Phone monitoring apps like mSpy and iKeyMonitor allow parents and employers to monitor the phone activities of their children or employees. With features like GPS tracking, call and text logging, and social media monitoring, these apps provide insight into how a phone is being used.
But how exactly do mSpy and iKeyMonitor compare in 2023? In this comprehensive guide, we analyze the key differences between these two popular monitoring apps. Comparing features, compatibility, pricing, and more, we aim to help you determine which solution best fits your needs.
A Quick Background on mSpy and iKeyMonitor
mSpy first launched in 2010 as one of the earliest iOS monitoring apps on the market. Since then, it has grown to support both iOS and Android devices. The app touts over 1 million users worldwide. mSpy is designed by a UK-based company and advertised as a tool for monitoring children and employees.
iKeyMonitor emerged in 2004 as one of the first Android monitoring apps available. It too now supports both Android and iOS devices. iKeyMonitor comes from the US-based company Awosoft Technologies. Like mSpy, iKeyMonitor markets itself as a phone monitoring solution for parents and employers.
Both mSpy and iKeyMonitor allow you to discreetly monitor text messages, calls, GPS location, apps, keystrokes, and more on a compatible smartphone or tablet. They also share some other core capabilities:
- Remotely monitor phone activities via an online dashboard
- Works in invisible mode without being detected
- Capture screenshots and media files
- Set up alerts for certain activities
- Works across both jailbroken iOS and rooted Android devices
However, there are also several key differences between the two apps, which we’ll explore in depth in this comparison guide.
Comparing the Main Features of mSpy and iKeyMonitor
The most important factors when choosing a monitoring app are the features it offers. So how do mSpy and iKeyMonitor stack up when it comes to their main capabilities?
Call and Text Message Logging
Both mSpy and iKeyMonitor allow you to log phone calls and text messages on the target device. You can view details like call duration, contact names, and the content of texts.
mSpy enables keyword alerts if certain phrases are used in texts or calls. iKeyMonitor lacks this capability.
Overall, the two apps have comparable text and call logging features.
GPS Location Tracking
Using either app, you can track the real-time GPS location of the monitored smartphone or tablet. Location history is also recorded via a map in the dashboard.
mSpy has a geofencing feature where you can set up permitted zones. You'll be alerted if the device enters or leaves these zones. iKeyMonitor currently lacks geofencing capabilities.
Website and App Usage Monitoring
Both apps let you view the browser history and apps used on the target device. mSpy seems to have an edge when it comes to app monitoring. It shows more detailed reporting on app usage and traffic.
Social Media and Messaging Monitoring
You can monitor popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, and more using either app. mSpy supports keyword alerts for messages, while iKeyMonitor does not have this ability.
mSpy also appears to have a slight edge in terms of the number of supported social media and chat platforms it can monitor.
Media Files and Screenshots
Another shared capability is the ability to capture screenshots of the target device or save media files like photos. Both apps perform these functions well.
Keylogger and Ambient Recording
iKeyMonitor offers robust keylogging, letting you record keystrokes made on the monitored device. You can also record ambient audio via the microphone.
mSpy lacks keylogging and ambient recording features. So iKeyMonitor has an advantage for monitoring typing and surroundings.
Alerts and Restrictions
Both apps provide alerts for certain activities, like when a new contact is added. mSpy has more customizable alerts, like keyword detection.
Only iKeyMonitor offers activity blocking features, like preventing use of certain apps or disabling the camera. mSpy does not provide any restriction capabilities.
Overall, iKeyMonitor seems to come out slightly ahead in terms of advanced monitoring features like ambient recording, keylogging, and activity blocking. But mSpy holds its own with slightly better messaging, app, and geofencing capabilities.
Comparing Device Compatibility
iKeyMonitor works across more devices, supporting phones and tablets running iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS. mSpy is limited only to iOS and Android.
Both apps require jailbreaking or rooting to monitor iPhone and Android devices respectively. iKeyMonitor provides jailbreaking and rooting software to simplify the process. mSpy requires you to jailbreak/root the device separately before installing the app.
So iKeyMonitor works across more device types, and makes jailbreaking/rooting easier compared to mSpy.
Ease of Setup and Use
mSpy and iKeyMonitor both offer simple installation processes. The apps run in invisible mode, without being visible on the target device.
mSpy has a more modern, user-friendly dashboard. But iKeyMonitor's dashboard still provides robust controls and monitoring options.
In terms of ease of use, mSpy's more intuitive dashboard gives it an advantage for parents less familiar with technology. Both offer email and live chat support.
Comparing Pricing and Subscription Plans
mSpy comes with three pricing tiers depending on features needed:
- Basic ($39.99/month): Track location, texts, calls, websites.
- Premium ($69.99/month): Adds social media and chat monitoring, ambient recording, app blocking.
- Family Kit ($199.99/month): Monitor 3 devices.
iKeyMonitor's pricing tiers are:
- Basic ($39.99/month): Track SMS, calls, GPS, keystrokes, apps, websites.
- Advanced ($59.99/month): Adds ambient recording and screenshot capture.
So the Basic plans offer similar features at equivalent pricing. mSpy's Premium plan is more costly than iKeyMonitor's Advanced plan, but offers more features like geofencing. Overall costs are competitive, so pricing does not clearly set one apart from the other.
Both offer 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year subscriptions. mSpy provides better discounts for longer plans.
Privacy, Legal, and Ethical Considerations
Monitoring apps like mSpy and iKeyMonitor raise privacy, legal, and ethical concerns if misused. It is essential to ensure:
- You follow local laws, like getting consent if required in your state.
- Only use monitoring apps on devices you own, like a company phone.
- Inform any monitored party like an employee that they are being monitored.
- Securely store any collected data and strictly limit access.
- Avoid monitoring apps for any illegal purpose.
So long as you use either app legally and ethically, both mSpy and iKeyMonitor have security measures like encryption to protect private data. But you must be responsible when using this powerful technology.
The Verdict: Which Is Better for Your Needs?
So which phone monitoring app comes out on top – mSpy or iKeyMonitor?
Here are some key differences to consider when making your choice:
- Advanced Features: iKeyMonitor wins for keylogging, ambient recording, and blocking capabilities.
- Dashboard Experience: mSpy has the more intuitive, user-friendly dashboard.
- Messaging Monitoring: mSpy edges out with better social media and chat monitoring.
- Geofencing: mSpy has a superior geofencing feature to set location rules.
- Device Compatibility: iKeyMonitor supports iOS, Android, Windows and Mac devices.
Both apps serve the core monitoring functions well. mSpy may be better for parents less familiar with technology, while iKeyMonitor offers more advanced capabilities.
For most employer and parental needs, either app will get the job done. We suggest choosing mSpy if you want the best ease of use. But go with iKeyMonitor if you need expanded features like keylogging or ambient recordings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is jailbreaking or rooting required to use these apps?
Yes, you must jailbreak an iPhone or root an Android device to install monitoring software like mSpy or iKeyMonitor. Both offer software to simplify jailbreaking and rooting.
Can the monitoring app be detected?
No, both run in stealth mode and will not show up on the target device. Only you can see monitoring data through the online dashboard.
What happens if I stop paying the subscription fee?
The apps will stop monitoring and recording data if you don't renew your subscription. But you keep data collected during an active subscription.
The Takeaway on Choosing the Best Monitoring App
Finding the right phone monitoring software depends on your specific needs. Both mSpy and iKeyMonitor offer robust features to track device activities.
mSpy shines when ease of use is the priority. iKeyMonitor is ideal for access to advanced monitoring capabilities. Evaluate what features matter most, and choose the solution that aligns with your budget and goals.
With smart implementation, monitoring apps like these can provide vital oversight for children and employee devices. Just be sure to inform users they are being monitored and use the apps ethically.