You can manage only a few dozen apps on iOS, as opposed to all Android apps. Web filtering is more powerful on iOS, while monitoring texts and calls works on only Android. Read our full Qustodio review. Once the most powerful parental-control app for iPhones, OurPact was hobbled by an Apple rule change in late that nixed the service's geofencing, location tracking and time allowances on iOS.
At its peak, OurPact was the only parental-control app we tested that could manage or block any iOS app. It can still do so for Android devices. OurPact also gets kids involved in managing the daily allowance of screen time that you give them, and it does a good job of scheduling.
Yet, its website filtering simply blocks porn, and it can't monitor calls or texts at all, even on Android. However, you can block messaging apps, and OurPact remains a joy to use. Read our full OurPact review.
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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. You get both features in the day premium trial.
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 call or text monitoring at all, although geofencing and location history were recently added. 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. MMGuardian has nearly every parental-control feature you might want, especially on Android, but the user interfaces are outdated and frustrating.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 smartphone apps offer location tracking and excellent web filtering, and have recently added an artificial-intelligence component to spot nudity in saved images.
App management is strong on Android but primitive on iOS. On Android, the parent can read every text and block any number.
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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:. 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.
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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. 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. You'll want to verify that the device you're looking to monitor is compatible with the app. This can be done quickly using the compatibility wizard on their website.
Once verified, installation and setup of this tracker app were both quick and easy. XNSPY has many of the same functions offered by other spy apps we've covered, but it does have a few unique features that make it worth your consideration. This feature captures all keystrokes, even those that have been deleted.
You can view, or download, them under the General Logs. There are two different packages available now. The Basic package includes the following features:. The Live Control Panel is a nice add-on, but where it really excels is when you need to monitor multiple devices.
It allows you to quickly switch between each device from your control panel, saving lots of time. By default, there is an icon on the monitored device's screen as well as notifications that the device is being monitored, but this can be disabled if you like. You'll certainly get better information if the target you are spying on isn't constantly reminded that you're watching them. XNSPY's free customer support is also top-notch. You can find answers to just about any question on their website. And if that's not good enough, you can contact their excellent team.
You can find more information and a demo of the software on their website. Highster Mobile is the best phone tracker app that can be installed without permission. It is geared toward remotely monitoring the phones of your children or your employees. Of course, how you use it is totally up to you. The app has many of the same mobile spy features as the best tracking apps for iPhone and can spy on Android as well. Because Highster Mobile is easy to install and configure, it is a good choice for those who aren't as technically savvy.
The interface and online dashboard capabilities are very similar to the other products we're covering, but this app doesn't have some of their advanced capabilities.
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You can read more about the app in our Highster Mobile review article. Highster Mobile is one of the best cell phone tracking apps on the market. This software doesn't have as many advanced Android spy features, but it still has some of the most important Android capabilities at a much lower price.
In addition, Highster Mobile also offers a one-time payment instead of monthly plans. Yes, it is missing some advanced features like recording calls, ambient recording, and turning on the camera, but it is still a robust package to spy on someone, and it is worth considering. Basic support is available, but it is not as easy or as helpful as FlexiSPY. The top apps to spy on Android phones aren't necessarily best for iPhone. Many packages are compatible with either one, but there are differences in the operating systems that limit capabilities and functionality.
There are a lot of good solutions to spy on Android phones. The amount of real information that can be provided depends on whether or not you root the Android device, as this provides access to absolutely everything on the phone. Android spy apps don't have an iCloud backup spying equivalent, as Android doesn't use a similar backup method. Apple phones run on the iOS software platform. Smartphone spyware generally falls into two categories; those that require jailbreaking the device and those that don't.
But there is one notable exception. The iPhone spy software we reviewed allows you to get MOST of the information without even installing any software. These apps require that you know the iCloud login credentials of the target device. From there, it is free to remotely access all the backups, which are regularly stored by the phone. These offer the greatest flexibility and are also great for those that aren't comfortable dealing with complex technology.
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Regardless of what you're trying to track, most features offered among cell phone spy software are essentially the same whether or not your target is using Android. Whether you're planning on monitoring a child, employee, spouse, or anyone else, there are a few key features you should look for before deciding on a phone tracker app. One of the more important pieces of information for a concerned parent, employer, or spouse is the user's location.