Find the Best Spy Apps for a Cell Phone in 2021

What’s the best cell phone spy program available today? One of the most frequent questions I get asked.

In this article I will compare the top programs – the best spy apps that I use and test and can honestly recommend.

Fed up with long lists of programs? All apparently fantastic – well things are a bit different here.

I only recommend a few select cell phone spy software apps.

To make my recommended list the program must be reliable and tested over time.

I compare their prices, their features and the phones and devices they work on – and give you easy to follow tables to make your decision painless

When you get into this post you’ll soon see that there is really no such thing as “The Best” but there will be one that is the best for you and your needs. This is part of my main phone Spy Apps Guide – use it and my main reviews to make the smart choice.

Top Rated Phone Spy Apps (2021)

I have put together my top picks based on using these programs over a long period of time – these are all reliable programs from trusted sellers. I only recommend a few spy apps that I have used personally and feel confident to stand over.



Our Rating




 5 Check Here



 4 Check Here



 3.5 Check Here



 3.5 Check Here

The ratings above are all based on my opinions and experience – but you need to think about which program will be best for your needs – remember?

Price Comparison of Cell Phone Spy Apps

The table below shows the pricing information of each of the recommended programs – I keep it updated but always check their websites for special offers and any changes.


1 month

3 months

6 months

full year

mSpy basic





mSpy premium





mSpy No Jaibreak





Flexispy Premium





Flexispy Extreme





Mobistealth Android Pro





Mobistealth Android Pro X





Mobistealth iPhone Premium





Mobistealth iPhone Prem Plus





Xnspy Basic





Xnspy Premium





As you can see there is quite a variation! Remember when comparing prices to take into account the features you need and the length of time you may want to keep monitoring – both ultimately affect your final cost.

Always double check that the features you really need are available for your phone type and are included in the plan you choose.

The Best Hidden Spy Apps …. Free?

Let’s address hidden spy apps for a moment. To me it is crucial that any spy software I recommend MUST be hidden. If it can not be hidden completely, then it is not really a spy app in my opinion. Make sense?

Needless to say each program I list can be hidden from the phone user – they will not be able to find it easily. Another good reason to chose your app carefully – some older and less developed programs can easily be spotted. 

Free Spy Apps?

I get asked this all the time – can you get a quality spy app for free? And I always answer – no you can not. Don’t believe any marketing hype about this. Free programs that work and are hidden just do not exist. You may find a free trial …. but in the end to get all features you will have to pay. Thankfully they don’t need to cost too much and are within the reach of most people. 

Speaking of features ….

Spy App Features Compared – What Can You Spy On?

Now for the fun part – exploring all of the different features available from the different spy programs. They all cover the same standard features such as call logs and text messages – but then they have different advanced features and controls.

Hopefully this table helps you to compare the features you need!








No Jailbreak Version

 Y N Y Y

Installation Service


Call Intercept


Call Recording


Call Blocking


Surroundings Record


Call History


Text Messages




Photos Videos






Web History




Website Blocking


Gps Tracking History


Gps Real Time


Geo Fencing




Fbook Messenger






Bbpin Messages






























Trigger Words


Trigger Numbers


Stealth Camera




Live Screenshot


View Installed Apps


App Blocking


Sim Change Notify


Lock Phone


Wipe Phone


Remote Pause Start


Remote Deactivate


Control Via Web


Control Via Sms Text


More Visit –


Again I keep this part updated regularly as the different apps roll out new features.

Before You Decide

You need to ask yourself a few important questions:

What type of phone or device do you need to monitor?

The most important issue is if the target device is compatible with the spy program you choose. This depends on the operating system and the version.If you are monitoring an iPhonecan it be Jailbroken, or will you need a No Jailbreak spy version?With Android devices you may need to Root for some features to work. I go into details on the main reviews and in my main guide.

What do you really need to monitor – the features?

Do you really need call recording features or be able to read SnapChat activity? Only pay for the features you need – quite often the Basic versions have more than enough information for most people and cost a lot less.

What’s Your Budget?

The prices vary quite a bit and obviously you need to pay extra for so called Premium features such as call recording. If you need these features you could also consider taking out shorter term subscriptions – and save some money.

Warning: Avoid Free Spy Software – it is never free! Beware of programs offering a one off payment for lifetime cover – what could go wrong? – they are usually scams.

If the price seems really low compared to the rest of the main spy apps on the market – ask yourself why? I like everyone to save money but if you want a reliable spy software that actually works, stick to the main recommended programs.

mSpy vs Flexispy vs MobiStealth vs XNSPY

Now for a bit of a head to head on the top spy apps. In this next section I try to compare the main programs in terms of what they are best at monitoring.

best spy apps compared

The Best Phone Spy Software App For ….

Spying on Android

Android is probably the easiest operating system for the spy apps to work well on. The only consideration is whether or not you Root the device. Rooting is NOT absolutely necessary but a few features do require it: Recording features, screenshots and social messenger apps (WhatsApp, SnapChat, Viber, Instagram and Facebook etc).All four work very well on Android and it really does come down to your monitoring requirements and budget.

For Advanced spy features I would go for mSpy – for a budget option … XNSpy.

Spying on Apple iPhone

Spying on an iPhone is always a little more complicated – I have a detailed guide here worth a read. You first need to determine if the target iPhone can be Jailbroken – up to iOS 9.03 can right now. You can only install the full version software on Jailbroken Apple devices – otherwise you need to use the No Jailbreak versions.Mspy, Mobistealth and Xnspy all have both versions available. Flexispy only have the full version software – but they are your Only option if you want call recording on an iPhone.

Monitoring Tablet Devices

People get confused about requirements for spying on Tablets or Pads. Firstly they must have internet capability and then all that matters is the operating system being compatible. Same rules as with mobile phones. 

Best for Tracking a Cell Phone Location

All four programs have GPS tracking and it works well – it is a pretty standard report with modern spy apps today. Where they get interesting is when combining tracking a cell phone with alerts and notifications – and how easy this is to manage.mSpy have this feature well taken care of – you can view tracking information history or in real time and you can set Geo fencing areas with trigger alerts. Great for tracking your kids movements – get an alert if they enter a restricted area! Winner – mSpy

Hacking WhatsApp and Other Messenger Apps

Messenger apps have become a big deal when it comes to monitoring text messages. It will not be long before they overtake the old fashioned text! If you are monitoring a cell phone and you can’t see their instant messages, you are probably missing a lot.The spy companies recognized this early on and have worked hard to keep up with the changes. All four have decent coverage of the main platforms but Flexispy does monitor the largest range of social media and messenger apps. The important thing is to look for the platforms that you need to cover – nobody uses all of them … do they?

Call Recording

Always seen as the Premium feature – and for some people it really is. Having the ability to hear a live call or a voice recording is crucial for some. Ambient recording is another feature that I would place in this category – where the phone can be used like a bug to record the phone’s surroundings.FlexiSpy has dominated these features for the past few years and they do a good job. They now also record things like Facetime and WhatsApp voice calls!

The Best Value Spy Software?

It often comes down to money in the end. As always with spy phone software there is no simple answer – have a look at the pricing comparison above!mSpy has the cheapest version – 1 month Basic for $29.99 Flexispy has the most expensive – 12 months Extreme for $349.00Somewhere in the middle is the best value.There is no getting away with it – if you need Flexispy’s recording features you need to pay. If you can get away with a bit less in terms of features, you can save substantially.

I personally think the basic monitoring versions over a year represent real value for money – and they should cover most people’s needs.

Spy Apps That Don’t Make My List!

So far we have looked at my personal recommended list of the top spy apps today. I have reviewed some other programs but for various reasons I do not fully recommend them.

Some of these under testing have problems with accuracy and reliability, some don’t work as promised. Some of the companies have a shady background and some just don’t offer anything to make me want to chose them over any of my recommended apps.

I don’t want to get into bashing other programs …. but I am very careful about any product I recommend. Feel free to check out my reviews for these spy software apps:

If anyone can argue with me and try to convince me that any of these apps come close to mSpy or FlexiSPY at this time …. I’d love to hear your reasons.

Now it is up to you. Take some time and consider what you want to achieve before looking at my individual reviews in more detail.

Buying Cell Phone Spy Apps Safely – Don’t Get Ripped Off

Purchasing top quality spy phone software is not as simple as you might think. A part of the problem is that you have such a huge number of different companies to choose from and sadly this specific market has become targeted by some unethical online marketers.

ripp off spy apps

Things can quickly become confusing – then you start to worry about being scammed!I am hoping this information will serve as a guide to save you some time in locating the best cellphone spy app for your requirements – and keep your money safe!

There are some decent applications on the market from reliable phone spy app companies that are capable of doing some remarkable things. Finding these companies and ordering from decent suppliers will in the end save you money and time.

When you are buying cell phone spy software you need to be concerned about two main things.

  • Find the program which matches your needs in terms of monitoring and compatibility with the target phone.
  • Only buy good software – a program which actually works as described and is safe and reliable.

Some extra care should be taken when shopping for spy phone software due to the sheer volume of scam programs around. Some companies have vanished into thin air with their client’s money, so you need to order from the more established spy phone software providers.

Don’t worry though, they are not all bad, with a little help you should be able to find some good quality spy programs. I will give you some tips to help you to spot the scams and to evaluate the different programs, so let’s have a look.

Evaluating the Software Companies

When you come across a spy app program you are interested in you will end up on their website. The website itself can provide you with some clues about the quality of the program – if you know what to look for.

What you want to see is a professional looking site which looks like a real business. Look for phone numbers, addresses, contact information – live help chat is popular with some of the better programs.

TIP – Try contacting them by phone or email to see if you get a personal response.

Do they have Facebook and Twitter pages – check these out to see if they look real and have been used.

What is the information like on the website, do they have detailed installation instructions and a FAQ page? Some of the scam sites have nothing but a couple of pages with big Buy Now buttons everywhere.

You need to look for detailed information – are most of your questions answered by information on their website? Look at a few different websites to compare what a real product site should look like – start with the programs I have reviewed.

Of course lots of these things can be faked and they might have a great looking website selling crap software. Now you need to search online for more clues.

Established Web Presence?

Try searching in Google for the company name – is their website the first in the results? If not this is a really bad sign as Google does not like their website – perhaps due to complaints or bad practices.

Try doing a search for “product name scam” – insert the product name. See what comes up here. Just a word of caution with this tip – read what is being said and try to judge the truth.

Some websites will have titles like “is X spy software a scam?” then go on to say no its great buy here or yes buy this one instead. Look for lots of complaints as a sign of scam software.

If you can’t find any information about the program in the search results – avoid it.

Check For Known Scams

Make good use of some of the scam and rip-off reporting sites online. If the product is a real scam there will almost certainly be something about it on the web. As always use your instincts – some people also abuse these sites for marketing purposes.

Check out Ripoff Report or Complaints Board – both useful. You can also check on the Better Business Bureau for any reports.

avoiding spy app scams

Pricing and Term Contracts

Most of the best cell spy programs have broadly similar pricing structures – they are in competition. As a rule they will charge more for advanced monitoring features.

They all work on term contracts – you pay for one, three, six or twelve months of service which can be renewed as needed. If you come across a program which is “free” or very cheap looking, you need to ask questions. Why would a company invest in developing a great product only to sell it at half the price of the competition?

Sometimes things are too good to be true!

Another big warning sign is – “One Time Payment” or “Free Lifetime Upgrades”. You will not get these offers from reputable monitoring software companies. By selling term contracts the good companies can afford to invest in future development – crucial as new phones, operating systems and features are released.

Check Online Spy Reviews

Reviews can be a great way to find out the truth about products but with cell phone monitoring reviews you need to take extra care. When you search for spy software reviews online you are met with many different and often conflicting reviews.

The truth is that many of these are actually fake or written by people who have never used the products. Again you can’t just take a product review at face value you need to evaluate the review site. Apply the same techniques mentioned above – to the review websites this time!

User Generated Reviews

Normally these should be the most reliable type of review site – but in this market they are not. The idea is simple – users can post their experiences with the software in question, good and bad. This works well on a huge site like Amazon – but not for spy software reviews!

If you look closely at some of these sites you will see lots of comments – one or two sentences long – saying either this is the best or total rip off try this one instead.

These so called user reviews are being manipulated – by the software companies and by people promoting them. To me they are very obvious, but to others they might at first seem convincing.

Who would take the time to write a user review, unsolicited, and just write a sentence saying its great? No details no real explanation – just a sentence or two. In normal circumstances the people who take the time and effort to post comments are ones who are extremely unhappy with the product – more motivation to write bad things.

By manipulating these reviews they can make a really bad software program appear to be very popular.

Regular Review Websites

By that I mean just regular websites, not user generated. What you need to do here is look for reasons to trust what is said. Is it just a quick – “this is great buy now” or is the review more in depth. Does it look like the person has used the software in question?

Here are a few things to consider when looking at the review website:

  • Is the website just a collection of various reviews of random products?
  • Is there any real information – not straight from the company website?
  • Any information about using spy software – explaining more about it?
  • Any sign of life on the website – real looking comments, new or updated information.
  • Contact information – about page – who is writing the review?
  • Lots of pictures from the spy software website – usually with links to buy!
  • Social signs – Facebook or Twitter – any likes or followers. On this one beware sites with huge numbers of followers – remember this is spy software and not everyone wants to share their interest in it! Facebook like are easily bought to make a site look popular.

What you are looking for is a reason to trust what the person is saying and belief that they have actually used the software. When you have read a few reviews you should get a feel for who has made a genuine effort to give valid information and who just wants to make a quick buck.

Only Pay for What You Need

In terms of the features available from the different software programs, be realistic and focus on what you actually need. Often the more advanced features can appear amazing but remember, they will add to the total cost of the program.

The reality is that most people only use the most basic reporting and monitoring functions provided in the less expensive software deals. So save yourself some money and only buy what you really think you will use.

Be Aware of the Law

More than anything else make sure you are alert to any legal implications whenever using any spy software. As a general guide – you need to own and have legal rights over the phone and you must inform any adult user that the phone will be monitored.

This is basically the minimum legal requirements for most places. However, you must check the laws and regulations where you live to keep yourself totally safe. I believe that “Spying” is not the best term to use – cell phone tracking or monitoring would be a safer way to think.

Want to Save Money?

Trying to find the cheapest spy phone software might not be the wisest approach here. Whenever something seems to be too cheap, in all probability – it is. Safeguard yourself by purchasing from one of the recognized software program suppliers.

Whenever costs are your primary worry, think about some of the programs with limited features or possibly a short term contract. When you stick to these suggestions you can stay safe when buying cell phone spy software to suit your needs exactly and take away the risk of loosing your hard earned cash.



Our Rating




 5 Check Here



 4 Check Here



 3.5 Check Here



 3.5 Check Here

Have a good read around this site – if something is confusing, I bet it has been answered in an article or in the comments. Good luck and thanks for reading.

Author - Susan Kennedy

Hi there - I'm Susan Kennedy, a regular mom who has used spy apps for years now. I was fed up with spammy reviews and poor information so I started this website. I also teach how to improve your online security and stop unwanted spy apps. Reliable information from a real person!

Susan Kennedy author