How to Tell if your Cell Phone is Being Tracked, Tapped or Monitored by Spy Software

There are a few signs that may help you find out if your cell phone has spy software installed and that it is being tracked, tapped or monitored in some way. Quite often these signs can be quite subtle but when you know what to look out for, you can sometimes find out if your cell phone is being spied on.

This article series will deal with How to Find installed Spy Phone Software and then How to Remove Spy Software followed by How to Secure your Cell Phone. This guide should help for all types of Smartphone including Android and for the iPhone there are a few extra tips.

It seems that almost everyone is obsessed with cell phones, from young kids’ right through to the elderly. Babies seem to be the only ones missing out so far! In the early days, cell phone security wasn’t a major issue. Cell phones were exactly that -Phones!

I know that it might seem strange to younger readers, but back in the day, cell phones were only used to make phone calls (often quite unreliably).

Of course today with modern smart phones we can do all sorts – browsing the Internet, chatting on Facebook, online banking and sending e-mails, just to name a few.

More and more of our personal information is being transmitted through our phones and most people do not realize just how easy it is for other people to get hold of this information. You might want to check out our resources page for some extra information and links to help topics.

Is Your Mobile Phone Being Monitored?

Although I have been working with cell phone spy software for several years it never ceases to amaze me just how few people understand what it can do and how easily accessible it is. Most people are shocked at the capabilities of a relatively inexpensive piece of spy software that anyone can buy – legally.spy software security guide

Get familiar with these spy apps and what they are capable of – check out a few of the reviews on this site – mSpy review, FlexiSpy MobiStealth or MobileSpy. Knowing what you are up against is a good first step.

I think anyone would be shocked to find spy software on their mobile phone and would be angry at the invasion of privacy, but for some people the consequences could be much more serious. Business users are particularly at risk but anyone can become a target of spy software.

Just think for a moment about the information stored on or passing through your phone on a daily basis. Should you be worried? The good news is that sometimes it is possible to spot spy software apps.

If you are really concerned that you have a serious problem – check out this Premium Security Guide – very detailed and great for real issues.

Detecting Cell Phone Spy Software

I will go through a few of the tell-tale signs that could let you know if your cell phone has spy software installed. Some of these indicators can be caused by other things so you need to use your judgment. Some spy programs work very well and can only be detected by expert analysis but if your phone has several of the following signs you may have cause for concern.

Odd Phone Behavior – look for any changes in your cell phones behavior. Does it suddenly light up when not in use; make random beeping noises, shutdown by itself or exhibit any other random behavior? All phones can do strange things from time to time but if this is happening on a regular basis it could be a sign that your phone is being accessed by hidden software.

Battery Rundown – some spy software apps can increase the use of your battery so look out for any sudden changes in your battery life – does it need charging more often. Bear in mind that over time your cell phone battery life will diminish naturally, so you’re looking for any dramatic change. Some of the cheaper spy software programs will run your battery down quickly, however the more modern programs are designed to make less demand on the battery and are harder to spot.

Phone Shuts down – does your phone regularly shut down by itself, even when the battery is charged? Some spy software can be quite buggy and is known to cause this.

is your cell phone being monitoredBackground Noise – don’t get paranoid with this one is quite often this easily explained as a bad connection. If it is happening more than normal it could be another tell-tale sign. Look out for static, clicking, beeping or voices in the background. Some call listening and recording features can cause this background noise as they access your phone like a conference call.

Receiving Unusual Texts – are you receiving strange text messages containing random numbers, symbols or characters? The remote control feature of spy software works by sending secret coded text messages to your phone and in some cases these can be seen – if the software is not working correctly. If this happens regularly you could have a spy app on your phone.

Increased data Usage – have you noticed an increase in your normal data usage? Some of the less reliable Spy apps use extra data to send the information collected from your phone, so look out for any unexplained increase in your monthly data usage. There are several apps that can be used to monitor your data usage check out: My Data Manager – Android from Goggle Play and Data Usage – for iPhone available from the Apple Store. Again, with the best spy software programs data usage has been reduced and will be almost impossible to spot – but the poor programs will show significant data use.

With all the above you are looking for sudden changes in your phones behavior that cannot be explained. Each of these on their own is not necessarily evidence of spy phone software, but if your phone shows signs of several of these, you could be a victim of spying.

How to Check for Spy Software on an iPhone

For any software not supplied through Apple – including all spy software – the iPhone needs to be Jailbroken. If you find out your iPhone is jailbroken and you did not do it then you should be concerned. To find out if your phone has a cydia sign of jailbreakJailbreak look for the Installer app on your home screen. Other app names include Cydia and Icy – if any of these show up, your iPhone has been Jailbroken.

Sometimes the phone spy might be clever enough to hide the Installer app from the home screen menu but if you look around it should be possible to find it. You could also check all your software apps to see if they are listed in the Apple store – if they are not available from Apple then your phone has a Jailbreak.

Looking deeper inside the iPhone directories is more difficult than with Android but there is an easy way to remove spy software (and the Jailbreak) from the iPhone. Simply upgrade to the latest OS version via iTunes – this will remove the Jailbreak and any external software not from Apple, just be sure to back up any important data on your phone before you do this.

iPhone Spying – Without Jailbreaking

This is a fairly new development concerning iPhone Spy – companies such as mSpy and Mobistealth have No Jailbreak monitoring solutions. Just be clear this is not software, and is not installed on the device. I give more detailed information in the articles above.

It gives limited spying capabilities through the iCloud backup service. It is not possible to detect on the target device – you need to keep a close eye on your iCloud backups – and keep login details secure.

Advanced Steps – Check Your Phone’s Directories

If you are a little more technically minded you could look around inside your phones directory files for any clues. This step is normally beyond most people’s comfort zone but if you’re comfortable look through the folders for any giveaway file names containing the words spy or stealth – anything suspicious. Quite often there can be an installer file left behind on the SD card – if you know where to look.

I read an interesting article about this on Forbes, where they had an expert trying to find some of the popular spy phone software applications. He talked about how easy it was to find evidence of these spy apps by looking in the phone directories. But he was an expert! How many people do you know who are comfortable looking around inside the software of a phone, let alone know which files to look for?

In my experience most people do not find spy software in this way. They need to be suspicious in the first place and if they are suspicious they will usually have detected some of the odd behaviors mentioned above. Remember that most targets of spy software aren’t even aware that this kind of software exists or that someone would want to monitor them.

If you think your phone does have spy software installed on it you should read the next article on How to Remove Spy Software from your Phone. Then check out How to Secure your Cell Phone.

security against spy apps

I hope this has been of some help but remember that this kind of technology is always evolving and is becoming increasingly difficult to spot. If you think you are at risk of being monitored you should take steps to secure your phone and prevent the installation of spy software in the first place. Just being aware that spy software exists and knowing what it can do is a good start !

Need to know more about cell phone spy software and what it can do? Start with the articles in the top right box of this site or read Different Types of Spy Phone. You should also check out my article about Monitoring Your Childrens Cell Phones – it was inspired by a great comment left by a concerned parent looking at the ethics of using spy software to monitor kids.

155 Responses to How to Tell if your Cell Phone is Being Tracked, Tapped or Monitored by Spy Software

  1. Cynthia M. Thacker January 18, 2014 at 4:21 am #

    Is there any good cell phone spyware or any device which can be installed on the target phone without having access to the target phone?

    • Michael Keenan January 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

      No – you must install directly on to the target phone – no exceptions.

      • max February 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

        There is a company, Easy SPY, that claims to be able to use a bluetooth connection to remotely access a target phone from a PC. The company claims to be able to record phone calls for live and later listening, allow access to texts, email, contacts and browsing history of the target phone. Is this possible and, if so, how can one “disconnect” from this connection and prevent reconnection?

        • Michael Keenan February 11, 2014 at 11:29 am #

          There are companies making all sorts of claims – using Bluetooth to spy on a cell phone does not work. Check out my article about Remotely Installing Spy Soft.

      • Arqam May 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

        Important: Michael its important to know that whether my phone is on surveillance or not because I hv felt few doubtful behaviours in last two days like my voice repeats while talking, wrong number of the caller is displayed my screen even when my phone is also not a smart phone its a simple one and I am receiving few unknown calls which are also not reachable later.

        • Michael Keenan May 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

          If it is not a smartphone with internet capability – it will not be spy software. Sounds more like problems with the phone software itself. Does it need updated or has it updated lately. Good luck.

      • Jerry March 13, 2017 at 1:54 am #

        Michael – My ex had spyware on my iphone. I ended up getting a new iphone, but same apple ID. She can’t still be tracking/tapping me, right? She could just access the original phone, correct? Please respond either way, I really need to know.

        • Michael Keenan June 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

          If she has access to your Apple id and password it could be possible to monitor your phone with the no jailbreak method (like mspy) – it uses iCloud backups and does not involve any software on your phone.

  2. John February 21, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Sounds conspiratorial, I know, but can thee government look at or mess with your phone, legally?

    • Michael Keenan February 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

      Hey John – don’t want to worry you but hell yes! Where have you been my friend – they can do mostly what they like. They don’t bother with software though, just go straight through the carriers.

      • Nick Keenan October 15, 2015 at 2:51 am #

        Hey Michael, can a carrier listen in on phone activity and if I was experiencing symptoms of being traced or bugged then how do I determine who or how its happening and can I stop it at all? It would seem to me that if an external source wanted to listen in to ones calls whether it be a carrier or government department there is really nothing we can do to prevent it is this true?

        • Michael Keenan November 7, 2015 at 8:21 am #

          That’s about the way of it these days. We can all be spied on at source by gov. and law enforcement.

          • Bo December 19, 2015 at 11:50 am #

            Michael are you saying there is no way to even identify if law enforcement is spying on my iphone?

          • Michael Keenan December 22, 2015 at 2:42 am #

            That is correct. They can do it at source – even the German Chancellor was spied – it took leaked documents to expose it!

  3. Sofia March 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    Are there programs that don’t have all the obvious signs listed above that we may be aware of, like the weird text messages, or phone lighting up, etc?

    • Michael Keenan March 31, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

      Yes, the better quality programs can be very difficult to spot. The products mentioned on this website are hard to notice unless they have been incorrectly installed. The good programs have worked at the problems such as battery drain etc. making it vey hard to find them.

  4. paul March 25, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Hey q can a private detective tapp a phone line and record conversations(not talking about government, more like a jealous spouse) or anyone else besides the government?

    • Michael Keenan March 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      It is possible – but illegal of course. People have gone to jail for this but it does happen.

  5. Stephanie April 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi, Does spyware work better on an Android or Iphone? We have to monitor 32 business phones and we don’t want to keep reinstalling the software. which is the least likely to have to re-install?

    • Michael Keenan April 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Android monitoring offers more features and is probably a bit easier to manage. Jailbreaking the iPhone and constant updates means some extra work. I’m not a big fan of Apple and their obsessive guarding of their exclusivity, but that’s another story!

  6. emad moawad April 23, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    Does restoring factory settings remove the spy software from my phone?

    • Michael Keenan April 24, 2014 at 11:40 am #

      Yes – a factory reset will remove any spy software app. Of course someone could re-install it if they have access to your phone so you need to take precautions.

  7. jim jergason May 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    been noticing google search results from my wife’s laptop showing up in the google search history on my android. is this an attribute of spy monitoring?

    • Michael Keenan May 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      It is more likely because you are using the same IP adress on Wi-Fi – Google localizes the search terms. I doubt if it is spy software related.

  8. Matt Moss June 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    You have said that the person needs to have your phone in order to add spyware to it. If they have the phone, but do not have the code to unlock it, can they still add the spyware?

    • Michael Keenan June 20, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      In theory no – but unfortunately some phones password lock can be bypassed quite easily – do a quick search online to see. Some password apps can help make things more difficult to get passed.

  9. Mar June 17, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    if someone tracks my phone calls/text messages and i suddenly change my phone number. can they still track my phone?

    • Michael Keenan June 20, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      I’m afraid so – the software is installed on the actual phone, not the sim card. In most cases changing your number will not help, you will need to remove it with a factory reset. Check my article about removing spy software.

  10. Greg August 1, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    Can spyware be installed on a phone connected to a wifi network?

    • Michael Keenan August 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Yes it will work with any internet connection.

  11. Maria October 20, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    My calls use to fail every rare time now when I talk to this specific person it fails almost every 2 to 3 minutes of talking after a lot of random noises clearly not cause by this person whispers and breathing. Could that be another sign?

    • Michael Keenan October 21, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Definitely sounds suspicious – call intercept from Flexispy adds the listener as a conference call. Sometimes if it is not configured correctly, you can hear a third party in the conversation. As always, don’t jump to conclusions – it could just be a problem with your phone. I would try updating the OS first and see how that works. Thanks for your question and good luck.

  12. Kim October 28, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    If I do a factory reset on my iphone and then back it up from icloud will I just be reinstalling the spyware?

    • Michael Keenan October 29, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      In most cases the software would not be re-installed and it definitely will not be able to work. Even if the files were re-installed, the software would need to be activated. The factory reset is a reliable way to stop the software.

  13. JamesR November 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    Does Itunes sync detect the spy application and thereby giving notice to its existence?

    Or can the spy apps bypass this process and remain hidden?


    • Michael Keenan November 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

      You can’t rely on iTunes – most will be hidden.

  14. janet November 17, 2014 at 2:16 am #

    Hi, I searched everywhere on my phone and found many weird looking apps. The apps look a lot like the other apps but there a bit off looking. I opened some of them and read that the app is a android app. When I tried to uninstall some it read something like this removing preinstalled apps could damage my phone. At that point I cancelled my request for fear of doing just that. Damaging my phone that is. The other apps I tried to uninstall read something like this app can not be removed. A few others didn’t even give me any options. Is it possible some of these app are in fact spyware?

    • Michael Keenan November 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      I’m afraid that is part of the problem – most people have no idea what is necessary for the phone to operate and what is potentially spyware! Just looking at the file names, it is very difficult to tell good from bad – add to that, most spy software will hide their files or disguise them with non-descript names. There is no easy fix – apart from the reset.

      • Michelle June 3, 2016 at 5:47 am #

        If I go reset do I lose all on my phone?

        • Michael Keenan June 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

          Yes a factory reset will remove all of your data. You need to do a backup first and then you can re load all your personal stuff.

  15. Sarah November 23, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    I’ve been having battery problems with my relatively new iPhone 5s,and now found a voicemail message that was very peculiar in content,lots of background noise,hips and squeaks,and no record of a missed call ever being received? The phone was given to me by an ex,and I know it’s jailbroken,and that for his business has used spyware..guess Ive just answered my question!

    • Michael Keenan December 10, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      I guess you have! I would update the iOS or do a factory reset – just to be sure. Good luck.

      • cyberdeface January 10, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

        If resetting the Iphone to factory settings and installing the back up would this cause any problem again. ?

        • Michael Keenan January 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

          Not with an iPhone. Resetting will remove any Jailbreak, so the software would not work even if somehow it did get moved along with the backup.
          To do it again they would need your phone to Jailbreak it first and then re-install the software.

  16. Debbie January 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Michael I think my husband is spying on me and has tapped my phone. I know you said they have to have your phone to install this app, correct? How long does it take to install this on your phone once they have it??

    When I get the reset done can he do it again without getting my phone??

    • Michael Keenan January 29, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      The software can be installed in under 5 minutes. Once removed with a reset, of course it could happen again – look at creating a strong password lock or using a password app to stop any further access.

  17. Sonia January 14, 2015 at 2:06 am #

    Are there phones that can not be spied on, such as an old Nokia 101 style phone which does not have internet and is very basic and just used for phone calls and texts?

    • Michael Keenan January 29, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

      Spot on Sonia – without internet access (smart phones) you can’t use this type of software. Some people who have been victims in the past have started to revert to using the old style mobile phones.

  18. Amanda February 1, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    No one has had access to my phone, but I am being sued and followed by private investigator. Lately when I make calls, I have to do it twice because the first time is just air and a clicking noise and my voice echoes, I make the same call a second time and all is normal. I have an iphone 5, any way it could be tapped?

    • Michael Keenan February 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

      It does sound strange and of course it is possible that you are being monitored – especially if it is by a security professional (highly illegal of course). To be safe I would update the iOS or do a factory reset. If it still persists I would advise you to take legal advice.

  19. mary April 7, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    If I do a factory reset, will I lose my own personal download s?

    • Michael Keenan April 13, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      Yes – be careful, everything you have added to the device will be removed – it will be exactly as it was when you bought it. You need to back up your personal data (contacts etc) and any apps you have downloaded and want to keep. It is easy to do a backup and keep your personal stuff safe.

  20. heidi April 27, 2015 at 3:34 am #

    If I do a factory reset will it erease all my text messages? I need to keep these do to a legal situation

    • Michael Keenan May 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

      Careful – a factory reset will erase all data from your device – including apps, software, messages etc. It will return it to how it was the day you bought it (as in from the factory!). You can of course back up or download any data you need to keep.

  21. MissPriss April 29, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Sooo where are you so i can just hand you this stupid phone and all my problems solved!!! 😉 lol JK I wish tho… And Thanks for all the information!!!

  22. meek May 9, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    If you don’t get your text msgs, where do you think they go?

    • Michael Keenan May 14, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

      Text message heaven! lol

  23. Ellom June 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Hello, I’m not really sure if my phone has spyware on it or not. If it has, I would like to have proof of that. If I restore factory settings, will it erase evidence of the spying? If so, what kind of expert could I go to to ask them to see if they can detect the spyware (for someone who isn’t too technically minded)

    • Michael Keenan June 7, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      A factory reset will remove the software and also any evidence that it was there in the first place. There are forensic phone specialists advertizing online – do a search (sorry I have never used them and can’t recommend any). It looks costly to me! Obviously depends on your circumstances though.

  24. Yas June 17, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Does this bugging only work on voice calls? Can 1 also br followed with apps like Whatsap or sms’s?

    • Michael Keenan July 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      Monitoring software can do much more than just monitor voice calls – Whatsapp, Face Book, texts, location – it is scary stuff in the wrong hands. Have a good look around this site to see what it is capable of.

  25. Joe D. Robertson June 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    Great article thank you! To clarify all iPhone must be “JailBorken” correct? Then if you can not find that app (Cydia app) on the phone you most likely are safe? Or can they hide the app as well?

    • Michael Keenan July 4, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

      Yes – for downloadable spy software – some can monitor through Apple ID and password though. The fact that the phone doesn’t Look to be Jailbroken may not be enough – you can easily hide the Cydia app so you need to be sure. Upgrading or re-installing the iOS is a quick easy way to remove any possible Jailbreak on an Apple device.

  26. Frank Faugno June 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    If your cell phone is tapped and you get a new phone and keep the same phone number and the same company, can the tappers tap the new phone without having your new phone physically in their possession?

    • Michael Keenan July 4, 2015 at 11:52 am #

      No – the software is installed on the actual phone / device, not the SIM card. They would need access to your new phone to install the monitoring software again.

  27. Jill July 8, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    How do you find an expert to examine your phone, if you are suspicious that someone is tracking your phone?

    • Michael Keenan July 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

      It can be difficult to find people able to do this although services are appearing in some places. Obviously you are better to try and find somewhere local where you can bring your phone in to have it examined. It can be expensive though! Don’t forget – a simple factory reset will remove any moitoring software – it’s a hassle but cheap!

  28. mohamed August 6, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    If my buisness phone is tapped and i used it as a portable hotspot connecting my personal phone to it would they still be able to monitor what i am doing online on my personal phone

    • Michael Keenan August 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

      I haven’t tested that or heard anyone else comment on it – but I would suspect it would actually monitor your personal phone being sent through the work phone in that way. Take care.

  29. shasta August 8, 2015 at 5:07 am #

    I have a LG tribute boostmoible phone. Sometimes when tapping or zooming in on sites or pictures etc..a blue border showes up around the screen what is this?

    • Michael Keenan August 9, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

      Sorry, I’ve no idea – but it doesn’t sound like spy software symptoms.

  30. Christine August 29, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    Does the spy software have to use internet all the time..

    • Michael Keenan September 5, 2015 at 7:40 am #

      No not all the time – it just needs access to the internet to upload the logs of texts and calls etc. so that the person who installed the software can view it in the online account. Wi-Fi will work as well. Hope that makes sense.

  31. Steven September 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    I have the HTC M9 and the battery sucks. I even noticed when I go to bed and if I turn the power off I still lose 2% battery per hour. Why is that ?

    • Michael Keenan September 21, 2015 at 6:01 am #

      Hey Steven – it could be any number of things. Some apps drain the battery, location services and backups etc. the list is endless. Just having battery drain isn’t enough to be concerned about spy software on your phone. If you have several of the mentioned symptoms together and think someone could have reason to, then you might look more closely. Good luck and thanks for getting in touch.

  32. Lily September 20, 2015 at 7:31 am #

    If someone in the government wanted to tap someone’s phone to see their text messages or phone calls would they need direct access to the phone? Or could they hack the provider to get to the phone?

    • Michael Keenan September 21, 2015 at 5:54 am #

      Law enforcement etc. can access everything either through the network providers or …. however they please it seems! Of course they are supposed to do this legally through the courts. Did you read they spied on Germany’s Prime Minister – her personal cell phone! lol.
      Needless to say they are not using commercial spy software to do this.

  33. Rick October 5, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Can my employer track where I go through my company cell phone?

    • Michael Keenan October 9, 2015 at 4:41 am #

      They can using this type of software – but legally they are required to inform you that the device is being monitored. Unfortunately, many don’t do this and it is difficult to know if you are being monitored. It turns off though!

  34. Jose November 3, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi, I regularly use social media networks such as Facebook, and notice anytime I post something about being injured or having drank too much one night that I receive e-mails with the subjects being health insurance or recommended rehabilitation? Does this mean my phone is being monitored?

    • Michael Keenan November 7, 2015 at 8:25 am #

      No – it is just Facebook targeting ads at you – the same way goole does. Ever notice when you look at flights for example – later you’ll keep seeing ads for flights or travel? It is targeted advertizing. Still monitoring in many people’s book!

  35. Sky December 4, 2015 at 4:00 am #

    Since iMessage to iMessage is encrypted does this make it harder for spyware? Or any form of privacy invasion

    • Michael Keenan December 5, 2015 at 5:50 am #

      No – iMessages are covered by the main spy software products – they can monitor all activity through iMessage.

  36. james December 10, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    I connected my personal cell phone to my employer wifi at work, could they ad spy ware for monitoring, if so how do i detect it, is this legal and how can i tell it came from them? Could you reply with email as well. It would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the article and your time reviewing my message.

    • Michael Keenan December 12, 2015 at 5:22 am #

      Just connecting to their wi-fi wouldn’t be enough – they would need to physically install software on your cell phone. It would be illegal to install it on your own personal device (not owned by the company) – and if it were a company cell – they must notify you if it is monitored. Proving who installed any software is very difficult – but in your case, it sounds unlikely that you are being monitored. Good luck and thanks for the question.

  37. Elizabeth December 16, 2015 at 6:10 am #

    I have read several times that you cannot remotely download spyware, but I just found a site that says that you can purchase the spyware for $27 and when you call the phone you are wanting to intercept, it installs the spyware to that phone. Any truth to this? I have been told that someone is able to see my texts and there has been more than one occasion that situations have occurred, that were discussed in my private texts, that she had absolutely no way to know about.

    • Michael Keenan December 22, 2015 at 2:48 am #

      You will find lots of sites making lots of claims – trust me they do not work. Regular spy software, that actually works must be installed on the target device – you need to have it in your possession.

  38. Diana January 7, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi Michael, if one was to find out a spyware application has been downloaded on his/her phone and they discarded that mobile phone but kept the same number and placed that same sim card in a new mobile phone can the phone still be tapped?

    • Michael Keenan January 12, 2016 at 1:27 am #

      No, it would be safe. The software is installed directly on to the phone, not the Sim card. It can’t be transferred with the Sim.

  39. Lisa January 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Ty this has been very helpful

  40. Rebecca January 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    Hi I need some help, I worked for a company who couldn’t help but want to know everything about your private life, they were bullies in general… my friends still work there, We’ve always questioned this as they seemed to know too much. If they can monitor activities on your work phone can they monitor your personal phone through the iTunes account?

    • Michael Keenan January 24, 2016 at 1:02 am #

      If they are monitoring work phones – they must disclose this in writing or they are breaking the law. As for personal phones that is totally against the law. Some firms routinely monitor (just by looking) things like your Facebook account and may seem to know too much from this sort of thing. Good luck.

  41. MikkiGirl February 1, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    Hi Mike! If you have fingerprint scan on your phone, could someone still install spyware? It does also require a password after 5 failed attempts; is that the weak spot that allows someone to install the spyware? As an added measure, does encrypting the device help?

    • Michael Keenan February 8, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      It would be another level of security but as you point out – the password can be a weak point. Once they get past the password and manage to install the software – some can log any new passwords you create. Keeping it secure from the start is very important. Encrypting will not help – the software collects the messages/emails etc. when they are typed and sent or received. Encryption is good if someone was intercepting sent communications – in this case the monitoring is from within. Hope that makes sense.

  42. Nick February 21, 2016 at 7:56 am #

    Hi Mike…it is clear that a resetting is primary ..but if a spy hardware is saved in SDcard? After resetting and plugging in Scard have we problems?

    • Michael Keenan March 6, 2016 at 6:30 am #

      These spy products are installed on the actual devices not on the SD cards. They will not work from the SD card – you would be safe.

  43. donna March 15, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

    can you use spyware on a phone that doesn’t have a data package

    • Michael Keenan March 20, 2016 at 6:44 am #

      You can if it uses wi-fi. Any internet connection will allow the software to work. If it has no internet capability you are safe.

  44. de March 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    Can spyware and phone tapping also be done to a pay as you go phone or is it just contract phones I’m very curious

    • Michael Keenan April 6, 2016 at 6:51 am #

      If it has internet capability – either data plan, pay as you go data or wi-fi – it can be monitored.

  45. richard March 31, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    Hello, I recently found a spy app on my phone,is there any way I could find out who installed it?

    • Michael Keenan April 6, 2016 at 6:20 am #

      It is actually very difficult to prove who could have done it. You would need legal advice and then force the spy company to release the details of the purchase. I have never heard from anyone who has done this successfully. Best just to secure your phone going forward.

  46. TAS March 31, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    Could someone install spyware on my phone if it was in their hands in less than 5 mins without me knowing?

    • Michael Keenan April 6, 2016 at 6:17 am #

      Yes – have a good read through this site – lots of information about how this works and how easy it is to spy on someone’s mobile devices.

  47. Andrew April 5, 2016 at 7:48 am #


    How can I tell if a tap is on my phone is from a police agency?

    • Michael Keenan April 6, 2016 at 6:05 am #

      You can’t – any monitoring of that sort will not be from spy software – they will do it by other means, usually directly from your service supplier records.

  48. Pearl April 12, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

    Hellow Michael is it possible for Some one to activate you’re phones camara or video and be able to share this information to other people.if yes what can I do to put a stop to there nosey asses

    • Michael Keenan April 18, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

      It is indeed possible. Check my articles about security and how to secure your phone.

  49. Keely April 16, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    Sorry, one more thing. If you have your internet and/or phone on wifi can it be monitored?

    • Michael Keenan April 22, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

      Yes you can be monitored if the phone has any internet connection – wi-fi or a data plan.

  50. foco April 20, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Hi. Can antivirus delete spy software

    • Michael Keenan April 26, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

      Antivirus programs are not reliable against spy software – most will never be flagged up. The spy software apps keep changing files and names to avoid detection by anti virus apps.

  51. Jude May 7, 2016 at 12:41 am #

    Hi and thanks for your forum. Can you help me understand why an android that is not connected to a service provider anymore can turn itself back on after powering it off and also sounds alarms that have been deleted. Just wonder how this could be possible ?

    • Michael Keenan May 12, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

      That is a strange one! On the bright side it will not be anything to do with spy products. More likely a glitch with your phone operating system. Try updating to see if it stops.

  52. Deb May 27, 2016 at 5:32 am #

    Michael – thanks indeed for a very informative and useful site and posts/replies.

    While you have mentioned that the spy software can’t come back through using the same SD card used before a phone is factory reset, is it possible that the spy program puts a Trojan in the SD card? And it attacks the phone even after you have factory reset it, so long as you choose to use the same SD Card?

    • Michael Keenan June 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      No – none have this type of capability. The software must be physically re-installed again on the target device. They can’t do it via the sd card.

  53. Becky June 11, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    Michael, I must say you are a VERY, very patient guy…you wrote this in Jan 2014, but you steadfastly continue responding to comments, some of them repeats! Thank you! My query is about text messages. Not sure if it comes within the ambit of this article, but since you are confident in your responses, I hope you can ans this. Do carriers store android text contents?Not whatsapp or chat messages, but SMSes sent on the carrier’s plans? I know they store text logs, but the actual text message?

    • Michael Keenan June 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks for the comment – I keep the articles updated regularly! And yes it can be frustrating getting the same questions lol. As far as I am aware the carriers do have access to actual sms messages – they can be requested by Law enforcement for example. I doubt they would or could release them to anyone else though.

  54. Susie Cox June 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    Michael, does a person have to physically have the phone in their hands to add the tracking Spyware to listen in on calls, see texts, etc….

    • Michael Keenan July 12, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

      Yes – except for the iPhone using mSpy no jailbreak version – it can monitor iCloud backups if they have your Apple ID and password.

  55. Pam July 4, 2016 at 2:38 am #

    I use an iPhone 6S it’s currently up to date with the current iOS. I was wondering if someone can just tap/track my cell with just my phone number. If so how can I tell?

    • Michael Keenan July 12, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

      They can’t do it with just your phone number. Some apps claim they can but they are scams. Software needs to be installed on your phone physically – or you can be monitored on the iPhone if they have your Apple ID and password (through iCloud backups).

  56. Karen July 6, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    Can someone really track your text messages and read them from another phone? I have an iPhone. Thank you

    • Michael Keenan July 12, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      Em … yes – have a good look around this website – all of this information is accurate.

  57. Dave July 28, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    My Malware flagged a spy app on my phone.

    Android/monitor. Spyoo.a
    Am I being spied on?
    Was this done manually?

    • Michael Keenan August 1, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

      Yes – that is a (pretty poor) spy program. It will have been installed manually on to your phone by someone with access to it. The program is obviously pretty poor as it has been so easily flagged up – luckily for you. The best programs are very difficult to find. I would recommend doing a factory reset to remove the app from your device – then keep it secure going forward. Good luck.

  58. Keri September 2, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    When you say mspy without a jailbreak monitors your phones activities through back ups, do you mean they have to go in and actually do a back up onto an apple device, with your Apple ID and password in order to view your activity? If not, then how do they obtain your activity through the back up?
    Again thank you so much for this information and your kindness as you continue to reply!!!

    • Michael Keenan September 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      I refer to icloud backups – they are set to continually update once set up. In that way everything happens automatically and the backups report each change in the phone. Hope that makes sense to you.

  59. Walter C. September 5, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    Michael, I have noises like button tones being pressed while I am on the line with other callers. They seem to be pressing buttons to get into the call. The person on the other line can’t hear them, but they are very audible on my end. I have changed numbers, but kept the same phone and they still seem to be able to get in my phone somehow. They even have been able to contact some of my contacts because I have been told about strange calls to them. How can I trace this or remove what is on my phone?

    • Michael Keenan September 12, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

      It does sound suspicious. If it is indeed spy software, changing the number would not protect you. The software is installed on the phone itself and would work still after a change of sim. Doing a factory reset is the best way to be sure of removing it. Good luck.

  60. Sara October 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    When I receive a call the call often just fails. Is this something to be concerned about?

    • Michael Keenan November 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

      It is more likely to do with the phone itself – try updating the operating system. Does not sound like spy app.

  61. Boo October 26, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    Can someone monitoring my phone only via imei number? And how can I that see or stop?

    • Michael Keenan November 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

      No, methods like this do not work – although some programs claim this – they are scams.

  62. Susan March 24, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    Michael, all I can say is thanks a mill. Susan from Ireland

  63. Bill April 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

    How to you track the person spying on you to press charges ?

    • Michael Keenan April 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

      This proves incredibly difficult – and potentially expensive. You would need a phorensic specialist to find the app and then trying to get details of the buyer would involve legal action – and even then they could have bought using false credentials. Difficult all around really.

  64. TirednTested April 30, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    Hi Michael. Does removing the battery cease the spy apps capability? And when the battery is reinserted does the spy app have the capability to track the phones activity while the battery was removed?

    • Michael Keenan May 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      Removing the battery would stop any logging. I assume you mean something like the GPS tracking – as you can’t obviously do anything on the phone without a battery.

  65. Me June 7, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    I have a company android and I just assume it has tracking capabilities and wouldn’t be surprised if the microphone and/or camera are utilized in one way or another.
    I also assume that I.T. can hide their tracks without anyone knowing a thing.
    It would be interesting to know the truth.

    • Michael Keenan June 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

      One thing to note is that companies must by law inform any user that the device may be monitored. Without formal notification of this they are breaking the law.

  66. Tanya Brown June 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    I have reason to believe my Android Samsung has spy ware on it. I have recently noticed that some unsavory individuals in my neighborhood have repeated some things in my presence which were only said during phone calls. Can someone install spy ware on your phone just by having your phone number but no access to your phone? What about employment agencies. Please advise apart from changing my phone number what can I do?

    • Michael Keenan June 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

      Commercial spy apps can not be installed by just having your phone number – they need physical access to the device or in the case of an iPhone, your Apple ID and password (spying using iCloud backups). If you are still concerned the best thing to do is a factory reset of the device – this will remove any spy software. Good luck.

  67. John November 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    Is it possible for whatsapp calls to be monitored?

    • Michael Keenan November 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

      Yes – most spy apps now have Whatsapp messenger spy features.

  68. Paula Provost January 18, 2018 at 9:20 am #

    Hi. If the spy software was installed on a phone and then with a new phone purchase all data was transferred over to the new phone would the spy software transfer to the new phone?

    • Michael Keenan January 25, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

      It could not be re-installed in this way. It would need to be downloaded and activated directly onto the new phone.

  69. Selgal January 22, 2018 at 8:48 am #

    if my phone was spied and I change to an old fashioned phone without the internet on but with the same number will I still have a problem?

    I have changed my number several times but this didn’t help me at all.

    will this help.

    • Michael Keenan January 29, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

      Old style phones are probably the safest! Without internet none of these spy apps can work. It only works on smartphones. Good luck.

  70. Em Tran February 18, 2018 at 1:44 am #

    If i factory reset my device and restore a backup from itunes, will I just reinstall the spyware? Or do i have to officially start up as a new device?

    • Michael Keenan February 21, 2018 at 4:34 pm #

      A restore from iTunes will not re-install a spy software program. If they are using the no jailbreak method – spying through iCloud backups, then no software is installed and so monitoring could still be happening. Hope that makes sense.

  71. Aoife March 12, 2018 at 10:30 am #

    Is it possible for people to tap your phone camera ?

    • Michael Keenan March 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm #

      Yes some spy apps can control the device camera and take pictures from it. They can then view the images – you could check your gallery for any photos you have not taken.

  72. TCD March 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm #

    Why did you only write about how to check on iPhones and give no info on Android?

    • Michael Keenan April 6, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

      I think you have mis-read the article. I do have a section that deals with the iPhone specifically but the whole article deals with how to find spy apps on any device – Android or Apple. Good luck.

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