top5 spy apps

Top 5 Best Phone Spy Apps for Android and iPhone in 2022

NOTE: Updated September 24, 2022

When looking for a capable phone spy, there are many choices. This is your ultimate guide to choosing the best spy apps with the comparison of similar apps and a detailed analysis of features, pricing, ease of use, and reliability.

Hello, My name is Pat Sanderson, and welcome to Safeguarde. I created this site almost ten years ago to help people like you find out the truth so you can take your life back and gain peace. Back then, I was in a bad marriage that was only getting worse, and I needed answers. 

“Can I spy on a cell phone without having the phone I need to spy on?” That is the NUMBER ONE question I get. The answer is simple. Yes, you can! And it’s not nearly as hard as you may think.

I made a list and reviewed what I have found to be the best spy apps for the average person. Take a look and choose the one that is best for you.

Editors note: These programs are very powerful and will enable you to spy on a mobile device much like any government or private investigator might and should be used only for legal purposes. 

#1 –  Turbo Spy

Don’t have the phone you want to spy on? That’s not a problem for Turbo Spy.

Turbo Spy makes it simple to spy on any Android or iPhone device even if you don’t have it in hand. You can install this spy app remotely and view the target phone’s texts, calls, social media apps, GPS location, and more.

How Turbo Spy Works

To install Turbo Spy remotely on a target phone, all you have to do is text an over-the-air installation file. When the phone’s owner clicks on the link in the message, Turbo Spy will self-install and be ready to run in seconds.

1. Download and send — Download Turbo Spy and send a text message containing the over-the-air link to the target phone.
2. Install remotely — As soon as the link is opened, Turbo Spy will self-install on the target phone.
3. Monitor — Monitor the target phone’s activity from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.


Remote installation: Install Turbo Spy remotely just by sending a text message to the target phone.
Call recording: Record all incoming and outgoing phone calls.
Texts and messaging: View copies of all text messages, including messages sent using apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
GPS tracking: Locate the target phone and view its location on Google Maps.
Social media: Monitor activity on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, and more.
Email monitoring: View all incoming and outgoing emails on the target phone.
Microphone access: Remotely activate the microphone at any time to eavesdrop on conversations.
Snapshots: Activate the camera to snap a photo or take a screenshot.
Remote lock: Remotely lock the target phone or block apps from running at any time.

Price: $29.99 (no monthly subscription)
Compatibility: All Android and iPhone devices


Turbo Spy can be installed remotely and offers a ton of features for monitoring the activity of a target phone. At $29.99 with no monthly subscription, it’s also a bargain compared to similar apps.



Read my Turbo Spy review

#2 – Auto Forward Spy

Works on all Android and iPhones. No Possession Needed.

auto forward text spy app

Auto Forward Spy was introduced in 2012 and has been a market leader ever since. Over the years, the app has been improved with remote access and the ability to monitor a phone without having it in your possession. In the world of phone spy apps, Auto Forward reigns as the best. 

Spy on a Cell Phone Without Having it

The latest version now lets you use their exclusive OTA (over-the-air) link to download the app to your phone where it creates a remote connection over the internet to the phone you want to spy on. All you have to do is download the app, activate it using your license key, then enter the number of the phone you want to spy on.

How it Works

Auto Forward Spy works by establishing a remote connection over the internet with the target phone (the phone that is being spied on).

Three Easy Steps:

    • Download – Use the OTA (over-the-air) link to download the app.
    • Activate – Enter the license you get from Auto Forward to activate.
    • Monitor – From your cell phone, tablet or computer view texts, calls, GPS and all available information from the target


    • OTA (over-the-air) link: Enables remote downloading for quick and easy monitoring of any cell phone.
    • Undetectable: Activity is captured and uploaded silently.
    • Text messages: See all texts that have been sent or received (even they have been deleted). Includes the date, sender and complete message.
    • WhatsApp: Content of all messages sent and received with telephone number and contact of each message (photos and videos included).
    • Social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat messages. Records; Likes, Shares, Private messages, and more.
    • Keylogger: Captures and records all keystroke entries performed on the phone.
    • Calls: Records all incoming and outgoing phone calls. 
    • Remote listening: Activate the phones microphone to listen to surroundings.
    • Stealth camera: Send a remote command to the phone to snap a picture.
    • Low price: One-time fee of only $29.99 and no monthly subscription. Plus, you get free lifetime upgrades!
    • Works with: All Android’s and iPhone’s

Using the OTA (over-the-air) link, you can remotely download the app and monitor the target phone without having it in your possession. Once a remote connection is established, Auto Forward continuously uploads activity from the target phone to your secure online account. You can monitor any phone from your own cell phone without being anywhere near it!



Read my Auto Forward Review

#3 – Highster Mobile

Works with all Androids and iPhones.

highster mobile

Another spy app that allows you to spy on a cell phone without having it in your possession! That’s Highster Mobile in a nutshell. Great technology that’s easy to use for the average “Joe”. Downloaded over 1 million times and going strong, Highster Mobile is still one of the best cell phone spy apps you can buy.

Highster Mobile has been on the market since 2007. They helped pioneer the technology and remain the leader in cell phone spy applications. You just can’t go wrong with this app. Tried and true and up to date to work with the all Androids and iOS devices.

    • Social media: Captures and records copies of both incoming and outgoing messages for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
    • Text messages: Get an exact copy of every text sent or received (deleted texts can be viewed).
    • WhatsApp: Content of all messages sent and received with telephone number and contact of each message (photos and videos included).
    • Keylogger: Captures all keystrokes performed on Androids and iPhones.
    • GPS tracking: Tracks a phone to within a few feet of its actual location.
    • Calls: Records all incoming and outgoing phone calls. 
    • OTA (over-the-air) link: Download the app remotely for fast and easy monitoring.
    • Works with: All Android’s and iPhone’s

If you’re looking for a low-cost spy app for Android or iPhone, Highster Mobile should be at the top of your list. It’s competitively priced, offers many useful features, has a user-friendly web interface and it’s very easy to use, even for beginners.



Read my Highster Mobile Review

#4 – DDI Utilities

DDI Utilities is a next-generation utility program that can extract and deliver large amounts of data and activity from any cell phone quickly, easily and silently without having the phone anywhere near you.

DDI is fast taking over space in the market once occupied by cell phone spy programs that just don’t work anymore. As new models and operating systems are introduced it has become more difficult to find a spy app that actually works. DDI Utilities works!

How DDI works:

DDI Utilities download procedure is simple. All you have to do is text the download link to the phone you want to monitor. When the link is activated (tapped on) the automatic install begins and within minutes stored data and activity from the phone uploads to your secure online account. Log into your account using the user/pass provided and you can see all captured files and activity.


  • Text messages: An exact copy of every text that was sent or received. Deleted texts can also be recovered.
  • iMessages: All iMessages sent and received.
  • Keylogger: Captures all keystrokes executed on target phone.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter messages posts.
  • GPS location: The GPS tracking system of DDI Utilities will track the phone to within 50 feet of its actual location.
  • Photos: All photos, new, old and deleted.
  • Videos: All videos residing on phone.
  • Undectectable: DDI is undetectable on the phone. Data and activity is uploaded silently.
  • Works with: All Android’s and iPhone’s

If you have tried regular cell phone spy apps with no success, you will want to buy DDI Utilities. It has been shown to succeed where the older, more traditional spy programs no longer can.

Visit their website:

Read our review: DDI Utilities review

#5 – PhoneSpector

PhoneSpector is among the latest, cutting edge utility apps that can be used to spy on a cell without actually having the phone in your possession. More powerful and easier to use and set-up, it has become the choice of thousands who need help learning how to spy on a phone. It has no monthly fees. Unlimited lifetime upgrades and comes with full support for all phones. Check it out!

Visit their website:

Read my Phonespector Review

Can you spy on a cell phone without installing anything to the target phone?

When looking for spy apps for phones, the question that always comes up is: Is it possible to spy on text messages without installing software on the target phone? While many think this impossible, I would urge you to think again and to read this article I found, and reposted, about a woman who’s estranged boyfriend was able to spy on her cell phone without having the phone. You’ll learn how to spy on someone’s phone remotely using the best phone spy apps.


What You Need To Know Before You Buy

  1. You must have access to the target phone so you can download and install the mobile spy and text tracker app directly onto their phone. You don’t need to install anything on your phone or computer. Using the OTA link greatly simplifies and speeds up this process. In most cases, installation can be done in less than a minute.
  2. The phone you are monitoring determines which version you buy. If you want to monitor an iPhone, you buy the iPhone version and hence the same for Android. Your personal phone does not matter.
  3. Monitoring a cell phone is a serious endeavor and should never be done in an illegal manner. Proper authorization is always required. Before attempting to monitor any cell phone always check with your local and state laws and federal law to ensure you are not violating any laws.


Guide To Spying On A Cell Phone

Today two types of devices dominate the mobile market: Androids and iPhones. Through independent research, I have narrowed down the best cell spy software for both. While there are many reasons someone would need to spy on texts (if you are an employer or a parent for instance,) catching a cheating spouse is the most popular.

Over the years, I have learned a lot (mostly I learned what not to do!) and what I have learned is that you need to find a text message spying app from a company that has three basic but very important features. They are:

  1. Telephone Number – When you have a question, or a problem, isn’t great when you can pick up the phone and speak to someone? I never buy anything from any website that does not have a working telephone number with an actual person answering. Make sure the website has a working telephone number. This is a good sign that the company is legitimate. Any website that does not have a telephone number is likely a fly-by-night and not very good.
  2. No Monthly Fees – Don’t get involved with any program that has monthly fees! Most of us have all been caught by a scam that initially bills for a small amount which then results in the never ending nightmare of trying to cancel. During that time  monthly charges continue to pile up! Don’t do it! Our reviews include only those programs that can be bought for a one-time charge. All come with free lifetime upgrades, which will enable you to spy on any cell phone well into the future regardless of software updates or phone changes.
  3. Customer Support – Make sure the company offers full telephone customer support. Email is not enough with this type of application. I can almost guarantee that you will need help along the way and it will be a huge plus to get a live person on the phone who can solve any issue you may have. This will be invaluable to you…Trust me!

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what you want in a company, let’s talk about the Android and iPhone spy apps themselves.

With the emergence of more powerful utility apps that are now being used to spy on cell phones, I have altered my top picks to better reflect the latest technology. Here they are:


In Summary

text message spy

Each of these spy apps come with their merits, but if you’re looking for the absolute best of the bunch, then look no further than Auto Forward, and Highster Mobile. With their ease of installation and use—and low cost—these three products are the top choices in the market today. With functions that allow you to take photos remotely, view browser history, view text messages, track via a GPS and much more, these three software programs will definitely give you the most bang for your buck. And there are no hidden fees or monthly costs. Other cell phone spy software might promise more, but read the fine print on their offers to make sure there are no recurring monthly costs. The three I mentioned all have a one-time fee.

So, if you are looking to protect your children from online predators, obscene websites or overall bad decisions—or you want to keep a watchful eye on employees who may misuse your devices while on your company’s time and dime—look no further than the high-quality products in this review.

What To Look For In An SMS Tracker

Many existing spyware apps can track another device’s whereabouts, let you view its pictures and videos and help you spy on text messages, but not every one of them is alike. Here are some important qualities to look for in mobile tracking software:

Ease of Use

You shouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to navigate through the software’s web-based control panel. A good app should make it easy for anyone to check chat logs, see text messages, or follow a device via the GPS.

Quick Installation

The same should go for installing the software. Once you purchase the product, the company will send you an email that will take you step by step through the installation process. Most installations should take only a few minutes and be ready to work immediately upon completion.


Many of the available cell phone monitoring systems that track text messages share similar features, but some vary. It’s up to you to do your homework and figure out which one is right for you needs. Each app should have a multitude of functions that work to give you the answers you seek quickly, easily and without complication.

Inexpensive and NO MONTHLY FEES!

While most of the phone spy apps that intercept text messages are in a similar price range, some can be costlier than others. Most are a one-time purchase, but there are those that also charge a monthly fee. Find out which product works best for you and your budget before you buy. And beware of any that look too good to be true. Like anything, there are opportunists out there looking to make a quick buck with shoddy software. But an inexpensive software shouldn’t stop you from having the best and most powerful features, like GPS locator or the ability to see texts. These features should always be available on any decent cell phone spy application.


Stealth is one of the most important aspects of a cell phone spy and text message tracker. Being able to track another person’s cell phone or tablet usage undetected is of utmost importance to the purchaser. The hard truth is that if you want to spy on SMS texts, listen in on phone calls, and take pictures remotely without being detected, you’re going to need a good spyware app. One that is invisible and untraceable at all times.