Smartphones & Tablets

How to Choose Spyware for a Phone

When you install spyware on a phone, you install software that records activity on the device. This lets parents keep track of their children’s online activities and text messages. It can also help companies monitor how employees use their work-provided phones.

A Legal Note

Before you choose spyware to install on a phone, make sure you are aware of the legal aspects. You can only legally use spyware if you own the device or have the right to access it. If an adult uses the phone, you must notify them of the potential monitoring. This means that there is typically only a single situation where you can install spyware without notifying anyone. That would be a parent installing it on their child’s phone. Of course, the various spyware apps do not know how you use them. As such, you are responsible for following the law when installing spyware.

Start with Compatibility

The first consideration for selecting spyware is to ensure that it is compatible with the device in question. Most spyware require jailbreaking to use on an iPhone, so keep this in mind. Ensure that the software will work with both the operating system and the phone model before buying.

This is when you should decide if you want to root (in the case of an Android) or jailbreak (in the case of an iPhone) the device. Doing so will take more time and requires more skill. It pays off, however, by monitoring more information on the target phone.

Finally, remember that in order for spyware to work, the phone must connect to the internet. Just connecting to Wi-Fi is enough, but a data plan is ideal. Most spyware work regardless of your data plan or carrier, or even country.

Always Check the App’s Reputation

Remember that spyware do more than give you access to the information on the target phone. The company behind the spyware may also gain access. As such, you should always research the company or developer behind the software before installation. Check for complaints and the overall reputation of the spyware.

Look at Features

As you consider the various spyware applications, you will notice that some offer more features than others. Most offer information like phone logs that include times, numbers, and dates. They also tend to offer access to text messages and browsing history on the phone. Many will also give you access to files downloaded to or stored on the phone, such as emails and photos.

More advanced spyware can let you track the location of the phone or listen to conversations. Some even let you remotely listen to activity around the phone via the microphone. Most advanced features will require rooting or jailbreaking the phone.

Length of Access

Some of the spyware let you choose how long to access the information for. It would be more affordable to simply get the current data on the phone than paying for constant month-long monitoring.

Number of Devices

Some applications will also offer discounted pricing for multiple phones in the form of packages. This is ideal for businesses that want to monitor employees’ use of work phones, or for parents with multiple children.

Price and Payment

Spyware is a paid service. As such, you will need to compare pricing and think about what you can afford to pay. It should be obvious that the more information you require, the more it will cost. Some spyware have a one-time payment while others require monthly or yearly payments. Yes, one-time payments can save you money. But they offer no guarantee of future quality of service. Only go with this option if the company has a very strong reputation.

On a related note, make sure you like the payment options for the application. Most accept credit cards or PayPal, but there are exceptions. At the same time, check for guarantees and cancellation policies. Will you get a pro-rated refund if you decide to cancel? Reputable companies will have clear policies, even if you do not like them.


The best spyware software will also offer customer support. There should be an option for phone support and/or an online chat. Either confirm the numbers and/or chat work or look for reviews from clients to confirm they do.

Read Reviews

Before you make your decision, be sure to read reviews. Spyware is popular enough that there are dozens of reviews and rankings available online. Remember to read both reviews from clients and from third-parties. Pay attention to signs of fake reviews. Take third-party reviews with a grain of salt if the website receives revenue from sign-ups.

With the right spyware, you can monitor your child’s phone usage or simply improve trust in the phone user. Do your research before selecting software to get the information you need in a secure manner and for a competitive price.

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