Phone spy apps conjure up an image of sneaking around and stealing information from someone’s phone. But in reality, these apps offer a wide range of useful functions, such as monitoring a child’s smartphone use, tracking a lost or stolen phone, recording phone calls and messages, and more.

In this guide, we’ll review the 12 best spy apps and explain everything users need to know about using a spy app on iOS and Android devices.

The 12 Best Spy Apps for 2022

We tested out dozens of paid and free spy apps to identify the best spy apps for Android and iOS. Here are the 10 best phone spy apps in 2022:

  1. uMobix – Overall Best Phone Spy App in 2022
  2. Cocospy – Best Phone Spy App for Ease of Use
  3. XNSpy – Best for Remote Control of a Target Phone
  4. Spyic – Best Phone Spy App for Comprehensive Monitoring
  5. Mobile Tracker – Best Free Phone Spy App
  6. mSpy – Best Spy App for Android in 2022
  7. Hoverwatch – Best Phone Spy App for Businesses
  8. GeoFinder – Best for Remote GPS Tracking
  9. Spyera – Best Cell Phone Spy App for Monitoring Web Browsing
  10. iKeyMonitor – Best Spy App for iPhone
  11. Mobilespy.at – Best Spy App for Parental Controls
  12. Minspy – Best Location Tracking Spy App

The Top Phone Spy Apps in 2022 Reviewed

Want to know more about the best phone spy apps in 2022? We’ve put together detailed reviews of the 10 best spy apps so readers can decide which one is right for them.

1. uMobix – Overall Best Spy App in 2022

uMobix is the overall best phone spy app in 2022 based on our reviews. With this app, users can monitor everything that’s happening on a target phone. Remote users have access to the call log, text messages, social media messaging apps, and more. What’s especially great about uMobix is that remote users can even find deleted files, like call logs and text messages, so there’s no hidden data that this app doesn’t provide access to.uMobix

Another thing we like about uMobix is that it enables remote users to take remote control of some aspects of the target phone. That includes turning on the camera and microphone, so a user can see where the phone is or listen in on conversations. It also gives remote users the ability to block specific apps, restrict time spent on the internet, turn off messaging, and more.

Of course, uMobix makes it easy to determine where in the world a phone is at any time. The app includes GPS tracking for both iOS and Android devices.

uMobix starts at $14.99 per month when users sign up for an entire year. For a single month, the price is $29.99.

Price Number of Devices
$179.88/year 1

Pros

  • View deleted files
  • Supports location tracking
  • Remotely block apps or restrict websites
  • Activate microphone and camera

Cons

  • No free version available

2. Cocospy – Best Phone Spy App for Ease of Use

Cocospy is one of the simplest spy apps to use on iPhone and Android devices. On Android, all users have to do to start monitoring is install the app from Google Play, then log in and activate stealth mode. The whole process of getting Cocospy up and running takes less than 2 minutes.

Cocospy

On iPhone, the process is almost identical – the only difference is that users must have the iCloud login used on the phone. However, this means that users don’t need to take physical access of the device they want to spy on. This is a huge advantage for stealth, although users should keep in mind that they need the permission of any adult they want to spy on.

Once it’s installed, Cocospy gives users access to almost everything on a phone. Users can monitor calls and SMS messages, social media apps, browsing history, keystrokes, the phone’s location, and more. Cocospy also supports geofence-based alerts for parents or employers who want to track their kids or employees. The app is quite robust and there’s very little information that it can’t retrieve from a target smartphone.

The only feature we found missing from Cocospy is that it cannot activate the microphone or camera remotely. However, users still have access to all saved videos, call recordings, and other multimedia on a target device.

Cocospy starts at $99.99 per year for 1 Android device or $129.99 per year for 1 iPhone. The platform also offers a family plan for 3 Android devices for $199.99 per year. Notably, Cocospy accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for payment.

Price Number of Devices
$99.99/year for Android, $129.99/year for iPhone 1

Pros

  • Very simple installation
  • Supports location tracking and alerts
  • Keystroke monitoring
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Family plan includes Android devices only

3. XNSpy – Best for Remote Control of a Target Phone

XNSpy is our pick for the best phone spy app for remote control for both iOS and Android devices. With XNSpy, users can track everything that’s happening on the target phone. That includes monitoring not only incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages, but also social messaging apps, Instagram, calendar entries, contacts, emails, and more.XNSpy Dashboard

One thing we especially like about XNSpy is that it enables a remote user to send commands to the phone on which the app is installed. The app can activate the phone’s microphone to record ambient sound, send screenshots from the phone, or even lock or wipe the device remotely. The latter functions are especially useful if a phone is lost or stolen.

XNSpy also offers location tracking features, including a handy geofencing function. With geofencing, a user can get alerts whenever a phone moves into or out of a specific area. This is very useful for parents who want to know where their children are or keep them away from certain places.

XNSpy costs $49.99 per month or $119.88 per year. New users can try out the app for free before purchasing.

Price Number of Devices
$119.88/year 1

Pros

  • Track social messaging apps
  • Lock or wipe device remotely
  • Location tracking and geofencing
  • Free trial

Cons

  • No free version available

4. Spyic – Best Phone Spy App for Comprehensive Monitoring

Spyic is a comprehensive phone spy app that monitors everything on a target phone. With this phone spy app, users can track phone calls, SMS messages, social media apps, calendars, location, photos and videos, browser activity, and more. Spyic also offers a stealth mode, which hides the app’s activity on the target phone so that the target doesn’t know they’re being monitored.Spyic Dashboard

Spyic doesn’t require root access on the target phone and is incredibly simple to set up. Users simply need to sign up for a Spyic subscription, download the app onto the target phone, and turn on stealth mode to remove the Spyic app from view.

Notably, while Spyic can monitor virtually any app on a target device, it does lack one feature that XNSpy offers: Spyic doesn’t enable remote users to control the target phone remotely. That means that it cannot lock or wipe a target phone, or activate the microphone or camera on demand. It can, however, track a phone’s location and set up geofence-based alerts.

Spyic starts at $99.99 per year for Android phones or $129.99 per year for iPhones. To install Spyic on an iPhone, users must have the iCloud login credentials used on the target phone. Spyic doesn’t offer a free trial, but does have a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Price Number of Devices
$99.99/year for Android, $129.99/year for iPhone 1

Pros

  • Stealth mode available
  • Location tracking
  • Monitors all social media apps
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive for iPhones

5. Mobile Tracker – Best Free Phone Spy App

Mobile Tracker is a free phone spy app for iOS and one of the best spy apps for Android that provides many of the same features as paid competitors. With this app, users can monitor calls, SMS messages, Facebook and WhatsApp messages, and more. However, Mobile Tracker doesn’t offer quite the same range of support for apps like Instagram and Snapchat.Mobile Tracker

Mobile Tracker also provides a remote control function, allowing a remote user to take a photo, turn on the microphone, or capture a screenshot. The app also tracks a phone’s location at all times, making it very useful for parents who want to know where their children are or employers who want to see where their employees are during the workday.

Another nice feature for parents is schedule restriction. This enables parents to lock a child’s phone during certain times, such as after bedtime or during school hours.

Mobile Tracker’s user dashboard is straightforward to navigate, although it doesn’t provide a mobile app for end-users. To access data from Mobile Tracker, users must log onto the company’s website and log in.

Price Number of Devices
Free 1

Pros

  • Completely free to use
  • Monitors Facebook and WhatsApp messages
  • Parental controls like schedule restriction
  • Remote access to phone camera

Cons

  • No mobile app for users

6. mSpy – Best Spy App for Android in 2022

mSpy is a powerful phone spy app for Android and iPhone devices. It includes a huge range of monitoring features, giving users the ability to peer into almost any app on a target phone. That includes social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram, photo and video-centric apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok, and much more.mSpy

One thing we especially like about the mSpy app is its Screen Recorder feature. This offers frequent screenshots from the target phone, essentially giving users a live feed of what a monitoring target is doing on their phone. Screen Recorder works even on apps that aren’t directly supported for monitoring by mSpy.

mSpy understands the importance of protecting sensitive data even in a monitoring situation, which is why all data is transmitted to the end-user with bank-grade encryption. The app automatically provides updates every 5 minutes. If there’s ever an issue, mSpy’s support team is available 24/7.

mSpy costs $48.99 per month or $139.92 per year for both iOS and Android devices. All mSpy plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee for users who aren’t satisfied with the app.

Price Number of Devices
$139.92/year 1

Pros

  • Monitors a wide range of social apps
  • Frequent screenshots from target phone
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Transmits data with encryption

Cons

  • Very expensive monthly plan
  • No remote control features

7. Hoverwatch – Best Spy App for Businesses

Hoverwatch is a capable phone spy app that gives users the ability to monitor phone calls, SMS messages, social messages, calendars, and more. The app also offers location tracking, which is an essential feature for most parents and employers. Hoverwatch operates in stealth mode, meaning that the app isn’t visible at all on targeted phones.Hoverwatch

One thing we especially like about Hoverwatch is that it can automatically record all incoming and outgoing calls on the target phone. This means that users don’t have to set up alerts and listen to calls in real-time, but rather can listen to them later or save them for archival purposes. This is a great feature for businesses where it may make sense to record all calls between employees and customers.

Hoverwatch is our pick as the best phone spy app for businesses because it has plans that support multiple devices – up to 25, in fact. For $499.95 per year, employers can install Hoverwatch on 25 iPhone and Android devices and get access to all of the app’s monitoring features. The Business plan also includes access to Hoverwatch’s Android app for monitors.

For monitoring a single device, Hoverwatch costs $99.95 per year.

Price Number of Devices
$99.95/year 1

Pros

  • Operates in stealth mode
  • Records all calls on target phone
  • Business plan for up to 25 devices
  • Android app for monitoring on the go

Cons

  • No remote control features

8. GeoFinder – Best for Remote GPS Tracking

GeoFinder is a simple spy app that allows users to enter any phone number and find out instantly where in the world the phone with that number is located. It works on all carriers and for any number. The only limitation is that the target smartphone must be turned on at the time in order to provide location information.

GeoFinder

GeoFinder relies on location data provided by cellular networks, WiFi networks, and GPS. It can be very accurate depending on what location permissions the target phone has unlocked.

Location information is delivered as an SMS rather than through an app, so tracking a phone over time isn’t as simple as just following it around on a map. However, clicking on the link in the SMS opens up a map display, so it’s easy to get oriented quickly.

GeoFinder charges a flat fee of $29.99 for a 10-year membership. With a membership, users can track an unlimited number of phones. However, note there is no refund policy.

Price Number of Devices
$29.99 Unlimited

Pros

  • Find the location of any phone using its number
  • Uses data from cellular networks
  • One-time membership fee
  • Track an unlimited number of phones

Cons

  • Only provides location data
  • No trial period or refunds

9. Spyera – Best Cell Phone Spy App for Monitoring Web Browsing

Spyera is a feature-rich phone spy app that stands out for its abilities to monitor web browser activity. With this app, users can monitor the entire browsing history of a target phone as well as take screenshots of every page a target user visits, even if they’re using the best VPN app. The app also has a keystroke logger, making it easy to see what a user was searching or what information they entered on a website.Spyera

Another thing we like about Spyera is that it’s not limited to monitoring phones. This app also works on tablets and Windows and Mac computers. So, it’s a comprehensive solution for anyone who wants to monitor multiple devices. Spyera even has a special pricing plan that includes 1 smartphone, 1 tablet, and 1 computer.

The drawback to Spyera is that it’s one of the more expensive phone spy apps on the market today. Monitoring a single iPhone or Android smartphone costs $389 per year, which is 2-3 times the cost of comparable spy apps. Monitoring a single computer is less pricey, at $199 per year. Spyera offers a 10-day money-back guarantee.

Price Number of Devices
$389/year 1

Pros

  • Can monitor smartphones, tablets, and computers
  • Includes a keystroke logger
  • Monitors entire browsing history
  • Records all call activity

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Short money-back guarantee

10. iKeyMonitor – Best Spy App for iPhone

iKeyMonitor is the best free spy app for iPhone in 2022. With iKeyMonitor’s free plan, users can track everything from call history and SMS messages to a phone’s location and calendar entries.iKeyMonitor

Of course, the free version doesn’t offer access to all of iKeyMonitor’s features. For users who want to track Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp messages, Snapchat interactions, email, and more, there’s a premium plan that costs $199.92 per year. Notably, this plan also includes monitoring for dating apps like Bumble and Tinder, which is something most spy apps don’t offer.

Another thing we like about iKeyMonitor is that it offers an app for monitors. This makes it easier to get updates about a target phone’s calls and messages on the go, without having to log into an online web portal.

iKeyMonitor offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for its premium plan. The company provides online tutorials, but customer support is only available by email.

Price Number of Devices
Free 1

Pros

  • Free spy app for iPhone and Android
  • Can monitor dating apps
  • Mobile control panel app
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive premium plan
  • Free plan doesn’t include call recording

11. Mobilespy.at – Best Spy App for Parental Controls

Mobilespy.at is one of our favorite spy apps for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids. With this app, parents can monitor their childrens’ incoming and outgoing calls and messages across a wide range of apps, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram. The app also offers location tracking and alerts anytime a phone moves into or out of a geofenced area.MobileSpy

Another feature that may appeal to parents include an app usage tracker, which shows which apps a child is using most on their device. Mobilespy.at can also be used to set usage restrictions during certain times, which is handy for making sure children aren’t up late on their phones. Parents can also choose to block specific apps that they don’t want their children using.

Mobilespy.at is also one of only a few spy apps that offers a live feed of a target phone’s screen as opposed to screenshots. That can be a huge advantage for this app for tight monitoring.

Mobilespy.at costs $19 per month or $158 per year for 1 device. There’s no money-back guarantee, but the app includes 24/7 customer support.

Price Number of Devices
$158/year 1

Pros

  • Monitors social messaging apps
  • Schedule phone use restrictions
  • Live feed of target phone screen
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • No money-back guarantee

12. Minspy – Best Location Tracking Spy App

Minspy is another top spy app that offers location tracking and geofence alerts. It’s ideal for parents who want to know where their children are at all times and employers who want to keep an eye on their employees throughout the day. Minspy uses a combination of GPS tracking, SIM card tracking, and WiFi hotspot tracking in order to accurately pinpoint a target phone’s location.MinSpy

Of course, Minspy tracks more than just location. The app is capable of monitoring calls and text messages, social media messaging apps, browsing history, and more. It’s very easy to use, although we did find ourselves wishing the app supported full call recording.

Minspy operates in stealth mode by default, so targeted users won’t know they’re being tracked. The app also doesn’t use up much battery life on the target phone, so users won’t suspect there’s anything extra installed on their devices.

MinSpy is available for both iOS and Android devices, although pricing depends on the type of device. Plans start at $99.99 per year for Android smartphones and $129.99 per year for iPhones.

Price Number of Devices
$99.99/year for Android, $129.99/year for iPhone 1

Pros

  • Accurate location tracking
  • Monitors most social media apps
  • Operates in stealth mode
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Doesn’t support call recording

Best Phone Spy Apps Compared

Can’t decide which phone spy app is best? Check out how all of the best spy apps compare head-to-head in the table below.

Best Phone Spy App Price Money-back Guarantee Number of Devices Types of Devices
uMobix $179.88/year 14 days 1 Android, iPhone
Cocospy $99.99/year for Android, $129.99/year for iPhone 60 days 1 Android, iPhone
XNSpy $119.88/year 10 days 1 Android, iPhone
Spyic $99.99/year for Android, $129.99/year for iPhone 60 days 1 Android, iPhone
Mobile Tracker Free N/A 1 Android, iPhone
mSpy $139.92/year 14 days 1 Android, iPhone
Hoverwatch $99.95/year None 1 Android, iPhone
GeoFinder $29.99 None Unlimited Android, iPhone
Spyera $389/year 10 days 1 Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac
iKeyMonitor Free 30 days 1 Android, iPhone
Mobilespy.at $158/year None 1 Android, iPhone
Minspy $99.99/year for Android, $129.99/year for iPhone 60 days 1 Android, iPhone

What is a Phone Spy App?

A phone spy app is a mobile app that’s designed to provide remote monitoring of the phone on which it is installed. The best phone spy apps offer access to call logs, SMS messages, app data, browser histories, photos and videos on the device, and much more. Some phone spy apps even offer remote control of a target device, giving remote users the ability to lock the phone or take control of the camera or microphone.

Phone spy apps are often used by parents to monitor their children’s app usage and online interactions. They can also be used by employers to monitor company phones and track employees’ locations during the workday.

Of course, there are also unethical ways to use a phone spy app, such as collecting data without the knowledge of a phone’s owner. However, these unethical uses are not encouraged by phone spy app providers and may not be legal in some states.

How Do Phone Spy Apps Work?

The best spy apps are installed on a target iPhone or Android device and provide access to all of the data on the device. Since they are installed on the phone, they have access to everything that’s happening on the phone. They can monitor call history, record calls, view SMS messages and messages from social media apps, and track browser history.

All of this data is relayed remotely to a control software, which is available online or through another mobile app. The user who is doing the monitoring can use this control software to access data from the target phone.

Importantly, many of the best phone spy apps offer a stealth mode. When operating in stealth mode, the app icon is removed from the target phone’s home screen and there are no obvious signs that the app is running in the background. So, the owner of the target phone won’t necessarily know that their phone is being monitored. Spy apps usually are not detected by antivirus software, either.

Why Use a Phone Spy App?

Phone spy apps have many uses – some of them ethical, and some of them more questionable. Here are some of the main reasons people use phone spy apps.

Parental Monitoring

One of the most common – and good-intentioned – reasons to use a phone spy app is to keep an eye on children. Phone spy apps can be used to see if a child is bullying others or being bullied through social messaging. They can also be used to track a child’s location, so parents are always able to know where their kids are.

Phone spy apps can even be used simply to monitor app usage. These apps provide information about which apps a child is using and how much time they’re spending on their phones. Certain apps also offer scheduled restrictions, which can be used to lock a child’s phone during school hours or at night.

Tracking Employee Activity

Many employers who provide company phones to their employees pre-install phone spy apps onto those phones. That enables employers to make sure that employees are only using their work phones for approved or work-related activities, or only during work hours. Phone spy apps can also be used to automatically record conversations between employees and customers, or to save a record of all employee SMS messages.

Snooping on a Spouse

One of the less ethical ways to use a phone spy app is to spy on a partner or spouse who may be cheating. A phone spy app can be used to monitor their phone calls or messages, including any conversations they may have with their suspected lover. The location tracking features of phone spy apps can also be used to check whether a partner is actually where they say they are.

Can You Use Spy Apps Without Touching the Target Phone?

Most phone spy apps must be installed directly on the target phone, meaning that users must have physical access to the target phone for several minutes. This is always the case for Android phones: there is no best spy app for Android without access to the target phone because physical access to Android phones is always required for installation.

However, some spy apps can be installed on iPhones without physical access. That’s thanks to iCloud backup, which offers a two-way sync between the cloud and an iPhone.

In order to install a spy app without target phone access, users must have the login credentials used for iCloud backup on the target phone. Importantly, users must also be able to enter the authentication code required by two-factor authentication. This code is typically sent to the target phone itself, so physical access to the target phone may be required anyway.

Once a spy app is installed on a target phone, that phone does not need to be physically accessed again.

Are Phone Spy Apps Safe?

Phone spy apps are safe to use. Only the person who purchases a spy app and has login credentials to use the app can view data from the target phone. This data is often transmitted in an encrypted format and cannot be accessed by anyone else. Even the owner of the target phone cannot see what data – like screenshots or audio recordings – are being transmitted to the monitor.

Free Phone Spy Apps vs Paid Phone Spy Apps

There are many free phone spy apps in addition to paid apps. The best free phone spy app options offer the key features of phone spy apps, such as access to call logs and SMS messages. Many also offer location tracking features at no cost.

However, free phone spy apps do have limitations. Most free phone spy apps don’t offer access to social media messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, which is where many people do most of their communicating by text. These apps also may not offer automatic call recording or the ability to control a phone’s camera or microphone remotely.

So, whether the best free phone spy app will work depends on a user’s needs. Free apps could be enough for loose monitoring, but they certainly don’t provide the same breadth of monitoring features as paid phone spy apps. For users who want to design a spy app with more custom functionality, it’s possible to create one using the best app builders.

Are Phone Spy Apps Legal?

Phone spy apps are legal. However, they can be used in ways that are illegal.

In the US, it is legal to use phone spy apps with someone’s permission. However, it is illegal in most cases to install a phone spy app on someone’s phone without their knowledge.

The laws around illegal spying haven’t been thoroughly tested, and there may be some exceptions. For example, if an employer provides employees with phones that are paid for by the company, then using a phone spy app on those phones may be legal even without employees’ consent since the company owns the phones.

The same applies if one person purchases their spouse’s phone and pays their phone bill. In these cases, using a phone spy app without the target’s express consent may be legal, but the law isn’t clear on this.

Parents can legally use a phone spy app on their childrens’ phones with or without consent. However, this only applies until the child turns 18 and legally becomes an adult. Once someone is 18 or older, they must consent to being monitored, even if the monitoring is done by a parent.

How to Use a Phone Spy App

Ready to get started with the best phone spy app in 2022? We’ll walk readers through how to set up XNSpy, the overall best spy app for iPhone and Android we reviewed.

Step 1: Sign Up for XNSpy

To get started with XNSpy, users have to sign up for a paid plan. Head to XNSpy’s website and click Try Now. Enter an email and choose whether an Android device or iPhone will be targeted. Then choose a monthly, quarterly, or annual plan and check out. The XNSpy software is delivered to the registered email after payment.Sign Up for XNSpy

Step 2: Install XNSpy on the Target Phone

Next, users need to install XNSpy on the target phone. The process is slightly different for Android and iPhone devices.

For Android devices, users must have physical access to the target device. They must download the XNSpy software onto the phone, then login using their XNSpy credentials to activate the app. Make sure to give XNSpy all of the permissions that it prompts for, or else the app will not work correctly.Install XNSpy

For iPhones, users do not need physical access to the target device, but they do need the login credentials used for iCloud backup on the target iPhone. They must also have access to the two-factor authentication code if two-factor authentication is enabled in iCloud. Once in iCloud, users can install the XNSpy app and it will be synced to the phone.

Step 3: Monitor

Once XNSpy is installed, users can start monitoring the target device. The monitoring dashboard is available online through XNSpy’s website. Users must log in with their email and select the device they are monitoring.XNSpy Monitoring

Conclusion: What is the Best Spy App for 2022?

The best spy apps make it easy to monitor any iPhone or Android device. These apps can be very useful for keeping an eye on a spouse, monitoring children, or tracking employees’ work phones.

Based on our reviews, XNSpy is the best phone spy app for iOS and Android in 2022. It offers access to virtually all communications and apps on a target phone, and it’s relatively affordable compared to competing apps. Sign up today to start monitoring an iPhone or Android phone!

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