MSpy Overview October 2021
mSpy is geared towards older children and I wasn’t 100% certain that using a spy app was necessary for my 13-year-old teenager’s phone, especially after seeing how much it cost per month.
After using mSpy for a week, I saw the value of seeing what was going on in his life, including reading his WhatsApp messages, Snaps, location tracking, and much more. It has a very comprehensive list of features, such as a keylogger, screen capture, a list of incoming and outgoing phone calls, and location, but it lacks a comprehensive web filter and screen time management tools.
I was pretty surprised that mSpy doesn’t have a free trial or money-back guarantee. The best they can do is a 14-day refund policy. However, you have to have a real problem that can’t be fixed to qualify for the refund. To their credit, the mSpy tech support team will work with you and try and solve any issue that you have, because they are confident that every feature will work perfectly.
Also note that mSpy only works with Android and iPhone devices, so if you want to monitor your child’s PC activities as well, it might not match your needs. In this case, where you need a parental control app for both mobile and PC, I recommend that you try Qustodio with their 30 days money-back guarantee.
mSpy comes with an impressive list of features, which we’ll get to in a minute, but for me, the best feature is the Control Panel or Dashboard. It makes it so easy for me to remotely manage my kid’s phone and monitor all the data it collects. I’ve tested other parental control apps that send tons of information to the Dashboard, and I had to scroll for a while to find the picture or information I needed.
The mSpy dashboard is very organized, and I had no trouble finding all the information I needed. It gives a general overview of all the important data on the main, and then I can click on any section for more details.
See with whom your child is speaking and texting
I like that there are no secrets with mSpy. It shows me who my child is talking to, along with a timestamp and length of the conversation.
I can also read SMS and view MMS messages that are sent or received. mSpy can also access messages sent on WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, Skype, Line, Snapchat, and Hangouts. To access these messages, I had to root my son’s device, but mSpy sent easy-to-follow instructions, so I was able to do this on my own.
I’ll be honest, part of me was a bit uncomfortable with this level of invasion of privacy. However, I’m sure I would never forgive myself if I found out that my child was being cyberbullied, had suicidal thoughts, was searching for drugs and alcohol, and there was something I could have done to help him but didn’t.
Keylogger and Screen Recorder
If it appeared on my son’s phone, I was able to view it on my control panel. The screen recorder takes a screenshot every time the screen changes and uploads it with a timestamp, so I know exactly when my son was viewing it. This was extremely helpful since there is no category-based web filter. However, I can blacklist any website by entering the URL. For example, if my son was on RedTube, it would probably go unnoticed, since the name of the site is similar to YouTube. However, with the screenshots, I can see that it’s a porn site, and then I could block the URL.
The keylogger installs a special keyboard on the phone and records everything typed, even deleted texts.
While these features can feel like an invasion of my son’s privacy, it’s important to remember that they can protect my son, whether it’s from viewing harmful content online, being bullied, speaking inappropriately, and much more.
I don’t check the dashboard every day, but I’ll look at his online activities on days when he’s not talking much or staying in his room. This is the only way for me to know what’s going on in his life and be there for him.
Block Apps and Keywords
mSpy makes it easy to monitor what my son is watching online. Every app that is installed on his phone appears in the Control Panel, and if I don’t want my son to use that app, I can simply block it. Personally, I didn’t find this feature helpful for my 13-year-old, but if you’re using it on younger kids then it can be very helpful.
The keyword tracking feature is another good example of how mSpy helps me protect my son. I can add words or phrases that I want the system to track. If my son types it in, I’ll get a notification in my email. I use this feature to make sure that he’s not getting involved in sex, alcohol, and drugs.
Real-time location tracking and geofence options
The mSpy app accesses the phone’s GPS, so I always know exactly where my son is at any given time. Not only that, but the geofence feature lets me create multiple “safe zones” and “forbidden zones.”
The app will update me anytime my son enters and leaves the zones. I find this helpful in making sure he gets to school on time, and if he says he is going to a friend’s house, that it’s where he’s actually going. mSpy gives the option to receive notification to my email or mobile device, plus it creates an alert on the dashboard.
I receive an email alert each time he enters or leaves the zone, which is perfect for making sure he’s at school or really going to his friend’s house in the evening. mSpy saves the location history, so even if I’m not watching in real-time, I can still check out where he’s been.
Monitor internet activities
Even without a filter, mSpy helps me monitor what my son is doing online. It tracks the browser history and provides the web page’s name and a direct link to each page he visited. I can also see a complete list of all the bookmarks, giving me insight into his favorite websites. There is no web filter, which is disappointing, but I can create a list of banned URLs that won’t load if he tries to visit them. If creating web filters or setting screen time limits is important for you, check out my Qustodio review.
To get the full benefit of all the mSpy premium features you will need to root your child’s Android device before installing the app. While it sounds difficult, I was very impressed with the installation guide provided by mSpy. It included clear instructions and GIFs that showed me exactly what to do. The whole process only took a few minutes.
You need access to the child’s device to install the app. If you don’t have the phone while you’re creating the account, choose the “No, I don’t option,” and mSpy will send you a link so you can start the installation process when you have the phone.
Instead of uploading an app named mSpy, the app comes with a generic name, which is great if you plan on installing the app without your child’s knowledge. mSpy walks you through the steps to delete any traces of the installation and the file. Once installed, mSpy works completely in the background, without slowing down the device or draining the battery quickly.
Ease of Use9.8
After the installation is complete you won’t need to see your child’s phone again. Everything you need is located in the Dashboard. The Dashboard is broken up into several different sections, making it easy to find the information you need.
In addition to a general overview, I was able to click on each section to find more information, including the screenshots, links to websites my son visited, and a look at the keylogger to see what he’s typing on his device and on what platform.
Overall, it’s an extremely easy program to use and requires no prior technical knowledge. While there isn’t a free trial option, mSpy does have a demo version available on its website, so you can see for yourself just how easy it is to manage.
I found it interesting that when I first went to the mSpy website, a chat box opened and asked if there was anything I needed. These are typically bots, but I figured I would ask a question about the features. To my surprise, the response came from a real person, and they answered all my questions.
However, when I came back to the site the following day, I couldn’t find the Live Chat box. Instead, I clicked on the Help icon and sent an email with some questions. I got an instant automated response saying that there may be a delay in answering my question and if I need instant help, I should try the Live Chat option. The email included a link that opened a live chat. Once again, I asked my question, this was at approximately 5:30 AM EST, and after waiting about 3 or 4 minutes, a customer support agent came and answered my questions.
While it would be nice if it was easier to find the live chat feature, I was impressed with the help I received.
Is mSpy safe?
mSpy is an established app that has monitored millions of Android and iOS phones since 2011. There are no known viruses, malware, or ransomware connected with the app and its servers are encrypted. However, to use all the features you will have to root or jailbreak your child’s phone which can void the warranty and cause damage to the device if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Can I install mSpy without my child knowing?
The answer here depends on your child’s device and whether you have access to it.
If you’re installing it on an iPhone, as long as you have access to your child’s iCloud account it can be remotely uploaded and hidden from view in a protected folder. Android users will need access to the device, but once the app is installed, it can be hidden and will run in the background so your kid will have no idea it is running on the device.
Can I limit the time my child is on their phone?
mSpy is more of a monitoring software program and doesn’t really have the feature to block your kids from using their phones. It does have some similar features, such as WiFi and application blocking, but these are just general blocks, and not time-based. If you’re looking for an app that lets you control your child’s screen time, I recommend checking out my Bark review.
Does mSpy have a free trial?
mSpy discontinued its free trial several years ago and now has a 14-day money-back guarantee instead. If you just want to check out how the interface looks and see the type of data that mSpy collects, check out the demo version on the mSpy website. If you’d rather use a Parental Control device with a money-back guarantee – check out Qustodio or Bark.
How many devices can I monitor with mSpy?
mSpy can only monitor one device at a time. However, you can switch which device is being monitored by disabling the service on the original phone and activating it on a second one.
Do I have to root my child’s Android phone for mSpy to work?
While you don’t need to root the device, some monitoring features, such as Facebook, Gmail, and Snapchat, only work after rooting. I found that you can get the same monitoring features, but without rooting the device from Bark.
You can purchase a Premium subscription package for 1 month, 3 months, or a year. The monthly plan is the most expensive, and I would only recommend getting it if your intent is to test the service before committing to a long-term plan.
Each of the subscription options offers coverage for one phone, although you can switch which phone is being monitored.
I was a little disappointed that mSpy doesn’t have a free trial option. They do have a 14-day refund policy, and the tech support will try and solve your problem so that you are happy with the service you are receiving. They will only give you a refund if you have an unfixable issue.