you with video thumbnails. Just that alone is useful so you can tell what kind of pictures are getting your kid to click on videos. The calendar feature lets you track over time what they are doing and look for trends that may seem suspicious. You can even save the data externally for you to refer to later.
· Very inexpensive
· Can be used invisibly
· No need to root
· Works with lots of apps and social media platforms
· Will not work on iOS devices
If you’re comparing prices, Spyic is one of the costlier options. However, it offers compatibility for iOS and Android devices (with separate pricing plans for each) as well as business and family plans, in case you want to include multiple devices on a single plan. The more months you sign up for at once, the more money you save.
You can remotely monitor target devices from any computer by logging into the Spyic website. The portal there lets you see what the target devices have been up to, such as their GPS location, WhatsApp activity, call history, and contacts, among other things. You can tag contacts who you think could be dangerous or suspicious and get notified when they make a call or text to that number.
One unique thing about Spyic as a spy phone app is that it can be used to set up “no go” zones. This means you determine where the target should not be allowed to go, and once they enter one of those areas, then you will receive a notification. This feature is known as Geofencing, and it is very useful for ensuring that children stay within the set parameters and stay away from dangerous places or areas where you don’t want them to go.
That’s why I marked this as the best GPS phone tracker. Even though it offers a lot of the same GPS tracking features as other apps, it goes further to allow you to do more and put more control in your hands. The geofencing feature is useful for using with employees and kids alike. You can use it to keep your kids safe and your employees in their designated work areas or way from rival companies.
Spyic is constantly being updated with new features and new compatibility with social media apps as they are released. The high price tag you pay gets you not just a long list of features but also round-the-clock customer service support and regular updates to improve functionality. This is one app that stays current with what’s going on in the world of technology, so your monthly payment plan will be put to good use.
· Unique geofencing feature
· Great GPS tracking options
· Works invisibly
· Can be accessed from any computer screen
· One of the most expensive options
Cocospy is a very similar app to Spyic. They have practically identical features and share the same pricing structure and rates. Even the same geofencing feature is offered to notify you when the target device is entering areas you have marked as restricted areas.
Cocospy offers remote surveillance options, perfect for keeping tabs on kids, and it’s one of the best phone tracking app options. You can use it to track a cell phone location and identify incoming calls or outgoing ones on the target’s phone You can stay clued into who is talking to your child or employee and what they are talking about.
It discreetly and invisibly monitors conversations, photos, text messages, and social media posts for you. You can even use it to tag certain numbers that you are wary of and be notified when your child receives a call or message from them or when your child contacts them.
It works just as well for monitoring employees. You can tell what sites your employees are visiting, what kind of posts they are putting up on social media, and where they are going during their workday. It’s great for keeping track of their activity and ensuring that they are not wasting company time and money.
One of the great features about Cocospy is that this app works on either phones or tablets. Since a lot of employees and kids are now working from home using tablets, this is an important capability that will prove even more useful in the coming years.
· Very discreet
· Short setup time
· 60-day money back guaranteed
· Works with both tablets and phones
· Can be pricey
What Features Should a Mobile Phone Tracking App Have?
I have showed you my top picks and cell phone tracker apps I could find. There are other good ones, though, and if you deviate from my list, that’s fine. I won’t be offended, but you just need to know what kind of features to look for.
I would say the number one feature you want to make sure the app has is viability for your phone and your target’s phone. If you both have Android phones, then you can pick the best spy app for Android. That should be pretty easy to do, but you can of course choose an app that works on both Android and iOS devices. So, just make sure the compatibility is there- that would be my top concern.
Next, if I’m picking a cell phone tracker, I’m making sure it can tell me specific information that is relevant to what I’m looking to monitor. In most cases, that would be incoming calls, outgoing calls, text messages, social media activity, photos taken, photos posted and videos recorded. All of this is important to telling me what the target phone user is doing. If you don’t have that information and all the app tells you is that a number was dialed or a message was sent and doesn’t give you the details of those actions, then it’s almost useless.
My third feature I would want the app to have is invisibility. I want to be able to monitor discreetly. This is especially useful for kids, and if you want to monitor your kids without them being aware of it, then look for apps that offer this feature. It’s pretty common, but you do have to watch out for apps that the kids can install on their phone to look for spyware. Yes, those exist, and if your kid thinks you are monitoring them and you haven’t told them anything, they may try to use an app like that.
Another key feature the app should have is GPS tracking. This is useful for kids or employees, because you want to know where they are. For kids, you should be able to track where they go during school time and when they are away from the house and out of your sight. For employees, you may want to know where they are going on their work hours, whether they are goofing off or selling company secrets. For some people, a location tracker may be the number one feature they want their spay app to have, depending on how they plan to use it.
You will have to decide what kind of features are important to you, and I’m just giving you the tools and information to make an informed choice.
Picking the Top GPS Phone Tracker
If you want to track phone number location, you need an app that is designed for that. Not all of the spy apps offer this kind of functionality. Those that do may offer GPS tracking in different ways.
One kind of GPS tracker app may let you see where the target phone is in real time. Another kind may only show you their locations at the end of the day, after they have come and gone already. You will want to look for an app that keeps you updated constantly, if you are going to stay on top of the target’s activity and do something about it when it deviates from what is expected or required.
If you are going to pick the best GPS cell phone tracker, then you want something robust and fully featured, that shows you where the target is at all times. I love the geofencing option that some of the apps have, letting you pick certain areas that you consider to be off limits. Then, you get alerted when the target phone crosses into those areas.
This is great for letting you know when your kid goes to a bad part of town, visits a friend’s house that you feel suspicious about, sneaks out of school, or does something else suspicious or dangerous. It also allows you to set boundaries for your employees during work time, and you would be able to tell when they are going out of the work area, out of the city, or going to play golf on company time.
Also look at the subscription plans that the app includes. It can get really expensive to track phone location on a monthly plan. It is often cheaper to go for an annual plan, which most apps offer. Even then, that can get pricey. It’s a good idea to compare the options and see which one is the most affordable and what you are really getting when you choose a pricy option over a more affordable one.
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Which Free Phone Trackers Are Available?
You don’t have to pay for your spy phone app, if you are willing to settle for one with fewer features and less functionality. Here are some free ones I think you may want to know about, and if you are looking to spy without paying anything, then check these out.
I like SpyHuman, which is a decent spy app for Android. However, it is only free for 7 days, so the free aspect of it is very limited. I think you will find that most of the “free” apps have that same restriction.
Famisafe, Mobile Tracker Free, and Parent Phone © Phone Tracker all offer free versions or some free features. Just be aware that the free apps are usually easy for the target user to detect. They probably won’t work invisibly and discreetly like a paid app would, since that kind of tech is expensive to develop and support.
Mobile phone tracking doesn’t have to cost you a lot, but you should definitely expect stripped back features. For instance, most of the free apps will tell you that a call came in and may show you the caller’s number, but they aren’t likely to record the voices for you. They use cheap, simple tech and mostly support themselves with paid subscriptions from those users who want to upgrade, as well as with ads that might annoy you.
If you plan to use parental control apps for a long time, like for more than a few months, then you should consider signing up for a paid subscription. You will be able to do so much more and monitor your children much more effectively. You may find the monthly price worth it, especially considering all the control and features that will be made available to you.
Is It Possible to Track Someone’s Phone Undetected?
A lot of apps offer a way to track phone number location and other information invisibly. They allow for discreet spying without alerting or notifying the target user that they are being watched and tracked. This can be very useful for keeping an eye on your kids without letting them know that they are being watched.
If you want to catch them in the act or find out if they have been telling you the truth or not, invisible, undetectable spy apps are the way to go. You can track a cell phone location online or from your phone with an app like this, and your kids will be none the wiser.
Not all spy apps allow for this kind of discreet monitoring, though. Some of them will appear as notifications on your target’s phone. That may be preferable in some instances, as a reminder to your kids or employees that their activity is being watched. This can help them to behave and keep them from going on websites they are not supposed to be or from going to places they are not allowed. It can also prevent them from sending messages or making calls that would be detrimental to the company (for employees) or that could put them in danger (for kids).
I said it before and I will say it again that you need to let any employees know that you are tracking their movements and monitoring their activity on their phones. It is illegal to use a spy app on your employees, even if you are only using it on company phones that you gave them. They must be made aware that their actions are being tracked. So, you can still use the spy app on them, but you can’t do it without notifying them first.
You can use the best phone tracker app without permission only on your own children, so long as they are under 18 years of age. Once they hit 18, you have to get their permission or let them know that they are being monitored. You can still track their location, but they have to be in the loop.
The spy apps really do help you to remain invisible, though. The app developers are working hard to ensure that you can monitor remotely and discreetly without being detected by the target user’s phone. You typically have to install the app on their phone to make that work, though. So, the app will be working on both ends- yours and the target’s. Because it is located on their phone, they could potentially find it if they did enough looking and knew what to look for. Still, the apps will do a great job of staying hidden and undetected while sending you all the necessary information.
I want to talk for just a second about why you may want to go the invisible route with the spy app. You may be suspicious of your child and want to get them to behave and obey you, so you may be tempted to tell them that you are installing the phone number tracker on their device. This might be a good way to win over their trust, but it can be detrimental if they are prone to lying. If your kid finds out that you are tracking them, they may get a different phone, find ways to circumvent the app, or try to hack the app or fool it. You may inadvertently push your child into engaging in more deceptive behavior because you told them that you are monitoring them. Keep that in mind as you look for a suitable spy app and use your best judgement.
Just remember that you can still use these apps and use them effectively when the target knows that they are installed. In fact, letting them know about the app will often deter them from doing things they should not, going places they are not allowed and making calls that you would not approve of.
I hope this guide helps you as you try to find the best spy app for iPhone or Android. There are lots of choices out there, and I know personally that it can be tough to sort through them and find one that you are happy with and that is affordable.