Read our full OurPact review. Screen Time does an excellent job of managing and scheduling kids' device access. Unfortunately, this app doesn't do a whole lot else on iOS devices. And it has baffling upcharges for location tracking and web filters, both of which come standard with other parental-control apps.
Spy Software Reviews
We liked how this service doles out additional screen time for chores or good deeds. But you can't block apps on iOS, and there's no geofencing or call or text monitoring at all. Read our full Screen Time review. ESET Parental Control for Android sticks to one platform, but it doesn't shine even there, lacking text-message- and call-monitoring features. The free app management and time management do work well, as do the paid location tracking and geofencing. That's because Kaspersky Safe Kids does more at half the price.
MMGuardian has nearly every parental-control feature you might want, especially on Android, but the user interfaces are outdated and frustrating. Both the iOS and Android apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering. App management is strong on Android but primitive on iOS. On Android, the parent can read every text and block any number. Time management and screen-time scheduling are also Android-only. Read our full MMGuardian review.
Evaluation Criteria We focused on apps that emphasize proactively setting up filters and limits before your child uses the phone rather than merely tracking activities after the fact. We took the following criteria into account:.
Feature comparison chart
We tested each app on every platform it supported twice, from installation to testing to uninstall. We typically monitored activity from the MacBook Pro, but if apps offered control from a smartphone app, we tested those features as well. Calls and texts for monitoring purposes were made from a secondary Android device.
Android parental-control apps remain more robust than their iOS counterparts in most cases, especially with regard to call and text monitoring. But new additions to iOS have closed the gap somewhat. We will note areas in which there are discrepancies in the functionality offered on each platform, but we are not providing distinct ratings and reviews for the iOS versus the Android version of each app. Parental-control apps for mobile devices work best when they're part of a comprehensive approach to teaching your kids about behaving responsibly online.
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For that reason, we avoided testing apps that can run in stealth mode on a child's phone. There are many products that tout this capability, but some people use such services to spy not on their children, but on their spouses or on other adults, which is illegal in most U. In addition, we did not consider apps that offered the ability to record a child's phone conversations. State laws vary on the legality of recording someone without his or her consent, and no states allow the recording of phone calls without either party's consent.
Norton, Kaspersky and ESET, which has its own parental-control app for Android, also make antivirus software, and many antivirus products have parental controls built in. To see how well those controls stack up against the stand-alone services, please read The Best and Worst Antivirus Software for Parents.
iPhone Call Tracking Applications
Tom's Guide. Jump To:. Best overall and great for iOS Top pick for Android Great parental control bargain Best multiplatform support Gets kids involved Does one thing very well Leaves room for improvement Full-featured but frustrating. Reasons to Buy Great design. Norton Family Premier Top pick for Android.
Reasons to Buy Wide feature set. Reasons to Avoid Clunky parental app. Kaspersky Safe Kids Great parental control bargain. Reasons to Buy Very affordable.
Best Spy Apps for Android & iPhone
Reasons to Avoid Confusing user interface. Qustodio Best multiplatform support. Reasons to Avoid Expensive. OurPact Gets kids involved. Reasons to Buy Excellent design, navigation. Check it out! Easy to use and fast at getting results. Downloaded over 1 million times and going strong. After 12 plus years on the market, Highster Mobile is still one if the best cell phone spy apps you can buy.
Highster Mobile has been on the market since They helped pioneer the technology and remain the leader in cell phone spy applications.
Flexispy Review - Mobile Tracking Software for iPhone and Android
Tried and true and up to date to work with the all Androids and iPhones. Our Review 3 — Auto Forward Spy. For those needing to spy on a cell phone without having the phone in your possession, Auto Forward Spy is you! Their brand new version allows downloading the app using their OTA over-the-air link. You simply download to your phone, activate the app with a license key and enter the number of the phone you want to monitor.
You can be getting content from the phone within minutes! All content gathering is done remotely. Auto Forward Spy establishes a remote connection between your phone and the monitored phone. Simply log into your secure online account after the app is installed to view all collected information. You can spy on any phone from anywhere! I have tested many spy apps over my years and Auto Forward is among the best. It is fast, reliable and best of all, it is developed by a reputable company that has been around for many years. Their customer is excellent and they stand behind their product.
I encourage you to click on the link below and watch my demo video. Our Review. Today two types of devices dominate the mobile market: Androids and iPhones. Over the years I have learned a lot mostly I learned what not to do!
They are:. 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:. So, how do you sort through the junk? 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. Highster Mobile is an SMS tracker and text message spy software that has been on the market for nearly 8 years.
It has helped literally hundreds of thousands of people to spy on cell phones and in particular, gather text messages from just about any mobile device on the market.
A superior text message spy, Highster Mobile not only enables a user to retrieve new text messages from any cell phone, it will also extract old and deleted text messages as well. The astonishing thing is that you can do all this without actually having the phone in your possession. It is not uncommon for users to report the extraction of text messages from up to one-year-old. If you are spying on a an iPhone and you are either unwilling or unable to jailbreak it, Highster Mobile is for you!
Their No-Jailbreak program is tops in the industry and, in my opinion, is by far the easiest to use and most powerful. I found that it captures more data, in less time, than any of the competing programs. Access to the monitored device is not necessary. Activation is pretty fast and fairly simple. I used the OTA over-the-air method to install the program, which allows for the app to be downloaded using only a WiFi connection.