There are a hell lot of parental control apps in the market nowadays, and rightfully so. I mean, more and more children are spending their evenings surfing the internet instead of playing hide and seek in the streets. So, it gets absolutely necessary for parents to keep an eye over their internet activity just to make sure they are safe. And that is why parental control monitoring/spying apps are gaining more popularity, like mSpy.
mSpy is a popular name when it comes to monitoring apps. Recently, we got an opportunity to test this app and to be honest, we dug down to its absolute core to find out if the app is worth its reputation. And to some extent, it does stand tall among other spy apps. That said, there’s a lot to this app that needs to be learned before actually going for it. And in this review of mSpy, we’re going to shed light wherever necessary. So, let’s put our review cap on and get started.
To make you understand every single thing about this tracking app, we’ve segregated our entire review under a few headings. You can go through them all, or if you want to learn something specific, then you can skip straight ahead to that section only.
- Setup mSpy On The Target Device
- Install mSpy On Android
- Setup mSpy On iPhone
- mSpy Private Key
- mSpy Features
- Cost Of mSpy
- mSpy FAQ
Setting Up mSpy On The Target Device
The good thing about mSpy is that you can track both Android and iOS devices. However, the process to set up mSpy on Android is different from the set up on iOS. But before moving on to the target device to install mSpy, first, you have to register to mSpy using your email address. Then you have to select a plan that suits you best. After your registration is complete, you’ll get a password for your account from mSpy. Make sure you save that password if you want to login to your account. Because the generated password is not something that is easy to remember.
Finally, you have to log in to your mSpy account and it will immediately ask you to select the OS of the device you want to track. Click on the device type and move ahead with the setup process.
Android (Without Root)
Now, if you want to track Android and you selected the OS accordingly, then you’ll be taken to the page where you’ll be guided to set up your Android target device.
First thing first, you have to give a name to the device and select the age of the child you want to track.
Then in the next step, you have to select the model of the target device. If the device’s model isn’t mentioned in the drop-down menu, then select the other model option to move forward.
And now is the time when you need to have the physical access of the target device. First, you have to disable the scan device option for security threats. And for that, you have to launch the Play Store and then tap on the Menu Option > Play Protect > Settings option > Scan device for the security threats (Disable).
When you’re done with that, get back to your mSpy setup screen and click on proceed to move on to the fourth step. Here, you’ll be provided with a URL to download mSpy on the target device. So, what are you waiting for? Input that URL in the phone browser and download the app.
Done with downloading the file? Then, click on it to start the installation and launch the app once it’s done. Within the app, you’ll be asked to accept the agreement. So, check the agreement box and below that, you can check two other boxes to make the tracking work on the device. After granting those permissions, you’ll be given an option to hide the app icon on the target device. And it doesn’t matter if you hide the icon or keep it, because the app still works in the background with the name Update Service.
Now, let’s move on to the final step. Do you remember that registration number which was appearing quite frequently when you were setting up mSpy? Well, you have to copy that number and paste it in the field within the app to complete the setup.
As already suggested by mSpy, you can set the mSpy(Update service) app to unmonitored apps to make it function more smoothly. And to do that, you have to navigate to the target phone’s Settings >Battery. Then you have to find the Update service app and set it to ‘Do not optimize.’
The thing that I liked the most is that setting up a target device is much easier with mSpy. You don’t get bombarded with a rain of permissions that you have to grant. Just granting a couple of important permissions gets the thing done.
iOS (Without Jailbreak)
To monitor an iOS device, you don’t need the physical access of the smartphone as you do with an Android device. All you need is the iCloud credentials and you’re good to go. You can start monitoring the device without even installing the app on the target device. However, it is that simple only if the two-factor authentication isn’t enabled on the device. Because if two-factor is enabled, then you’ll receive the code in the target device only. And you would need that code in order to start monitoring the device.
From my personal experience, I would like to suggest that you should disable the two-factor authentication. Because it might get in the way of monitoring the device efficiently.
Your target device be it Android or iOS will now be ready for tracking. So, you can move on to the mSpy dashboard to start monitoring the device. But before you close the setup page, you’ll see one option to get the Private key.
Private Key On mSpy
This private key is sent to your registered email after you input the current mSpy password. And this key is used when you have to reset your password to something else, which you can remember. All you have to do is download the key and save it in your system for the time when you would want to reset your password. You’ll have to upload this same private key file and if you reset your password without it, then all the collected or tracked data on mSpy will be encrypted. And you don’t really want this to happen, do you?
The mSpy dashboard works exactly how it is supposed to – it shows all the relevant data at a single place. This data includes target device information like the device’s model, battery life, and the status of internet connectivity on the device. Other than that, it shows you a line graph representing the number of activities conducted under browser history, GPS location, Text Messages, and WhatsApp. Then below the line graph, you’ll see three tabs showcasing the data under the “Most” category i.e, Most calling contacts, Most Messaging contacts, and Most Visited Websites.
And finally, at the bottom of the dashboard, you can witness the Last location of the target phone, if of course, the GPS is enabled on the device. You can expand all the given information on the dashboard if you want to get into more details.
All in all, the dashboard of mSpy is very well designed to give you a glimpse of all the relevant information. So, if you don’t have much time, then you can go through the dashboard only and get all the data you need.
2. Track Calls And Text Messages
Tracking calls and messages is a quite common feature of every monitoring app. So, as soon as you set up the target device, mSpy starts recording all the new data for calls and messages. And not only the new data, but it also shows you the data for these 2 things for the time when the device wasn’t being tracked provided it’s still available on the target device.
This means that mSpy can show you the entire Call logs and message box of the target device. So, if you want to track some data for an older period of time, then you can very well do that.
3. Track New Photos, Videos, And Contacts
After the tracking is enabled, mSpy starts tracking all the captured photos and videos from that point onwards. And to clarify, it can only track new photos and videos that are captured after setting up mSpy on the device. This means you can’t access the entire phone gallery, which is a setback. That said, it’s still amazing that you can still see what kind of photos or videos are captured on the target device. Although, don’t expect to get the data on mSpy dashboard within seconds as it isn’t that fast. It will take a few minutes before you’ll be able to see the latest activity conducted on the target device.
4. KeyLogger And Keyword Tracking
This feature does exactly as it sounds, tracking every keyword that is used on the target device. Suppose if your child is using the keyword “John Wick 3 review” to find out if the movie is worth it, then you’ll see that same keyword in this section. So, you can keep an eye over every keyword that is being used on every app.
Now, it doesn’t end here only. With keyword tracking, you can also put rules on certain keywords. Like, there must be a specific keyword you want to be notified about whenever searched by the child. If that’s so, then you just have to provide that keyword along with the platform where you want to track it. Like if you want to track that keyword on WhatsApp, then select that. After this, you can select the rule ‘Notify to Email’ to get notified whenever the keyword is used. Now, you’ll be the first to know whenever that keyword is used in the selected platform.
5. Block Apps
The Installed Apps feature puts every single app that is installed on the device right in front of you. If there’s a certain app that you think is suspicious, or your child is spending too much time playing PUBG, then you can block that app with just a single click. The response time of the instruction given by you to the app is amazing. You click on the block button and Boom! The app gets blocked within a second.
6. GPS Locations And Geofencing
Did I mention that you can track the location of your children through their smartphones? If I didn’t, then let me tell you that if the GPS is enabled on the phone with a live internet connection, then you can keep a track of every location your child has been to. The location tracking works quite efficiently for the most times. However, sometimes the data takes too long to be updated. And if you’re tracking your child live, then not being updated can be troublesome.
Now, let’s jump on to discuss a little about geofencing. So, this is one of the major features of mSpy. Why so? Well, it is quite common for parents to put location restrictions on their children. And a child being a child, will always lie about not breaking those restrictions. But there’s no way you can get the truth out their mouth because you know, children nowadays are pretty smart about lying.
So, you can be one step ahead from them in terms of smartness by using the geofencing on mSpy. This feature enables you to put location restriction on your child’s(Target) device in two ways. First, you can set a radius within which you want to allow your children to roam around. And with the second option, you can set a radius where you want to restrict them from going.
Obviously, the app wouldn’t stop them from going to that location. However, you’ll be notified with an email every time they violate your trust. Fair enough, right?
7. Track WhatsApp
WhatsApp is one of the most popular communication apps. And if a monitoring app isn’t able to track Whatsapp, then for me, that app is not worth your money. But thankfully, mSpy does not fall in that category. It can very well track WhatsApp messages on the target device, and by messages, I mean every conversation your children are getting into.
8. Track Social Media
Other than WhatsApp, mSpy can track almost every social media app, only if you’re tracking an Android device. Tracking everything on an iOS device will always be a dream, I guess. But still, it is quite amazing that you can track apps on Android like LINE, Tinder, Facebook, Instagram, and even not so popular apps like Hangout.
9. Block Apps, Websites, Calls, And SMS
I already mentioned that you can block certain apps on the target phone using mSpy. Similarly, you can block calls, websites, and SMS on the device, which to honest, is a pretty convenient feature. Because in each category, there might be something that you might think is suspicious. So, it’s a good thing that you can sleep better at night by preventing your child from those activities with just a single click.
10. Device Management
Of course, if you are monitoring a device, then it is important that you are able to manage it properly. Fortunately, you can get to the device management page by clicking on the profile option at the top right corner and selecting the Device Management option. There, you can change the device’s name along with other few details. You can also unbind or delete the target device from mSpy and add a new device from this page only.
mSpy comes with two usual plans i.e, the basic and the premium plan. The basic plan starts at $29.99 and you can grab the premium plan by getting $69.99 out of your pocket. This amount is for the monthly subscription. On the other hand, if you go for the 3- month or 12-month subscription, then you can save a lot of money. And of course, the basic plan does exclude some important features to motivate you to be more inclined towards the premium plan. So, before paying for the basic plan, do check out if the plan has everything you need. If not, then definitely go for the premium plan.
You can check the plans with the details on mSpy official site.
mSpy Review: Final Verdict
mSpy has made quite a good reputation among its users. And is it the best spying app you can go for? Well, certainly not. The app has a couple of shortcomings that may irritate some people. That said, mSpy has a lot of cool spying features as you have seen in this mSpy review that can be used to efficiently track everything, yes! almost everything on the target device. However, if the target device is iOS, then the “everything” statement doesn’t apply. Because there are a lot of great tracking options that don’t work for iOS. So, all in all, the mSpy app is pretty decent and you can very confidently go with it without second-guessing the reliability of the app.
Is mSpy Safe To Use?
Yes, mSpy is safe to use on both Android and iOS devices. It doesn’t release any sort of malware in the device, so your device along with the tracked information will be completely safe.
Is mSpy Detectable?
mSpy works in the background with the name ‘Update Service.’ So, it stays hidden especially if you’ve chosen not to keep the icon.
But yes, the person who is being tracked will get to know that their device has mSpy installed in it. That is because some features, like the Block app feature, will reveal that the app has been blocked by mSpy. In case you don’t use such features then you don’t need to bother about it.
Can You Read Deleted Messages Through mSpy?
You can read the deleted messages if they were in the target device for at least 2 minutes. If they are deleted before that limit, then those messages can’t be tracked.
Is mSpy Legal?
It is completely legal to use the mSpy app if you’re tracking your child and not someone else without their knowledge.
Can I Track More Than One device On mSpy?
As of now, you can only track one device/account on mSpy. You can always change the device by removing the current one.
What Is The Private Key On mSpy?
The private key on mSpy is required when you try to reset your mSpy account password. You can get the private key on your registered email by going to your profile page.
How To Reset The mSpy Password?
To reset the mSpy password, you’ll have to upload your private key. You can reset your password by going to the profile page if you’re logged in. And if you’re logged out, then you have to click on the “Forgot password” option on the login page.
Is Rooting Or Jailbreaking Required To Use mSpy?
Absolutely not. You don’t have to jailbreak or root your device in order to make mSpy work.
How To Delete mSpy From The Target Device?
To delete mSpy from the target device, you have to navigate to Phone’s Settings > Security > Device Administrators > Update service(Deactivate it). Then, find the Update service app in applications and uninstall it.
How To Delete The Target Device From mSpy?
You can delete the target device by going to the device management page. You can navigate to that page by clicking on the Profile option at the top right corner and selecting the ‘Device Management’ option. On that page, you’ll see the current device and you just have to click on the Unlink Device option to get the work done.
Ease Of Use8.5/10
Value for Money8.0/10
- Enough Tracking Options
- Very easy and quick setup process
- Doesn't require jailbreak or rooting
- Works in the hidden mode
- Only one device per account
- Sometimes data takes too long to be updated