Note: Do NOT use any of the software applications I write about here for INVASION OF PRIVACY. Doing so is ILLEGAL. Your best option to know its legality is to consult a lawyer.
Okay, let's now go straight into the topic… I will say the important things upfront so we don't waste time.
The best way to track a phone is by using a software. And the best one as of the moment is the mSpy cell phone tracking software.
Because mSpy has been voted the #1 monitoring software and is the preferred monitoring/safety application for millions of satisfied users around the globe. It has the most positive reviews. They have very robust functionality, reliability, and customer support. And if your target device is an iPhone (or other iOS devices), you don't need to jailbreak it anymore!
All the others that we also review here (Highster Mobile, FlexiSpy, Spyera, iSpyoo, MobiStealth, iKeyMonitor, SpyMaster Pro, The Truth Spy, Easy Spy, iMobiSpy, Mobile Monitor, Mobile Spy, SpyToMobile, StealthGenie, and SpyBubble) cannot match their customer satisfaction levels. They also have a flexible pricing structure according to the features that you just need.
So if you're in a hurry, then you MUST click here to begin tracking a phone ASAP!
If you want the finer details, you could also read on…
How To Track A Cell Phone: Two (2) Ways
Whether you are a parent who needs to track (whether secretly or otherwise) and protect his minor child, a grown-up adult who needs to monitor his aging parent, or an employer who needs to track the company phone's activities, you may find this information very useful. It may also be that you want to track your own device to monitor its location and activities. This is helpful when locating your phone after losing or misplacing it. In some ways, this also helps you to monitor your phone use.
There are generally 2 ways of tracking phones – using a cell phone tracker (a software app) and using a physical chip (for GPS tracking and/or wiretapping).
I would like to save you the hassles of testing both for yourself and point you towards the right direction. And let me also point out that the “FREE” WAYS OF TRACKING CELL PHONES DON'T WORK! They are all around the internet. They will just waste your precious time and effort!
In my experience, using a mobile phone tracking software is the best, fastest, and most cost-effective way of doing it.
Let me explain…
- Installing a cell phone tracker takes just about 5 minutes. With a physical GPS chip… don’t even get me started on this! Good luck with installing such a small chip in such a small device!
- You have more options with the software option. With the physical chip, you just have a few. With the software, you can track GPS locations, read text messages, record the device's surroundings, record calls, view its browser’s history, see the pictures taken, see the videos shot, read emails, see the phone book and calendar, as well as logs and records of other messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. With a physical chip, you could just either track locations or overhear conversations around the phone.
How Does The Software Work?
Unlike most applications, mobile spying apps follow distinct rules on how to record and transmit information. For them to work, they first have to be installed on the target devices (phones and tablets) before information-gathering can be carried out. Although the way they work is the same for the most part, techniques used in collecting information may vary from one tracking application to another. Once it is installed, the software sends the required information to the company's servers from which you can gain access to by logging in to your account. However, for the app to work properly, certain requirements have to be met.
- The target phone should be compatible with the app itself. Older devices such as the famous Nokia 3310 may not be capable of running any of the cell phone tracking applications available on the market unless the tracker is hardware-based. In that case, it should be a chip – the traditional phone-bugging system (which is illegal).
- The OS (operating system) of the target phone should be compatible with the app. When we say “operating system”, we mean whether the device is on iOS, Android, Windows Phone OS, Blackberry OS, Symbian OS, etc. Always ensure that the app is specifically tailored to work on your cell phone's OS or else it will not work as it should or not at all.
- The target phone should be able to access the internet. This is because the app needs to send gathered information to the servers as well as communicate with them.
Can I Remotely Install It?
NO! You cannot install a mobile tracking application remotely! When you see adverts and banners about “remote installation” of this software, don't believe them – IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! The only way to get it to work is if it's physically installed!
Which Cell Phones Are Compatible?
The present wide array of operating systems in the market makes it hard to produce an app that will work on all platforms.
In light of this, the majority of phone tracking software companies usually overcome this by fielding different teams of app developers – with each team targeting a particular OS. Some of the OS that you can expect the software to work include Android, iOS, Blackberry OS, Symbian OS, and Windows Phone. New entrants in the market such as the Firefox OS may still have a long way to go before they can be compatible with most that are presently available.
Are There Any Special Features That The Target Device Should Have?
In terms of how cell phones are made or operate, the phrase “special features” can mean a whole lot of things. This can either be in terms of hardware or software.
In terms of hardware, there are no special features that are required for the app to operate since all the work will solely be handled by the app itself and available internet connection. However, for trackers which are hardware-based (they use chips for bugging and no software application), only then would you consider the hardware aspect.
In terms of software though, it will all boil down to the OS that your phone uses and the requirements laid down by the app. Some of the requirements that your cell phone may need to meet in order for the app to run smoothly includes rooting your phone or jail breaking it. Don't freak out yet, I will explain the terms below.
For iOS Devices – Jailbreaking (compulsary except for mSpy)
When we say iOS devices, we generally mean iPhones and iPads. “Jailbreaking” refers to the process of freeing an iPhone or iPad from restrictions imposed by Apple regarding third-party app installation. Normally, you cannot install applications which are not verified by Apple. By jailbreaking it, you will be able to install apps from third-party developers – mobile spying applications included.
Detailed instructions on jailbreaking an iPhone can be found here in this link.
For Android Devices – Rooting (recommended but not compulsary)
“Rooting” refers to gaining the administrative access on an Android device allowing you to make unlimited changes to the its Android OS.
Detailed instructions on rooting your Android can also be found here in this link.
But Wait, How Legal Is It?
This is actually one of my favorite questions. As much as we all love to do or buy certain things, when it is quoted as illegal, now that’s where most people draw the line.
Tracking someone else’s phone IS GENERALLY ILLEGAL. It has rules governing it. Here are the things you need to know before you install this app on someone's phone.
It is legal if…
- You are the rightful owner or have legal authority over the device that you intend to install the app on. If it belongs to another person, forget it because you will be treading in mucky waters.
- You must notify the person using the phone that the device is being monitored. Failure to do so will lead you to lawsuits if discovered.
If you have minor kids, you could install the software on their phones since you have the legal right over their phones. For employers, however, you can do that if you have warned them in advance that the company phones are being monitored.
Please take note: Take the advice above with a pinch of salt. It's not legal advice. I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to be. It's best to consult a legal professional to get a professional advice or opinion about it.
Consider These When Choosing
- Is it compatible with your phone? This will all depend on your phone's OS.
- Does it meet all of your needs? Although designed to handle basic things such as record or log calls, messages and apps, some may offer even more features. Choose one that has all the things that you need.
- Although the more the features, the better the app is, always limit yourself to what you can afford. However, the price may be inflated due to factors such as number of people it monitors, duration, level of detail or package that you go for.
Mobile Spying Apps Ranked According To Preference
I give mSpy a 5/5 star rating because it does an excellent job. It can read SMS messages and does the same for MMS messages and email messages. With it, you can see the call logs of the target phone, their duration, and the times the calls happened. You can also see where the target device is and where it has been. It can get passcodes typed on the phone as well as its calendar and phone book. It uploads multimedia files (images, videos, audio files) taken using the device to an online account.
It is also compatible with most operating systems and is easy to access from any browser. As of the present, it is the ONLY one that does not require the dreaded JailBreaking for iOS devices. And you could CONTROL the apps that it can access. And there's still many more!
2. Highster Mobile
I also give Highster Mobile a 5/5 star rating. With it, you could track text messages (including both deleted ones and old ones), iMessages, calls and photos as well as videos, email history, browser history, GPS locator, and some social media messages. Plus, it's very easy to use. It comes second to mSpy because of its pricing – it's a one-time payment.
I give FlexiSpy a 4/5 star rating. It does a number of things that I found to be very useful. It could read messages including SMS and instant messages and it also gives the GPS location of the target phone. It could also let you listen to conversations in real-time. The nice thing about this application is that installing it is very easy and it is also possible to remove its icon to ensure total secrecy. It could have taken over mSpy as #1 if not for its very high price.
I give Spyera a 4/5 star rating. It is almost undetectable. With it, you could listen to live calls from the target phone. Not only that but you could also record conversations. You could also track social media sites with it. It also allow you to to track SMS messages – both incoming as well as outgoing ones. It could also record passwords typed from the target phone. Plus, it's compatible with Android, iOS, and other popular operating systems. It also has an excellent Alert Wizard that allows you to specify criteria that generates a notification on the account dashboard. Overall, almost the same as FlexiSpy but more expensive.
I give iSpyoo a 4/5 star rating. iSpyoo has a number of things going for it. It allows you to monitor the target device online in total secrecy, view entire SMS messages, keep tabs on WhatsApp and iMessage, find GPS location, keep tabs on Facebook and Twitter messages, record call details as well as keep track of websites visited, read phone contacts as well as call history, and many more. This one is just okay for its price.
I give MobiStealth a 4/5 star rating. With this software, you'll find it very easy to get answers. It also comes with many advanced surveillance features and it has an uncanny ability to track every activity and send this information straight to your MobiStealth user account dashboard. It has almost the same features as mSpy plus it has its own reverse phone lookup feature. If not for its pricing, it could have achieved a higher preference from me.
I give iKeymonitor a 3/5 star rating. It is also totally undetectable and is perfect for logging SMS and call history. Its other notable features include stealth screenshots, password keylogger, and the ability to track GPS locations. With it, you could also know which websites were visited, know the phone's Facebook activities, and many more.
iKeyMonitor is different than other apps in that it can monitor any application by recording the keystrokes which were typed on the target device. It lets you see screen activities in the form of a slideshow and it runs in invisible mode at all times. This one is just okay.
8. SpyMaster Pro
I give SpyMaster Pro a 3/5 star rating. After installation, it will go about its business in stealth mode. Some of its features include checking the phone logs, tracking incoming and outgoing messages even those deleted, GPS location with Google Maps, logs of all incoming and outgoing emails, phone book access, and many more. Overall, this is still a good value for the price.
9. The Truth Spy
I give The Truth Spy a 3/5 star rating. This one also works with Android phones, iPhones and iPads. It also has a number of interesting features including providing GPS location, recording application use and being able to block any application that you want to block, recording SMS messages, viewing call history, capturing the text that has been typed on the target device, being alerted when the SIM card is changed, keeping track of internet activities on the target phone, remotely instructing it to take a specified action, and many more.
10. Easy Spy
I give Easy Spy a 3/5 star rating. I found Easy Spy to be a very powerful as well as easy-to-use program that can track cell phones and iPads as well as tablets. If you want to see every text message that is sent from a target phone then you could also use this app. It also offers a number of other uses including keeping track of every call made from and received by a target phone. It also monitors every iMessage that is sent or received on the target phone. Also, if you would like to know the Facebook activity of the user, this software could also do it. What was especially pleasing about this software application is that it comes with a nice feature: free lifetime upgrades and it is also quite affordable. I think this is an exact copy of Highster Mobile.
I give iMobiSpy a 3/5 star rating. iMobiSpy has a number of exciting features as well. These include tracking text messages, tracking phone GPS location, email tracking and phone book access as well as tracking of URLs visited. In addition, this software also comes equipped with some special features like being able to listen to the environment in which the target phone is being used. The nice thing about iMobiSpy is that it can also be used on an Android tablet or an iPad. It is very easy to install. It also works in stealth mode.
12. Mobile Monitor
I give Mobile Monitor a 3/5 star rating. Mobile Monitor is a cutting-edge cell phone tracking software on its own. It runs on different operating systems including Android and iOS, in smartphones as well as tablets. After installing, you could immediately record and monitor all incoming and outgoing calls. It also ensures that all your data remains safe as well as properly backed up. It has many other features that are similar to the other ones above.
13. Mobile Spy
I give Mobile Spy a 2/5 star rating. It allows you to see who is in the address book of the target phone. It also comes with GPS tracking and it shows all the data that had been deleted from the target phone. A downside is that it it only monitors email logs on an iPhone or a Blackberry phone. Even so, I give this software a thumbs up because it has few features but the features that are very useful. Once installed, it starts monitoring the device immediately. The software also works in stealth mode and so is completely undetectable.
I give SpyToMobile a 2/5 star rating. After reviewing it carefully, I was convinced that it only merited a 2-star rating. It's not that I did not like this software but compared to others it did not strike me as being all that useful. Even so it does offer a number of interesting features including spying on SMS, providing call history, finding out the contact list of the target phone, online tracking, providing a complete history of where the target phone has been used, GPS tracking, ability track WhatsApp usage, and so on.
The one thing that I did not like about SpyToMobile is that it is only designed to work on Android phones. Even so, it does have all the basic spying functions and it supports a number of languages. Support is not all that good or impressive.
I give StealthGenie a 1/5 star rating. StealthGenie used to be counted among the top phone spying software apps… number 1 even. However, it has been discontinued and hence only merits one-star rating. When it was still operational, it had a number of useful features including being able to spy on and record all calls, viewing call history, Facebook, Viber, Skype and WhatsApp chats. It also did let you listen to the surroundings in which the phone was being used. With it, you could also view multimedia files as well as view the sent and received SMS messages even those deleted ones.
I give SpyBubble a 1/5 star rating. SpyBubble is another one of those which were usually highly recommended. It's now also discontinued. It was a very advanced parental control application that you can use on mobile phones and it also gave you the opportunity to restrict the use of the cell phone while you were monitoring the activities on the target phone. I liked this software because it was compatible with all major operating systems.
My Top Picks
How To Put A Tracker On A Mobile Phone?
Well, it's pretty simple actually. For those who need a quick guide, the procedure is as follows -> choose app, buy it, download it, run the setup file and you are good to go. However, for those who prefer a step-by-step guide, I have your back on this.
- Carefully analyze all the apps at hand and choose one.
- Pick and buy a package that works best for you.
- Check your email for the download link and download it to the target phone.
- Ensure that your device meets all the requirements (i.e., rooting or jailbreaking)
- Run the installer.
- Change the settings to suit what you want the app to monitor.
- Once you have installed the app, it is advisable to restart your device.
Once you have done all this, you may head over to the online portal (member's area dashboard) where you can access all the information you need. If you encounter any problems, feel free to consult the app developer or company. It may be through email, phone call, or video chat, depending on their preferred mode of communication.