How to Remove Spy Software from Your Cell Phone

So you think someone has installed spy software on your cell phone, now you want to know how to remove it. It is quite easy in most cases, when you follow a few simple steps. This is part of my series of articles looking at How to Spot Spy Software, How to Secure Your Cell Phone and now How to Remove Spy Software.

There are usually two groups of people who want to find out about removing cell phone monitoring or spying apps: those who installed the software and those who have someone spying on them! Which one are you?

When You Have Installed the Software

If you’re the person who installed the spy software in the first place, you will have access to the programs Control Panel and the website. Most of the main companies have detailed information on their websites guiding you through the process of uninstalling the software.

With some programs like Flexispy you can even do this remotely. This is usually done by sending a coded text message to the target phone which will automatically uninstall the software. You will find the text codes for uninstalling the software in the program members control panel – they are different for each software provider. Of course, if you have been the target of cell phone spy software, and have discovered it on your phone you will not have access to this information.

You Don’t Have Access to the Spy Softwarespy software security guide

If you have discovered any kind of covert, monitoring or tracking software on your smart phone but don’t have access to that software, you can still remove it completely. There are a couple of methods depending on your technical confidence.

If you really do not want to start tinkering with the phone yourself you can take your phone to your local cell phone shop and ask them to restore the phone to its factory settings. Most will do this for free or at least a small charge and they should be able to backup and restore any of your saved data on the phone such as contacts and e-mails. You could also contact your service provider and they will be able to instruct you how to do a factory reset.

Factory Reset

Restoring the phone to factory settings will remove any spy software. It basically wipes your phone clean so it is important to backup anything you need to keep. You can do this yourself and in most phones is as easy as hitting a couple of buttons.How to Remove Spy Phone Software

The process is different for each type of phone but you will find information about doing a factory reset on your phone makers support website – or do a simple Google search. The procedure will be slightly different for each type of phone so you will need to do a little research. Normally you go to settings – privacy – restore factory settings.

Just remember not to automatically restore your apps as this could reinstall the software. Just reinstall any apps you need manually and you will be safe. Contacts and emails etc can be safely restored from your backup.

The process is very easy and anyone can do it. It is a sure way to remove any spy software program from your cell phone.

Updating the Operating System to Remove Spy Software

Another method, which is a little easier for most people, is to update the phones Operating System (firmware). This will have the same effect as a factory reset and will remove any spy software from your phone. Again it is very important to backup all of your data before doing this. This process is usually very simple. If your cell phone is already running the latest OS you can first of all rollback to the previous version, and then reinstall the latest OS version.

Remove Spy Apps Manually

It is possible to remove cell phone spy software manually by going into the phones file system and deleting the software program files. This can be a little more difficult as most people will not recognize the correct files and there is the possibility of removing files needed for the phone to operate correctly. With this method you may miss something and not remove the spy software totally so I always recommend either the factory reset or upgrading the OS – to be sure that the software is totally removed.

How to Remove Spy Software from an iPhone

There is an easy way to remove spy software from the iPhone. For any external (not from Apple) software to work on an iPhone, the phone must be Jailbroken – check my article about Jailbreaking an iPhone to find out what this is all about. If the Jailbreak is removed the software will be removed. You can remove the Jailbreak by updating the operating system – IOS 5.1.1, 7.1. etc. The good thing is that Apple have made this really easy for the iPhone. You can easily backup your phone and update your IOS through iTunes and remove the Jailbreak in the process.

Remember that any non Apple apps or software will be removed when you update the IOS and remove the Jailbreak. You can of course re-apply the Jailbreak if you want to run other non Apple apps again – safe in the knowledge that the spy phone software has been removed.

security against spy apps

Prevention is Better than Cure

Removing spy phone software is easy enough and the above methods are effective and will totally rid your cell phone of any hidden tracking or monitoring apps. Although the process is easy, it will be a hassle. You will need to backup and restore any important saved data and software apps that you need and it will take some time. It is much better to take a few simple steps to Secure Your Cell Phone in the first place. When you have removed the software what is going to stop it happening again? You have been a victim once – don’t make the same mistake again.

You’ll find some new resources here – our resources page.

Make sure you are aware of what can be done with this type of software and read some of their reviews on this site:

Comparison Review

Mobile Spy review

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39 thoughts on “How to Remove Spy Software from Your Cell Phone”

  1. if I believe my phone has spyware on it if I checked the other person’s phone will I find the spyware app that they use to monitor my phone on their phone and if so what should I be looking for

    • It is not likely that you would see anything on their phone. The only possibility is if they had the online dashboard in their browsing history or stored as a favorite. They would have no app.

  2. When your iPhone is being spied/tracked/monitored or whatever the correct terminology is, does that also mean conversations and/or IM text messages thru Facebook are also being viewed?

    • Yes that is correct. Depending on the program being used a lot more information can also be monitored. Have a read through my reviews to see what can be done with a few of the best programs.

    • I’m afraid that is very difficult. It is technically possible to get the spy software company to release the buyer details through legal process – but I have never heard of it happening.

  3. Hi Michael, glad I’ve found you’re site! If I turn off iCloud and do a iOS update, can I turn back on iCloud to do a backup? If I understand correctly, I should never have iCloud backup automatically to avoid spyware that may be connected but if I turn it out and do a manual backup am I still safe? I have a crazy ex husband that has used my kids phones to track up and then now realize he may also have software on their phones….

    • Yes doing manual backups is safer. Updating the iOS would also remove any physical spy software. For extra safety you could use another backup method – but manual in iCloud is good. Take care.

  4. hey, I understand a reset will erase any spy ware, but after the erase, should you make a new email or Google account? Or can you still use your current one that was on the phone. Also, if keeping the same SIM card, will that matter? Or does the SIM card need to be replaced as well. Thanks

    • You wouldn’t need to change anything else, the reset will mean that any spy program would need to be physically installed on your phone again. Just keep it safe and use strong passwords etc. Sim card is still safe to continue using. Thanks and good luck.

  5. Is it possible to remotely use an iPhone (4s) as an audio recorder without the owner’s knowledge? I suspect that someone is listening to my phone conversations from my office phone. I thought that the only way that might be possible is that my desk is bugged, but the person listening has never been in my office. The only other explanation is that they are somehow able to activate my phone remotely and listen to my calls. (only my side of the conversation).
    As an aside, how does this same person have access to record all of my phone conversations and retrieve deleted text and sms messages? Changing my icloud password is not an option.

    • If they have installed spy software on your phone – this is all possible. They can use your phone like a bug and listen to the phone surroundings, and they will have access to all of your activity including texts, emails and web browsing history etc. Read my reviews to see what can be monitored by the top spy programs.

  6. If I feel like I have spyware on my iphone, and I have decided just to go and get a new phone…can I synch my contacts and emails without the spy ware reinstalling on the new phone?

    • Yes that would be safe – the spy programs can’t be transferred in this way – the software would need to be installed once again on the new phone. Keep it secure from the start to stay safe.

      • What about all the other data , etc on phone: bookmarks from browser, iBooks docs, music, etc? Can we transfer that or is it infected? Im starting fresh with new Apple ID cause I think my phone got hacked. Im manually downloading new apps, I know that is recommended. But I’m confused otherwise!

        • Your main data will be ok and can be transferred safely. Just take care with any apps you do not recognize.

  7. what if factory reset doesnt remove the spyware?? one of my friend is facing such issue…someone has inserted a spyware on his android and my friend tried factory reset but it didnt work..
    please help us solving this 🙂

    • The factory reset will work – don’t restore from backups and try again. Something must have went wrong during the reset. The reset does what it says – wipes everything and returns the device to it’s original factory state – so you need to go through the initial set up – like when the device was new.

  8. Hey thanks for the reply Mike.I just have have one more question. if if the individual is not signed in to the iCloud on their iPhone,is the Mspy still effective?Again thank you for your input.

    • Remote install spy software is not available – usually scams. But you can do it remotely in a sense with the new No Jailbreak version of mSpy. It doesn’t install software but monitors through the iCloud backups. You need to have the users Apple ID and password. Check out details on my mSpy Review. Plus stay legal – own the phone or monitor your own kids.

  9. Hi Michael~I have an iPhone 5s. My phone was behaving erratically, I received coded text msgs & I found ‘stealth’ & ‘spy…’ in the files. I did a factory reset & activated the phone w/ the same email address. If I sign into my original iCloud acct & Apple ID will my phone still be secure or do I need to use a brand new iCloud account & Apple ID? Thank you so much for your assistance. I really appreciate your expertise & kindness!

    • It really depends on the type of software they used – although it sounds like it was on the phone. To be safe I would start with a new Apple ID and password.

  10. Hi, I just bought the new iphone 6 because due for update but think there was spyware on my old phone5. When installing my info to the new phone I had to update iTunes and iphone. My question for you could spyware still be on my new phone ? Thank you!

    • It wouldn’t be transferred across, it would have to be physically installed again – plus with iPhones, it would need to be Jailbroken – so your new phone should be safe.

  11. Is it possible to put on a flip phone w internet access? I think my boyfriends ex is in our conversations. It comes in as a fwd text. She had his phone for a week so she had the opportunity.

    • As mentioned in the article – a factory reset is the easiest and most secure way to remove any potential spy software. Just be aware that it will erase everything from your phone.

  12. How do I “roll back” to the previous OS on the iPhone 5s? I have iOS 7.1 and the jailbreak hasn’t been released, to my knowledge, of course. (I’m not tech savvy at all) I hated upgrading to the 5s for this very reason and I’m missing some of my fav apps:/ can you help me?

    • Being Jailbroken isn’t neccessarily a bad thing – lots of people do it to be able to use third party apps and customize their phones – it is a very common practice. The problem is – if you did not do it, who did and why? It could be explained by having bought a pre owned phone which was already jailbroken. If you are concerned just upgrade the phone to the latest iOS version and the jailbreak will be removed. Thanks for your question.

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