Updated 10/2/23: Before using ANY of these apps you should clearly understand how to use them legally. In some circumstances, monitoring an adult’s phone without their consent is illegal in the U.S and other countries
The Best Phone Tracker apps are mobile applications that help parents, spouses, and partners track the GPS location of a cell phone or mobile device without the permission of the device’s owner. A cell phone tracker app (smartphone tracker) tracks activities such as text messages, social media account activity and messages, contacts, emails, calendar activities, keystrokes, and phone calls. Mobile phone trackers offer free and premium versions of spying apps such as uMobix, mSpy and SpyBubble.
Phone tracker apps are designed to monitor the phone of a child or employee. They can also be used to track a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner. Just remember that the use of a phone tracking app requires the consent of the phone’s owner to be legal.
Contents of this Guide
The top 5 mobile phone tracking apps offer powerful tracking features, reasonable fees, and stealthy operation. The best 5 phone tracker apps with the most powerful features are listed below.
- uMobix (Best Overall)
- mSpy (Slightly Cheaper)
- Geofinder.mobi (only requires phone number)
- Kidsguard (Best for Parents)
- FlexiSPY (Most Powerful Features)
Some of best and most useful tracker apps include a free-trial period. All offer simple installation on the target phone, and the ability to record activity even when the phone is offline. uMobix is the best overall mobile tracker application thanks to its price, features, and simple installation. Features and ease of installation are the most important criteria when choosing the perfect mobile spying apps. Thus, mSpy is in second place in the list of best tracking apps because it doesn’t offer the ability to track as many social media apps.
These apps do NOT require the permission of the phone’s owner. Some apps require installing software on the target device. However, there are some apps that allow you to track a phone without installing software on the target device.
Note that these apps require payment, including a regular subscription fee to access the data that is stored on their cloud. However, for what you get, this is a small investment.
Below are the 8 best cell phone tracking apps that can track someone without their permission.
- No root or jailbreak requirement
- GPS tracker and monitoring features
- Helpful parental control features
- most social media access of any tracker app
- 6% more expensive than mSpy
- chat-based support
uMobix is also one of the best phone tracking apps that uses a GPS location tracker to monitor someone’s phone without them knowing.
Installation and setup on Android and iOS devices is quick and simple. There is no root requirement for Android devices, and there is no jailbreak requirement for iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. uMobix lets you view in real-time the location and movement of the target device and easily search movement history with specified time details.
You can also set geo-fencing parameters which allow you to mark areas as “safe” or “no-go” zones. When the target device enters or leaves one of these areas, you will receive an alert about the activity. You can also view how long the target device stays in certain areas.
uMobix also offers an impressive array of additional monitoring capabilities including call monitoring, keylogging, web browser controls, and social media monitoring. The mSpy app runs reliably, but if you do have issues, competent and helpful staff are on-hand to answer any questions.
uMobix uses a live, chat-based support for all technical support issues. The average wait time for a live support representative is 2 minutes.
uMobix is more 6% expensive than competitors such as mSpy, but offers tracking of social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram on iOS devices. mSpy does not offer access to Facebook or Instagram.
But because of the stability of the spy app and the solid tech support, it’s still one of the best options out there for mobile phone tracking on Android or iPhone devices.
- $12.49 a month for 12 months
- $29.99 a month for 3 months
- $49.99 a month for 1 month
iPhones and iOS devices and on any Android devices running 4.0 or higher, including:
Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nexus/Pixel, Nokia, OnePlus, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, ZTE
uMobix is stable and the least susceptible to updates of any that we’ve tested to date.
Their tech support is VERY helpful and the pricing is good. If you don’t need the advanced features of FlexiSPY, we would recommend this app instead.
- Top option without jailbreak or root
- LIVE phone support
- Simple installation and Reliable operation
- Real-time location tracking information
- Great for Parental Control
- Limited social media tracking for iPhones
- Accuracy of GPS dependent on target device’s reception
mSpy is the best phone tracker app without permission. It offers more GPS tracking features than any other spy app, competitive pricing, and LIVE chat support.
Current GPS location tracking is just one of many things you can monitor on the mobile phones of loved ones and family members including their current location and location history.
Secretly Tracking an iPhone
The mSpy cell phone tracking app allows you to track a user’s iPhone without them knowing. It allows you to spy on a cell phone without installing any software in just minutes.
iOS devices do not require physical access to install the phone spy app. All you need is the user’s iCloud username and password.
The mSpy tracker app allows you to monitor more social media platforms than any other app. This includes WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder.
Secretly Tracking an Android
uMobix for Android is a powerful monitoring solution that doesn’t require rooting the phone. Like all Android tracking apps, it DOES require installing software on the target phone.
While many cell phone tracker apps require you to root an Android before accessing social media apps, uMobix does NOT. You get access to Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Tinder, Snapchat, Telegram, Skype, and more.
No other phone tracker app currently offers this much access to an Android mobile device.
mSpy offers three different pricing packages:
- $11.67/mo for a 1 year subscription
- $28.00/mo for 3 month subscription
- $48.99/mo for a 1 month subscription
mSpy is the best way to track someone’s phone without them knowing. It can be installed without permission on either an iPhone or Android.
2. Geofinder – Best Phone Number Tracker
The Geofinder tracker app is unique in that it allows you to track a phone’s location using ONLY their phone number.
Geofinder is a completely web-based solution. This means you won’t need to download an app or have access to the user’s iCloud credentials.
GEOfinder works with all mobile devices and cellular networks. If all you need to see is someone’s GPS location this is by far the easiest solution.
- request unlimited geolocation requests.
- view the phone’s detailed location on the map.
If all you need to see is a phone’s location, Geofinder is an excellent solution. Once you create your account you can find the person’s location within minutes.
4. KidsGuard Pro – Best for Parents
- Jailbreak and non-jailbreak for iPhone/iOS devices
- live chat support
- reliable functionality
- real-time GPS tracking information
- great for parental control
- overly strict refund policy
- requires phone to be on same wifi network as your computer
While KidsGuard Pro offers many of the same features as other phone tracker apps I’m covering, it’s marketed for a parent looking to monitor a child.
It comes in as my 2nd best phone tracker app and is a great solution for keeping an eye on your kids.
Secretly Track an iPhone
KidsGuard Pro offers the same iPhone monitoring solution as most other tracker apps in the industry. This is done by accessing the phone user data through their iCloud account. This installation method can be performed without permission of the phone’s owner.
Unlike many other monitoring solutions, Kidsguard Pro also offers a jailbreak version for iPhones. This allows you to see ALL social media chat apps on the iPhone including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook.
The only reason I would go this route is if you need to monitor Snapchat or some other social media platform. Otherwise it’s not worth the hassle of jailbreaking the iOS device.
The jailbreak version of KidsGuard pro currently works with iOS 9.0 – iOS 14.
I typically don’t recommend jailbreaking an iPhone as this will void its’ warranty. However, you can get around this by resetting it back to factory defaults.
Expect the GPS tracking information to be slightly delayed as the data in your control panel is only updated when the phone performs a backup.
Secretly Track an Android
The KidsGuard Pro app offers the same monitoring capabilities as uMobix for Android mobile devices.
Physical access to the device is necessary for the installation of the Android phone tracker app. Once installed it is completely hidden.
The KidsGuard GPS tracker updates with the same frequency as other spy apps I’ve covered here. It is somewhat dependent upon cell coverage.
Android: 1 Month = $29.95/mo, 3 Month = $16.65/mo, and 1 Year = $8.32/mo
iPhone: 1 Month = $39.95/mo, 3 Month = $19.18/mo, and 1 Year = $9.16/mo
For more information you can check out my full Kidsguard Pro review.
5. FlexiSPY – Most Powerful Smartphone Tracking App
- Record calls or listen live
- Best Technical Support
- Reliable functionality
- Real-time GPS location tracker
- Most powerful iPhone spy app
- Accuracy of GPS tracking dependent on target device’s reception
- Rooting required
FlexiSPY is my #3 phone tracker app due to its dependability, ease-of-use, accurate GPS tracking, and 24/7 support. With FlexiSPY, you can get accurate, real-time location information sent directly to your control panel.
You can also receive a notification when the phone moves into pre-designated zones.
Unlike uMobix and KidsGuard pro, FlexiSPY’s software DOES require you jailbreak or root the device you want to monitor. This doesn’t necessarily require the user’s permission, but it does require you to have physical access to the device.
Click Here for iPhone Price
FlexiSPY also has a great “animate” feature that shows you real time location details on a map and can help you visualize the route the target device traveled between each point.
FlexiSPY also offers the standard cell phone monitoring features such as text message and email monitoring, internet activity tracking, call log access, and just about any messaging app.
They also offer some features that you won’t see in other apps such as the ability to listen to calls live and turn on the phone’s microphone remotely.
Devices need to be rooted or jailbroken (iPhone) for the tracking features to work, but you can have tech support do this for you. You can also purchase a pre-configured cell phone where the app is already installed in stealth mode.
FleixSPY is also a great tracking app due to the 24/7 chat support. If you prefer to talk to someone on the smartphone, FlexiSPY has a number you can call anytime for further assistance.
- Extreme Subscription plan: $29.08 a month for 12 months or $66.66 a month for 3 months
- Premium Subscription plan: $12 a month for 12 months, $33 a month for 3 months, or $68 a month for 1 month
- Lite plan: $29.95 a month for 1 month
With it’s best in class monitoring features FlexiSPY is the most powerful tracking app available. The live call monitoring feature isn’t offered by any other app on the market. All this is backed by one of the best support teams in the industry.
These same features also make it the ultimate parental control app for parents who are worried about what their kids might be doing on their phones.
Click Here for iPhone Price
- real-time tracking information
- geofencing feature
- SIM card removal alert
- no root required
- no live tech support
- not as reliable
Spyzie is another affordable phone tracker app that offers accurate GPS location information that is easy to monitor.
You can also search location history and easily track the location of the target phone in real-time. Spyzie also offers geo-fencing capabilities.
This cell phone tracker app doesn’t require rooting or jailbreaking in order to use any of the features on Android devices, including location tracking. iPhones don’t need to be jailbroken, but you will need the iCloud credentials to download the app information.
This app also offers a good range of phone monitoring features including the addition of an alert which will let you know if the SIM card is removed from the phone. This is generally done if the phone has been stolen or someone is trying to switch the phone over to another network.
Unfortunately, Spyzie also struggles with performance issues and instability.
The app crashes often, especially if the tracking software is trying to update or if the phone gets rebooted. This app also has almost no customer support. Your only option to request support is an email submission that can take up to 48 hours to get a response.
Ultimate Plan: 1-Month: $49.99, 3-Month: $79.99, or 6-Month: $119.99
Pro Plan: 1-Month: $39.99, 3-Month: $69.99, or 6-Month: $99.99
Basic Plan: 1-Month: $29.99, 3-Month: $49.99, or 6-Month: $89.99
Spzie’s spy app doesn’t really offer anything to separate it from our top three. Their tech support was disappointingly unresponsive and the app is relatively expensive.
We would highly recommend going with FlexiSPY or mSpy instead. You can read more in our Spyzie review.
7. iKeyMonitor – FREE Phone Tracker App
- FREE option (very limited functionality)
- track a cell phone anywhere in the world
- lots of monitoring features
- no permission required
- iOS devices require jailbreak
- customer service is sub par
- app crashed quite a bit during testing
iKeyMonitor is another phone tracker app that offers the basics of any other tracking app including location monitoring, the ability to review past and real-time location data, and time stamps to tell when the phone was in a certain location and for how long.
This tracker app also includes some geo-fencing options. In addition to letting you track the location of your family via their mobile phones, this app also includes basic phone monitoring features such as call and text mess
You can also remotely trigger the microphone on the target device to hear what is happening near it.
This phone tracker software is one of the most expensive and unstable options. The tracker app frequently struggles to run smoothly, and if it does crash, you need access to the target phone to download the app again.
While there is a chat option if you need help, the customer support is notoriously unreliable and unresponsive.
Free Version: $0 + $9.99 every 3 days (approx. $100 a month) for most features
Full Version: $29.16 a month for 12 months or $59.99 a month for one month
iKeyMonitor is a great spy app if you’re on a budget. It’s not as elegant of a solution, but it does get the job done.
We do wish the keylogger was available in the non-jailbreak version as that would allow you to track chat apps without having to root or jailbreak the device. All in all a solid product.
FamiSafe is another product designed more specifically for parents who need software to track the phone of their child or children.
While FamiSafe has some great features, it’s designed more as a parental control app, than a smartphone tracker.
It offers features like website filters, screen time limits, activity reports, and location tracking.
It does NOT offer things like social media monitoring, viewing of text messages and other more advanced functions.
Annual plan: $60.99 / Year
Quarterly plan: $20.99 / Quarter
Monthly plan: $10.99 / Month
You can see my full FamiSafe review here.
9. Highster Mobile Spy
- cheapest phone spy app on the list
- no root or jailbreak required
- quickly view GPS locations
- terrible support
- no geofencing feature
- fewer features overall
The Highster Mobile spy app is less expensive and doesn’t require rooting or jailbreaking to use the cell phone location tracking features.
That said, I had a horrible experience with this product.
First and foremost it was incredibly difficult to install. Every other spy app on this list was up and running within minutes.
The Highster app required multiple attempts to contact their support and they were unresponsive at best.
The GPS phone tracking feature is reliable, but the location information is uploaded periodically instead of continuously. This can give you a good idea of the activity of the target phone as it happens, but it’s not the same as real-time tracking.
Highster also doesn’t offer any geo-fencing options, so you can’t receive alerts when the device enters pre-designated safe or dangerous zones. They do offer a general array of phone monitoring features including the ability to read emails, text messages, and social media messages and view internet and call activity.
Highster also includes some extra features like the ability to turn on the device’s camera and take pictures remotely.
Unfortunately, this spy app is somewhat lacking in technical support. They have a number you can call, but you’re not always guaranteed to reach someone immediately.
They prefer you fill out a ticket on their website and promise to respond within 24 hours. This app frequently encounters operating issues and has a tendency to crash during updates, so lack of support could be a significant frustration.
Pro (requires rooting) = $69.99, one-time payment
Basic = $29.99, one-time payment
What Are the Types of Phone Tracker Apps?
Cell phone trackers are surveillance apps that monitor the location and activities of a smartphone. Features include GPS location, call logs, SMS texts, chats, social media account information, videos, photos, and other phone data.
How We Rate Phone Tracking Apps
A reliable tracking app should offer more than just flashy features. Below you’ll find the qualities we look at when ranking these apps.
Most tracking apps offer very similar features. A few apps, like uMobix, do offer more monitoring features than others for similar price.
Installation and Use
A phone tracking app that is too difficult to install or use is just frustrating. We test each app to ensure it can be quickly installed on both iOS and Android platforms.
If you’re going to go through the effort and expense to install a phone tracker, you want to make sure the software is reliable and will keep working the way it should.
Not every mobile tracker is compatible with every mobile phone, so it’s important to choose one that is capable of tracking the phone of whichever family member, loved one, or employee you are worried about.
We think price plays an important role when choosing a tracking app, but it isn’t the determining factor. Sometimes you’re just paying for brand recognition. Some apps offer low prices or one-time payment options, but then offer little to no support once you’ve paid.
Glitches and technical difficulties are unfortunate. When issues occur, a solid customer support team can make all the difference. During testing we always reach out to each app’s tech support for help on “issues” to see how responsive they are.
Phone security is incredibly strong and manufacturers are always updating their software. The responsive tech support is one of the main reasons uMobix is my favorite mobile tracker.
Live Demo/Free Trial
Live demos help customers get used to the interface before purchasing an app. There are plenty of options out there, choosing an easy-to-use interface is important.
Reasonable Refund Policy
Tracking app refund policies can be very confusing. It’s important to review the refund policy of any app before making a purchase to ensure it is fair and makes sense.
How Can I Track Someone Using Their Phone Number?
It is possible to track someone’s phone without them knowing by using their phone number.
Websites like geofinder.mobi use the phone number to locate someone’s device using GPS software. It is completely hidden, allowing you to track a phone without the phone’s owner being aware.
Can I Track My Spouse’s Phone Without Them Knowing?
Yes. A phone tracker can track someone’s phone without them knowing. These apps run in the background without being detected. This allows you to track your husband’s phone. This same technology allows you to track your wife’s phone as well.
However unless they are using an iOS device that allows for access via iCloud, you will probably need to physically download the tracker before you can start monitoring the mobile phone.
Can You Track Your Kid’s Phone Without Them Knowing?
As long as you can install the tracker, you should be able to track your kids location and phone activity. Since they are your kids, this requires no permission.
Kids are often the best at figuring out quirks with their devices, though, and there are some ways of knowing there is a tracker running in the background such as unexpected decrease in mobile data or overheating of the targeted device.
Can You Track Someone’s Phone With Google Maps?
It is possible to track someone’s phone with Google maps by using the location sharing setting within the Google Maps app. Once enabled their location is shown anytime you open Google Maps on your device.
The following article contains the steps for finding a phone on Google Maps.
How Does a Phone Tracker Work?
Every phone tracker app uses Global Positioning System (GPS) to track a device by using a network of satellites to track a specific signal pinged from your family or loved one’s phone when the tracker activates.
Data containing the devices’ exact location or address is then sent directly to you.
Can I Track Someone’s Phone Location Without Installing Software?
Yes, you can track the location of someone’s smartphone without installing software on the target phone by using a tracking app such as uMobix or mSpy. These apps are capable of tracking iOS devices without the need for installing software.
Is it Legal to Track Someone’s Phone Without Them Knowing?
Under certain circumstances, it is legal to track someone’s phone without their knowledge. It is completely legal for a parent to track the phone of a child. An employer can also track the phone of an employee, if it is a company phone.
It is illegal to track the phone of a spouse or partner UNLESS you notify them beforehand. Tracking an adult without their consent can be prosecuted under electronic communication privacy laws.
You can read more about the legal issues of using a phone tracker app here.