How To Spy on A Cell Phone Without Installing Software on The Target Phone

how can i spy on a cell phone without installing software on the target phone?

There are many reasons for wanting, or needing, to know how to spy on a cell phone without installing an app. Maybe you want to keep track of your kids activities, think an employee is stealing, or suspect that your spouse may be cheating on you.

If you're not careful, the need to spy on someone may get in the way of being able to effectively do it, as you may have too much emotional involvement. So, we will show you how you can spy without needing to install software on the target cell phone and avoid common mistakes.

Using a Spy App Without the Target Phone

A spy app, also known as "spyware," is a program that can track a smartphone and spy on the activities of a person. Employers use these apps for employees for workplace surveillance and parents use them to keep track of their children's activities without them knowing. With the help of phone spy apps, you can access and control a smartphone from anywhere in the world, meaning that if someone hacks into the target device, they can still see what you're doing even if they aren't physically present.

It's easy to assume that you would need physical access to a phone to be able to spy effectively, but this is not true. Although remote access to the phone will not be as complete, you do not need physical access to a mobile phone to spy with an app.


uMobix logo

uMobix is my top choice because it's what I used when I needed to spy on my son's iPhone. I didn't have to install anything on the target phone because I had his iCloud information. But, if you don't have their iCloud credentials or are spying on an android device, installation takes about 10 minutes.

uMobix has capabilities that far exceed any other spy app, with the exception of our next choice on this list.

The uMobix app provides access to more social media apps than any other spy app on the market, including Tinder, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, TikTok, Telegram, Snapchat, and Zoom, just to name a few.

The full feature list will be included in my upcoming uMobix review, but the short version is that it gives you full control over the target device. Not only for surveillance but also for changing device settings like restricting what apps can open or disabling Wi-Fi.

It even has a spy app detection feature to alert you to other spy apps that are already installed on the phone. At first glance, this seems like a hilarious feature for a spy app to have. But, if you are spying on your child for their safety, it would be a huge concern if you found that someone else was already tracking them.

Live tech support by phone is available, which can be a lifesaver if you need to install the app in a limited amount of time.

No complaints aside from intercepted data only staying available for 30 days. But, this limit is higher on multi-month plans so I'm only taking away a half star for it.

Recommended Spy App
Ease of Use:
  • Remote camera activation
  • Can stream live video
  • Remote microphone activation
  • GPS tracking
  • Access to all social media apps
  • Data retention limited to 30 days on basic plan


FlexiSpy logo

FlexiSpy (read our full FlexiSpy review) is not as user-friendly as other spy apps, but it uses the most comprehensive security technology currently available. It too remains totally hidden and has a long list of spy capabilities, and these are some of the highlights:

  • Call Logs
  • All Text Messages
  • Monitor Social Media Content, including Facebook
  • Search History
  • Keylogger
  • Compatible with all versions of Android and iOS

To me, the most alluring abilities of FlexiSpy are related to taking control over the hardware on your phone. Once this app is on the phone, it gives the spy full root control and allows them to silently activate the front and rear cameras or turn on the microphone and listen as the target device spies for you.

Read that last sentence again. It's worth having a slightly less modern interface to have safe and reliable ways of looking at more information.

Ease of Use:
  • Extremely powerful
  • Live camera streaming
  • Pre-loaded phones available
  • GPS tracking
  • Microphone access
  • Call recording
  • Older interface
  • Expensive



EyeZy is the newest and most powerful mobile phone spy software that doesn't require installation on the target phone. Exploiting iCloud syncing gives access to the person's current GPS location, contacts, e-mail, photos, and videos. Even more information is available for Android smartphones using Wi-Fi sync.

If you can get physical access to the phone, eyeZy offers a wide range of advanced capabilities including:

  • Keystroke Capture
  • Website Browsing History
  • Alerts for specific conversations
  • Call logs
  • Great tech support

Perhaps most impressive is that you can spy on Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat, Skype, WhatsApp, KiK, and Instagram text messages to see what the person does online.

Ease of Use:
  • Easiest to use
  • Totally hidden
  • Fast installation
  • GPS tracking
  • Access to all social media apps
  • Not quite as powerful as mSpy


mSpy logo

Although not as user-friendly as the first option, mSpy has a lot of features that are unavailable with other apps. Perhaps most importantly, the mSpy app is totally invisible to the user and anyone using the device will never be aware of its presence.

There is a long list of available spy capabilities but these are just the highlights:

  • Call Logs
  • All Text Messages
  • Monitor Social Media Content, including Facebook
  • Search History
  • Keylogger
  • Compatible with all versions of Android and iOS

Deleted text messages can be recovered with this app and it can also block calls on the target phone.

mSpy is the best app to buy for tech-savvy users that require the greatest access to the target device.

See our full mSpy review for more information.

Ease of Use:
  • Proven track record
  • Totally hidden
  • Easy installation
  • GPS tracking
  • Great tech support if you need it
  • Not as user-friendly as eyeZy


With the most popular spy features on the market, Spyic lacks the user-friendliness and tech support options of other methods.

If you feel sure that you don't need help, you can use it to check their call logs, text messages, and view their picture gallery.

This app also works well as a camera hacking app.


Minspy is one of the older names in the phone spy, hacking, and monitoring market. The handy app comes with tons of useful features for use by both home and business users. Minspy does like to claim to be the most robust monitoring solution ever created. While that may have been true once, we found the cell phone spy tracker app to be lacking.

It works if you want to try to discover information about someone, with spy features such as the ability to read email and message contents with timestamps, web browser search logs, text messages, and more. But, it lacks the ability to intercept security password and misses some Facebook activity.

How to Spy on an Android Phone Without Installing a Spying App

An Android phone give users a sense of security, while a spy can listen to every word said nearby and spying on all activity at all times. In this instance, that's a good thing!

Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager

Few Android users have explored their settings deeply enough to find that Android Device Manager is pre-installed, but this service is always active by default. The great thing is that you can use it for mapping where Android devices have been, and with accuracy to within 60 feet. Best of all, you can do everything and you don't need to have any app on the target device.

This control panel can be used to spy from any computer, or any other device, by following these steps:

  • Visit Find My Device
  • Enter the number and Google Account information
  • See where they are going or ring, lock, or remotely erase the device

One important step is getting the password for the phone, which is an obvious problem. Figuring out how you will know the password may be harder then just borrowing someone's phone and loading a spy application.

Google Timeline

Google Timeline

Although it still requires that you know their phone password, Google Timeline is one interesting option.

To use this method, the step-by-step instructions are:

  • Step 1: Open Google Maps
  • Step 2: Log in with the phone's Account
  • Step 3: Click on “Menu”
  • Step 4: Select “Your Timeline”

Your screen should now show a timeline where you can access information on the physical movements of the phone's user. Alternatively, you can click on Menu -> Your Places -> Visited if you want to view history.

You can find out the cell phone's current location by following the instructions above. Interestingly, you can view the data remotely at any time and the user of the target device will not be aware of being tracked.

How To Spy On An iPhone Without Installing Software

Apple has never really hidden that it listens to its customers, or that iOS records all online activities. In fact, they seem to think it's a feature to upload all of your data to their servers. In this case, they are right.

If you're wondering how to spy where you do not need to put anything on the device, two methods exist. Both of these ways provide a lot of information about the person being monitored and do not require putting software on the cell phone.

Using Spy Software Without Installation On The iPhone

It may sound counterintuitive, but the best way to spy without installing software is by getting an app for spying on the Internet activities, email, private SMS text messages, and other personal things on someone's phone. This does offer several advantages:

  • Easy to Use
  • Large Amount of Data Available
  • Nothing is installed on the target device

These apps now make it easier to breach a phone's security and get access to essential functions and collect as much information as you need without being detected.

You can easily see details like what apps the person installed, contact lists, and emails with these applications and it is simple to remotely track where they go with this method. But, if you can take the phone for a few minutes and download the needed spyware, you can get much more powerful spy tools.

Directly Accessing iCloud

iCloud control panel

Most people don't know that you can connect to iCloud accounts directly to monitor mobile devices. This method is not as easy to perform and data is more difficult to locate than if you simply had an app for spying on your children. But, with no free monitoring options out there now for iOS, this is a method of last resort for spying on a cell phone.

This method can get the following:

  • Current Location
  • Contacts
  • iCloud Drive
  • E-Mail
  • Erase Target Phone
  • Photos

Spy on iPhone Without the Target Phone

Find My iPhone is a built-in app that allows owners to monitor their cell phone activities and track down their phones if it is misplaced or stolen. While it doesn't have advanced abilities like seeing files, it is still a good solution if you can work with just having basic information about the person.


Can I spy on an phone without installing software?

Yes, it is possible to spy on an phone have to install any software. Although what you can monitor will be more limited and require that you know the security password, useful information and contact lists will still be available.

How can I spy on cell phone remotely without jailbreaking iPhone?

iPhones can only install Apple-approved apps from their store. This is why you have to jailbreak the target device to get un-approved apps. Many people have this done, but you should not have to jailbreak a cell phone to spy remotely. Each application we recommended in this article can provide some robust spy capabilities while not requiring jailbreaking.

How can I spy on a cell phone for free without having access to it?

No, there is no free phone spy application option made and it is unlikely anyone will create one. The reason for this is that the app you need to accomplish this is quite complex and no one is giving that away.

Beware of scammers claiming to know how you can hack into someones phone and spy for free or for too little money to be beleivable.


As we have explained, spying on a phone without touching it is possible. However, these methods are somewhat limited because you are required to have the Google Account or Apple ID credentials of the device. Fortunately, much better options exist.

If you can't install an app, purchasing a new phone and download phone monitoring app before presenting it as a gift works well. If you need to watch what your kids are doing on their smartphones, giving them a brand new iPhone or Android will just seem like a really nice gesture. Your gift also allows you to have an unlimited amount of time to get the needed software set up and thoroughly check that it is undetectable.

While you can spy on cell phones and do not need to use software, it can actually be more difficult to accomplish than devising a way you can borrow a phone for long enough to use an app.

If it's absolutely not possible for you to access the device, consider purchasing a new phone as a gift for the individual. Before presenting it to the person, you can install an app without worrying about having time to ensure it works correctly.

Author Katya Seryabkina
About The Author
Katya Seryabkina
Ukrainian born, and a self-taught geek. I started hacking when I was 14 and can write code in 5 languages, but have no formal technical education. The edge of technology is what keeps me interested. I cover cell phone tracking, spy apps, cybersecurity, the dark web, and certain gadgets for The High Tech Society.