How to Tell if Your Cell Phone is Tapped Tracked or Monitored by Spy Software

You’re worried about your phone, you think someone is spying on you through your cell phone and you are angry. Unfortunately this is becoming more common these days. You need answers … quickly! I’m going to teach you how to tell if your phone is tapped or tracked in some way …. and it is going to answer your questions.

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 by someone. 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 will help for all types of Smartphone including Android and for the iPhone there are a few extra tips.

Quick Signs to Tell if Your Phone is Tapped

In a hurry? In this section I list the top signs – the most common signs that your phone may have been tapped or tracked using a spy app. After that I go into lots more detail about each sign and a few other tips and tricks to help you.

  • Odd phone behavior
  • Battery Drain
  • Phone shuts down
  • Strange background noise
  • Receiving unusual texts
  • Increased data usage
  • High phone temperature
  • Electronic interference
  • Unusual App activity
  • Unusual account activity – iCloud, Google, Facebook
  • Excessive phone bill
  • Strange Pop-ups
  • Blocked Emails

Keep reading for a full explanation of all of these signs and more …

How Can Your Phone be Tapped or Tracked?

Before you can look for signs that your phone is being tracked or tapped without your knowledge it is important to learn exactly how someone can spy on your phone.

There are a lot of terms used to describe being monitored – tracked, tapped, hacked, bugged or just spied on!spy software security guide

They all can mean slightly different things and these days they are usually talked about in relation to cell phones … not so much landlines.

Spy software or Spyware? These are really just different terms for the same thing … without getting too technical!

There are different ways your phone can be compromised but the most common way and the most effective is with a spy app or spy software.

These programs are becoming very common and can be difficult to spot. But of course I’m going to guide you … so keep reading!

See my article on How to Hack a Phone for more ways your phone can be tapped and tracked.

Is My Phone Being Tracked?

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.

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 or MobiStealth. 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.

How to Detect Cell Phone Spy Apps

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.

how to tell if your phone is tapped

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.

High Phone Temperature

Is your handset suddenly getting hot for no apparent reason? Sometimes if a tracking app is running in the background your phone can get hot.

Electronic Interference

Sometimes using your phone near other electronic devices can cause static noises but this should only happen when the phone is making a call.

Spy apps with call listening capabilities can cause strange interference noises when the phone is being used near to other devices – could be a sign you are being tracked.

Some phone tapping equipment operates at different radio frequencies and can cause this type of interference – even when the phone is not in use.

Unusual App Activity

Are there any apps that have been added to your device – not by you? Are any apps suddenly not working? Spyware software can control your apps behavior and even block them remotely (once installed).

Unusual Account Activity – iCloud, Google, Facebook

People can use spy software to gain access to your main accounts – keep an eye out for any activity you are not aware of. If your phone has been hacked you can assume that all your accounts are compromised.

Remember that your iPhone can be tapped and tracked through iCloud backups using No Jailbreak spyware.

Excessive Phone Bill

Look for sudden and unexplained rises in your bills. Older and poor quality spy programs often used up a lot of data when transferring the monitored data.

Strange Pop-ups

Are you getting strange pop-ups on your device – even with adblocker enabled? Malware programs can run malicious pop-ups aiming to collect data or redirect you to fake sites. Sometimes they can look legitimate so pay careful attention to where they direct you or what they are prompting you to do.

Blocked Emails

Are you sending emails that never reach their intended recipients or are people getting emails from your account that you did not send? You could have a tracked phone – some programs can send, receive and redirect email and text traffic without your knowledge.

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 or being tapped, but if your phone shows signs of several of these, you could be a victim of spying.

How to Detect 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.

How to Detect Spy Apps on Android Devices

As well as looking for the signs of a tap or tracking app listed above there are a couple of things to look for specific to Android phones.

Has your Android been Rooted Without Your Knowledge?

This would give you some concern! Although rooting android is not always necessary, most spy apps require root access to allow all monitoring features to work properly.

It is easy to check if your android phone has been rooted. Go to the Google Play Store and install this Rootchecker App – just run it and follow the instructions – it will tell you if the device has been rooted.

Is Unknown Sources Enabled?

There is a setting that allows you to install apps not approved or listed in the Play Store. If “Unknown Sources” is enabled and you did not select it … it could be a sign of a spy app or other unwanted download. Most spy programs require you to enable downloads from Unknown Sources.

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.

Using a Code to Check if Your Phone is Tapped

Most modern smartphones have a built in security feature that allows you to use specific codes to tell if your phone is tapped or tracked. They are really easy to use and can provide valuable information.

To use the codes just type them into your phone keypad dialer – couldn’t be simpler! The hard part is knowing the code to use …. give these a try:

*#06# – Check IMEI Number Code

Your IMEI number is specific to your phone and identifies it – like a finger print. If your phone has been tapped or tracked you’ll need to know this number if things ever escalate into a legal case. Your cell phone provider will also need this if they are investigating any suspicious activity.

*#62* – The Code to Check For a Redirection

If you suspect a spy app could be intercepting your calls or texts you can dial this code. It will list any calls, texts or data packets that have been redirected. If there is anything showing in this list your phone is tapped. The list should show no redirected information.

The good news is that you can dial this code ##002# and it will remove any redirection set up on the device.

*#21#: The Code to Check For a Diversion

This works similar to the redirection code. A diversion could be set up on your device by a spy software program and can be hard to detect. Unlike a redirection a diversion works before the call or text is actually sent from your phone.
Using the code will show a list of any call diversions including texts and data. Again you want to see a blank list – if not you have a problem.

*#*#197328640#*#*: The Utility Netmonitor Code

This one gets a bit complicated but it will give you access to the phone main menu. It allows you to track where any data and call information has been processed. Useful if your phone is being tracked by false towers or base station devices.

From the main menu select – “UMTS Cell Environment >UMTS RR Information” and copy the cell id number it displays.

Return to the main menu once again and select – “MM Information >Serving PLMN” and copy your local area code that is displayed.

If you go to a Netmonitor website – they have databases of all cell phone towers. When you enter the two numbers it can pinpoint exactly where your phone has been connected. Potentially locating the source of any tap or hacker.

How to Know if Your Phone is Tapped by Police or Law Enforcement

I get asked this a lot – can you tell if your phone is being tracked by law enforcement agencies – the Police and FBI most commonly.

I don’t want to engage in any illegal or unethical debates around this subject but I will tell you a few things.
These days law enforcement have wide ranging powers and I’m not here to debate them. Let’s just be aware that they will not be spying on you using some spy software app!

They have the power to get all of your data – everything including GPS tracking information, listen to and record your calls and see your texts. Everything you do on your cell phone can be monitored and reported to the police and other agencies and you will not know.

They can do this through the service providers – no software is needed so no signs will show. I just accept that if you are worried about the police tapping or tracking your phone …. you must have something to hide.

What Next ….

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

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.

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 The Best Spy Apps. 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.

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155 thoughts on “How to Tell if Your Cell Phone is Tapped Tracked or Monitored by Spy Software”

    • 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.

    • 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.

  1. 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?

    • 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.

  2. 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.

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

  3. 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?

  4. Hello,
    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?

    • 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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?

    • 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.

  8. 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!!!

    • 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.

  9. Hi.
    My Malware flagged a spy app on my phone.

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

    • 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.

  10. 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?

    • 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).

  11. 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….

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

  12. 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?

    • 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.

  13. 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?

    • 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.

  14. 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 ?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  15. 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  16. 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?

    • 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.

  17. 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?

    • 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.

  18. 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?

    • 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.

  19. 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?

    • 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.

  20. 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.

    • 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.

  21. 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.

    • 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.

  22. 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?

    • 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!

    • 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!

  23. 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?

    • 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.

  24. 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 ?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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

    • 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.

    • 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!

  27. 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?

    • 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.

  28. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  29. 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)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  30. 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?

    • 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.

  31. 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?

    • 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.

  32. 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??

    • 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.

  33. 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!

        • 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.

  34. 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?

    • 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.

  35. 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?


    • 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.

  36. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  37. 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?

    • 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.

  38. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  39. 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?

    • 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!

  40. 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?

  41. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  42. 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?

      • 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?

      • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

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