I’m going to explain how to uninstall hidden spy phone apps completely and safely. I’ll look at spyware removal and then cover some tips to keep you safe from spy software in the future.
This is simple enough for anyone to do themselves; you don’t need to be very technical.
People use different terms to describe removing spy software – removing spyware or even removing stalkerware.
There are slight technical differences but in general spyware covers all – spy apps and stalkerware are types of spyware.
So let’s get started!
Cell Phone Spyware Detection and Removal
A large part of this website is aimed at better cell phone security and how to find and remove spy software apps and spyware programs. I have a lot of experience using these programs for legitimate reasons so this gives me great insight as to how you can find them and protect yourself.
I hope you have gone through my article – How to find Spyware Apps on your phone. It gives a few tips about how to spot spy software, looking at odd phone behavior or increased data usage amongst other things.
If you still suspect that your cell phone is being monitored by spyware – you need to remove it!
This is part of my Online Security section of The Spy Software Guide – I have a range of in depth guides to help with your security. How to Know if Your Phone is Hacked is a great guide covering many ways your phone can be hacked and if you are a victim everything on it may be compromised!
Can using USSD codes tell if your phone is hacked? I ran some tests and most proved useless – have a read for yourself.
I also have an in depth guide on How to Remove a Hacker from My Phone – this one looks at ways to unhack your phone – even when the hacker hasn’t used a spy app.
Spyware and phone spy software programs are a serious threat to your privacy. These programs can track almost everything you do on your mobile device.
All data, including text messages, video, pictures, e mail and browser history can easily be compromised by a phone spyware app available on the internet. If you are a victim, you need to get rid of any spyware on your device.
Remember to have a look at the related articles for lots more spyware information in my security section!
How to Remove Spy Software from Any Phone or Device
Now I’ll go through a few spyware removal methods that will work on any type of cell phone running mobile operating systems. After that I’ll look at specific methods to remove spy apps from Android and Apple iPhones and devices.
Removing Spy Apps With a Factory Reset
Will a factory reset remove spyware – sounds too easy? This works on all phones and devices, Android and Apple iPhone.
This is probably the most complete method to uninstall cell phone spyware from your phone or device. Even if you are not totally sure you are being monitored this will give you some peace of mind.
A factory reset is sometimes called a hard reset – just to be clear. How to remove phone spy monitoring programs? – a factory reset is the best way for any user!
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.
Check my Factory Reset guides for Apple devices and Android devices :
You can perform a factory reset on all phones including Android, iPhone and BlackBerry. It really is easy to do as long as you follow the guides.
Backup your phone first!
Doing a factory reset will return your phone to how it was when you first bought it. It restores your device to it’s factory settings.
It will remove any spyware completely.
All your user 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.
I have new easy to follow guides to help with the backup and restore process for Apple devices and Android devices:
How to Backup an iPhone and How to Restore an iPhone
How to Backup Android and How to Restore Android
You can find all these in the Tech Guides Section. These will help you – they are clear and easy to follow – anyone can do this!
Here are some other good guides for performing a factory reset on:
- Android operating system http://droidologist.com/how-to-reset-an-android-phone/
- iPhone iOS http://osxdaily.com/2012/01/17/reset-iphone-factory-settings/
- BlackBerry https://crackberry.com/reset-your-blackberry-factory-reset
These guides are easy to follow and once you go through the process, any trace of the spyware software will have been removed. It is a quick and easy way to be sure you are not being monitored and doesn’t require great technical skills.
Uninstall Hidden Phone Spy App with an OS Update
Updating or re-installing the phone firmware or operating system will have a similar effect to doing a factory reset – but is less extreme. It will not remove your apps and data but will remove the hidden spy software.
This works because the monitoring programs are specific to the OS on the phone or mobile device – change the OS and the spyware is removed and will not work.
It is not as complete a solution as the factory reset but in most cases will still remove the offending spyware.
Remember that updating the OS will also remove Rooting (Android) and any Jailbreak on an iPhone.
Removing Spyware from an iPhone
Removing spy phone software from an iPhone is easy – just update or reinstall the iOS. For any cell phone spyware program to work on the iPhone it must be Jailbroken. Updating the iOS removes the Jailbreak and so removes the spyware software from an iPhone.
What About No Jailbreak Spy Apps?
These programs have become very popular – especially since jailbreaking isn’t available for the latest Apple iOS devices. Keep in mind that with the no jailbreak versions – No Software is actually installed on the device being monitored!
I go into more detail on my main mSpy review – read all about mspy here.
No software installed means there is nothing to remove – so how can you stop this spyware? They work by monitoring changes in the iCloud backups. The person monitoring your device needs to have access to your Apple ID and password, and backups need to be set to run automatically.
If you think you are being spied on in this way you need to disrupt the iCloud backups. You can cancel backups completely and use an alternative way to back up your device. Or you can change your password – and keep changing it regularly.
It is a good idea to set up two factor authentication (2FA) on your iCloud account. This means you can set your login to need a text confirmation before accessing your backup account.
Either way will stop the person being able to access your backups and so your private data.
For peace of mind I would recommend using an alternative backup solution – and delete your iCloud account. This will keep your data and information safe from tracking programs.
How to Remove Spyware From Android
As I said the methods above will remove spyware and spy software apps from all devices but what about spyware removal for Android in particular.
One method for uninstalling hidden phone spy apps is to remove any Root access on the Android phone or mobile device. Most of these monitoring apps need the target device to be Rooted for advanced reporting features to work.
Root access or Rooting Android allows the spyware programs to track things like social media and messenger platforms.
If you remove the Rooting then the spyware will not work. The simple process of updating or re-installing the operating system will remove any Root on the Android device.
One other method specific to Android devices is to not allow “Unknown Sources” in your main settings. This setting basically allows you to install any third party apps from any source – not just the Google Play Store.
Again all phone spy apps require this setting – if you uncheck it they will not work.
Manually Removing Phone Spy Apps?
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 spy app files can be a difficult process as they are 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.
If you do want to try manual removal there are some clues you can look for. Some spyware apps don’t cover their tracks as well as others and you can look for file names similar to their brand names. These may also be followed by the .APK extension (usually left behind after installation).
To find these files and uninstall them look for the most common names: DDI Utilities, mSpy, FlexiSPY, Spyzie and Hoverwatch.
Spyware Removal Tools
There are so called online spyware removal tools or anti-spy applications. I have tested a couple but with mixed success. Some programs such as Bitdefender and Malaware Bytes can help with traditional spyware.
But when we try to use these against spy phone software or Stalkerware apps installed they are usually ineffective. This software needs to be programmed to look for specific things such as hidden files or certain file types and names.
The better spying apps work hard to remain hidden and disguise the files and change them regularly. By doing this they keep one step ahead of the spyware removal tools. They aren’t a reliable way to remove hidden phone spy apps.
How to Stop Spyware and Block Spy Apps
Once you have successfully removed the spy software from your phone you need to think about securing your phone to stop it happening again. A few simple security steps can protect your device and block spy apps.
It amazes me how most people don’t use even the most basic methods to protect their phones. Spyware can be installed in a few minutes – if someone has physical access to your phone or device. Don’t be a victim!
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 programs to manage secure passwords and automatically lock your phone or device.
- 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 some spyware apps.
For most people, simply using a good secure password is more than enough to stop anyone getting into your phone and installing spyware without your knowledge.
That’s about it for now. As always I’ll keep this page updated as new ways to remove and uninstall hidden spy apps come up.
Serious About Removing a Spy App?
Think you really do have a serious problem? I have developed a comprehensive Security Guide Ebook to help. It covers – Finding phone spy software, how to remove phone spyware and how to stop it happening again. Find more details HERE. You will find lots of information not readily available online.