When it comes to your children and their ability to make safe decisions, there’s a simple philosophy: Trust, but verify. This philosophy applies to your employees, too. If you provide a smartphone or computer to someone, you have a vested interest in making sure those devices are being used properly. But aside from following a person around secretly, how are you supposed to monitor these devices?
mSpy is a program designed to let you keep tabs on any smartphone or computer. Actually, “keeping tabs” is a bit of an understatement. The mSpy people promise that you’ll be able to monitor virtually every action the user performs on the device. But does the actual program live up to the promises? We put on our sleuthing hats, dusted off our magnifying glasses and took an in-depth at the mSpy system.
mSpy is a monitoring program for computers and smartphones. It monitors call history, text messages, WhatsApp chats, keystrokes, emails and more. It’s all run from a simple online control panel, with around-the-clock, U.S.-based support.
The company began in a pub in 2008. Two friends, who were also co-workers, got together to discuss a recent scandal at their company. It had been discovered that someone from the accounting department was selling secrets to a rival company. This sabotage directly affected the employees’ ability to thrive in the workplace. The company has been badly damaged, so their ability to pay their employees was diminished. The two guys in the pub began work on a solution to corporate espionage. It wasn’t easy but, three years later, mSpy was finished and released to the public.
There are two versions of mSpy, one for computers and another for smartphones. They both function fundamentally the same.
To install either version, you need about 10 to 15 minutes with the device. This is no problem with employees, since the software shouldn’t be a secret.
The problem we see is when you want to install the software on a device belonging to your child or teen. If you’re paying the bill for the phone, you can install whatever you like on it (although, again, do some research into your local privacy laws, just to be sure). We figured, in some cases, it could a bit difficult to find a teen who leaves his or her phone unattended for 15 minutes.
Once installed, however, the device operates in complete stealth mode. There are no pop-ups, icons or notifications. It appears as a very generic-looking system database file. A casual computer user wouldn’t even know what to look for, and an experienced computer user would have to actively search for it. In our opinion, the program will be virtually invisible to the vast majority of people.
Top Features of mSpy
Both the computer and smartphone version feature a whole host of spying features.
The smartphone version includes the ability to access:
- Call recording
- Text messages and SMS
- GPS tracking
- Call history and contact list
- Website history and bookmarks
- Photos and videos
- Installed applications
- Skype monitoring
- Surrounding Recording
The computer version provides the same level of “spying-power,” only its focus is related more to computer functionality. With this version, you can access:
- Keylogger (searchable on your end)
- Application use
- Online searches
- Browser bookmarks
- User activity
- And basically everything else.
You operate the software from the mSpy Control Panel, which can be accessed from pretty much anywhere you have internet access. The information from the device is automatically updated to the Panel, so you can monitor the device in what is basically real time.
mSpy Hosting Prices
The smartphone monitoring device has two tiers: Basic and Premium.
The Basic plan is $39.99 for one month or $59.99 for three months. The Premium plan is $69.99 for one month, $119.99 for three months, $149.99 for six months or $199.99 for a year.
Both plans include access to text messages, call history logs, emails, calendars, photos, videos and GPS locations. The Premium plan packs in quite a few extra features including:
- Call Recording
- Surrounding Recording
- Photo Spying
- Apps and Website Blocking
- Incoming Call Blocking
- Remote Device Lock or Wipe
- IM chats
Premium is great if you’re looking to record from the phone, or if you want to be able to block numbers, websites, etc. on the phone. If you’re just looking for the standard ability to view most of the phone’s communication, however, the Basic plan might be just fine.
The desktop version of mSpy, for spying on computers, is $19.99 for one month, $33.99 for three, $41.99 for six and $59.99 for one year. The desktop version includes all the desktop features listed earlier in this review. The mSpy site lists the following desktop features as “Coming Soon”: browser bookmarks, online searches, keyword search and browser history. There are no specific dates for release, however, so it’s probably not a good idea to buy this version if you only want those four features.
In the true spirit of spying, if you buy mSpy with a credit card, it will be billed under the name AVANGATE*MSECURITY.
Criticism of mSpy.com
The program works very well, does everything it promises and is easy to use. We found no real issues with it. The only real consistent criticism found online doesn’t directly involve mSpy: people are confused by the laws regarding spy software in general.
Basically, you’ll have to investigate the laws in your area on your own, because they vary widely across the country. There are some general guidelines, however. If you pay for the phone and provide it to someone, you can probably install mSpy just fine without their knowledge. If it’s not your phone, however, most likely you can’t use mSpy on it legally.
There are also some minor technical hurdles which can be a challenge for some users. In order to install the program on an iPhone, you have to jailbreak the phone. A jailbreak is when you open up the file system of your phone and allow other programs to access it. While this doesn’t affect stealth mode, or the phone’s functionality, it does violate warranty of your carrier (typically AT&T, Verizon and Apple).
Along those same lines, if you want to install the program on an Android phone, you’ll need to root the phone. This is when you give the program top-level access to the phone. In some cases, this voids the warranty. But in other cases, it doesn’t. You’ll have to check your contract for specific details.
Still, if you want to install mSpy, jailbreaking or rooting your phone necessary. Don’t worry if it sounds complicated — mSpy customer support can help you with all of this. They can even walk you through the process over the phone.
There are two levels of support.
Basic subscription users have free e-mail support. Premium subscription users have free email, live chat and phone support. For an additional, one-time fee of $9.99 Premium users can sign up for personalized customer assistance. This includes customized phone support, including help with common problems such as rooting/unrooting an Android phone, and jail breaking an iPhone.
If you have more routine problems, there are plenty of forums and online help.
A spy program should be effective, discreet and easy to use. mSpy certainly excels in all three categories. With the Premium package, you can see virtually every action performed on the target smartphone or computer. Controlling mSpy is easy, too. It’s an intuitive menu which you can access from anywhere you have an internet connection. Plus, it’s affordably priced and has excellent customer service.
Over 870,000 people have successfully used mSpy. Whether you’re looking to prevent corporate espionage or keep tabs on your children, mSpy provides the total package when it comes to remote monitoring. We give mSpy our highest recommendation.