In 2021, telecommunication research found that there were just under 15 billion mobile devices worldwide (and even more numbers — since one person can have multiple phone numbers). That’s nearly two mobile devices for every living person on the planet. To say that cell phones have fundamentally changed the way society operates would be a massive understatement.
The majority of these changes have been positive. People can stay in contact more easily, use apps to make life more efficient, and have a ton of information at their fingertips. Unfortunately, they’ve also made privacy next to impossible, as almost everything you do with one can be tracked.
Why Would You Want To Spy on Someone Else’s Phone?
Parents are especially appreciative of spy software as they can monitor what their children are doing online. There are inherent risks of being online that a younger person might not understand.
Enabling parental control could help guide them through these risks and slowly introduce them to new features as they mature. Limiting their online exposure would help protect the personal information of both parents and children.
It’s also beneficial for employers looking to maximize productivity from their workers. It’s safe to say that scrolling through social media accounts and watching videos online isn’t in most job descriptions.
Performing these actions while on the clock would be a waste of company time and resources, especially if they’re using an assigned phone provided by the company. A business phone should be used for business purposes. Period.
Speaking of the business world, employers may let their team members know that they monitor work computers with apps like:
- HoverWatch (Windows and Mac)
- iKeyMonitor (Windows, Mac, iOs devices, and Android phones)
Relationship transparency is another potential benefit that can help suspicious spouses restore their trust in a relationship. Having access to their partner’s phone could go a long way toward alleviating any concern that they’re having an affair. It would take a tremendous amount of work to maintain and hide an affair without being able to use phones, email, or social media.
Is It Legal To Spy on Someone Else’s Phone?
The law is pretty clear on this one. Intercepting another person's private electronic communications without their permission violates both state and federal laws. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 protects wire, oral, and electronic communications while they’re being made, are in transit, or are stored on computers. Individuals who violate the ECPA could face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, along with additional punitive damages.
5 Different Ways To Spy on Another Phone
Using any type of spyware without the expressed consent of another person is illegal. That’s why almost all options will require physical access to the phone. The idea is that the person downloading and installing the app would know they’re being monitored and therefore consent to it. Were you to install this software without permission, it would be a clear violation of the aforementioned ECPA.
With all of the legal ramifications clearly stated, we can now get into the different ways that you could spy on someone else's phone activity:
1. iCloud Backup
Most iOs device users will routinely back up the data on their device by using iCloud services. The idea is that if anything were to happen to their phone (lost, broken, stolen, etc.), they wouldn’t lose all of their data.
If you want to access this data, you could go to iCloud.com and find it there. You wouldn't need physical access to the phone in question. However, you would need their Apple ID and password, which might be more tricky to get without permission.
Another option for phone monitoring an Apple device is using the Find My iPhone program. You wouldn’t be able to access any data on the target phone, but you could use the app to enable GPS tracking of the phone.
Of course, the phone's owner would have to install the app and enable the phone’s location services. It would be a reasonable request for a parent or employer to make, but it would require the consent of the party to be legal.
mSpy is probably the best option for parents looking to monitor their children’s activity. The highly popular monitoring software is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Using the software will allow you to monitor:
- Phone call logs
- Text messages (including iMessage and SMS messages)
- Browser history
- Social media activity (including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat)
- The phone’s GPS location
The list of features doesn’t end there, as you can also use a keylogger to record keystrokes made on the device and create screenshots to monitor what’s being displayed. It even allows for remote control from a separate device. You could lock the device, block specific apps/websites, and remotely wipe the device’s data.
The pricing plan for mSpy starts at a hefty $48.99 per month. However, you can drop the price down to $11.66 a month when you purchase an annual subscription.
uMobix is easily one of the best spy apps currently on the market. The list of features provided by uMobix might be even more impressive than those offered by mSpy.
There are more than 40 unique features available with uMobix, including every one of what mSpy offers in real-time. The uMobix software can even reveal when a SIM card has been replaced, which prevents clever attempts to circumnavigate it.
The additional features will cost a little more than the mSpy monitoring app, but it’s not a significant amount. A one-month subscription is $49.99, but it drops to $12.49 when you purchase an annual subscription.
FlexiSPY is just as capable as the other options on this list, as it includes all of its best features. What separates FlexiSPY is that it allows you to intercept mobile phone calls on the target device.
You’ll have the ability to listen in on live phone calls in real time. This means no call recordings that you have to download and listen to later. You’ll be a third party to the call as it’s happening. It also gives you access to a password cracker feature that can be used to gain entry into password-protected accounts on the device.
Naturally, access to these incredible features will cost you quite a bit of money. The price range for a FlexiSPY subscription ranges from $29.95 to an incredible $419. The cheapest options still give you solid access to features, but the best ones will only be available with the most expensive subscriptions. While this spy application does offer stealth mode (like all others on this list), it will require primary user permission to install.
ClevGuard is the last option on this list and makes it primarily due to the price. The list of features is fairly basic and can’t compete with the advanced features of other options. The only major advantage is it provides multi-language support. However, if you’re looking for something simple without breaking the bank, then ClevGuard is the best place to start.
This monitoring and tracking app offers a review of:
- Website browsing history
- Social media accounts (including Kik, Tinder, WhatsApp, and more)
- GPS/Wifi-location tracking and geofencing
A one-month subscription to start monitoring will cost you $29.95, which is about half the cost of the other options. However, a 12-month subscription will shave down that cost to $8.32 per month and save you some extra money.
Data privacy is an inalienable right to which every individual is entitled. To violate that right would be illegal, immoral, and ethically wrong.
With that being said, using some of the options listed above can be extremely beneficial in some cases. A young child using their very first phone might not know the potential dangers or how to identify a scammer.
As long as you have their consent to monitoring their activity, using the aforementioned option is perfectly acceptable. The same is true for employees using a business phone or a spouse willing to give 100% access.
The legal system is very clear about using cell phone spy apps on another person’s phone. Unless you have their consent, it’s a crime that’s punishable by prison time and/or a fine. You should never attempt to spy on another person’s phone unless you have their permission and they’ve granted you access to their data.