Cell Phone Spy Software Complete Overview – For Whom, How to Choose and How It Works

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Is there someone who really wants to spy on someone else?

It turns out that a little thing like a smartphone in the hand of someone you know can become your CIA and FBI without your knowing it. There are tons of spyware programs, which one can secretly install on another person’s phone and monitor each and every little action: phone talks, sharing files (audio, video, pictures, etc.), messages, browsing history, tracking his/her location, social media activities, and many more.

hacker spy

Basically, there are three main categories of people, who may want to use this kind of application: parents, employers and spouses.

Parents spy on Kids?

parents spy

Parents seek to use parent phone monitoring apps to stay in touch with their kids and track their location when they are away from home and monitor their online activities. Thus they get an idea where their sons and daughters are and what they are doing now and are about to do. Tracking websites and media blogs, which they visit, helps a parent see what his/her kid feels like, his/her current interests, and, most important, his/her company.

Sometimes it helps to notice some bad signs and take steps to prevent a child from getting involved in nasty businesses (bullying, narcotics, religious cults, etc.) Finally, there is software, which blocks access to adult websites that contain explicit materials, scenes of violence, and other things that can damage a kid’s vulnerable psyche.

Big Bosses spy on Employees?

boss spy

Many bosses want to use phone monitor apps to keep track of employees’ activities. There are lots of reasons they do so, such as, to name a few:

  • They need to be sure that employees feel well and are in a good mood;
  • They need to be sure that staff focus on work and do not waste their work hours;
  • To make sure that employees meet deadlines;
  • To ensure that no one in the company is breaching confidentiality requirements and no part of confidential information will become available to third parties;
  • To coordinate interaction between staff members.

This kind of monitoring can help prevent conflicts within a company, create a friendly and productive environment and keep the business ticking.

Spouses spy on each other?

spouse spy

Some spouses often rely on spy apps to keep track of their soulmates’ activities and monitor them for signs of infidelity. In many cases, a sudden change in a family member’s mood, long absence from home or change in hobbies and interests is a good reason to sound the alarm.

Shame on them … ARE SPYING LEGAL???

It should be noted that in most nations SPYING IS ILLEGAL!!! Generally, it is a highly controversial issue. Under certain circumstances, monitoring someone else’s online activities can put personal privacy and security in danger. This appears to be true because a good deal of personal and sensitive information (location, pictures, browsing history, messages, etc.) becomes available to a third party and can be compromised. The controversy arose from the fact that many spy apps used the Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology, which is quite invasive and violated the App Store and Google Play Store guidelines. After some analysis, they had to exclude a group of spy/tracking/monitoring apps, because people could use them for criminal purposes.

Second, you must be sure that monitoring people like this is permitted by law. Every country has its own legislation, but in most of them spying is outlawed. In this context, it is necessary to distinguish between spying and monitoring. Spying means tracking someone without his/her consent and/or awareness. Monitoring usually implies tracking a target person’s activities upon his/her consent. For example, prior to installing a spy app on their children’s devices, parents should warn them about it. Likewise, bosses are obliged to notify each employee that their devices are under surveillance. In addition, it would be more ethical for employers to set up corporate networks and give each employee a corporate device with spyware installed on it instead of secretly targeting personal phones.

There is even less certainty about spouses using phones to track each other’s location and activities. This all appears to be a matter of mutual consent and an ability to explain why it would take a high-tech device to keep the family bonds stronger.

How Does Cell Phone Spy Apps Work?

There are tons of such apps out there, and each one uses its own installation guide. But generally, the process is similar. There are three uniform steps one should perform to install spyware on a target phone:

  1. Register on the app seller’s website. Like it or not, but you will need to submit some personal information and your email. You will need to verify your email by clicking on a link, which will be in the message you will receive after signing up. 
  2. Buy a subscription according to your chosen plan or use a trial version (if there is one) until the trial period expires. In the latter case, it is almost certain that they will request data on your credit card to verify your full name. This helps app sellers to block users, who use apps for doubtful and/or criminal purposes and guarantee receipt of payment following the trial period.
  3. Install an app on a target phone; Be sure that you can have access to a target phone for a little while to install a program. Usually, it takes but a few minutes. However, some installation guides abound in terminology that poses difficulties for users. Most paid services provide support for users through tickets and/or chats. Should something go wrong during installation, users can ask for help right away. Reputable and conscientious companies take great care to respond quickly and keep their customers satisfied.

You thought you can do Remote Installation?

Nah Nah Nah… You Can’t!!!

So… That was all about the installation process but how they actually work?

phone cloud backup

Once you have installed an app on someone else’s phone, all data from that target phone begins to come in and accumulate in the app sellers “cloud”.  All you need is to track phone activity on your account, which you have on the seller’s website. So simple …

How Do I Choose a Right Spy App?

who knows

Just like buying any product, buying a cell phone monitoring app is a matter of great responsibility. It takes quite a bit of insight and research to find a good thing among countless counterparts. There are lots of things to consider, so the process may take a lot of time and effort. So, what is the most important thing about it? There is something of a generalized answer: it depends on what exactly you expect from an app. Simply put, you should know exactly why you need it. Also, there are things you must be sure in.

  1. One of the best ways to find a decent app is to check a dozen of forums where users discuss apps‘ haves and have-nots and leave feedback. Also, some websites provide detailed reviews on apps and their specifics. However, many app makers and sellers create fake accounts and praise their own products to the skies. They either write themselves or hire professional writers. Please, be sure that the feedback is real and not let these fake descriptions mislead you. Not infrequently, the “word of mouth” is the best source of information. Ask someone you know who has experience with a particular app and/or brand of apps.
  2. Please, be sure that the chosen app is compatible with the target phone’s platform (Apple or Android). Most likely, if you have an iPhone, it will need jailbreaking.
  3. Be sure that there is a trial period. You can use a virtual credit card with a minimal amount of money on it (just a few dollars). Once you have signed up for such a card, you will be getting notifications throughout the trial period; particularly, you will be notified when the period is about to expire and asked whether or not you would like to convert to your actual credit card. If you choose not to convert, the virtual card will block the charge option, so you will not be billed for what you are not actually using. Thus you can access the app and, if it fails to satisfy your needs, opt out without paying any extra sums. 
  4. It is absolutely imperative that you get on with a legitimate spy app maker. It is but the biggest part of service quality and personal and financial security. If the company is legitimate and you get the original app version, you can be sure that your and your target user’s data will not be compromised. To see if the company is trustworthy, you can run its phone number online. 
  5. It will be great if the company practices live chats and they are ready to stay in touch with you 24/7. If there is no live chat, enter a question in the contact or messenger and see how long it takes for them to respond. 

iPhone Spy Apps … No Jailbreak?

Spy apps operate on popular platforms, such as iPhone and Android. However, there is a little problem with iPhone: not all such apps can be purchased from the official Apple App Store. The Apple App Store rules require that iPhone/iPad users must feel zero controversy about any product. The problem is that many good apps’ names contain the term “spy”, which misleads many users. Second, Apple does not want to be part of any scheme in case someone decides to use them illegally or for criminal purposes.  

However, some apps are available for purchase and download in the Apple app store, because they are sold as parent control tools. Most of those purchased elsewhere (not in the official app store) can only be installed on jailbroken iPhones or iPads. If you try to install one on a phone without jailbreaking it, you will have but limited functionality and the app may function improperly or not function at all. There are apps, however, which can be tuned to iCloud, so they can collect data from a target device via the iCloud service. These apps are only able to use data that is stored in iCloud. This entails a degree of dependence on the target user’s activities. For example, if he/she chooses to disable the iCloud picture download function, you will no longer be able to monitor his/her picture downloads.  

As follows from the above, every app has pros and cons in installation methods. Before purchasing one, please, do thorough research on these methods (they are described on the app seller’s website). If you have any questions or issues, please, contact the app seller’s support.

Android Spy Apps 

Things are easier for Android users: there are quite a bunch of spyware tools that are fully compatible with Android devices and are very easy to install. All you need to do is download an “.apk” setup file and launch the installation process. There are free programs galore on the Internet for Android (not for iPhone!). Android is less strict on that than Apple – it is not even mandatory that you download one from the official Google Play Store website. 

However, one should be very careful when choosing a source, because freeware is more likely to have rootkits, vulnerabilities, and viruses. It is highly advisable to buy a high-quality spy app from a reputable vendor. Thus you will be able to avoid problems, ensure maximal security, and expect the app to work as you want it to.

Spy on a Cell Phone for Free

free trial

Those, who are not ready to pay the price, can use a trial. Most of spy apps sellers allow sing up for a subscription with a free trial period that lasts a couple of days. This can be quite an option for those who need to have a tab on a kid, spouse or employee for but a little while, or for those who just wish to check how it is going to work.  Please, be sure that you cancel the subscription before the trial period expires. If you do not, the seller will deduct a subscription charge from your credit card or account. Please, read the terms very carefully prior to sharing your credit card details. Also, it is advisable to check real buyers’ feedback or app reviews posted on niche websites. 

How to Spy On Cell Phone without Having It?

There is one thing everyone should know: installing a tracking app on someone else’s phone without accessing it is not possible! Some people still cherish Hollywood fears about hackers drawing data from phones through a mere mental effort and search in google phrases like this “Spy on Cell Phone without Installing Software on Target Phone“. Happily, that is not possible. Otherwise, the world would be one big surveillance mess if it was!

In fact, it is security services (CIA, FBI, etc.) and some police divisions who can track phone data providing that it is not coded. However, they can’t do it without an official court order and without using specific equipment, which is only distributed in keeping with governmental regulations and is not available on the market.

There are posts on the Internet about agents eventually hacking a criminal’s iPhone. This testifies to the fact that it is not possible to hack a phone without directly accessing it. This is different from cases whereby, for example, they hack an iCloud account and get a tab on data traveling between the phone and iCloud and/or Google. However, recent iCloud hack imbroglios, which resulted in some celebrities’ erotic pics getting out into the open, have prompted Apple to use more advanced anti-hack protection techniques. Also, Apple and Google advise everyone to use two-factor authentication, which pretty much boosts account security.

That means that you do need to use the target phone, at least for a couple of minutes, to get a tracker app on it. This will be even tougher if the target device needs to be jailbroken, or you will need to get iCloud credentials. 

How to Spy On Cell Phone Without Them Knowing?

There are spy apps, which have stealth mode“. This mode minimizes a target phone’s response to the tracker’s activity and makes it almost unnoticeable for the user. For example, it can disguise the app’s icons as system ones or even makes it invisible in the app list, so the target user will disregard the issue. Other utilities allow you to enable/disable activities through the use of a default code on the app’s default number. Spy apps come and go, and so do their features, which vary greatly from app to app.

What are the Most Popular Spy App Features?

wish list

Each app has its own list of tracking features. You can and you should check that list before buying an app.  Then you will know the exact type of app that you need. The most common features are: spy on camera, spy on messages and keylogger

Spy Camera Apps

These apps provide access to the target phone’s camera and all pics and vids shot by it. The application enables to remotely monitor and log the cam activity. Most applications will store pictures and videos in the cloud, which have been deleted from the phone, intentionally or not, and users still can view them. Media files take up a lot of disk space, so it takes a bit of time to download a full version in the cloud. For this reason, they will come up in activity logs after a little while.  

Keylogger Apps

It is a pretty standard feature for iPhone and Android, and it is part of any spyware app. However, not all programs can make it completely accessible, especially if a target phone features a custom keyboard, so the app does not support it. However, apps do support all popular keyboards.  Keylogger apps are very helpful given the fact that, apart from messengers, they can track other programs, which involve typing information. These include browsers, games, etc. There are thousands of programs out there, so it would not be possible to customize a tracker for each one. From this standpoint, keylogger serves as a universal tracking feature.   

Spy SMS / Text Messages

Messengers like WhatsApp, Viber, SnapChat, Facebook Messenger, etc. are increasingly popular. Many developers of paid apps are trying to incorporate tracker features in them. However, even if there is no opportunity to do so, it is still possible to track messages via keylogger apps and with the help of an access function. 

Spy Apps Future: a Brief Sum-Up

Since spy apps have been widely available for not quite so long, and the market continues to grow, there are good reasons to believe that this segment does have a future. Hopefully, as applications acquire advanced features, become user-friendly and affordable, and as public awareness improves, the word “spy” tends to lose part of its negative connotation. In many ways, mobile tracker technologies give us a sense of security. For example, a schoolboy or young girl will feel safer and more confident in the street as she knows there is always someone out there guarding her and ready to come if something goes wrong.

In theory, as spy apps help coordinate staffs’ work, they can help businesses work more effectively and therefore contribute to economic success on a national and even global scale. It is quite so evident that using mobile phone tracker programs is almost a must for businesses involved in logistics and transportation spheres. 

There is an opinion that parental control apps can teach kids to behave in a safer way in the rapidly developing digital environment. For example, they will be less eager to visit unwanted websites, be more careful when choosing chat mates, and refrain from sharing too much personal information (birth date, residential address, parents’ names, financial data, etc.), especially when using public wi-fi hotspots. They are increasingly aware that there are criminals out there preying on careless young users’ personal information. Finally, parental control can prevent kids from getting too much involved in addictive online activities (gaming) and stimulate a healthy lifestyle.

The development of the spy app segment makes it necessary to adjust laws to the rapidly changing reality. Obviously, developers have demonstrated a striving to keep in line with legislation and guidelines, as they have agreed to adjust their products to the Apple App Store’s and Google Play Store’s requirements. Most important, they demonstrate readiness and desire to focus on personal security and counter hackers’ activities. This should set up healthy interaction between business and law and create a transparent environment for all types of businesses.