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What are Spy Apps and How Do They Work?

Looking out for your loved ones is important in today’s time. Knowing where your children are and what they are doing gives you much-needed comfort. But, it’s not if you can hire bodyguards to keep them safe. At least not all parents can do that. But what they can afford are spy apps.

Reading the word “spy” being associated with an application can put many people off. As it seems like a dangerous app to use. It is partially true, yet it’s not the whole truth. You’ll learn everything you need to know about spy apps and how do they work in this article. So, let’s just start with some introduction to spyware.

What are spy apps and how do they work?
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What is Spyware?

Spyware, in general, is software used for the sole purpose of gathering digital data/information from a user’s PC or cell phone to use it in a harmful way. For example, it could be for privacy infringement or bypassing their security to perform other tasks. While phone spyware apps are concerned with cell phones only. Spyware apps aren’t easy to detect either. They are called “Spy” apps for a reason. If they can get detected easily, then why would anyone use them anyway? However, it’s possible to find out if there’s some spyware program on your phone.

The very first sign would be unusually high data usage. Because spyware apps send their enormous amount of monitored data over the internet. Secondly, there could be issues with your phone’s processing speed. It could slow down. Taking normal apps to respond slower than they should or even crash in extreme cases. Battery power depleting quicker than before is another indication as well. Because all the processing power used for “spying” and then sending the data, to another entity, cannot be done without consuming the phone’s battery life.

Several anti-spyware programs are available in the market to battle with most spyware, preventing them from infecting phones or PCs or removing them if already installed on the device. Anti-spyware apps operate in real-time to scan network data and block any code that seems malicious. Or, you can run scans on your device using them to remove any spyware already on your phone or PC. Now, surprisingly, not every spyware is illegal or harmful. There are several trusted phone spying tools available on the internet known as monitoring apps such as XNSPY. Let’s discuss them!

What Are Mobile/Phone Spy Apps?

Concerned parents use legal spyware or phone spy apps to monitor their kids. Ensuring peace of mind and their children’s safety. While employers make use of spyware apps to track their employees’ activities on their phones. A phone spy app can do basically what spyware does: it can track all activities happening on a phone or around it. But, now, the entity receiving the monitored data is not a stranger but worried parents or employers. Their only concern is either their kids’ safety or employees’ productivity during work hours. Such spyware is downloaded onto a phone with the knowledge of its owner. So, once it’s installed, it can monitor different activities performed on the cellphone. May it be checking emails, messaging on social media accounts, or the phone’s GPS location. Everything can be tracked.


How Do They Operate?

Phone spyware apps are surveillance tools. Their main purpose is to monitor various activities being performed on a phone. That’s why these apps have certain features, mostly similar, such as call monitoring, reading text messages, and anything along that lines. Spy apps operate silently in the background with other phone applications. Usually, no notifications are sent to the monitored phone to keep its functions discreet. However, some features result in letting the user know that a phone spy app is at work.

In the case of XNSPY services, the monitoring process starts with a parent or employer buying its subscription. It could be on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Once successfully subscribed, they receive an email with XNSPY login credentials, a link to the monitoring app, and instructions on how to install it on the phone. Note: Depending on different packages and other spy apps the matter could be entirely dissimilar. After its installation, and some configurations, the app starts monitoring different phone activities. Now, at any time, one can log in to the XNSPY dashboard to check all the monitored data or information. Allowing parents to know what their children are doing on their phones or where they are. While employers can rest assured that no staff member is stealing their company’s secrets after getting in contact with their business rivals. Or, the employees are paying full attention to their job-related tasks during work hours.

Spy Apps Are Gaining Popularity

Given the real-life and virtual threats in today’s society. Cellphone spy apps and their use is getting common for parents and businesses. With the growth of mobile technology, it seems like their popularity will only increase from here onwards. Everybody keeps their phone(s) with them, most of the time. So, it proves to be a great tracker of sorts. As long as your kids or employees have it on them. You can track their moves easily. Demanding features to keep an eye on their kids, parents are a driving force in monitoring apps’ popularity in recent years. Worried parents often wonder whether their kids are using their phones within a certain limit or not. Always being glued to their phone screens cannot be good for them.

So, a tool was required to monitor their kids and prevent them from sitting around all day and staring at their phone screens. Hence, phone spy apps became the perfect solution. On the other hand, as the COVID-19 pandemic happened, businesses had difficulty tracking their employees all over the U.S. (or the world). Once again, phone monitoring apps aided their cause. As they offered features to monitor their employees’ activities on their phones. Usually, many companies have already installed tracking software like TimeDoctor on their corporate PCs. What they have trouble with is tracking their staff’s phone activities. But, now, with phone monitoring apps much like XNSPY, businesses can track their staff member’s phones and all their activities with efficiency and ease. One must wonder, “How is this all possible?”

So, we will talk about various XNSPY features and how they help monitor your kids or staff through their iOS- or Android-based phones later in the article. But, for now, let’s delve deeper into why we need separate spy apps for smartphones running on Android OS and iPhones that run on iOS.

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Android Mobile Spy App/Android Spy App for Phones and Tablets

Like no one cure can be effective on all diseases. Similarly, a single app, meant for one platform, cannot be used on another. That’s why for Android-based phones, you will need the XNSPY Android spy app. It is compatible with all Android OS versions starting from v4.0 until the latest version. So, you will not have to worry about its compatibility because that covers most of the Android-based smartphones currently in use.

A specific spy app for Android smartphones is required because some of the “spying” features can only be enabled after the “rooting” process. What’s rooting? When it comes to Android-powered smartphones, it is the process that allows spyware apps to gain root access to an Android-powered phone (one wants to monitor). It helps in tracking all phone activities without any interference from the restrictions imposed by the phone’s manufacturer and/or Google.

For most Android spy apps rooting is required. So, you might have to go through with it, if you want unbridled access to the monitored phone. However, rooting a phone can leave it open to security breaches and threats. So, you’re advised not to root an Android phone in case you don’t want to risk the phone’s security and its user’s privacy. In case you want to go ahead with the rooting, you will need to have the phone on hand. Meaning without physical access, rooting the phone or downloading and installing any spy app will be impossible.

Xnspy Android mobile spy app
Xnspy iPhone monitoring app for parents and employers

iPhone Monitoring App for Parents and Employers

Not all people can be using Android devices, and like most people in the U.S, people often go for Apple products including iPhones and iPads. To monitor devices run on iOS, you can only install the XNSPY monitoring app for iPhones and iPads or other similar trusted spying tools.

Now, again, to remove any manufacturer-imposed limitations you need to jailbreak the iPhone or iPad you want to monitor. However, XNSPY is known to offer both a jailbreak and non-jailbreak version of its phone monitoring app. So, if you think jailbreaking your kids’ or employees’ iPhone is not the best choice, you can always opt for the non-jailbreak version.

The cost and tracking features are almost the same for both the XNSPY iPhone spy app and its Android counterpart. So, you can subscribe to any of its versions with a Basic subscription for the price of USD 4.99 a month. While its premium package can be subscribed to at USD 7.49 per month.

Now, comes the time to discuss the “spying” features that you were waiting to read about.

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Spy App’s Tracking Features

As previously mentioned, most spy apps offer similar functions for its user. However, the XNSPY monitoring app is known as a pioneer in the field of monitoring apps. So, it offers not all the common phone spying features but more! Using XNSPY, you get the following features:


Call Monitoring

Now, this function is not all about listening to live phone calls. Because intercepting calls is only one of the many ways you can monitor them. You can even record calls, so you can listen to them at a later time. While checking call logs, too, falls under this type of monitoring. Meaning you can view all calls, i.e., dialed, received, or missed, along with their respective time and date stamps.


Tracking Text Messages

Another intuitive feature for any phone spy app is the ability to spy on text messages. For its Android version, you can spy on all sent or received messages. Date and time stamp information is monitored as well. While for the iOS spy app, additional support for the iMessage app is included. This leads us to explain the next function of phone spy apps.


Monitoring Instant Messaging Apps

Most of the communication, in today’s world, is done over IM apps. That’s why a good phone tracking app enables you to read IM chats and messages. While iMessage is only specific to iOS users. There are other IM apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik, LINE, Viber, and Skype, etc. They need to be monitored as well. So, to help with that, XNSPY’s Android spy app allows you to view chats and instant messages from all the earlier mentioned IM apps. Except, of course, iMessages that you can monitor on iPhones using its iPhone monitoring app.


Social Media Monitoring

Another popular place for messaging and talking among one another is social media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are regularly used to connect with the world. Teenagers and adults use these platforms almost every day. Some more than others. So, tracking all these social media apps is another thing made possible using such spy apps.


Checking Browser History

As the name indicates, you can check the internet browser’s history using XNSPY or any other similar spy app. But what you often don’t get with other such apps is the top 10 most frequently visited websites. With XNSPY, all the information is fetched and ready for your viewing, saving you a huge amount of time that would rather be spent going through the tons of data. Saved bookmarks can also be viewed under this function.


GPS Location Tracking and Geo-Fencing

Many parents just want to know where their children are at any given time. To provide a solution for this demand, most spy apps offer the phone location tracking feature, including XNSPY. The live location of the phone and its user can be pinpointed accurately. While an in-app location history is being recorded at all times. So, when’s the phone is not connected to the internet, the XNSPY monitoring app saves the location history along with its respective time and date details.

Once the phone’s reconnected, the app sends all the recorded location tracking data to the service’s web server. Giving parents or employers crucial information on where their kids or employees were at a specific point in time. Using this information, the geofencing function can be used. This will be further explained when we talk about the watch list alerts.


Email Monitoring

You can view all received and sent emails using this feature. Emails play a vital role in the day to day communication. Especially when it comes to businesses and employee monitoring. As one can not only monitor what emails are being sent or received but to or from what email addresses as well. Allowing you to know whether your staff is leaking corporate secrets to your competitors in the field or talking to your clients in a manner they’re not allowed to.



A keylogger is a powerful tool to spy on someone’s phone activities. That’s why phone spyware includes key-logging into its repertoire, as it records every keystroke made on the monitored phone. XNSPY keylogger function, however, allows you to record keystrokes on specific apps only. These include social media apps, like Facebook, etc. So far, we think, we have discussed the most common features you will see in legal spyware. Now, it’s time to talk about a unique spying feature that you get with the XNSPY monitoring app.


Instant Alert Notifications/Watch List Alerts

As mentioned earlier, phone tracking apps often have the same functions. But some tools can be the exception that offers unique spying features. One such special feature can be found in the XNSPY cellphone tracking app. It’s called the Instant or Watch List Alerts. As its name suggests, it sends an instant notification to the user when a relative term appears on the monitored phone from one of its respective watch lists. These watch lists can contain words, locations, or phone numbers.

So, you can take a hands-off approach to phone monitoring and just get notified about the things you’re concerned with. For example, when your kid talks about going to a place not safe for them, your employee calls a number that belongs to one of your rivals, or the monitored phone enters a location you marked virtually on the map with geo-fencing. Even though most of these functions are being monitored remotely. They are still not categorized under the remote access features. Because you are not accessing anything directly from the monitored phone but mostly viewing fetched data.

That’s why let’s talk about some of the remote access features you get with phone monitoring apps like XNSPY.


Recording/Listening to Ambient Sounds

It’s a function that allows you to remotely switch on the monitored cell phone’s microphone to listen in on or record any sounds in its surroundings. So, not only the app’s function is helping in monitoring phone calls. But, you can hear any conversations the phone’s user is having with anyone in real life as well. Again, a great opportunity to catch corporate spies in the act. Any secret meeting or conversation with your competitor can be listened to or recorded without your employee having to make a call.


App Monitoring

This feature is rather crucial and highly intuitive. Because most parents want to track how much time their children spend playing mobile games. That is exactly what App tracking function aids with. For the time being, only the XNSPY Android spy app offers this function. Utilizing which a parent or employee can check what apps their kids or employees are using and how much time they are spending on it. This way, when and if they want to stop the phone user from using any app, they can just remotely block it for a specific period or indefinitely; depending on their requirements.


Take Screenshots

Screen recording is becoming a must-have feature for phone monitoring tools recently. So, XNSPY introduced its screen recording function that includes taking periodic screenshots of IM apps when they are in use on the monitored cellphone. All the recorded data or pictures are uploaded to the service’s web server and can be accessed through the app’s web portal. Again, the feature is only available with the Android spy app for parents and employers. Among the remotely controlled features, some are not so discreet when it comes to their execution. So, now, let’s tell you about them and they are:


Remote Phone Locking

There is no way where you lock someone’s cell phone and they will not notice it. Exactly that is what happens when you remotely lock the monitored smartphone with this feature. The said phone gets locked immediately and asks for the app-generated code that only you have. So, in case, you have locked your children’s phone(s), they will not be able to unlock it unless you enter the password/code the app created.

This can restrict them from using their smartphones when they should be studying for their tests. While employers can use it when their staff member loses the monitored cell phone, along with the next feature we are going to discuss, to minimize risks. Such as loss of corporate data or the company’s trade secrets contained within the device.


Wiping Data Remotely

Now, this function, even though really helpful, should not be taken lightly. It must be used only when necessary. Because it allows you to factory reset the tracked phone remotely. Wiping all the data stored on it. As mentioned earlier, the remote data wiping feature aids in keeping any corporate data safe; in the event of the phone getting stolen or lost.

That was an in-depth review of the functions of such apps that track your kids’ or employees’ phone(s). Allowing you to keep a watchful eye on their activities, at least when they are on their phone(s) or in their surroundings. So, if you are worried about your kids’ safety, you should get the XNSPY monitoring app to track their phones, any time of the day or night!


Taking a Look at Other Phone Tracking Tools

XNSPY phone monitoring app is not the only trusted solution out there. You can turn to these tracking tools as well:

1. Google Family Link

The Google Family Link app targets concerned parents that want to know what their teens and tweens explore online. You can also call it a parental control app for the young ones. Because it lets you set up some ground rules for your kids on how and when to use their smartphones. Using this kids’ phone monitoring app, you can:

Google Family Link
  • Check their activities on different apps and find out how much time they’re spending on them.
  • Control their apps by approving or blocking any new app’s installation. While restricting any in-app purchases is also an option.
  • Curate their curiosities as the app, itself, recommends apps that teachers would like your children to use on their phones to learn new things.

Again it’s a parental control app, so it allows you to put more limits on their phone usage. While phone locking for specific intervals is available in the app’s features. But in comparison to XNSPY, it only offers app monitoring functions and nothing more! The app is fully compatible with Android OS version 7.0 and above. While Android v5.0 and v6.0 are partially supported. For iPhone users, their iOS parental control app works with iOS 11 and higher.

Pros: It’s Free!

Cons: Offers limited functions, low compatibility, and no employee monitoring available.

2. FlexiSpy

A well-known tracking app, the FlexiSpy claims to be a powerful monitoring software. As it’s not only available for smartphones (running on Android OS or iOS) but for PCs and macOS as well. Flexispy offers the following spying features:

  • Phone Call Recording/Interception
  • Social Media and IM App Monitoring
  • Email Tracking
  • Checking SMS/Text Messages
  • Browsing Activity Monitoring
  • Geo-fencing (Location Tracking)
  • SIM Change Notifications

Only one unique feature to separate it from the heard and that is its SIM-change alerts. FlexiSpy app notifies the user when the SIM card is replaced on the monitored cell phone. Other than that it also offers the same features, also included in the XNSPY app, to view media files stored on smartphones, i.e., all video, audio, and image files.

FlexiSpy claims to be compatible with all Android versions starting from v4.0 till v11. However, there are some limitations for the spy app on Android version 8, 9, 10, and 11. While its iOS spy app runs smoothly on almost all iPhones and iPads (raging between iOS 6.0 and 14.x). It’s also a subscription-based service, much like XNSPY. But, it offers three packages for its customers. For Android users, the Lite package is offered with few spying features at the rate of USD 29.95 per month. Then, there are the premium and extreme packages that cost you USD 68 a month and USD 199 after every three months, respectively. The only difference for iPhone users is that they have the option of subscribing to its Extreme package at USD 19.99 for the weekly package. Other than that the costs are the same.

Pros: Spyware for macOS and PC

Cons: Highly expensive, compatibility issues, and no special features but one.

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3. Spyic

The Spyic app claims to be the most trustworthy phone spy solution to exist in the market. However, it does not offer any special or unique features. While it only follows in the footsteps of the pioneering XNSPY app, offering the same spying features in its spying tool for cell phones. Ability to spy on contacts, app usage, calls, and text messages. All these features are available in most spy apps for phones supporting iOS or Android OS. Spyic offers its customers three simple steps to start tracking phones. All they have to do is create an account, connect the phone they want to monitor and then start tracking it.

But, of course, the second step then consists of multiple other steps. So, it might not be that easy after all. So, you can get its Android or iPhone spy app without jailbreak in three different packages and pricing.


For iOS, on monthly basis, the:

  • The Family package costs USD 99.99 for 5 devices.
  • The Premium subscription gets you the spy app for 1 device at USD 49.99.
  • The Business package can put a dent of USD 399.99 on your wallet for 25 devices.

When charged monthly, the Android users can get the app's:

  • Basic version for 1 device at the price of USD 39.99.
  • Premium package at USD 49.99 for a single device.
  • Subscription for Family package costing USD 69.99 for 3 devices.

Pros: None.

Cons: Extremely expensive, phone compatibility not mentioned, and no live customer support.


4. Minspy

Minspy is another tool that claims to be the best spy app for phones and tablets. Again, offering nothing special or out of ordinary spying functions, Minspy can track limited iOS- and Android-based smartphones. The subscription pricing and the number of packages offered are the same as Spyic. So, we will not be going over them.


Pros: None.

Cons: Not Affordable, compatibility not specified, and limited functions.

Spy App



Child Monitoring

Employee Monitoring






Google Family Link









No(Not anymore)



Highly Expensive





Highly Expensive



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How to Choose the Best Spy App for Yourself?

Sometimes, you just can’t compare a free app to an affordable one, because at the end of the day, you need results. You either want to profit from your business or keep your children out of harm’s way. So, get yourself a proper monitoring app, like XNSPY, and start tracking your employees’ or kids’ phones right now! However, if you are still not convinced on which spy app is the best for your needs, then consider the following steps:

Step 1: Figure out why do you need the monitoring tool. Do you want it to do something specific? Or, could any basic spy app be helpful?

Note: If you’re a parent, you need a phone spy app that offers child monitoring features. On the other hand, in case you’re a business owner, then you need a monitoring app that comes with employee tracking features.

Step 2: Once your monitoring goals are clear, look up which app is the most compatible with the phone you want to track. As low compatibility will render the spy tool useless to you. That’s why it is important to check its compatibility beforehand. Otherwise, you can end losing a big amount of money depending on your subscription package costs.

Step 3: Compare prices among the different spying tools available. Choose the one that is most affordable for you and offers more than enough phone tracking features to fulfill your surveillance requirements.

Step 4: Find out whether the service offers refunds on its services or not. It is a crucial step. Because after installing the phone spy app if it doesn’t perform as expected, what will you do? That’s why make sure you read up on the app’s refund policies.

Note: XNSPY offers a 10-day refund policy starting from the time you buy its subscription.

Step 5: Reaffirm the credibility of your chosen monitoring tool. This is necessary because all spy apps will claim to be trustworthy and reliable. But, this is the internet. Everybody claims to be your friend until they are not. So, do detailed research on your final choice by reading its customer reviews and comments. Because the people, who have already used the app, will help you figure out whether the app’s claims are true or not!

After going through all the aforementioned steps, you will easily find the best spy app for your needs!

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How to Buy and Install XNSPY Monitoring App?

You can easily buy and install the XNSPY app by going through these steps:

Step 1: Go to the landing page of the XNSPY website.

Step 2: Click on the Buy Now tab that you will find in the top right corner.

Step 3: Choose between its Android and iPhone spy app as per your requirements.

Step 4: Pick and subscribe to a package according to your needs and means.

Step 5: After successfully subscribing, open your inbox to check the email you received from XNSPY.

Step 6: Follow the installation or set up instructions, enclosed with the email, to install the app.

Step 7: Start monitoring your phone.

In the end, hopefully, you have found all the answers you needed in regards to what spy apps are, and how do they “spy” on phones or other devices.

If you’re still unclear on any of the aspects, you can keep on researching. Because there is an abundant amount of knowledge out there, still, waiting to be unearthed!

Learn what are spy apps and how do they spy on someone
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Frequently Asked Questions

question General Questions

  • No! Phone monitoring apps or tools are not harmful to your iOS- or Android-powered smartphones. People often mistake them for malicious spyware. But they are not the same.

    Phone spy apps are specifically designed to be used by parents or employers to monitor their kids or staff members, respectively.

    This leads us to another frequently-asked query.

  • The answer to that question is: Yes! It is totally legal to use spy apps for phone surveillance. However, some conditions have to be met by the user(s) first.

    To make phone surveillance a legal activity, the spy app user has to notify the person, whose phone is going to be monitored, about the tracking tool and its functionalities.

    So, if you are a parent, you will have to inform your kids about the phone tracking app. While employers have to make a policy about their phone surveillance and explain to their staff how their phones are going to be tracked, at what time, and for which reasons.

    In some states, parents are allowed to use spy apps on their kids’ cell phones. However, that is not the case for every state.

    So, it is recommended that you read and understand your state’s surveillance laws before buying or installing monitoring tools on your children’s smartphones.

  • XNSPY is a 100% legal monitoring app, but only as long as you are a parent or business owner, you can buy it to remotely watch over your kids or track your employees on the job.

    Otherwise, if you don’t belong to one of these two categories, then it’s best not to buy spy apps.
    XNSPY clearly states that any person(s) trying to misuse its monitoring app will be held accountable for their actions in the court of law. While only the surveillance abuser is responsible for misusing the spy app. All involved parties, including the surveillance service provider, will co-operate with concerned law authorities to catch the surveillance app abuser.

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