How Does Cell Phone Spy Software Work?

I want to quickly cover how cell phone spy apps work. It is important to understand the process behind the scenes. This will give you a better understanding of the requirements and can help you figure out any problems you might have if it is not working correctly.

Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a technical inspection of the inner workings, just an overall view of the process!

All of the major spy software programs work in a similar way – their reporting and set-up may differ but the process is the same.

They all have the same main requirements to get started.

Let’s have a look!

how spy apps work

How Spy Apps Work – The Overall View

You start by choosing the correct monitoring software package – one that will monitor all that you need to cover and is compatible with the target phone and Operating System.

You make the purchase and follow the download instructions. You download to the target phone and install the software on the target cell phone – the one you want to monitor.

You’ll want to take some care when buying a cell phone spy app – to avoid scams and bad programs. Make sure to check out my main reviews of recommended spy apps:

  1. mSpy app review
  2. FlexiSpy app Review
  3. MobiStealth Review
  4. Umobix reviews

Stick to one of these for a reliable solution that will not leave you feeling ripped off!

You need to have physical access to the phone – no remote install – no exceptions!

how spy software works
How Cell Phone Spy Apps Work

Keep in mind that if the target phone has a password lock you will need to be able to open it. Follow the links for more details!

The software is installed and configured and now when any activity takes place on the monitored phone it is recorded by the software – we call these the data logs.

This includes everything the app is capable of recording; from text messages to voice calls and social media apps.

See my articles on how to install mSpy on Android devices and then installing mSpy on the iPhone. These give you a good overview of the installation process. You might also be interested in the No Jailbreak version of mSpy – it works in a completely different way. Have a look!

Exactly which activities are recorded depends on the software package you chose.

The data logs are then sent to the spy software company web servers – via a web connection! This is why an internet connection is needed. The data logs – all of the reports – are stored and presented in your own personal online Dashboard.

When you sign up for the spy software you will receive a user name and password giving you access to the online dashboard. Now you can log on to the dashboard and view the reports.

Below is a screen shot of the mSpy dashboard.

mspy dashboard

The dashboard is just a protected part of the company website where individual users can access all of their reports. You can view the information from any web browser using any device which has an internet connection – anywhere in the world.

The data is stored securely online and only you, with your unique login details, can view it from any device, laptop or PC.

The Online Dashboard

This is the hub of the system, where you can view all of the reports and configure your account settings. Once the software has been installed everything can be managed using the dashboard control panel and you shouldn’t need to access the target phone again.

Depending on the program, there are various functions you can perform using the dashboard.

  • You can download the report files – including any recordings, photos, videos or logs – to your PC.
  • You can control the target phone via the dashboard with some programs – lock or unlock the phone, start recordings and even delete the software.
  • Manage your account settings including payment plans.

Overall it is a simple enough concept – of course you can imagine the technology behind the scenes is more complicated. At the core of everything is software compatibility and internet access. These are the two things which can cause problems.

Did you know that spy apps can be used to retrieve deleted text messages without using a computer ? Have a read here it is all explained.

Device Compatibility

If your target phone operating system is not supported the software will not work. Remember that for any iPhone or iPad the device MUST be Jailbroken. Rooting an android is NOT necessary for most features to work but a few advanced features do require rooting. Read those articles if you are confused – follow the links!

Remember that you need physical access to the phone and the spy app must be installed directly on to the phone you want to monitor (the target phone).

The only exception to this is using the no Jailbreak version of apps like mSpy – only available for the iPhone. In this case no software is installed. It works by monitoring the iCloud backups and logging the changes.

Don’t be mislead by the marketting claims – in most cases you will need access to the target phone. Ignore claims that you can hack a phone with just the phone number – I have an article explaining why this claim is false.

You Need Internet Access

A good, reliable internet connection is crucial for the software to work to its full potential. Everything depends on the connection. If the target phone has no connectivity the spy software can’t send the logs to the dashboard – and you can’t hack the phone data.

If you don’t have a connection you can’t view the dashboard. Sometimes this can lead to a delay in receiving the reports – so keep it in mind.

If you have any problems with your spy software not working properly the most likely causes will be:

  • Incorrect installation at the start
  • Compatibility problems
  • Bad Internet connection

Get these things all in place and you should have no troubles.

So now you know a bit more about how cell phone spy apps work – get back to the main spy phone guide!

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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 you how to improve your online security and stop unwanted spy apps. Reliable information from a real person!

Susan Kennedy author