In this mSpy review, we’re tackling one of the most comprehensive parental monitoring suites out there. mSpy is designed for use on your child’s mobile devices. It provides you with a full breakdown of all the communication going through the phone. This includes keylogging, texts, call history, as well as individual apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.
With mSpy, you can be sure that your child is using the internet safely and effectively. A child’s PC time can be monitored, but it’s far harder to effectively monitor a child’s phone use without hovering over their shoulder all the time.
This monitoring is carried out invisibly and remotely once mSpy is installed on the device. mSpy’s 24/7 internal support will not provide assistance with any issues regarding mSpy as a surveillance tool. Furthermore, wiretapping or otherwise monitoring a phone without permission from the device user may be illegal.
|mSpy Review Key Info|
|Max Devices Supported||8|
|Customer Service||24/7 live chat and email|
Parental control apps handle extremely sensitive data, so you want to be confident that you’re picking a software developer that’s committed to security. There’s many to choose from, and most are insecure. mSpy uses bank-grade encryption to communicate between the monitored device and the mSpy servers, so you can be sure your child’s data isn’t being leaked to a third-party. You can be sure mSpy is secure, but is it worth the cost? Let’s take a closer look at mSpy, and find out why it’s one of the best phone spy apps .
Here’s a quick breakdown of all of mSpy’s key features:
mSpy allows you to view all incoming and outgoing calls, as well as the associated metadata. This includes data points such as call duration, timestamp, who it was to, and the relevant phone number. Rest assured that you always have access to a complete overview of your loved one’s incoming and outgoing calls. Turn hunches into action, or put your mind at ease. Is your daughter always on the phone because she’s chatting to her friends, or is she secretly calling a self-help hotline? Call Monitoring for mSpy clears up these situations without the need for messy conversations.
SMS & Text Management
mSpy records each text sent and received from the device it’s installed on, as well as information on who’s sent them and a log of images sent to and from the device. mSpy’s text logging allows you to easily identify unusual chats or activity on the device which might require further investigation. When combined with mSpy’s powerful Keyword Alert feature, you can receive real-time updates sent straight to your email when your child is chatting about something inappropriate.
Coverage of popular messaging apps is a necessity to understand how your loved one is using their device, and mSpy does not let down on this front. Whatsapp, Snapchat, Line, Kik, Instagram, Tinder, and many more messaging apps are covered for both texting logs and call/video logging. The popular apps of today are the forgotten fads of tomorrow, so mSpy is continually adding new apps as time passes.
Real-Time Location Tracking
Receive alerts whenever a device you’re tracking leaves a user-defined geo-fenced location. This is ideal for making sure a loved one remains within a safe location, such as making sure a child is still at school during the day, and mSpy uses GPS tracking to give constant up-to-date location data on a monitored device. You can also use mSpy to set up a geo-perimeter, sending email alerts out if a geo-tagged mSpy device enters a certain area.
Parental Control Apps
You have unlimited control over how a mobile device is used with mSpy. You can choose which apps are allowed to be installed, receive a list of already installed apps, and block already installed apps which are unapproved. You’ve got all this control from inside the mSpy control panel, so you can uninstall troublesome apps on a child’s phone without ever having to get close to the device. Ideal if you’ve got a Clash of Clans addict at home that just won’t let go!
Internet & Wi-Fi Monitoring
mSpy tells you when a device is browsing, what it’s browsing, and where it’s browsing from. Keyword alerts and URL filtering allows you to filter which sites your loved one has access to, making sure they don’t stumble across inappropriate content. Wi-Fi logging tells you if they’re often accessing the internet from outside the house. You can even block access to certain Wi-Fi access points from inside the control panel, which is great if you suspect your child is trying to step around your home router with a rogue access point.
E-Mail & Calendar Monitoring
Keep an idea of your child’s schedule with mSpy’s E-Mail and Calendar monitoring. Any scheduling information stored on the mobile device is at your fingertips, giving you access to their events including time and location, as well as contacts lists for both E-Mail and phone memory. All of this is presented in an easily navigated control panel, so you can quickly get to the information you need. Deleted E-Mails and events are still stored in mSpy even after being deleted off the phone.
A full report is available in the mSpy Control Panel, which allows you to browse logs per device and gives a full readout of all possible communication apps, calls, texts, as well as locations and metadata. There’s a fully customizable option set which lets you choose how and when you’re sending data from the device. mSpy works as a backup solution as well as a monitoring suite, giving you remote access to all of your phone’s calls and texts even when you’re away from it.
What can you monitor with mSpy?
These are the following apps that mSpy supports text logging, contact logging, and screenshotting for:
- Instagram Direct
- Facebook Messenger
Some monitoring apps only cover a small choice of social media apps, leading to a confusing mess of multiple install processes and logins. mSpy reduces the hassle by covering social media, email, browing history, screen capture, keylogging, and location history all in one easy-to-deploy app. You can keep a watchful eye over every aspect of your child’s online activities, even with difficult to capture services like Snapchat and disappearing texts on WhatsApp. mSpy organizes saved data per app. If you suspect there’s something going on in their Kik activity but don’t want to intrude on their Whatsapp messages, mSpy gives you the power to choose which apps you monitor.
What Devices Can I Use mSpy on?
mSpy’s mobile monitoring software is currently available for deployment on Android and iOS. mSpy does not offer monitoring software for PC devices. However, mSpy’s browser based control panel lets you log in from any device, including PC. This dashboard gives you a full readout of the target phone’s activities broken down by category and type.
Any Android device running Android 4.0 or greater can be used with mSpy. However, you must jailbreak the Android device first. Otherwise, the system tools necessary for mSpy to carry out logging are inaccessible. In theory, you should be able to monitor tablets and other Android devices using mSpy too. However, we haven’t tested this out and would warn you to contact mSpy’s 34/7 support team for more information.
mSpy currently provide installation guides for Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Moto, Google Pixel, and LG devices, along with a generic device guide. Android 12, 11, 10, and 9 also come with specific installation instructions.
iOS installation comes in two flavors on iOS: directly onto a Jailbroken iPhone, and via iCloud. The install screen also highlights the possibility of doing a local sync in the future, but for now we’re going to discuss installing mSpy on a Jailbroken iPhone first.
The installation instructions are quite helpful, guiding you clearly through each step with explicit instructions. It only took us a few minutes to install the iOS app, with minimal cleanup necessary after the process was over. The only downside to this process is that it requires a jailbroken iPhone. For some distributions, especially the latest version of iOS, there is no Jailbreak solution yet and so mSpy isn’t supported.
Installing mSpy without the target device
If you can’t physically get to the target device, or you can’t Jailbreak your iPhone, you can perform a remote data sync via iCloud instead. Installation via iCloud doesn’t allow you to monitor text messages or incoming and outbound calls. Furthermore, you can’t get Keyword tracing or a list of installed apps. However, you do have access to the files associated with the iCloud account through mSpy. You also won’t get access to the browser history or bookmarks.
You can get updates of the GPS location, but cannot run geo-fencing email updates. Essentially, you’re getting access to everything that can be monitored through the iCloud service. This does mean having to hand over your iCloud credentials to mSpy, which may be worth keeping in mind if you pick this option. Also, you may cause an email alert to be sent to the account owner if you perform a remote data sync, so be warned.
Jailbreaking is the act of unlocking a mobile phone in order to install an alternate OS or access restricted parts of the phone. The most common reason for jailbreaking a device is for root access over the OS. Most phone operating systems are not distributed with an accessible administrator account, which makes it impossible to access some advanced features. Jailbreaking is possible on Android and iOS, but each phone has a different method. The models and operating systems that are vulnerable to jailbreak is always changing, so we recommend you check out an up-to-date source like xda.
In either case, Jailbreaking requires physical access to the device. It is not a short process, and because you are overwriting your firmware during a Jailbreak there is a chance you could brick your phone. You can minimize the chance of this happening by using the cables that came with your phone, or an official replacement. Otherwise, make sure not to jog the phone while it’s updating and follow the Jailbreaking instructions very carefully.
Some default apps are also unavailable on a jailbroken device, and in some cases sensitive apps like banking apps may cease to function. It may not be worth Jailbreaking your device if you feel it downgrades the overall security of the platform.
mSpy takes advantage of many of these advanced features to run universal screengrabbing and keylogging, as well as in-depth location tracking. Considering how many features are lacking on a non-jailbroken phone, you may wish to consider jailbreaking the device as part of the installation process. In most cases, it is quite obvious when a device has been jailbroken.
The indicator could be something as simple as the additional “superuser”, “sudo”, or similar App icon added to the home screen. In the case of a Jailbroken OS installed over the factory default, there may be an alternate splash screen upon device startup.
How To Install mSpy
mSpy as a whole is made up of two parts: the browser-based control panel, and the individual devices the monitoring package is installed on. We will mainly cover the second part of this mSpy monitoring software. You can install mSpy on both Android and Apple iOS, although each has some unique upsides and downsides.
All Android install methods require you to have physical access to the device. The mSpy app is not available from the Google Play store. Instead, you must download the .apk from a browser using a URL generated during control panel onboarding. This requires you to have “Install Unknown Apps” turned on in the Android Settings panel. Go to Apps, then Special App Access, then Install Unknown Apps.
Once the app is installing on the Android device, you will be presented with a quick walkthrough that asks you to enable some security settings for monitoring other apps. This is how mSpy is able to accurately report on your child’s instant messenger applications.
The Update Service app used to install mSpy on Android drops a Framework Update service onto the Accessibility partition on Android. These Accessibility features are used to send app notifications, take screen captures of the device, and capture text typed into the app. Without them, the app cannot capture messages.
mSpy also needs access to Usage Tracking, which allows call tracking to take place in the app. Once you have enabled this and Social Media Tracking, the next option is avoiding anti-virus scans. mSpy achieves this by requesting access to the lock screen function.
Finally, mSpy prompts you to turn un-installation off by taking you to the app info page. You enter the code from the control panel, and that’s it. The installation of mSpy on Android took us a few minutes. In a rushed scenario, it would be feasible to install in under a minute.
There’s one final post-install checklist mSpy provides that walks you through removing any traces of the installation from the device. After following these instructions, the device will be as though it was pre-install except with mSpy now running on the device. It’s also recommended that you delete the installation file from the file system and clear any browser history that indicates download of it.
iOS | iPhone
Installing on iOS isn’t significantly different, but let’s dive into it. First, you launch the Cydia app in your Jailbroken iPhone and go to Sources. You then add the mSpy repo to the list of allowed sources on the iPhone, so the mSpy app can be installed remotely. You then open the repo in Cydia and pick the iPhone mSpy app to install from a list of mSpy’s programs. After this, the app automatically downloads without any additional input.
You’re prompted to agree to a mSpy’s license agreement for the software, indicating you have a legitimate use for the software. There’s a choice between leaving the mSpy app icons on or off after you finish the download, but if you want to keep the app hidden, you should keep these turned off. Finally, use the registration code you’ve been provided in the mSpy control panel and the device is online! In a few minutes, the panel will populate with the first set of texts and calls from the target device.
mSpy Performance | How Fast is mSpy?
mSpy is definitely one of the faster solutions we’ve tested out. The install procedure is snappy and to the point on Android, quickly stepping you through all the steps you need to turn mSpy on. We managed to complete an install on our test device in under ten minutes from the moment we were handed the device.
After that, the mSpy monitoring app is basically invisible. It didn’t cause any noticeable slowdown on our testing devices, although we found in repeated testing that battery use could increase anywhere from 6 to 10% depending on how much the user is on the phone. It is likely that excessive use of some of the monitored apps will also cause the battery to drain faster, as switching between these apps causes more screen captures to take place.
Does mSpy offer real-time monitoring?
Data saved on the device is updated every sixty seconds. While there is a tiny window where deleted messages won’t be picked up by the app, we found that in practice unless you’re deleting texts as soon as you get them, they’re saved. mSpy updates you with new data at a minimum every five minutes, giving a full readout of all the social media activity, phone calls, and messages your device has received.
The update rate can be turned down in your Device Management menu in the control panel, anywhere between five minutes per update and once every 24 hours. The more often the device updates, the quicker the battery will drain, so make sure to find the update schedule that works for you. It may also be more obvious if there are large bursts of data leaving your phone every ten minutes. If you’re concerned about your child’s data usage, you can set certain features to only update via Wi-Fi. This is especially useful for uploading photo and video files, which can chew up your data pretty quickly.
GPS updates can be managed separately from general device updates. This way, you could set a GPS location to update every five minutes, but only sync data from the phone once every six hours to save on battery life. Geo-fencing updates as quickly as the GPS location does.
mSpy uses OpenStreetMap to give you a bird’s-eye overview of your set up geo-fences, as well as an interface to put down new ones. You can only choose to place down a circle at a minimum of 300m, and maximum 9999m radius. Dedicated geo-fencing apps will often offer you a far deeper level of customization over where you monitor. However, mSpy does let you choose whether this is an inclusion or exclusion zone with ease.
How Secure is mSpy? | Is mSpy Safe?
The mSpy control panel uses a username and password system that’s tied into the online store. The app itself is only linked to the profile by an activation code, meaning no authentication credentials are stored on the device. When installed without icons, mSpy is totally silent and displays no indication of use on the device.
mSpy uses a secure two-factor authentication system to keep your data safe. Each client account is protected by a username and password, as well as a private key. This private key is made up when the account is generated. It’s vital you keep this key safe, as it’s the only backup to reset your password if you forget your credentials.
mSpy’s Security | How does mSpy protect user/target info?
mSpy have previously been the unfortunate victims of a series of cyber attacks which resulted in user data being leaked. In 2015, their servers were accessed by malicious hackers who released data on their victims into the dark web, which was then confirmed by external cybersecurity researcher Brian Krebs. In response to these attacks, mSpy has upgraded the security of both server-side and client-side architecture to make sure a breach of that severity never happens again.
Using a separate private key alongside a username and password to view your data means even if another breach does occur, the data taken from your phones is encrypted and so useless to an attacker.
mSpy is now also PCI-DSS compliant. This is a required level of certification required for any company that processes a client’s payment details. It requires that any user data is encrypted and payment data is securely transferred using encrypted channels when payment takes place. mSpy supports all major credit and debit cards, so it’s reassuring to see they meet the compliance requirements to do so.
Safety is clearly a huge concern for mSpy and its customers, but we’re pleased to say the app seems secure. All communication is handled by encrypted data channels, and mSpy themselves refuse to reset your password if you don’t have your private key. This suggests that their employees don’t have access to unencrypted account credentials or unencrypted device data. This is great news for your data privacy!
mSpy’s Transparency Reputation
To date, mSpy has not carried out independent auditing of their service. Considering that the target device data mSpy handles is so sensitive, we hope to see in the future that mSpy opts to work with an external auditing company to confirm their security. This is standard practice in other software packages that deal with sensitive user data, such as with VPNs, and a full audit would definitely put mSpy ahead of the pack.
Customer reviews for mSpy are a mixed bag. Some Trustpilot reviews are glowing recommendations of the service, others speak of trouble getting refunds. In defense to the mSpy support team, it seems like they’re fairly quick about responding to trouble reviews. If you’re having trouble getting through to their support team, it might be worth looking at a public review site.
mSpy must carry out logging in order to provide the service of storing texts, calls, and screenshots. All data captured by mSpy is stored on their servers. All payment details are handled according to PCI-DSS, meaning they are encrypted and securely transmitted. Files are also uploaded to mSpy’s servers, but these are encrypted with a private key only you have access to.
In terms of device logging, mSpy also captures information such as Device Model, OS Version, battery life, mobile signal strength, whether the phone is rooted, and the IMEI. You also have access to a readout of the device’s internal memory usage, as well as how full the SD card is. All logging carried out by the device is backed up to the mSpy control panel dashboard, but can be exported to your local device or deleted from mSpy’s servers at any time.
Where Can I Use mSpy?
mSpy covers three main usage scenarios:
Keeping track of your own device
mSpy works as a comprehensive backup solution for your own phone calls, messages, pictures, contacts, and emails. All you have to do is install mSpy on your own device, put in the activation code, and you’re covered by a sync with mSpy’s data servers every five seconds. This is highly convenient if you’ve got a phone you need everything backed up from, such as a work phone, but don’t want to bother with each app’s backup process.
You can use mSpy to crawl all the data off the phone, then download the logs with mSpy’s Export Logs feature. You have fine-grained control over which data streams and apps are exported, so you can download your emails separately to your contacts or your call log. There’s also a requirement that you re-enter your password when downloading logs, so even if you’ve had to step away from the screen for a second you can be confident nobody’s stolen your data while you’re gone.
Keeping track of employee devices
mSpy also works as a device management system for businesses. You can ensure work devices you issue to your employees are being used correctly. For example, mSpy’s geolocation tracking allows you to geo-fence an area in which you would expect the device to be used. If the phone is stolen by an employee or customer, the phone can be recovered thanks to mSpy reporting the location back to the control panel. Again, mSpy can also be used as a content sync solution for employees to make sure all of their content is backed up from their work phones. This can be especially useful if you’ve got several employees who work via WhatsApp!
Keeping track of your kids
mSpy’s primary function is as an eye-in-the sky for parents worried about their child’s exposure to the internet. There’s a whole range of features designed to warn a parent as soon as their child is exposed to potential danger. Keyword flagging keeps you on top of any sensitive or inappropriate conversations your child could be having. Auto-screenshot means you’re peeking over their shoulder for every cheeky Snapchat. If they’re looking into drugs or gambling, you’ll be the first to know with browsing history recorded all over the device.
Generally, you need to have the consent of the device user before installing mSpy on their device. This may apply to other situations in which the device user may want a third party to have access to their device history, such as rehabilitating drug users who want to prove sobriety, or a cheating spouse who wants to demonstrate loyalty to their partner. If you do not have consent, even if you’re recording a crime, it may be illegal to do so. Please consult the laws in the relevant countries.
mSpy offers three different price structures depending on how long you want to purchase a subscription for. One month is usually $69.99 a month, although at the moment mSpy is offering 30% off, so it’s only $48.99 a month. Three months is $28.00 a month, costing you $84 and saving $20.99 a month or $62.97 overall. It’s not a huge jump, essentially giving you three months for the price of two. If you’re only testing out mSpy before you commit, it’s probably worth just picking the one month package.
Instead, the real saving is in the twelve month package. If you buy a mSpy subscription for the year, it costs $11.67 a month or $140.04 for the whole year. You’re getting another nine months for only an extra $56.04. It’s a pretty good deal for mSpy’s wide range of monitoring tools, but it’s not ideal if you only need mSpy for a short time. Unfortunately, the 30% off offer is only valid for first-time customers, and renewing a subscription will incur the full charge. Getting twelve months as a first-time buyer does maximize the savings you make using this one time only offer, especially if you purchase multiple device subscriptions.
However, mSpy does make it very convenient to purchase additional subscriptions from inside the control panel. There’s a 15% discount off your next device renewal made from the control panel thanks to mSpy’s Loyalty Program. Otherwise, adding a new device subscription is as easy as clicking “Add New Device” at the top of any mSpy dashboard page and clicking through to the payment form.
mSpy Review FAQs
Does mSpy have a free version?
How many devices can be tracked with mSpy?
Does mSpy slow down the target device?
Is mSpy legal?
Is mSpy a spy app?
mSpy Review Conclusion | Is mSpy Worth it?
mSpy delivers a strong package of device monitoring tools in a single suite with an interface that’s clear and comprehensive. When you’re worried about your child’s wellbeing, you don’t want to spend endless hours configuring a host of monitoring applications. mSpy’s control panel solves this issue and allows you to get down to the business of protecting your child from harassment, cyberbullying, or cyberstalking. Whether it’s sextortion, gambling, or drugs, mSpy’s dynamic keyword filters let you target the topics you’re concerned about.
We would like to see a greater app coverage from mSpy, but we acknowledge this is a constant work in progress: new instant messaging apps pop up all the time, after all. At one point, we would not have recommended mSpy based on their past security record, but we’re reasonably convinced mSpy has learned from previous attacks and implemented strong server-side security. There are few device monitoring solutions like mSpy on the market, and we recommend you give the online demo a try to get a feel for how mSpy works first.