Picking the best phone spy software can be tricky. There are dozens of excellent phone trackers out there.
Fortunately, I’m here to help. I’ve worked as a private investigator for the past 15+ years. I use phone trackers almost every day.
Today, spy apps can be used to track somebody without their knowledge. They’re very popular even outside the law enforcement community. Some of the top spy software users are parents. It’s a dangerous world out there, and parents want to make sure their kids are safe at all times.
Good phone spy software lets you read text messages, track photos, monitor social media, track location data, and even record phone calls. Today’s best spy software will record all data online where you – as a concerned parent or spouse – can quietly access it. Some of the spy software on this list can even record ambient noise through the microphone or remotely take a photo using the phone’s camera.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 5 best spy apps for iPhone and Android.
SpyFone rightfully holds the top spot in our review of the best cell phone spy software for 2018. Available for Android or iPhone, SpyFone offers world-class monitoring at a surprisingly affordable price ($24 per month for 6 months).
SpyFone also edged out the competition for its ease of use: the software is advanced enough to handle complex requests, but the UI is extremely beginner-friendly. Whether you’re a programmer or you’re clueless with technology, you’ll have no trouble using SpyFone to monitor Android and iPhone devices.
Some of the notable features on SpyFone tracking software include:
Supervise All Activity: You can track usage 24/7 and even view phone screens in real-time.
Easy Online Monitoring: Track all phone usage via an easy online platform.
Check GPS Location Data: SpyFone has detailed GPS location tracking, making it easy to see where the target smartphone is down to a 10 to 15 feet radius.
Track Multiple Devices: SpyFone is one of the few tracking apps that lets you track multiple devices from a single account. You can track up to 5+ devices per account.
Track Calls and Texts: Want to track all communication from a specific device? You can easily do that with SpyFone. The software lets you remotely monitor calls, texts, emails, messaging apps, Facebook activity, social media conversations, and more.
Photo and Video Monitoring: Check which videos and photos are being saved, sent, or received from the targeted device. SpyFone lets you see all photos, videos, and other files stored on the device.
Completely Silent and Hidden: All of the apps on this list hide themselves on the device. However, SpyFone has the unique benefit of being absolutely indistinguishable from an ordinary device. You can choose to display a monitoring icon in the notification tray. Or, you can let the app run completely silently.
Works on All Platforms: SpyFone works with all Apple and Android devices, including phones from manufacturers like Motorola, Google, LG, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and others.
No Jailbreak Required: SpyFone has a non-jailbreak version available, making it easy to install the app on any device, regardless of whether it’s been jailbroken or rooted.
There’s one more thing that distinguishes SpyFone from others on this list: you can buy a phone with pre-installed tracking software. Or, you can download the software and install the tracker yourself. No other tracking apps give you this option.
SpyFone is also totally hidden: once it’s been installed on a device, it’s impossible to detect unless you know exactly where to look in the root directories of the phone.
For all of these reasons and more, SpyFone is our favorite cell phone spy software.
Price: $24 per month for 6 months – $49 per month for monthly
mSpy is one of the more popular iPhone and Android tracking apps. With over 1 million users, mSpy has helped people worldwide track and monitor all types of phone communications.
The biggest hurdle with mSpy is the installation process: you’ll need to install the mSpy app on your targeted phone, then activate it using your product key. Once you’ve done that, you can monitor all phone communications remotely through the mSpy online platform.
mSpy lets you track everything you would expect to track, including SMS, WhatsApp messages, Facebook Messenger messages, phone calls, browsing history, and GPS location. Additional features include social media monitoring, a non-jailbreak version, parental controls, and even a keylogger.
Social Media Monitoring: Track activity on Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and other popular social media apps.
Keylogger: Monitor everything that’s being typed into the device, including passwords, search history, and messages.
Non-Jailbreak Version Available: Other phone spy apps require rooting or jailbreaking. mSpy has a non-jailbreak version available, although you’ll still need to know your target’s Apple ID and password.
Parental Controls: mSpy lets you automatically block inappropriate websites, unwanted apps, and incoming calls.
Overall, mSpy is ideal for parents looking to monitor their children. It’s feature-rich and easy to use. The company also has tech support standing by to walk you through the process.
Price: $30 to $230 (Basic, Premium, and Bundle subscription kits are all available)
FlexiSPY is best known for its Call Interception feature, which allows you to record and secretly listen to phone calls. However, this feature is only available on rooted or jailbroken devices.
Aside from Call Interception, FlexiSPY has all of the great features you’d expect to find on a top cell phone spy app.
Live Call Interception: Intercept any phone call on the target device, then listen to and record the conversation.
Record Ambient Noise: Remotely activate the target phone’s microphone to listen to ambient noise. You can also record any ambient noise that gets picked up on the phone’s microphone.
RemCam: Remotely activate the camera on the target phone to quietly take a picture, then view that photo through your FlexiSPY account.
If you don’t mind rooting or jailbreaking your device before you install the spying app, then FlexiSPY is a powerful option. It has features you can’t find on any other tracking app. It’s also the oldest spy app on this list, having been originally launched in 2006. However, it doesn’t work at all on non-rooted or non-jailbroken devices.
Price: $149 to $349 (Premium and Extreme versions are both available)
4) Highster Mobile
Highster Mobile is another popular phone tracking app. It’s not as feature-rich as SpyFone, but it does an excellent job of providing comprehensive phone tracking of the most essential phone functions. You can use Highster Mobile to track GPS data, text messages, call logs, photos, browsing history, contacts, calendar, app data, and more, for example.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced phone spying app available for iOS and Android devices, then Highster Mobile is a great option.
One-Time Fee: Other options on this list, including mSpy, charge monthly subscription fees. Highster Mobile, on the other hand, charges a one-time fee of $69.99.
View Call Logs: Highster Mobile won’t record the actual phone calls. However, it will record all call logs, including the date, time, numbers, and duration of those calls.
View Browsing History: Monitor which websites have been visited on your target devices.
Track GPS Data: Know where your target device is at all times, including its location history and current location.
Message Monitoring: Track all text messages sent on the device, including deleted messages.
View Photos: Any photos on the device will be uploaded to your Highster Mobile account.
Social Media Monitoring: Highster Mobile lets you monitor social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, although you’ll need to root the target device first.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for great GPS, message, and photo tracking at a reasonable price, then Highster Mobile might be the right choice for you. However, if you’re looking for advanced social media monitoring, then you may want to stick with a more feature-rich option like SpyFone.
Price: $69.99 (one-time fee)
PhoneSheriff has a catchy name. it also has enough features to compete with SpyFone and other top phone spying apps on our list. The app is designed to be easy for everyone to use. Like mSpy, you’ll find plenty of parental control features.
Block Anything: PhoneSheriff will block virtually anything unwanted from your phone – including specific apps, websites, and contacts. You can totally prevent the phone from calling or messaging a specific person, for example.
Create Time Restrictions: Block all phone activity during certain times of the day. You might block all app usage during homework time, for example, or prevent phone calls overnight.
Geo-Fencing Alerts: Receive an alert when the target device travels outside a certain geo-fenced area. You can designate the area on your map via your PhoneSheriff control panel.
Profanity Alert: Setup your own custom list of vulgar words. Then, you’ll receive an alert whenever one of those words is typed into the device. This can also be used for certain trigger words that aren’t profanity. If you’re tracking a spouse, for example, then you might add your own name to the profanity alert system.
Overall, PhoneSheriff is a tracking app catered towards parents who want to track their kids. Popular unique features include time restrictions, profanity filters, and a geo-fencing alert. Although it’s catered to parents, some of its features may appeal to other phone spy app users – like jealous spouses.
There’s one major drawback of PhoneSheriff: due to legal problems, you can no longer purchase the hidden version of PhoneSheriff. The app notifies users that they’re being monitored at all times, which is why this is ideal for parents who are tracking their kids.
Price: $49 to $89 (6 month and 12 month subscriptions available)
iKeyMonitor is a simple yet effective iPhone spying app capable of recording texts, instant messages, browser history, and keystrokes. It’s an advanced keylogger app for iOS. One of the unique things about iKeyMonitor is that all of this information is sent to your email address: there’s no need to log into an online dashboard to view information, nor do you require physical access to the phone after you install iKeyMonitor. Core features on iKeyMonitor include all of the following:
Free 3 Day Trial: Most phone spying apps offer a 3 to 7 day trial – but not all of them do. iKeyMonitor offers a free 3 day trial that lets you try before you buy.
View All Keystrokes: iKeyMonitor is essentially a keylogger – similar to the ones hackers use. The software lets you view every keystroke typed across all apps – including everything from web browsers to messengers to email apps.
Capture Passwords: Like any keylogger, iKeyMonitor captures passwords typed into the device.
Take Screenshots: iKeyMonitor lets you take a screenshot periodically while the phone is in used. You can record screen activity as often as you like, which is useful for matching keylogging data with apps on the phone.
Jailbreak Required: As you may have guessed, iPhones and iPads don’t have native keylogger support. You’ll need to install iKeyMonitor on a jailbroken iOS device for it to work.
iKeyMonitor is a simple but powerful keylogger software for jailbroken iOS devices. It captures all information typed into the device – from passwords to websites visited. The screenshot and screen recording capability is also a nice touch. The high-powered tracking software comes with an appropriately high price tag.
Price: $49.99 (1 month) or $299.99 (1 year)
SpyEra lets you intercept and record phone calls. You can also activate a phone’s microphone remotely to record ambient cell phone noise. The software is compatible with iOS and Android. The purchase of one license also lets you install it on multiple cell phones. Overall, SpyEra is very good phone tracking software available at a reasonable price compared to other options on this list. Core features of SpyEra include:
Supports iOS and Android: SpyEra is available on rooted Androids and jailbroken iOS devices. You can also install it on BlackBerry and Symbian devices.
Remotely Activate the Microphone: SpyEra lets you remotely activate the microphone on the phone to listen to surrounding noise – including any ambient noise in the environment.
Monitor Other Phone Data: In addition to ambient noise monitoring, SpyEra lets you read SMS and text messages, emails, and address book information. You can also monitor messenger apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and more.
Access All Media Files: Remotely access all media files on the target device, including photos and videos.
Phone Call Monitoring and Recording: Remotely monitor and record phone calls made over the device.
Overall, SpyEra is ideal for remote call monitoring and recording. The ability to activate the microphone to listen to ambient noise can also be helpful. Aside from call monitoring and recording, SpyEra has all of the features you’d expect to find on tracking software.
Price: $189 (3 months); $289 (6 months); $389 (12 months)
8) Mobile Spy
Mobile Spy is primarily designed as monitoring software for parents and employers. It comes with an advanced dashboard that lets you monitor all activity remotely. You can silently monitor text messages, GPS locations, call details, photos, and social media activity, for example. The main drawback of Mobile Spy is that, due to legal issues, Mobile Spy now needs to display an “MS Monitoring” icon that notifies the owner of the phone that they’re being monitored.
Supports Multiple OSes: Mobile Spy supports iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.
Great for Parents: Mobile Spy’s main customers are parents concerned about the phone usage of their child or teenager. Popular features include the ability to have the phone’s most recent pictures and texts emailed to you. Parents can also monitor all phone activity through the admin panel.
Monitor Everything: Like all good phone tracking solutions, Mobile Spy lets you track virtually all device activity. The admin panel provides an overview of location history for the device as well as browsing history, text logs, and call logs.
Powerful Location Tracking: Want to get an alert when your teen leaves a certain area? Mobile Spy has advanced geofencing and location tracking features for exactly that reason.
View Live Screen: You can get a live look at the phone’s screen using the admin panel.
Developed by Retina-X Studios, Mobile Spy is one of the most reputable software solutions on this list. The software – for better or worse – provides a more “legal” solution than other phone monitoring solutions. It’s marketed primarily towards parents and employers. If you install Mobile Spy on a device, then the device will have a notification alerting the user that Mobile Spy is monitoring device activity.
Price: $99.97 per year
9) The Truth Spy
TheTruthSpy is a phone tracking application launched in 2017. It provides basic monitoring at a higher price than most other options on this list. You can track multiple devices, including smartphones, PCs, and tablets. The software can be a bit more complicated to use than other options on this list – particularly when compared to parent-friendly competitors like Mobile Spy. However, TheTruthSpy makes up for this complicated UI with robust features including all of the following:
Ambient Noise Recording: Silently activate the microphone remotely to listen to ambient sounds around the target device.
Real-Time Location Monitoring: Track the location of the target smartphone in real-time. View real-time location changes throughout the day.
View Texts and Messaging History: Like most monitoring apps on this list, TheTruthSpy lets you monitor texts, messaging app data, and other information.
SIM Card Notifications: You’ll receive a notification if the target phone changes its SIM card. Sometimes, a user may change the SIM card to temporarily avoid detection.
Overall, TheTruthSpy is one of the least reputable manufacturers on this list. The software is specifically marketed as a way to catch cheating spouses – despite the fact that it’s illegal to install phone tracking someone without someone’s permission. The website is also filled with fake reviews, and the official website’s security certificate is expired – which is concerning because the manufacturer expects you to input credit card data into the website. Nevertheless, TheTruthSpy provides features similar to other options on this list – albeit at a significantly higher price than most of its competitors.
Price: $21.99 to $30.99 per month; $130.99 to $184.99 per year
XNSPY is a powerful, non-intrusive mobile spy app with some of the best features you’ll find in mobile tracking software. You can monitor WhatsApp chats and other messaging data. You get a detailed report on location information throughout the day. The software is available for Android and iPhone, and a live demo is available online. Overall, XNSPY is one of the top phone monitoring software solutions on the market today – and the price is surprisingly affordable compared to other options on this list, especially considering the robust features available.
Multiple Mobile Operating Systems: XNSPY supports Android and iPhone monitoring. It works on both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices (as well as rooted and non-rooted Androids).
SMS and Messenger Chats: XNSPY allows you to monitor all messenger chats and SMS conversations, including iMessage, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line, Facebook Messenger, and most other popular apps.
Monitor Call Logs: XNSPY lets you remotely check call logs and view the contact list in the target device.
Monitor GPS Location: Remotely check the device’s location history throughout the day, getting a complete and detailed report on the phone’s movement any time.
View Multimedia Files: XNSPY allows you to check all photos and videos saved on the target phone or tablet.
Record Phone Calls and Ambient Noise: XNSPY allows you to quietly activate the microphone to record ambient noise. You can also record all calls made on the device.
24/7 Alerts: Setup XNSPY to send you alerts 24/7 to protect your kids or employees against abuse.
Control Device Activity Remotely: XNSPY lets you remotely lock a phone, take a screen shot, implement usage time restrictions, and remotely control the device in other ways.
Overall, XNSPY is one of the most powerful phone monitoring apps on the market today. The app has all of the features you could expect in a tracking solution – and more. The software is also very easy to use. It’s hard to find a fault with this software. Despite the advanced features, XNSPY’s price is very competitive with other options on this list. The only real drawback is that you’ll need to pay for an annual subscription upfront, and no monthly subscription is available.
Price: $99.99 per year (Basic Edition) or $149.99 per year (Premium Addition)
Things to Consider Before You Buy
Consider all of the following before you buy spy phone software for iOS or Android:
1) You’ll Need to Access the Target Phone: The phone tracking apps listed above require physical access to the target device. Typically, you download the mobile app onto the device. Or, you download computer software and connect the phone to the computer. In any case, you’ll need physical access to the target phone.
2) Make Sure the Software is Compatible with the Target Device: Some spy software only works on iOS. Other software only works on Android. Other software – including our leading option, SpyFone, works on both operating systems. Check your phone tracking software to make sure it’s compatible with your target device. You can find the list of compatible devices on the software maker’s website.
3) Your Target Phone Needs Access to the Internet: The phone you’re tracking will need an internet connection – either via a normal mobile network or Wi-Fi. This internet connection will be used to upload data to your spy app dashboard, allowing you to track the device remotely.
4) You May Need to Root or Jailbreak your Phone: Targeted Android devices may require rooting before you install the spying app. Similarly, iPhones may require jailbreaking. Both rooting and jailbreaking allow you to avoid manufacturer restrictions on the device. By rooting or jailbreaking, you have full control over the device and can view all actions performed on that device. Even if an app doesn’t specifically require rooting, phone tracking apps typically work better on rooted devices. Our top app, SpyFone, has a non-jailbreak mode available.
5) Check Local Laws Before Using a Spy Phone App: In the United States, it’s legal for companies to monitor employee activity on company-owned devices – like a cell phone or laptop that the company provides to its employees. Parents also have the right to monitor their children’s phone usage. In most other situations, you’ll need specific permission from someone before installing a spy phone app. Check local laws to make sure you’re not doing anything illegal.
How to Use a Spy App for the First Time
So you’ve read our list of the best cell phone spy software apps above. Now, you’re ready to install one. Here’s the basic process you use to install a spy app:
Step 1) Buy the Spy App
Pick one of the spy apps from our list above. Or, check another list to get a different opinion. Always buy from a reputable company. Make sure the software you buy has the features you need, and make sure it’s compatible with the devices you’re trying to track. Once you’ve purchased the software, you’ll receive an email from the company with your login information and instructions on how to install the app.
Step 2) Download and Install the Software
Follow the instructions provided by the company. Sometimes, you’ll download the app directly to the target smartphone. In other cases, you download computer software to your PC or Mac, then connect the target phone to your computer via a normal USB cable.
Step 3) Monitor your Target Phone
Once the app has been correctly installed, it will immediately start monitoring all phone-based activity. You’ll be able to monitor that activity via a web-based interface or app. The dashboard should be separated into sections like, “SMS Logs”, “Calls”, and “Photo Gallery”.
Conclusion: The World’s Best Phone Spy Software
There’s a reason SpyFone is so highly-rated online: it’s the best phone spy software I’ve ever used. It’s packed with all of the features you want on phone spy software. It’s also ridiculously easy to use – so even if you’re not a tech whiz, you can get it running within minutes. It runs silently, is priced at an affordable $24 per month, and works on non-jailbroken iOS and Android phones.
However, the other four apps on our list are also very powerful phone tracking apps. Be sure to compare the phone tracking software carefully before you buy.
If you have any questions, drop a comment below! I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about the best phone spy software.