What is a phone or SMS spy app? Well, this is basically a mobile spy tool or software that can remotely monitor the activities of another mobile device and can spy on text messages. It silently monitors and collects data from the targeted phone and relays the information straight to your device or account. Some cell phone spy apps can collect text messages, call logs, emails, pictures, and even videos then relay them to your account or device. Some have advanced features such as the ability to locate the targeted user by GPS and even give you a history log of GPS locations the person visited. The apps provide you with an effective and accurate way of spying on text messages and other cell phone activities like a boss.(spoiler) You can use iSpy to spy on texts online.
Most of the phone spy apps on the market today can do a lot of other things besides monitoring text messages. They can monitor WhatsApp, Facebook, and Snapchat instant messaging, provide you with accurate GPS tracking, remotely activate camera and microphone of the targeted smartphone, and even block inbound calls. The features depend on the type and method you use to spy on the other phone.
Benefits of Using Phone Spy Apps
There are many reasons why you’d want to spy on the activities of another phone. For instance, you could be a concerned parent who wants to stay updated on your child’s smartphone usage. Parenting is not an easy task especially if you have wild teenagers in the house. You may want to know who they are talking or texting with as well as their other online activities. As someone said, better be safe than sorry.
The phone spying apps are also useful to employers who want to keep track of their employees’ activities during work hours (there are a lot of lazy workers around). As an employer, you’ll need to track delivery trucks, work productivity, and your employees’ online messages. You may be dealing with sensitive industry data that you’d want to keep safe from competitors. The SMS spy app will help to detect any leakage of company data by employees.
If you suspect your spouse or partner of infidelity, you could use a phone spy app to track their activities and confirm your suspicions. The app will track their text messages, calls, and even their location history via GPS. There are many other uses of phone spy apps. You could even use it to pull a prank on close friends just for fun. Let’s look at some of the most popular phone spy methods.
Method 1: Online Free Spy Tools
This is by far the easiest, fastest, and free phone spying method. One of the popular online spy tools so far is iSpy. You can use it free of charge and it is extremely easy to use, which is one of the reasons why it is quite popular.
All you need to track and monitor text messages and other phone activities of the targeted phone is simply to access the tool from the iSpy website and insert the telephone number you want to track. That’s all.
However, to avoid abuse of the system by bots and other automated devices, most online spy tools, including iSpy, have an anti-bot system that will usually ask you to install a free app (ad?) as a way of verifying yourself. Once you have installed the app, you can use the online phone spy tool free of charge.
Pros and Cons of Online Free Spy Tools
- It is free. You’ll not be charged anything to use the tool.
- It works instantly. You start getting data from the other phone as soon as you connect it.
- It is online-based so you don’t have to install anything on the phone you want to spy on.
- It comes with an anti-bot system that asks you to install a free app (usually it is an ad app) to get it to work.
- It does not provide as much information as paid offline apps do. Or sometimes may not provide it at all.
Method 2: Paid Offline Spy Apps
Paid offline phone spying apps give you access to the targeted person’s smartphone data without restrictions. The most popular apps in this category are TheTruthSpy and Copy9. These are paid apps with a monthly subscription cost of around $25 per month. The good thing about them is that they can spy on other messaging platforms besides SMS, such as WhatsApp chats, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Line, Viber, and many more.
They can even listen to the person’s surroundings and provide you with the person’s audio background. You can easily tell whether your child is in class or at a club when you have the app installed in his or her phone. The app sends all the data collected to your Copy9 or TheTruthSpy account.
Some of the key features of paid offline phone spy apps include:
- Ability to view call log details including who called, missed calls, and the time and date of each call.
- Read text messages received by the victim. You can view all the sent, received, and even deleted SMS on the victim’s phone.
- GPS tracking that can track the person’s exact location. You can even see the person’s location history logs.
- The apps can record calls and listen to the surroundings too. You can listen and even record all the inbound and outbound calls to know what the person is up to and who they are talking with.
- Track the person’s online activities including the websites visited. With the paid offline app you’ll know which websites your child visits or where your employees like to visit more often using the company’s bandwidth.
- Check and view the person’s photos, videos, and other multimedia files remotely.
But are quite easy to use then.
Copy9 and TheTruthSpy have special tutorials specially created to guide you in the app’s usage. They are also compatible with most Android and old iOS devices (don’t know why, but these app don’t work on the new iPhones and iPads).
This is an easy-to-use app that allows you to track and read text messages on both Android and iOS phones. It gives you remote access to all the messages sent and received in your target’s cell phone from a convenient online control panel without necessarily touching the phone. Besides reading messages, the app also shows you the sender’s name and contact numbers as well as the time and date stamp for each message.
- Other features of TrackMyFone include:
- Ability to monitor calls as well as messages
- It allows you to view photos saved in the target’s phone
- It can add watchlist alerts
- Monitors chats in popular social media sites such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, Line, and Skype
- The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and doesn’t require phone jailbreak
How Much Does TrackMyFone Cost?
TrackMyFone is available in two versions – Android and iPhone No Jailbreak. The Android Premium version costs $5.83 per month while the iPhone No Jailbreak version comes at a cost of $6.25 per month. The app has 3 and 12 months plans that come with a discount too.
- Shows you the Internet browsing history
- You can use the app to track the location of the phone and even apply geo-fencing restrictions
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- It has a cheaper monthly subscription price
- A few users claim the app has some bugs that need to be addressed
This is one of the best text message spying apps on the market today. It has a user-friendly interface and is packed with more advanced phone and social media spying features than most apps in similar categories. XNSPY allows you to track received and sent messages on both Android and iOS devices. You can even see the name and phone number of the sender of the message using this app as well as the time and date that each message was sent. Another great thing about this app is the ability to track messages using specific keywords used in the message to help you sort out messages that are relevant to your search from the rest.
XNSPY also allows you to see conversations that the target user has already deleted. The messages are available on the app’s control panel as long as you had created a backup.
Other key features of XNSPY include:
- Ability to monitor both calls and messages in Whatsapp
- GPS location tracking
- Ability to read emails and other online activities
- Record calls as well as the surrounding sounds
- Ability to access instant message chats
- It allows you to view photos and videos as well as calendar entries
- Ability to set alerts when a specific action happens
- Remote control
How Much Does XNSPY Cost?
The Basic Edition of the app comes at a cost of $8.33 per month billed annually at $99.99. The app’s Premium Edition costs $12.49 per month billed $149.99 for the whole year.
- It has a simple user-friendly interface
- It can be installed remotely
- Shows instant messaging chats and messages
- It can retrieve deleted messages
- Allows you to set alerts
- It costs more than other cell phone tracker apps
- Some of its features only work on rooted Android devices
Spyzie is another popular phone tracker app that gives you access to all the received and sent messages in your target’s phone including names of the senders. You can even download reports of text messages on your phone and print them out if you want to have hard evidence. Another great feature of Spyzie is the ability to analyze the target’s phone message history to accurately judge who the most important contact on the phone is based on the frequency of communication.
Some of the app’s key features include:
- The app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices
- Ability to track and read the target phone’s messages
- Ability to check contacts as well as the calendar
- GPS location tracking
- The app can even monitor WhatsApp activities
- Provides you with the phone’s browser history
- Shows you all the apps installed on the phone
- Gives you access to notes and reminders
How Much Does Spyzie Cost?
Spyzie has different prices for Android and iOS devices. For Android phones, the Ultimate Edition that comes with full functionality costs $39.99 per month while the Premium Edition with limited functionality costs $29.99 per month. For iOS devices, the app costs $39.99 per month.
- It gives you multiple spying options
- You don’t need to jailbreak or root the phone to start spying
- Easy to install and use the app
- It has app blocker
- You can set alerts
- It comes with Volume Pricing for more than two devices
- The app does not have as many options for iOS devices as those provided for Android devices
- It sometimes makes the phone laggy
- It does not display Group Chat
- You’ll need access to the target phone to install the app
mSpy is another popular tool used by parents that need to monitor their kids’ safety from the dangers posed by social media and other online activities. The app helps you to monitor both incoming and outgoing messages as well as the sender’s information. You can even view each message’s time and date stamp.
Key features of mSpy include:
- The ability to monitor call logs and spy on SMS texts
- Ability to track location by GPS
- It shows you photos and videos of the target phone
- View chats on popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp.
The app is compatible with all iOS and Android devices.
How Much Does mSpy Cost?
The Basic Package costs $29.99 per month while the Premium Package costs $69.99 per month.
- It comes with filtering features that you can use to block specific websites in your child’s phone
- It is compatible with both Android and iOS devices
- You can remotely monitor the phone’s Internet usage
- Requires jailbreaking the target phone before you can use the app
This is another parental control and creatively designed Android and iPhone phone monitoring app. The app records keystrokes done on the target’s phone as well as calls, chat messages, SMS, website visits, screenshots and much more. You can use it to view text messages, instant messaging chats, and other apps on the target phone.
Key features of iKeyMonitor include:
- Full compatibility with Android and iOS devices
- Keylogger feature which records keystrokes done on the phone
- Ability to take screenshots remotely
- It can be installed on the target phone and run discreetly in stealth mode
How Much Does iKeyMonitor Cost?
iKeyMonitor is available at a cost of $49.99 per month or $299.88 per year.
- Comes with a keylogger feature
- Runs in stealth mode without alerting the phone owner
- Compatible with both iOS and Android devices
- Can spy on Whatsapp as well
- Limited use in the free trial
- Cannot work without Internet connection
- Comparatively more expensive
Auto Forward Spy
This is an inexpensive and easy to use text app that works on both Android and iOS phones. You can use it to track all types of text messages, GPS location, browser history, and even see photos and videos on your target’s phone. It is one of the most affordable phone spying apps on the market today with all the relevant features that you will need.
Some of its key features include:
- It is compatible with both iOS and Android phones
- Has a clean easy-to-use interface
- It gives you real-time location via GPS
How Much Does Auto Forward Spy Cost?
The price for auto forward spy starts from $61.20 for each device.
- The app has a clean easy-to-use interface
- It can record voice calls remotely
- Comes with GPS real-time location tracking
- It has an affordable pricing plan
- Provides a wide range of remote functions to monitor your kids, spouse, or employees
- Not suitable for those who want flexible monthly plans
- Cannot limit your child’s phone usage time
PhoneSpector is a great app for monitoring cell phone messages. It works like the high-end pricier spy apps but is available at a cheaper price. It can even extract messages and files that your target has already deleted. PhoneSpector is considered as the best phone spy app of 2019.
Some of its key features include:
- A user-friendly interface
- Quick and easy remote installation
- Compatible with Android and iOS operating systems as well as with most telephone service carriers
How Much Does PhoneSpector Cost?
Compared to other cell phone tracker apps, Phone Spector is more affordable as it comes with a one-time fee of $69.99. There are no monthly subscription payments with this app.
- It’s quite easy to use
- Quick installation process
- Can extract deleted files and messages
- Great customer service
- Comes with all the basic features of a phone spy app and more
- It cannot retrieve Viber messages and videos
Pros and Cons of Paid Offline Phone Spying Apps
- They are great for parental control and monitoring of a child’s online and offline activities.
- Have more features than online phone spying tools.
- Can access other messaging platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Facebook and Kik.
- Provide GPS location logs
- Can listen and record calls
- It only works if you have physical access to the targeted phone. You’ll need to get the phone in your hands first and go through some complicated procedure to install and activate the app.
- This app comes with a monthly fee of around $25.
- It doesn’t work in the latest iOS versions. It only works on iPhone 5 and lower versions.
Factors to Consider in a Good Cell Phone Tracker App
Here are some of the key factors you’ll need to consider when looking for the best spy phone app:
Find a good spy tool that works reliably well. It should not create a noticeable lag on the other phone and should always send you accurate data, whether you are looking for location, text messages, photos, or call logs.
Your app should work in a stealth mode to keep tabs on the target phone without being found out. It should be completely undetectable by the owner of the phone being spied on.
It is quite easy to be overwhelmed by different features found in most of these cell phone trackers but since you are only interested in an app that provides the ability to track and read messages then focus your attention on features relevant to your needs.
- Ease of Use
Avoid complicated apps with complex user interfaces and other unnecessary features. Make sure it has all the features you need in an easy to use dashboard. Most apps offer free trials that you can use to test the app’s user interface as well as its key features.
If you want a spy tool with more than basic features expect to pay more. We recommend using the basic version which comes at a lower or free cost and then upgrade to the premium version once you are satisfied with the app’s performance.
- Customer Support
The last thing you need after paying a monthly subscription for a phone spying app is poor customer service and support. Find a company with a 24/7 active support staff ready to help you with any technical issue or question that you may have, especially if the app malfunctions in the middle of the night.
Why don’t you just borrow that phone for a few minutes and check everything manually?
These offline phone spy apps are quite effective but are costly in the long run. They often require complicated procedures to install and activate every time you want to spy on messages. You could save yourself some cash and time each day simply by finding a way to get the targeted phone in stealth mode for around 5 minutes and checking everything you want to see.
If you can get time to install and activate the app on the phone, then you can just as easily “borrow” it for a few minutes and see everything worth checking free of charge. But anyways, a good professional spy app would be our choice.
Message spying apps are some of the best security assets you can have when it comes to protecting yourself and your family, safeguarding your business interests, and ensuring your partner’s faithfulness. The apps discussed above are among some of the best on the market today. Check the advantages and disadvantages of each app to find out which one suits your needs and budget.