How Does Spy Apps Work

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Directly jumping on a particular spy app and purchasing it to spy on someone’s phone doesn’t make any sense. It is really important to do some homework before spending the hard-earned money on such apps. Is the person you want to spy comfortable with it? For what reason you want to spy? Are you sure that spying on their phone won’t cause you any trouble? Answers to all these questions should be there in your mind.

Once you’re sure that you want to buy a spy app, the next thing that you need to do is get a basic idea about how these spy apps work. It’s really important to do so. Reason being that there’s simply no point in buying an app unless we know how to use it. So here in this article, we will help you understand the basic structure that most of the phone spy apps follow.

How Do Phone Spy Apps Work?

Note: All the screenshots used in this article are from the Famisafe parental control app.

Basic Setup

Firstly, you need to buy the service from the spy app’s official website. After that, download the app on the parent’s phone [if it supports spying from a mobile app (almost all of them have a web account)] and on the kid’s phone. Next, you need to sign up normally as you do for the other apps. Now the parent’s device is all set to spy on the kid’s phone. Then, you need to set up the kid’s device.

Take your child’s device and log in using the same credentials that you used to set up your own device. If it asks whether it’s kid device or the parent’s choose kid option. In order to spy without the occurrence of any bottleneck, you have to give various permissions to the kid device. These permissions include access to location, access to media, messages, photos and contacts, administrator permission, notification access, etc.

The kid’s device is now all set for getting spied. Now you just need to open the app or website on your device to see all the activities of your kids.

spy apps basic concept

Compatible Devices

Although the compatibility differs from app to app, most of the spying apps are compatible with both the Android and iOS devices. If the spying app comes with advanced features and really works well, it will support the Android device with a 4.0 or higher version. In the case of an iOS device, a good spying app will support devices with 6.0 or higher versions.

Basic Features

1. Notification To Suspicious Text

Most of the spying apps let you access the text messages, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Telegram messages, and messages from other messaging apps. But that’s not it.

Whenever your kid sends or receives any text that is inappropriate for them, you get a notification about that. These words can be related to abusing, threats, and those words that give a sound of bullying. The messaging apps on which this feature works might differ from the spying app to the spying app. But some common messaging apps include WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, Twitter, etc.

suspicious text
Get notified about explicit content

2. Location Tracking

Location tracking is another feature that all the spying apps provide. The spying apps are mostly made for the kids, and it really becomes necessary to track their location when they are somewhere out. With this simple yet useful feature, the parents can easily keep an eye on their kid and be sure that their child is safe.

location tracking
Track location in real-time

3. Geo-Fencing

Have you instructed your kid to not go beyond a certain area but your kid never followed your instructions thinking that you won’t find it out? This is not the case when you spy on them. Geo-fencing creates imaginary fencing at the borders of the place that you don’t want your kid to cross. If your kid crosses that fence, you immediately get notified about that.

geofencing feature
Create an imaginary fence for your kid

4. Web Filtering

As a parent, your biggest concern while giving a cell phone to your kid for the first time will surely be related to the internet. You will be confused, whether to give them access to the internet or not. Well, if the spying app provides you the web filtering feature then there’s certainly no problem in giving them access to the internet. The web filter will block all the sites from opening that are not appropriate for the children. In some apps, it will also alert you with a message. So, not only can you view the browser history but also block the desired sites.

web filtering
Filter content on the internet

5. Smart Scheduling

If you think that your kid is glued to the phone more than usual then it’s time to do something about that. Smart scheduling helps you set the time for which your kid will be able to use the cell phone. After that time the apps stop working or simply disappear from the screen. It is quite an effective way to make them avoid addiction to the phone.

How do phone spy apps work - smart scheduling feature
Set a schedule for your kid

Signs Of  A Good Spying Apps

Now it’s time to learn how we can differentiate which spying app is good and which ones not. For that, there are are some points that you need to keep in mind.

1. Instant Updates On Activities

The first and the most important thing that should be looked upon in a spying app is its responding speed on the kid’s activities. If your kid does something that he/she shouldn’t then it’s the duty of a spying app to notify the parents immediately. But if the app is taking time in doing so, then it’s of no use. So make sure that the app that you buy doesn’t lack in this part.

2. Ease Of Use

The spy apps are mostly used by the parents to keep a check on their kids. So rather than spending much of the time on understanding the app, it’s better that the app has an interface that can be understood at first glance. If things seem to look quite complicated on the app, you should avoid it and rather switch to the one with a basic structure.

interface of spying app
Spying app’s interface

3. Support Services

The duty of a good spying app doesn’t end after the sale, rather it starts after the sale. If the customers ever face any problem while using the app, the support service of the app should always be available to help them out. If the spying app lacks the support service, look for some other app.

4. Features

Other than the basic features that we mentioned above, there should be many other features provided by the apps that make your spying easy and complete. These features might include access to view all the media on the device, access to the contacts and access to the location history. There can be many other additional features like YouTube control and app blocking etc.

5. Money-Back Guarantee

Yes, that’s true. A good spying app will offer you a money-back if you didn’t like the app or didn’t find it useful for yourself. You will get your money back in your account after a few days of returning the service. On the other side, if the spying app is not that good, it will lack the money-back offer.

Kind Of Permissions Need To Be Given For Spying Apps To Work

For making the full-fledged use of the spying apps, there are various permissions that are needed to be given. If you hesitate to give certain permissions, some of the features of the spying app won’t work in the way they should have. Here are some of the permissions that the spying app will ask you for.

1. Accessibility Settings

Giving this permission will allow you to block or unblock certain apps on your kid’s device remotely from your device. It can be a really useful feature at the time when you don’t want your kid to use certain apps anymore. Maybe because they’re getting addicted to it.

2. App Supervision

By giving this permission, you will allow your kid’s phone to send all the activity report on your device. With this, you will be able to see each and everything that your kid is doing on their device. These activities might also include the time and duration for which the particular app has been used.

3. Location Access

To track the location of your kid and to know about their whereabouts, giving access to the location is a must. Only by giving this permission, it is possible to use the geofencing feature and track the location history.

contact and location tracking
Give permission to access contact and location

4. Media Accessibility

This permission will allow you to always keep an eye on the photos, videos and other stuff that your child has on their device. If any suspicious media is sent, received or downloaded on the device, you will get notified about that.

How does spy apps work - media access
Give access to media and gallery

5. Contacts Accessibility

With this, you will be able to keep an eye on the call log of your child. If you find any suspicious contact or if your child gets a call from an unknown number you can easily see that on your device and ask about that from your kid.

Some Popular Spy Apps

1. Famisafe

This amazing and popular spy app will give you almost all the features that we discussed above. Famisafe is a product of Wondershare, so there’s no doubt that the product will be good.

famisafe app
Famisafe spy app

2. Spyzie

Spyzie is another spying app that will be a great choice. The app offers various features to track your kid’s device in a way that no other app can do. You can check our review of Spyzie to see for yourself how well this spy app works and also understand spying apps in even more detail.

spyzie app
Spyzie app interface

3. Mobile Spy

If you aren’t comfortable with English, you don’t need to worry. Mobile Spy provides a multilingual interface for the user’s assistance. Moreover, it is hard to trace Mobile Spy from the kid’s device.

4. FlexiSPY

This app provides some advanced features to its users. With FlexiSPY you can intervene in the call of your child and listen to the conversation. Similarly, you can open the microphone on the kid’s device and listen to what all is going around. The same case is with the camera. You can access the camera of their device anytime and look at what’s going on.

Why Do We Need Spy Apps

At the time of the teenage, children can easily get influenced by the things that they either see on the internet or told and done by their friends. They easily get carried away and that is why parents are always concerned about their child. But with the help of the phone spying apps, parents are able to take care of their kids in real-time. So it’s really necessary that the parents understand the need for the spying apps and also tell their children how these apps can be useful to them. We hope now you have a basic idea of how do spy apps work.

About the Author

Franklin manages a remote team using monitoring apps to keep track of their working hours and performance. He has been using tracking apps for monitoring employees for over 6 years now. He started SpyDrill to share his experience with monitoring apps and hence help others who want to track someone. Franklin holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's degree in business administration.

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