There are many legitimate reasons for wanting to use spyware for Android. Most commonly, parents find themselves needing to monitor their child's phone, or employers need to keep tabs on employees.
With dozens of apps on the market, it can be hard to tell them apart and even more difficult to know which ones you should trust. Most are selling the same software with aggressive sales tactics and no support. In reality, there are only a handful of legit Android spy apps that work and have been in use long enough to be proven safe over time while still utilizing the latest technology and advanced features.
In this article, we vet and review the best spy apps for Android in 2022.
6 Best Spy Apps For Android
The top Android spy apps monitor text messages, social media activity, chat and messaging apps, emails, phone calls, the GPS location of the target phone, and more. The top Android spying apps on this list also have access to the phone's microphone and cameras.
These apps are intended as parental control tools, but they are also frequently used by businesses to spot dishonest employees.
mSpy is the Android spy app I use to monitor my daughter's phone. It gives me access to her call logs, text messages, location, web browsing history, and social media accounts. I can even block certain apps or websites if I don't want her to access them.
GPS location tracking updates their location in real-time and will overlay their location history on a map so it is easier to see where they have been, not just where they are now. Geofencing alerts can be set up so you can be notified when they enter or leave a designated area, such as an ex-boyfriend's house.
The app also has a keylogger feature that will let you have access to any passwords typed on their phone as well as a screen recorder so you will always know what they are seeing on their screen.
mSpy's social media coverage is also excellent with total coverage of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp conversations and activity.
mSpy also gives you access to any pictures and videos taken on the phone. This is a great feature for parents as it allows them to know if their child is posting anything inappropriate online or if they are hanging around friends that are a bad influence.
Installation takes about 5 minutes and is easy. It then runs in the background, silently monitoring all activity and storing the data for you to access from your online dashboard.
While I have tried, or attempted to use, dozens of other spy apps for Android over the years mSpy has consistently been the most reliable and never had issues with remaining completely hidden. While this would seem like it should be a given with any Android spy app, things don't always go as planned and they can be discovered by the phone's user. In spite of my fairly extensive monitoring, this has never been a problem with mSpy and I highly recommend you take a look at it.
- Proven track record
- Totally hidden
- Easy installation
- GPS location tracking
- 24/7 support
EyeZy is the newest and most powerful software to spy on Android phones that doesn't require you to root the phone. Exploiting Wi-Fi syncing will provide the person's real-time GPS location, contacts, e-mail, photos, and videos although even more information is available if you can root the Android device.
As a spy app for Android phones, eyeZy offers a wide range of advanced capabilities including:
- Keystroke Capture
- Website Browsing History
- Alerts for specific conversations
- Call logs
- Location tracking
Social media coverage is very good when monitoring Facebook, Tinder, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, KiK, and Instagram messages to see what the person is doing online.
While this hidden spying application is not quite as advanced as other options, it does make up for it by being the easiest to use and having the best tech support of any Android spy app I have used. EyeZy is also compatible with every major Android device made since 2013, giving it the widest compatibility of any cell phone spying software.
- Easiest to use
- Totally hidden
- Fast installation
- GPS tracking
- Access to all social media
- Not as powerful as uMobix
FlexiSpy is not as user-friendly as other spying software, but it is the most comprehensive Android spying app currently on the market. It remains hidden in stealth mode and offers a long list of spy capabilities, including:
- Call Logs
- All Text Messages
- Monitor Social Media Content, including Facebook
- Browser & Search History
- Compatible with all Android versions
FlexiSpy and uMobix are the only Android spyware apps that can take pictures or video on the target device, as well as activate the microphone to turn the target phone into a live room bug. In addition, it can record both sides of phone calls and upload them to the cloud for you to download later.
It's worth having a slightly less modern interface to have safe and reliable ways to spy on cell phones and their surrounding area. While it doesn't offer advantages over our first choice, it's definitely the best alternative.
- Extremely powerful
- Live camera streaming
- Pre-loaded phones available
- GPS location tracking
- Microphone activation
- Call recording
- Older interface
- Requires rooting
I previously used uMobix to monitor my daughter and did well with it for a while. Installation was easy and, as importantly, quick and I was initially quite impressed with the app.
uMobix has capabilities that far exceed any other spy app currently available for Android, with the exception of the next app on this list. What makes this better is that it manages to be much more user-friendly without sacrificing features or spying capabilities so you're much less likely to be stuck or not know how to get it working.
More social media platforms, including Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat, WhatsApp, TikTok, Telegram, Instagram, Skype, Reddit, and Zoom, are accessible through the uMobix app than through any other cell phone spy software currently available.
Integrated spyware detection can alert you to other spying apps which are already installed. If you are spying on your child for their safety, this rather unusual feature can provide peace of mind as you know no one else is watching them.
Tech support is often overlooked with this type of app as everyone focuses on features but uMobix provides support by phone and live chat, which can be a lifesaver if you need to install it in a limited amount of time.
It always bothered me that intercepted data only stayed on the dashboard for 30 days but I appreciated being able to use a couple of extra features not available elsewhere. What ultimately led me to abandon it was its lack of dependability. I need a spy app for Android to remain completely hidden and it's worth very little to me if it's going to be noticeable to the phone's user. However, I am still listing it here as it may not be a common issue and others have had better luck.
- Remote camera activation
- Can stream live video
- Remote microphone activation
- Real-time location tracking
- Access to all social media apps
- Great customer support
- Data retention limited to 30 days
XNSPY is one of the dominant players in the parental control niche. They do advertise heavily but they also deliver a quality product, with good support to back it up.
It has highly advanced features only found in a handful of Android spy apps, including the ability to record both sides of phone calls and activate the microphone so you can listen to a device's surroundings and eavesdrop on conversations.
At the same time, and this is somewhat baffling to me, XNSPY lacks the ability to live stream video from the smartphone's camera or to even monitor Skype and Facebook messenger.
If XNSPY offers the features you need, it's a solid solution to spy a phone but you should make sure it has all of the features you are likely to need before buying it.
Cocospy is one of those heavily advertised spy phone apps that seems fine at first, but just doesn't quite feel right when you look at it closely. I'm only including it in this list because so many people have asked about its safety and if I would recommend Cocospy. The short answer is I'm not comfortable recommending it.
The main advantages of Cocospy are that it is dirt cheap and has a good control panel.
As of November 22, 2022, it costs $9.99 per month which is amazing for even the cheapest Android spy app.
Unfortunately, there are also warning signs with Cocospy that make me have serious hesitations about recommending it. First, the features listed on their website do not include monitoring for popular apps like Tinder and Facebook, which is unusual for any such app. Upon further investigation, the demo appears to show that it can spy on these apps, but no professional company would let this mismatch slide.
Either the demo is making false claims about Cocospy's abilities to get more sales or the list of features needs updating. Either one of these possibilities is not likely to happen with an Android spy application that actually works well.
The other aspect of Cocospy that draws suspicion is the pricing. The prices are listed on their website as $49.99 per month, 3 months for $69.99, or 12 months for $119.99 (which works out to $9.99 per month).
This indicates they have a very high cancellation rate. If you can buy 3 months for less than the price of 2 and a year for the cost of 2.4 months then you know no one is staying past two months.
As a user, that's not good because their customers are not staying for a reason. If you're depending on this app for tracking your kids' activities, this is enough reason to be very worried.
How To Install Spyware On Android
You can put Android spy software on someone's phone in a variety of ways. The easiest method is to simply borrow the phone to make a call, walk out of the room while you continue to talk, and download and install the Android spy app in privacy. Initial setup usually takes less than 10 minutes as it will only require entering the username and password to connect to the dashboard before going into stealth mode where it will be undetectable.
This is the only time you will ever need to touch the target device. After installing it on the target phone, you will use your phone or computer to track the user's location and activities without them knowing.
Do I need to root the target Android device?
In some cases, yes. For example, if you want access to all of the features mentioned above, then rooting will be necessary. However, not all Android spy apps require rooting and, depending on your specific needs, some may work better than others without it. Be sure to check the capabilities of spying software before buying it.
Is there an easy way to hide or disguise an Android spy app?
Yes! Many spy apps for Android have options that allow them to remain invisible while they run in the background so their presence is undetectable. This can also help prevent users from finding out that something is installed on their phone.
Is there any way to remove an Android spy app once it has been installed?
Yes, you can uninstall the application using the phone's Settings or by using a third-party uninstaller. However, some spying apps may leave traces of themselves even after uninstalling, so check your product's documentation before attempting to remove it.
How do I install a spy app on Android?
It depends on the type of spy application you wish to install. Some require you to root the phone or use an APK file and others may be installed via a website link sent in an email. Be sure to follow your product's instructions carefully when installing spying software.
Can you install a spy application on Android remotely?
No, it is not possible to install Android spy software remotely. All of the apps mentioned above must be installed directly onto the target device. It is also important to note that rooted phones may be more vulnerable to security threats, so make sure you are using a reliable and secure spying product before using it on a rooted phone.
Are there free Android spy apps?
Yes, many companies offer limited versions of their products for free that are designed more for basic monitoring and do not stay hidden. However, if you need all of the features available in a spying app, or require that it remain completely undetectable, it is usually best to purchase a full version from a reputable company that offers regular updates and great customer service.
In many places, it is legal to use Andriod spyware if the person you are monitoring has given you their consent or if you are their legal guardian. It is usually not legal to monitor a spouse you suspect of cheating, though the issue can become complicated if you own the device in question.
We strongly recommend against monitoring someone's cell phone without consulting a lawyer first. If you are not familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction, you may be taking on much more risk than you realize and the penalties can be quite severe.
When you suspect your partner is cheating, it's easy to let your jealousy and curiosity take over, but you should consult a lawyer before secretly accessing any electronic device to ensure you are aware of any potential legal consequences before engaging in potentially risky behavior.