What Is Cell Phone Spy Software – and What Can it Do?

By definition, cell phone spy software refers to any software program which allows you to monitor the use of a cell phone in some way. Different people may call it different things – cell phone monitoring software, spy phone software – you get the idea.

Although most people have probably heard of some of these terms, they usually do not understand just how powerful this type of software can be. They are usually shocked to hear just how much information someone can gain from installing spy software.

The other shock is that this type of software can be sold legally. You can read about the legal restrictions here.

Use of the term spy software is widespread but monitoring software is a more accurate description when it is used for legal purposes. When the first software programs came out they were advertized with headlines like catch a cheating spouse, what is cell phone spy softwarespy on your husband and spy on your EX. Thankfully the better companies have moved on. Now the focus is firmly on monitoring activities – monitoring your kids cell phone or monitoring company cell phones.

What can it do?

With modern cell phone spy software you can monitor almost all activity which takes place on a cell phone. It is important to understand that it will only work on mobile phones with Internet capability – smart phones. The older types of mobile phone with no web access are safe from monitoring software.

The other issue you need to be aware of is phone compatibility – each program has downloads for specific phones and operating systems. You can read more details about compatibility here.

Some of the main programs are now available for use with the iPad and Android tablets, now they can be monitored in much the same way as any smart phone.

All the major companies will offer a similar range of basic features:

  • Monitoring text messages – all SMS text messages sent and received. You can read the actual contents of the text messages and view the time and date stamps.
  • Detailed call logs – you can view details of every call made and received by the target phone. You can see the phone numbers, times and duration.
  • Internet browsing history – this feature gives a listing of all websites visited using the phone’s web browser.
  • GPS tracking -you can track the monitored cell phone in real-time and view the recent movements of the phone. You can usually see this on a map, and it is very accurate.
  • Monitor E-mail – with most programs you can monitor e-mails sent and received including the contents and the details – sender, date etc
  • Files stored on the phone – you will be able to look at videos, photos, contacts, calendars – most of the personal files stored on the phone.

These are considered basic features and come with most monitoring software packages. It gets interesting when we look at some of the advanced features offered, usually at extra cost.

Competition between the rival software providers is pretty fierce, as they try to outdo each other with more detailed and what can spy software do advanced monitoring capabilities. Have you checked out my Mobile Spy , mSpy and StealthGenie reviews – more details of some advanced features.

Some of the advanced features you will find include:

  • Call recording – as it sounds, you can record actual voice calls made or received by the target cell phone. You can even download the recordings and keep them for play back.
  • Monitor message services – services like WhatsApp, iMessage, Viber, BB Messenger and others can now be monitored.
  • Monitor social sites – with some packages you can monitor all activity on popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Record phone surroundings – this feature activates the microphone on the target phone and will record the immediate area – like a remote bug.
  • Remote controls – you can remotely control the target cell phone with some programs. This can be a very powerful feature. You can remotely start or pause the spy app, lock and unlock the phone or even wipe all data from the phone.
  • View and control installed apps – you can see any apps which have been installed on the phone. It is also possible to block access to these apps – very useful with children.
  • Triggers and alerts – you can set up certain trigger words or phone numbers which when flagged up will send you an instant alert. Another great one for monitoring kids.

These are just a few of the features available with modern spy software. It is a fast moving marketplace, as new phones with new features come out; the spy software companies react with new ways to monitor them. It’s hard to keep up with some of the best software programs!

Now you know a little about cell phone spy software and what it can do – it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Follow along with my main Guide to Cell Phone Spy Software.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

14 Responses to What Is Cell Phone Spy Software – and What Can it Do?

  1. Lola Luther August 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Greetings,

    As a concerned parent please let me know frankly if there
    are apps out there with which you can remotely control
    another smartphone’s camera without the knowledge of the
    user. We believe my son’s smartphone had been compromised
    and his peers were able to monitor texts, calls & other
    files (photos, apps on his phone, etc). There is nothing
    that can be done about it as there is really no way to prove
    it.

    However, our main concern is what all possibly could have
    been done with such a spy app.

    I have researched the internet and found apps that can
    listen to background noise, gps locations and such, but most
    of the apps that lets you use the camera stealthily needs to
    be operated by the user himself. But, are there malwares or
    apps with which one can remotely operate another
    smartphone’s camera without the apparent sounds or without
    the phone’s screen going into camera mode, i.e without it
    being apparent to the phone’s user?

    This would help a lot!

    Thanks,

    Lola

    • Susan Kennedy August 21, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      The features you mention are indeed available with spy software programs – including the Stealth camera function. Mobile Spy have the stealth camera feature, it is possible.
      You are correct in saying that it is very difficult to prove who installed the software. Your best way forward is to remove the software and protect the phone from being monitored in the future. I have several articles covering these topics on the site.
      Hope that helps you.

  2. Lola Luther August 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Just wondering, can a regular phone like ‘Samsung Intensity III’ be bugged/spyware prone? If so, should we be looking for similar points that you mentioned to look for if we doubt that a smartphone has been bugged?

    • Susan Kennedy August 21, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks for the question. As far as I’m aware the Intensity lll has no means of internet connection (not a smartphone). This means that it can not be monitored by regular spy software.

  3. Angie September 10, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    Hi, Susan,

    great article! I really enjoyed reading it. I installed Mobile Spy software on Android device and it’s the real thing! Really cool! However, when I changed SIM card it needed application to be re-install (although it’s written in their FAQ that it wouldn’t happened since software installs on phone not SIM card).
    Can you recommend some software/app that d o e s indeed install on the phone and wouldn’t need to be re-installed when changing the SIM card?
    Thank you for your help:)

    • Susan Kennedy September 11, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks for your comment. Mobile Spy is installed on the actual phone and you are supposed to be able to continue monitoring even after a SIM card change. Sometimes the new card is not recognized and you need to re-install the software (no extra cost). The only other thing to do is check the phone settings – is it still able to connect to the internet and has GPS enabled. If the new SIM has no data connection then the software will not work with it.
      If you still have problems contact their tech help – they are pretty good in my experience.

  4. Jones July 19, 2015 at 7:35 am #

    I just want to ask if all these call recording files are saved on target phone permanently or they are deleted automatically after sometime?

    • Susan Kennedy July 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

      The recording files are not stored on the target phone – they are uploaded directly to the spy software user Dashboard for listening or downloading. Nothing is stored on the phone being monitored. Thanks for your question and good luck – have a good look around the site, hopefully it will make things clear.

  5. A DAS February 2, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    Dear all, suppose spy software is installed in a GSM cell phone and the SIM take out from the cell phone and put it in another Similar type of phone. Can that phone also be monitored? Looking for the valuable reply.

    • Susan Kennedy February 8, 2016 at 3:58 am #

      The spy software is installed on the actual phone, not the Sim card. If the Sim is moved to another device it would not be monitored – you would need to install the software again, on the second device. Hope that makes sense!

  6. Girl June 16, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Hello! I’m wondering if spy apps can see deleted images, videos or contacts. Thanks!

    • Susan Kennedy July 5, 2016 at 9:23 am #

      If they were deleted before you installed the spy software – no. But going forward, after installation, if they are deleted after sending or saving you will still see them – they will be captured and reported to the online dashboard.

  7. Div January 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    If somebody deletes the call log on the target phone while it is not connected to internet, and then after some time it is connected to internet, will the spyware be able to trace the call log?

    • Susan Kennedy February 6, 2017 at 11:00 am #

      Yes – the logs are stored in the device and when connected will still be reported.

Leave a Reply


*