- Regardless of what you think about the ethics of them, mobile monitoring apps have grown in popularity, allowing parents and employers to keep an eye on what children and employees are up to online.
- Basic features may include call and browser history recording, and text and GPS tracking. More sophisticated apps may also monitor and report on social media use, deleted data, email tracking, and allow remote access.
- Good monitoring software is pricey, so consider what you actually need it to do before purchasing.
Mobile monitoring apps are widely used by parents looking to keep track of their child’s online activity – but this is not their only purpose. Increasingly, this type of monitoring software is being taken up by employers who wish to keep an eye on their employees’ activity using work phones, tablets, and laptops.
Mobile, tablet and desktop monitoring apps may also be beneficial to any organization that loans out devices for public use, like libraries, colleges, and schools. While once there were only a few companies producing this type of software, there are now dozens of options to choose from. In this article, we discuss nine of the best mobile monitoring apps on the market.
Mobile monitoring apps of the past were incredibly basic. Most offered limited features for remote locking, text tracking, call monitoring, browser tracking, and little else. Now, monitoring software comes with an incredible range of features, many of which work with cellphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers.
Here are some key features to look out for. They are sorted into basic (what you should expect from an app) and advanced.
Basic monitoring features include:
- Text tracking
- Call history recording
- Browser history recording
- GPS tracking
- Instant message tracking
Advanced monitoring features include:
- Social media tracking
- Remote locking/unlocking
- Deleted date recovering
- Platform-specific email tracking
- Camera access
- Access to media files
Top Monitoring Apps
Here are the top nine mobile monitoring apps, in no particular order. Some are suitable for both parental and professional use, while others are designed for one purpose or the other.
mSpy is compatible with both iOS and Android on both cellphones and tablets. This app is popular among parents as a monitoring tool for children’s devices. In comparison to some of the other apps on this list, mSpy’s features are basic. However, it does allow users to track text messages, calls, browser searches, WhatsApp usage, and device location.
mSpy offer two price plans, which are:
- Basic: $32/month
- Premium: $71/month
- Protects against theft
- Free trial before purchase
- Broad compatibility
- Expensive subscription plans
- Android features are restricted
- Must be rooted to an Android device to enable instant messaging monitoring
FlexiSPY is compatible with Android and iOS and can be used to monitor cellphones and tablets. Unlike many other mobile monitoring apps on this list, FlexiSPY can also be used to track activity on desktop computers. It comes with all basic monitoring features, such as tracking calls, texts, browser activity, device location and instant messaging activity. FlexiSPY also allows users to access a device’s camera.
FlexiSPY is not subscription-based. Instead, they charge a one-off purchase fee of $349.
- Track two device locations at the same time
- Gather screenshots of activity remotely
- Unknown numbers cannot be blocked remotely
- Expensive (even if it’s a one-time cost)
- Remote camera access is unreliable
Qustodio is the quintessential parental monitoring app. In addition to text, call, messenger, browser and location tracking, this app allows the person monitoring to limit screen time and block inappropriate websites. Qustodio is not suitable for other monitoring purposes, as it cannot be used secretly.
Qustodio is one of the more affordable options in this list, costing just $55/year for up to five devices.
- Very affordable
- User friendly
- Website blocking feature
- No stealth mode
- Only suitable for parental monitoring
- Social media monitoring not compatible with all platforms
Spyzie is a great option for secret monitoring, as it can be set to run in total stealth mode. It comes with all basic monitoring features, such as text, call, messenger, WhatsApp, and browser tracking. In addition, users can record phone messages, capture screenshots, and reliably track the device’s location (Android only). Spyzie is compatible with iOS and Android.
Spyzie’s subscription price plans are as follows:
- Premium $39.99/month
- Ultimate: $49.99/month
- Total stealth modeCan be removed remotely
- Record messages
- Capture screenshots
- No location tracker for iOS
- Cannot retrieve deleted data
Mobistealth is widely regarded as being one of the top mobile monitoring apps. It is compatible with iOS, Android, PC and Mac. One of Mobistealth’s biggest advantages is that it’s remarkably easy to set up and use. The app’s features include text, call, instant messenger, and email tracking. It can also be used to record calls, view pictures and access Gmail.
Mobistealth’s pricing structure is as follows:
- Android Pro: $16.66/month
- Android Pro X: $26.66/month
- iOS Premium: $26.66/month
- iOS Premium Plus: $40/month
- Desktop subscriptions range from $13 to $20 monthly.
- Suitable for all social media monitoring
- Easy to use and set up
- No keyword alert option
- No website blocking feature
- Basic subscriptions are restrictive
XNSPY is compatible with all iOS and Android devices. This app allows for all basic monitoring activities, including text, call, image, social media, and browser tracking. Unlike similar mobile monitoring apps, XNSPY lets users gather data while the target device is offline. In addition, deleted information can still be viewed for a limited time.
XNSPY is by far the most budget-friendly monitoring app featured in this list. Users can choose from two price plans, which are:
- Basic: $8.33/month
- Premium: $12.49/month
- Offline capture feature
- View deleted data
- More than 30 monitoring features
- Can only track one device per subscription
- No desktop monitoring feature
Appmia includes an impressive selection of monitoring features, which are compatible with both iOS or Android device. In addition to tracking texts, calls, emails, social media activity, browser activity, and device location, Appmia allows users to record calls and block contacts. The app is easy to set up and extremely user friendly.
Appmia’s subscription packages are as follows:
- Free (with limited features)
- Premium: $16/month
- Easy to set up and use
- Free updates
- Use to record calls
- 24/7 customer support
- No ability to install or wipe remotely
- iPhones must be jailbroken for app to work
Spyera is a versatile mobile monitoring app that works with all iOS and Android devices. It includes basic monitoring facilities, such as text, email, call, browser, and social media tracking. Spyera’s social media tracking features are compatible with Facebook, Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram, Hangouts, and many other platforms. It also allows users to collect passwords from the target device.
Spyera’s subscription pricing is as follows:
- Premium Plan: $59/month
- Premium Plus Plan: $189/three months
- Excellent social media monitoring
- Collect passwords
- Option to receive notifications regarding target device activity
- Expensive compared to similar apps
- Limited customer support
Spyic is a comprehensive monitoring app, which is compatible with all iOS and Android devices. It allows users to collect media files, messages, browsing history, social media activity and call history from the target device. Spyic is popular among parents as it lets users lock or unlock a target device remotely. It also has an intuitive interface and is easy to install.
Spyic is a mid-range app, with three subscription plan options:
- Basic: $39.99/month
- Premium: $49.99/month
- Family: $69.99/month
- Remote device locking feature
- Real-time GPS tracking
- Easy to install and use
- Full stealth mode
- Basic version is restrictive
- Deleted data cannot be restored
- Better value options are available
Prioritize Good Customer Support
Though it’s tempting to choose a mobile monitoring app based purely on price or features, it pays to consider customer service too. If something goes wrong with the software, or you can’t figure out how to set it up, having access to customer support is essential. Look for reviews relating to customer service before making a final decision on what mobile monitoring app you’re going to use.