How to Remove Cell Phone Spy Software and Protect Your Phone

I’m going to explain a couple of ways that you can remove cell phone spy software apps and tell you how to protect your phone in future. This is simple enough for anyone to do themselves; you don’t need to be very technical.

I hope you have gone through my article – Is There Spy Software on My Cell Phone. It gives a few tips about how to spot spy software, looking at odd phone behavior amongst other things. If you still suspect that your cell phone is being monitored by spy software – you need to remove it!

Removing Spy Software with a Factory Reset

This is probably the most complete method to remove any spy software from your cell phone. Even if you are not totally sure you are being monitored this will give you some peace of mind.

There are different ways to do this for different types of phone. You can do it yourself, or if you aren’t comfortable, you can simply take your phone to your local supplier and ask them to do a factory reset – most will do this for free.

You can perform a factory reset on all phones including Android, iPhone and BlackBerry.

Backup your phone first!Removing Spy Software

Doing a factory reset will return your phone to how it was when you first bought it. All your data will be removed as well as any apps or software you have added. You need to backup all of the data you want to keep – contacts, photos music etc. so that you can restore these once the phone has been reset.

You might want to make a note of any apps you have downloaded so that you can re-install these later, although some backup methods can store these.

Once you are backed up, you are ready to reset the phone.

Here are some good guides for performing a factory reset on:

  • Android
  • iPhone
  • BlackBerry

These guides are easy to follow and once you go through the process, any trace of the spy software will have been removed. It is a quick and easy way to be sure you are not being monitored.

Remove Spy Software with OS Update

Updating or re-installing the phone firmware or operating system will have a similar effect to doing a factory reset – but is How to remove cell phone spy softwareless extreme. It will not remove your apps and data but will remove the spy software.

This works because the spy software apps are specific to the OS on the phone – change the OS and the software is removed and will not work. It is not as complete a solution as the reset but in most cases will still remove the offending software.

Remember that updating the OS will also remove Rooting (Android) and any Jailbreak on an iPhone.

How to Remove Cell Phone Spy Software from an iPhone

Removing spy phone software from an iPhone is easy – just update or reinstall the iOS. For any cell spy program to work on the iPhone it must be Jailbroken. Updating the iOS removes the Jailbreak and so removes the spy software from an iPhone.

Manually Removing

Cell phone spy software can be removed manually by deleting the software files from the phone. This is only for those who really know what they are doing and I don’t recommend it.

Finding and identifying the actual files can be difficult as they have been deliberately disguised to keep the software hidden. It’s really not worth the risk or effort to attempt this method – deleting the wrong files could really mess up your phone.

Now Protect Your Cell Phone

Once you have successfully removed the spy software from your phone you need to think about securing your phone to stop it happening again. It amazes me how most people don’t use even the most basic methods to protect their phones. Spy apps can be installed in a few minutes – if someone has physical access to your phone.

Here are a few ways to secure your phone:

  • Use the Password Lock Feature – All phones come with a password lock feature – set up a good personal code and keep it to yourself!
  • Use a Password App – take it a step further and use one of the more advanced security apps. You’ll find free and paid apps to manage secure passwords and automatically lock your phone.
  • Install a Security App – there are loads of apps available for all phones which can help to protect your cell phone. Lookout Mobile Security is a good one with free and paid versions for Android and iPhone. It is known to flag up spy software apps.

For most people, simply using a good secure password is more than enough to stop anyone getting into your phone and installing spy software without your knowledge.

That’s about it for now. As always I’ll keep this page updated as new ways to remove and protect your cell phone from spy software come up.

Leave a comment below – what methods have you used or what security apps have you tried?


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75 Responses to How to Remove Cell Phone Spy Software and Protect Your Phone

  1. robin May 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    I done a factory reset and it didn’t delete any of my pics and only half my contacts. So what do u make of that?

    • Susan Kennedy May 30, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      The only things I can think of – have you synced your phone with a Google account or backup service? Or something went wrong with the reset. Try making sure you have no accounts linked to your phone and do the reset again. Hope that helps.

      • Catherine May 12, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

        Is it possible for spy software to change the time format on your phone? My phone switched from normal time format to military time format all on its own!?

        • Susan Kennedy May 16, 2016 at 9:37 am #

          Not likely anything to do with spy apps. Probably just a glitch with the phone – you know they can do random things every now and then.

  2. Josh Spooner May 30, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Great article!

    Very informative and easy to understand.

    Is it possible to install spy software on a phone that is keypad / password protected?

    I’ve read that spy software is downloaded to the phone then you take the phone and then manually install the last part of it…

    Thanks again,


    • Susan Kennedy May 30, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      You do need actual physical access to the target cell phone – the software must be installed on to the phone and configured. Obviously to do this you would need to get past any password – if it is used. I know that it is possible to get past the password of some phones – just from searching on Google. However remember the legal implications.

      • amy rey February 6, 2016 at 8:09 am #

        is it possible for these tracking apps to reach computers?

        • Susan Kennedy February 6, 2016 at 10:33 am #

          There are separate products that spy on PCs and laptops – they work in similar ways with online reporting of all activity. They can also be difficult to spot and are very easy to install. Just something else to worry about eh!

  3. lar32 June 13, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Recently, I have noticed some of the signs I have been spied you have mentioned above.The person who gave me the cell phone was acting weirdly and asked me constantly about some facts I didn’t want to share with her. And I found dady’s eye application on the cell phone and somewhere in settings her cell phone number as number ‘for redirection’. I deleted the application and cell phone number, but I don’t feel safe,what can I do?

    • Susan Kennedy June 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      To put your mind at rest I would recommend you do a factory reset as described in the article above. It is a sure way to remove any spy software.

      • Greg February 22, 2016 at 8:17 am #

        Did the reset didn’t work? What else can I do Verizon had no answers for me

        • Susan Kennedy March 5, 2016 at 8:20 am #

          The factory reset definitely works – I would try again. If you have an iPhone – be sure you are not being monitored through the iCloud backups – check my mSpy review to see how that works. Good luck.

  4. lorna July 2, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Ive done the factory reset but somehow my phone always starts tweaking again by turning off and rebooting or force closing alot.

    • Susan Kennedy July 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      I would try the factory reset again – if the problem persists then you may have a problem with your phone. It is very unlikely that this will be anything to do with spy software – more likely a problem with the phone itself. Your cell provider should be able to help.

  5. LA'Gbabe July 10, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    thank u so much…..but one question, is there any other way a person can see what goes on in ur phone threw a website or something?

    • Susan Kennedy July 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      The only way is by physically installing spy or monitoring software on to your cell phone. All of the phone logs and information can then be viewed from the spy software providers web site. You don’t need to worry about remotely installed spy software – they do not work!

      • Guy February 27, 2016 at 12:28 am #

        Is it still OK not to worry about remotely installed spyware? You said this back in July 2013. It is now February 2016. Just curious if things have advanced to where that is now possible.

        • Susan Kennedy March 5, 2016 at 8:12 am #

          The information is still good – I keep this site constantly updated – and remote install software is still not possible. Thanks for the question.

  6. maggiebear July 23, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    hello – i have a jailbroken iphone – i did not take it to get jailbroken, it was not my idea nor was i with the person who jailbroke it. i have a feeling that it is going to have spyware on it – i may just be parinoid but i am pretty sure i know this person and what they are capable of. can you please help me on info like how do i tell if it has spyware on it, how do i detect it, how do i remove it ect… i just want to check just for my peice of mind. i have searched the web for hours and of all this was the most helpful site. please someone help me:)

    • Susan Kennedy July 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Just follow the recommendations in the article above. Removing the jailbreak will remove any spy software on the iPhone. A factory reset works for all cell phones. Good luck.

  7. Marilyn August 12, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    How to know if there is a spyware on nokia c3 phone and SAMSUNG labtop with windows 8.

    Thank you,

    • Susan Kennedy August 12, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      Check out my article How to Detect Spy Software – it will give you some ideas. It is very difficult to spot good spy software when it is installed correctly but some of the lesser programs can give you some clues.

  8. Jeff August 31, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Is a factory reset able to remove stealthgenie? I have done a factory reset but it seems like my messages can still be spied on because I know the person who is spying.

    • Susan Kennedy September 2, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      A factory reset will remove any of the spy software programs – it definitely works! It is important, after the reset, not to re-install all of the apps automatically from a backup. It could be possible to reinstall the spy software. Another possibility is that the person monitoring you could have reinstalled the software.

  9. Stephanee September 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    i can’t restore my factory settings on my phone because even the password before i could activate it doesn’t work..even the other PW an PINS on my phone was changed..

    • Susan Kennedy September 2, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Wow that can cause some problems. All I can suggest is to contact your service provider. You could try a Google search for your phone make and model – how to get past the password lock. I know it is possible for some phones to be able to bypass the password and get into the phone utilities and perform the reset. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  10. Lisa Ayres September 11, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    How could a person delete the complete thread of texts from MY phone? They live 1700 miles away. They were texts from an estranged daughter. Just how much could I be spied on? Thanks….rather nervous.

    • Susan Kennedy September 11, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      It is possible to delete data on the target phone with some spy software programs. Distance does not matter if there is an internet connection. It could also be that someone physically deleted the messages – deliberately or by accident. Was it just one conversation thread or all messages on the phone. Just the one thread would suggest they were deleted from the phone itself and not using spy software. Hope this helps and good luck.

  11. Tony September 29, 2013 at 10:07 am #


    Assuming that spyware is installed on my iPhone with ios7 after several resets and reboots:
    – can the phone be saved?
    – can what appears to be a clone (or mirroring of my phone) be stopped?
    – can the “overtaking” of my phone (with or without wi-fi or a cellular signal) be stopped?
    – my restrictions password was changed –can this be fixed without a restore?

    The most excruciating problem is that my solution is to walk into an apple-store and replace it under the warranty, however I’m stuck overseas for much longer. And Apple will only accept the phone within the States.

    Yikes. Thanks for any help.

    • Susan Kennedy September 30, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      There is no commercial spy software available for the iPhone running iOs7 – there is no Jailbreak yet. If your phone is having the problems you describe it is not from any regular spy software programs. It sounds more like problems with the operating system itself. I would try doing a full reset – making sure not to sync the phone with any backup. Sorry I can’t be of more help – but it is definitely not regular spy software.

  12. Vick September 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    What if its been remotely added? How do I detect it, remove it and prevent it? On a galaxy s3 sch-r530m

    • Susan Kennedy October 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      I would not worry too much – so called remote install spy software does not work as the sellers would have you believe. It works using Bluetooth tethering – where you must accept another device to be connected, by downloading a text message and accepting the device. If you have been crazy enough to do this it will still only work if the two devices are very close (meters). Doing a factory reset will remove this type of software as well.

  13. Jeff October 1, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    What about software like StealthGenie. Can that be detected?

    • Susan Kennedy October 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      Some of the premium security apps can flag up spy software programs – some of the time!
      I have tested a few and read several reports from others and there is no consistency. They are not totally reliable in flagging the software. I find it amazing that none have focused on this issue.

  14. Michele October 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I assume Mobil spy does not work. It claims it can be installed remotely. I would have to accept this via blue tooth correct? My exboyfriend just purchased this and I want to make sure he actually can’t do anything with it without my knowledge. My blue tooth is off and my phone is password protected (iPhone 5)

    Thanks this article was very helpful in understanding!!!

    • Susan Kennedy October 7, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      I haven’t looked at that particular one but they are all the same and don’t work as they claim. You will be safe as long as you don’t accept the Bluetooth connection – and the password lock helps.

  15. Moises October 25, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    good afternoon
    I read your factory reset suggestion. but before i do this I want to find the spyware if i can.
    I have a samsung note 2. i want to find the software and what information it has taken from my tel. Please explain how i do this

    Thank you for your help

    • Susan Kennedy October 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      For most programs this will be next to impossible. You will not be able to find out what information they have had access to – but assume it will be almost everything you do on your phone!
      A really experienced cell phone tech might be able to find the software – if they know what they are looking for. I would imagine that may be expensive.

  16. Victoria November 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Is there a way to backup my texts before doing a factory reset? I need at least the ones between me and my ex-husband as evidence.

    • Susan Kennedy November 11, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      You can of course backup and it is recommended – from above – “You need to backup all of the data you want to keep”. Just be careful about restoring apps as you don’t want to re-install the spy software.

  17. Victoria November 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    I think my ex husband remotely installed Easy Spy Pro on my android phone. Is it true that programs like Malwarebytes, Lookout, and Anti Spy Mobile will not pick it up?

    • Susan Kennedy November 11, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      I don’t know about that particular program but it is true that so called anti spy software apps can be very hit and miss in spotting spy software. Sometimes they can flag it up but sometimes they don’t. It depends on many variables – the spy software, type of phone and OS and how the software is set up. None that I have heard of offer total protection and most don’t work at all for detecting spy software. Great question, thanks.

  18. Anna January 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    I just recently got anew phone, due to fear that my bf had added spyware to my previous phone. Is there any way that the spyware can transfer from one phone to the next? It’s an iPhone 4S to an iphone 5. I’ve read up on the subject buts it’s hard to determine fact from fiction.

    • Susan Kennedy January 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      It can’t just transfer by itself. It would have to be installed onto your phone again – physically.

  19. deb witkowski February 20, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    Could a phone get a spy program just from someone setting there phone on top of mine?

  20. antonio gonzalez March 9, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    if i reset my phone and back it up on my computer through itunes, will the spyware be removed for sure???

  21. Curious April 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I have done the factory settings on my Blackberry. Then I updated the OS. Have I become counterproductive in removing StealthGenie? Did the app reload with the OS update? Should I do the factory settings again and forget the OS update?

    • Susan Kennedy April 24, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      No it will not be reinstalled with the update – you are safe. Now you need to protect your phone and stop anyone having access to it.

  22. mel October 10, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    If I change my cell number and keep the phone can I still be monitored

    • Susan Kennedy November 7, 2015 at 7:49 am #

      Yes – the software is installed on the actual phone so just changing the number and SIM card will not remove it. You should do a factory reset to be safe.

  23. Ken Dixon November 3, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    can spy ware infect your SD card as well because i leave my SD installed

    • Susan Kennedy November 7, 2015 at 7:27 am #

      Software such as Flexispy and mSpy are not installed on the SD card – they are on the device itself. The SD card will not be a problem – a factory reset will clean the phone.

  24. David December 19, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Hello!! just a quick question:

    Does the factory data reset also work on an android phone that has been rooted?

    I´m being spied and I want to make sure my factory data reset is not in vain.


    • Susan Kennedy December 21, 2015 at 2:08 am #

      Yes it will remove the Rooting as well. I know it seems very simple, but it works!

  25. Chuck January 26, 2016 at 12:49 am #

    Very good information thanks Susan Kennedy

  26. Tom May 8, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Is it possible to put folders and files like pictures and so on an android phone? My gf found a new folder under her gallery with never seen before pictures in it, called “download” on her androidphone. She did not put it there and she never saw it before. Very strange!

    • Susan Kennedy May 12, 2016 at 11:41 am #

      Does sound strange. I would delete the folder right away. Could be that they were downloaded without meaning to from an app. It doesn’t sound like any spy product but I would get rid of it to be safe and keep an eye on the phone for a while for any suspicious behaviour. Good luck.

  27. reh May 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    and would updating my iphone to latest versin of ios help ?

    • Susan Kennedy June 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

      Yes updating the iOS would remove any Jailbreak and the spy software. Thanks for your question.

  28. Nervous June 30, 2016 at 3:43 am #

    Just to clarify, iPhone cannot have spyware installed unless it is a jail broken phone? Thank you.

    • Susan Kennedy July 5, 2016 at 9:02 am #

      That is correct. There is another way though – monitoring through iCloud backups is possible with programs like mSpy No Jailbreak. They do not install software on the target device but instead work by reporting the backups on iCloud. To work the person monitoring you needs to have your Apple ID and password. I explain more on my mSpy review.

  29. Anna June 30, 2016 at 5:44 am #

    Mam, is it possible that someone can spy on my whatsapp, or retrieve deleted messages even after end-to-end encryption initiated by whatsapp?

    • Susan Kennedy July 5, 2016 at 8:58 am #

      Yes – these programs can monitor WhatsApp conversations, regardless of encryption. They are intercepted from within the device so no encrytption is going to stop them. Hope that helps.

  30. Aditya July 15, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Is it possible that a monitoring, tracking,spyware app being compiled with a video. When i play that video the app automatically get installed on my android phone in the background and start monitoring me. I did the factory reset. Is there any chance for that spyware app to be present in my phone?
    Is it possible for a spyware app to be in the android phone even after factory reset with no backup restore?

    • Susan Kennedy August 4, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      No spy software can actually be installed that way – although some scams claim they can. A factory reset will remove any and all spy software apps. After the reset you need to keep the phone secure of course. Good luck.

  31. Nicholas P. December 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    Is it possible to hide that an iPhone was jail broken? I’m certain a certain someone is spying on my iPhone and Mac, however I see no Cydia app…and if it is possible, what steps can we take? Thanks for your response; wonderful article!

    • Susan Kennedy February 6, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      It is possible to hide the Jailbreak (and Cydia app). The easiest way to remove the jailbreak is to update the operating system or roll back to an earlier version then update. Very quick and easy to do and it will remove the jailbreak and any spy software installed.

  32. Tanya Lee January 31, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    I suspect spyware on my phone, although my ex-husband has never had physical access to the phone. I plan to complete a factory reset, so thanks for that advice. He has recently repeated information from an email that I sent from work, indicating that he’s also spying on my emails. Is this possible because this email address is tied to my cell phone? What should I do about that?

    • Susan Kennedy February 6, 2017 at 10:52 am #

      Spy software can easily pickup all your emails – the factory reset will remove it from your cell phone. Also think about the possibilty your PC or laptop could be monitored – especially with emails. Good luck.

  33. Jim May 25, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Can spyware like DDI access a phone without physical possession or knowing the iCloud password etc.? Basically has spyware advanced to be able to monitor an iPhone calls, text messages email etc with no access other than knowing the phone number?

    • Susan Kennedy June 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

      No – look closely at DDI and you will find their claims are confused and deliberately misleading. Many complaints from users – you still need access to the device in all cases.

  34. Xan Smit June 13, 2017 at 1:47 am #

    Can someone put spyware on my phone with a fake link ex. Fake Twitter link

    • Susan Kennedy June 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      This wouldn’t be possible with commercially available spy programs.

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