Updated · Oct 10, 2022
Best for: Message app monitoring
What Is mSpy?
Out of all internet users, kids are the most vulnerable to the dangers of the web. From sex predators to identity thieves, many criminals lurk in cyberspace and can take advantage of them. That’s where mSpy comes in. It’s a spy cell tracker that monitors the online activity of your kids.
The mSpy software can provide you with valuable insight into what your children are doing online. While you may worry about violating their privacy, knowing their browsing history, app usage, and social media conversations can help you protect them from online dangers.
Like other robust spy apps for kids, mSpy can hide itself from the targeted device owner.
The app’s been around since 2010 and has a headquarter in London, England. It’s undergone several performance/usability enhancements over the last decade and earned recognitions such as the Top Ten Reviews Cell Phone Monitoring Software Silver Award and the kidSAFE® Seal.
mSpy has been featured in numerous high-profile publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Tech Times, The Next Web, Phandroid, Android Headlines, and AndroidGuys. And it has graced the online pages of the Parents Television Council, Working Mother, and Fatherly.
There are 2,306 mSpy reviews on Trustpilot. With a star rating of 3.9, thousands of users have considered it great. While you can find fewer mSpy reviews on Sitejabber, its contributors have collectively given the software 3.9 stars too.
Let’s take a look at whether these ratings are fair and accurate.
Here’s an overview of mSpy’s compatibility and overall functionality.
mSpy supports Android 4.0 and higher iterations and all iOS versions.
All iPhones, Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, and Xiaomi devices released after 2011 should be able to run mSpy. But to be sure, use the Compatibility Checker to determine whether your target phones and tablets support the app.
But not all mSpy features are available in both iOS and Android.
Address Book Scanning
Once installed, mSpy can scan the linked device’s address book and track new and existing numbers.
Phone Call Tracking
mSpy Tracker can record all incoming and outgoing calls. The app can also capture key information like timestamps or call duration.
With access to the target device’s address book and chronological data on calls, you know which individuals your child spends time with on the phone.
Besides phone calls, the mSpy tracker also gives you access to sent, received, and deleted text messages. With it, you can find out if your kid is sharing inappropriate content or information with somebody, and vice versa.
Social Media Monitoring
Similar to other widespread monitoring solutions like WebWatcher, mSpy can monitor different messaging and social media apps. Besides signing up for the Premium or Family Kit plan, you may also need to jailbreak or root your device to unlock this advanced functionality.
Check out the list below to know which features are compatible with which mobile operating systems.
- iMessage Monitoring (all iOS versions)
- WhatsApp Tracker (all iOS versions and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Snapchat Tracker (jailbroken iOS 7.0 to 9.1 and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Facebook Messenger Monitoring (all iOS versions and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Skype Tracker (jailbroken iOS 7.0 to 9.1 and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Telegram Monitoring (jailbroken iOS 7.0 to 9.1 and Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Google Hangouts Tracking (rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Tinder Monitoring (jailbroken iOS 7.0 to 9.1 and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- LINE Tracker (jailbroken iOS 7.0 to 9.1 and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Viber Tracker (jailbroken iOS 7.0 to 9.1 and rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Kik Monitoring (rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
- Instagram Tracker (rooted Android 4.0 and higher versions)
As you can see, jailbreaking or rooting is a prerequisite for monitoring most messaging apps. Doing so can be challenging if you lack technical expertise. But there’s no shortage of how-to articles and videos on the internet you can consult.
If you don’t want to do it alone, you can hire a mSpy expert via mAssistance.
GPS Location Tracking
With this parent spy app, you can virtually follow your child. mSpy can track your kid’s whereabouts, show you a route history over a specific period, and provide you details such as addresses and coordinates. You can see all past and present locations.
With this advanced feature, you can create safe and no-go zones and receive email notifications whenever your kid enters and exits them. It comes with a map that can illustrate the historical movement of your child.
Installed App Tracking
This iOS and Android device monitoring solution can give you the names and versions of all the apps installed on the target device. Knowing what apps they use can help protect your kid from harassment, photo shaming, subtweeting, vague booking, and other forms of cyberbullying.
As a Premium or Family Kit package subscriber, mSpy lets you remotely block apps that you deem age-inappropriate to help keep strangers at bay, minimize exposure to bad influences, and reduce distraction.
mSpy Advanced Keylogger
Using the app’s keylogging functionality, you can see what your kid typed on the target device. This advanced feature can be a lifesaver, for it can help you determine whether your child is interacting with malicious characters.
One of the biggest benefits of the Premium and Family Kit plans for Android - you can use mSpy to take screenshots of your kid’s conversations on social media and messaging apps.
Opening any supported messaging app activates it. mSpy can display the screenshots it takes only within the next update, so you won’t be able to see them all in real-time.
Tracking of Stored Photos and Videos
With mSpy, you can browse through the photos, and videos saved on the target device. Complete with data and time stamps, you can access them from the mSpy Control Panel.
Website Bookmarking and Browsing History Monitoring
mSpy can monitor the web browser activity on the target device. You can see a complete log of the sites your child visits and bookmarks.
Using this advanced feature, you can limit what your child can look at online. It acts as a pornography blocker, but you can also restrict access to other age-inappropriate sites.
In addition to that, this feature enables you to set smart screen time rules to help your kid develop healthy web browsing habits.
Wi-Fi Network Monitoring
Paid subscribers can use the mSpy app for iPhone or Android to track the Wi-Fi hotspot connections in your child’s smartphone or tablet.
With such insight, you can discover the locations your kid visits or find potentially unsecured hotspot connections.
If you don’t want your child looking for specific terms, you can set the mSpy cell phone spy software to notify you when those keywords or phrases are used.
If you link an Android device to the mSpy app, you can see the emails your kid receives and sends. If you spot any phishing emails, you can insulate your young one from scams.
This feature also shows you if explicit content reaches your child’s inbox and take precautions soonest.
Calendar Activity Tracking
With this mSpy iOS and Android feature, you can keep tabs on your kid’s calendar activity. The sooner you notice a suspicious entry, the faster you can do something to protect your child.
This cell phone monitoring app can scan the contents of your kid’s Notepad on Android. This way, you can quickly sift through notes and spot any cause for concern in to-do lists.
Additional Device Info
The home screen of the dashboard displays the target device’s remaining battery and type of internet connection.
mSpy Control Panel
Apart from basic device information, the home screen of the dashboard also features the following details:
- Usage activity on the device
- Top messaging and calling contacts
- Top visited sites
- Last locations
On the Device Management page, you can adjust different monitoring settings.
You can tell mSpy to keep a log of data gathered through all connections or Wi-Fi only and disable/enable certain features. Also, it’s possible to change update intervals for locations and other sources of data.
As you wish, you can export records or clear logs.
Find out exactly when and why mSpy gets unlinked to your target Android device. Although getting disconnected doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone monitoring app was uninstalled, this feature can eliminate guesswork.
Unlimited Device Change
If you sign up for the Basic or Premium plan, you can link one mobile device at a time. Subscribing to the Family Kit package extends the number to three.
Despite this limitation, you’re free to change target devices unlimited times. It would’ve been better if you could link multiple electronics at the minimum. But at least you don’t have to purchase an additional license when your kid gets a new smartphone or tablet.
Now we’ve looked at everything the software offers, let’s see how to get started.
How to Set Up mSpy
The mSpy installation and setup process varies between iOS and Android. To unlock certain mSpy iOS or Android features, you may have to jailbreak or root your target device first.
To successfully link a mobile device to your mSpy account, it should:
- Have a compatible operating system
- Be physically accessible
- Be connected to the internet
There’s one exception to the rule, though. Physical access isn’t needed to install the iPhone monitoring app version when you have the target device’s iCloud credentials. However, this only works if there is no two-factor authentication enabled.
While writing this mSpy review, we tested the app with an Android-powered Huawei device. To give you an idea of how to set it up, we followed these steps:
- Log into your mSpy account, go to the Wizard tab, and click Get Started.
- Select the type of device you wish to monitor.
- Answer the question: Do you have access to the phone you want to monitor?
- Select your mobile device vendor.
- Click Proceed when you physically have the device and then make sure that it’s connected to the internet.
- Read the installation and setup instructions on the screen.
The mSpy Wizard provides a clear step-by-step guide. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to finish everything in about 10 minutes.
If you need to root an Android device to access the other features, you’ll have to perform additional steps.
When it comes to customer support, this cell phone monitoring app is synonymous with choice and quality. It's available around the clock and in several languages. As follows are your options.
mSpy provides three knowledge bases: FAQ, Blog, and Help.
FAQ consists of general, purchase-related, and installation-related questions. It has a dedicated page, but you can also find it on the homepage.
The mSpy Blog includes many interesting reads about parenting advice, cell phone monitoring tips, app updates, industry news, and reviews of mSpy alternatives.
Help has a search engine and can fetch keyword-based articles. Although Help returns a few results (a sign of a limited database), it can load relevant results on its floating window instead of opening a new browser tab.
You can speak with a live mSpy representative when you click the floating Chat button on the website. If you see the Help button instead, run a search and then click Live Chat.
Besides conversing with a customer care agent, the Live Chat option also allows you to attach files, edit your contact details, email transcript, turn on and off audio notification, and submit a support ticket.
If you don’t have the time to chat with an mSpy representative, you can send an email instead. Apart from submitting a support ticket through the mSpy dashboard or website, you can message the company via a third-party email service.
mSpy has dedicated email addresses for sales, technical support, billing, press and media inquiries, and affiliate program questions.
You can follow and engage with the company with its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
mSpy has a few different phone support options, including:
International Sales Hotlines
If you’d like to speak with an mSpy sales rep in your native tongue, it has special hotlines in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, France, Portugal, Czech Republic, and Turkey. Only callers based in the US and Czechia can get a representative on the line around the clock.
Toll-Free Hotlines for Payment Issues
For payment-related issues, mSpy provides a toll-free hotline for customers in the US and Canada.
Support Priority Line
With this paid service, you can get personalized phone assistance from mSpy. You can carry out the installation and setup of the Android and iPhone monitoring app under an expert’s guidance every step of the way.
mSpy provides multi-language support, so you don’t have to be a native English speaker to benefit from this service.
Delivered via TeamViewer and available 24/7, you can use mAssistance to hire a technical expert for:
- Installing mSpy for Android
- Rooting the target device
- Setting up the app’s advanced features
- Deleting all traces of the installation
Once purchased, you can use this add-on for life. Even if you cancel your mSpy account and sign up again in the future.
mSpy vs FamiSafe
mSpy and FamiSafe share many basic monitoring features. And unlike the last time we compared them, we’ve verified that mSpy can now control screen time. Jailbreaking is needed if your target device runs on any iOS version from 7.0 to 9.1, though.
In terms of device compatibility and connectivity, FamiSafe has the edge over mSpy. FamiSafe supports not just iOS and Android but also Windows, macOS, and Kindle Fire OS. Also, you can link 5–30 devices to this parent spy app. With mSpy, you can monitor three devices at most.
Strictly speaking, both mSpy and FamiSafe use a tiered pricing model. But the latter offers one plan and limits device connectivity only. In other words, you can get all monitoring features and increase the number of devices.
Unlike mSpy, FamiSafe doesn’t require jailbreaking or rooting. However, it has no tracking capability for messaging apps.
mSpy has no direct answer to FamiSafe’s YouTube monitoring and driving history reporting functionalities. But the mSpy cell phone spy software can give you control to remotely block the popular video-sharing app and generate comprehensive, downloadable reports on user activity.
One significant disadvantage of FamiSafe installation is that physical access to target devices is always a must. With mSpy, you don't need to hold iCloud-activated iPhones to pair your account if you have the login details.
mSpy vs Cocospy
mSpy stands closer to Cocospy than it does to FamiSafe.
They both support geofencing and keylogging and are compatible with similar mobile operating systems. Likewise, they require physical access to iPhones if you don’t have the corresponding iCloud login credentials on hand and if two-factor authentication is activated.
Cocospy can match (or even exceed) mSpy’s monitoring capability, for it can track everything the other can. Like the mSpy for iPhone, Cocospy doesn’t support Google Hangouts. But it can capture conversations in more social media and messaging apps, such as:
- Facebook Lite
- Messenger Lite
Besides, Cocospy’s SIM card location tracker and SIM card change detector have no mSpy equivalent.
Cocospy doesn’t require roofing or jailbreaking whatsoever. But the screenshot-taking capability is sorely missing in its feature sets. The mSpy software has it, which is instantly available for use in unrooted Android devices.
No Cocospy version requires rooting or jailbreaking. But you may have to unlock its unadvertised screenshot-taking capability. mSpy’s Screen Recorder is instantly available for use in unrooted Android devices.
Cocospy brags about its stealth functionality to avoid detection. At less than 2MB, there’s no questioning how light it is. mSpy can’t make a similar claim, and it acknowledges its tendency to drain a device’s processing power. That’s why a lighter version of the mSpy family phone tracker exists.
Cocospy offers three separate subscription packages for iOS and Android. It also comes with a plan for businesses. mSpy sells three subscriptions but doesn’t charge per operating system. Cocospy’s pricing strategy gets confusing if you intend to interchangeably or simultaneously target iPhones and Android devices.
Both companies offer multiple billing options and going with mSpy is usually more expensive. But Cocospy lacks six-month licenses, which is why mSpy provides greater flexibility.
Either offer a money-back guarantee, but Cocospy is willing to give you a refund if you cancel within 60 days. mSpy can only wait 14 days.
If you wish to pay with Bitcoin, you can do so with Cocospy. You can only use Google Pay, a credit card, or a debit card to purchase mSpy.
In the customer support department, mSpy is hands down superior. It provides more options and is more responsive.
mSpy vs FlexiSPY
mSpy and FlexiSPY are both excellent at bugging electronics. However, the latter takes spying to extremes.
There’s nothing mSpy can do that FlexiSPY can’t. Besides basic and advanced monitoring capabilities, FlexiSPY can intercept calls, record voice conversations, and use a target device to listen to its surroundings and send fake text messages.
Moreover, FlexiSPY supports mind-blowing remote commands. In most cases, mSpy’s ability to block apps and websites is good enough. But with FlexiSPY, you can remotely restart the target device and enable and disable certain features. Also, you can uninstall or deactivate the app from afar.
What’s even crazier is that you don’t necessarily need an internet connection to pull all of this off. FlexiSPY is a few spy apps for kids that can remotely control the target phone, tablet, or computer via SMS.
mSpy and FlexiSPY have a conditional refund policy and require jailbreaking, or rooting to maximize features.
But unlike mSpy, FlexiSPY doesn’t have a family plan. Although this spy cell tracker is compatible with more platforms, it sells specific plans for Android devices, iPhones, iPads, and Windows and macOS computers. You can only link one phone, tablet, or computer to FlexiSPY at a time and buy a different license when targeting a new device.
mSpy doesn’t have this costly and inconvenient limitation. You can simultaneously pair up to three devices and switch from Android to iOS (and versa) without changing plans.
FlexiSPY and mSpy offer diverse and responsive customer support, professional installation assistance as an add-on, and tiered pricing. FlexiSPY’s packages are usually more affordable. But they’ll only cost more if you don’t target devices of the same kind of operating system.
Primarily, mSpy is available in two plans: Basic and Premium. There are four billing options (monthly, quarterly, semiannual, and annual), but you may not be able to choose them.
As a non-subscriber, you may be able to pick from Monthly Basic, Monthly Premium, Quarterly Premium, and Annual Premium packages only. The rest of the billing options will just be accessible after you make the purchase.
Even then, not all billing options for both plans are readily available. When you click Purchase New Package on the cloud mSpy dashboard, we can unlock the quarterly and annual Basic subscriptions. But when you click the kebab (three vertical dots) icon on the top right-hand corner and go to Billing, the biannual option will suddenly be part of the selection.
We don’t understand why the company has decided not to advertise every mSpy price openly. It’s almost as if it wants to continue offering said billing options on paper, but doesn’t wish customers to pick some of them.
Our mSpy review also has to mention the mystery around the Family Kit package. You can read about it on mSpy’s site, but you won’t find any details about its price, nor can you sign up for it. You’ll have to ask customer support about it.
In our experience, the representative gave us two purchase links to the semiannual Family Kit and Annual Family Kit. This elusive package isn’t available in monthly and quarterly subscriptions.
Nevertheless, you’ll get a discount if you agree to pay multiple months in advance. The longer the plan, the more you save. Have a look at the mSpy pricing below.
From $29.99 (month-to-month)
Additional offers available Quarterly: $59.99, Semiannual: $69.99, and Annual: $99.99 plans. All subscriptions offer all features except monitoring messaging apps, geofencing, website blocking, app blocking, Wi-Fi network monitoring, screen recording, and mSpy keylogger. While limited to only one device, it has unlimited device changes.
From $69.99 (month-to-month)
Additional offers available Quarterly: $119.99, Semiannual $149.99, and Annual: $199.99 plans. All subscriptions include all features, and while limited to only one device, it has unlimited device changes.
mSpy sells two add-ons: Support Priority Line for $12.99 and mAssistance for $53.99. Each of them comes with a one-time mSpy cost. Once purchased, either add-on is available for life. Even if you cancel your mSpy subscription and sign up again in the future, you won’t have to pay another fee to use Support Priority Line and mAssistance.
In terms of payment, mSpy supports Google Pay and accepts any debit or credit card that bears the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, or JCB logo.
Irrespective of your chosen plan, auto-renewal is enabled by default to prevent any interruption of service when your subscription expires. But you can turn off this option and manually renew your package.
You can buy up to eight mSpy licenses per transaction. If you wish to buy more, you’ll have to contact the company’s sales team.
mSpy free trial and refund policy
At the moment, the mSpy trial version isn’t available. Admittedly, sharing your payment credentials without having to try any premium software first isn’t ideal. But at least you may get a full refund if you cancel within 14 days from the date of purchase.
Although the company likes to call it a “money-back guarantee,” its refund policy has too many conditions for it to be considered as such. The list is exhaustive, but mSpy will generally reject your request if:
- Refund due to a reason mSpy can’t control.
- You want a refund for an additional mSpy subscription.
- Losing your private encryption key.
- Refusal to reinstall or re-link the mSpy app after the operating system of the target device updates.
- Targetting an incompatible device.
If you wish to see mSpy in action before you subscribe, check out its interactive demo instead. Or if mSpy seems too pricey or a bit impractical for you, consider mLite.
Think of mLite as a watered-down version of the mSpy iPhone and Android tracker because of its limited functionality. But it has a unique feature called Panic Button, a one-click cry for SOS your kid can use in case of emergency, you can.
Also known as Find My Family, mLite costs just $14.99 a month. Unlike its souped-up counterpart, this mobile app comes with a three-day free trial. You do need to choose your payment method before you could give it a whirl. The company wants to know how to bill you beforehand to charge you immediately once your free trial lapses.
Overall, it's one of the affordable options on the market.
mSpy Review - Verdict
mSpy is a decent spy app. It’s not the most discreet with how it consumes battery power, nor is it the most impressive with its relatively few advanced features. But it’s capable of safeguarding your child from the dangers of the internet.
At the risk of repeating the usual sentiment of mSpy reviews, the company has stellar customer support. Its premium expert installation and setup assistance is a huge time-saver.
Also, it protects not only your kid but your data, too - everything is encrypted.
We wish that mSpy would advertise all of its pricing options from the get-go, but it’s forgivable. After all, the company won’t force you to sign up for multiple plans just for changing mobile platforms.
If you haven’t tried any spy apps before, mSpy won’t disappoint you.
Does mSpy really work?
Yes, mSpy delivers on its promises. But the functionalities you can use depends on your device’s operating system. Also, some advanced features are inaccessible without jailbreaking or rooting. To maximize the app, you must complete all of mSpy’s installation and setup requirements.
Can mSpy be detected?
If you set it up correctly, the target device’s user won’t be able to spot any evidence of the app’s installation. However, it may noticeably drain the battery since it runs constantly. But your child could have a hunch that you installed something in the smartphone or tablet if you show any indication that you’re spying on him or her.
How much does mSpy cost?
The most affordable mSpy plan is Basic, which costs $29.99/month or $99.99/year. The other package for individuals, Premium, will set you back $69.99/month or $199.99/year. Currently, the mSpy app free trial is unavailable. But you can view a software demo to see how it works.
Is mSpy worth the money?
mSpy is an excellent spy app, but it isn’t the only software of its kind on the market. You can find parental control apps with comparable features with more affordable plans, have broader device compatibility, and have greater support for simultaneous connections.
Read this article in full to find out why there’s an abundance of glowing mSpy reviews and how it stacks up against leading mobile device monitoring solutions.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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