Update 5/26/2015

– Mspy’s application is now completely visible, and is unable to be hidden.

If you are reading this it’s probably because you need to monitor a cell phone, but are worried about getting discovered. You’ve seen mspy’s claim that their product is completely invisible, but the reality is this does not include keeping you hidden. This article clearly demonstrates exactly how their software is detected by showing you the 3 places where mspy is visible on the target phone.

To see if their software is truly 100% undetectable on the target phone as claimed, we purchased a commercially available copy of mspy and thoroughly tested its stealth capabilities using an iPhone 4 and 5s. This article details how the test was conducted, and lets the results alone show which spy phone app only talks about invisibility and which one proves it by actually being invisible.

You’ll see FlexiSPY’s and mspy‘s anti-detection features compared side-by-side, and get a clear understanding why FlexiSPY is the best-choice mobile phone monitoring application for anyone who wants to stay completely hidden.

mspy says their software can’t be seen

Take a look at the below screen grab from mspy’s website that advertises their software as being undetectable. You might be impressed the words “100% invisible”, but does that mean everywhere on the target phone?

invisiblemode

mspy advertises itself as completely hidden

Although mspy does keep their app icon hidden, they don’t mention the other signs created by any mobile spy app that will make it easily visible and quickly reveal that the target phone is being remotely monitored.

Here’s how to find mspy on an iPhone

Before going into how we uncovered mspy on our test device, we should to explain a couple of important iPhone technical features that interact with any spy phone software. Developers must take great care in designing these features to ensure that the software remains hidden.

The first of these possible threats is found in the Settings menu under Application Permissions. Next is the starting state of the device— whether or not it is jailbroken prior to installation of the spy phone software.

For those not clear on what jailbreak means, it’s really quite simple. In order to install cell phone monitoring app on an iPhone, you must first gain special access that allows you to install your choice of software. This is referred to as “jailbreaking”. A little later we’ll explain what happens when you jailbreak an iPhone and how it can reveal your monitoring activities. But first, a look at Permissions.

App Permissions will reveal mspy

An application which is running on an iPhone has to “ask permission” from the phone’s operating system any time it’s required to send data, use the GPS or open the microphone.

You can see these permission requests in the iPhone’s Settings menus. When you tap open any of the menus shown below you’ll see the name of the permission-seeking application.

  • Settings > Cellular
  • Settings > Location Services
  • Settings > Microphone

This is such an obvious program installation red flag that anyone searching for spy phone software will go straight to the Settings menus before checking anything else on the phone.

When we tested our copy of mspy, their software revealed two tell-tale listings in the Permissions menu. First, mspy asked permission to open the Microphone when we activated their ambient recording feature. And as you can see in the screen grab below, mspy also shows up under Location Services when it checks the iPhone’s GPS location for upload to the customer’s online account, something that can quickly draw attention and lead to the monitoring app getting discovered.

mspy_clearly_not_hidden

Here’s mspy – clearly not hidden..

Either one of these Permissions requests alone is enough to get you discovered using mspy to monitor a mobile device.

But there are more, even easier ways to spot mspy’s software installed on an iPhone.

Jailbreaking can kill spy phone stealth

An iPhone prior to software installation is either Already jailbroken or Not Yet jailbroken. Each of these possible mobile device starting states presents a different threat to concealment.

After monitoring software is installed on a mobile, it’s crucial that there is nothing visible on the target phone that would reveal internal changes have been made.

Here’s where one small detail can turn out to be fatal to invisibility:

Whenever you jailbreak a mobile device, an icon called “Cydia” pops up in the App Directory.

But if you install a monitoring app on a device that’s already been jailbroken, the new program can be seen in other places on the target phone.

This means that, to keep a spy phone app absolutely hidden you need to neutralize whichever one of the detection threats shown below applies to you. The target phone’s starting state tells you which risk to you’ll need to avoid:

Not Yet jailbroken: The Cydia icon must not be visible on target phone

Already jailbroken: The existing installation package list must not show any changes. (More about this a little later)

Cydia Exposed

The cydia icon is showing in the app directory

The cydia icon is showing in the app directory

Here you can see what it looks like when the Cydia icon suddenly appears in the app directory of a previously un-jailbroken iPhone. This is what happens on the target when you install mspy, and it will get you discovered:

So if the phone isn’t jailbroken, keeping Cydia out of sight on the target phone is a must-have condition to you staying hidden.
We found that when using mspy there are several steps necessary to hide the Cydia icon. First, you have to open the Cydia program and access the mspy repository. The next screen grab shows just one step of the multi-step Cydia-hiding process:

You have to do this because mspy has included an additional application inside the repository that must be installed–and the iPhone restarted–before Cydia icon is hidden.

There is nothing to tell the customer that additional steps are required to hide the Cydia icon, and the instructions for doing this can only be found in the Help section of the mspy online account.

The fact that you have to go back into the mspy repository and install an additional application in order to hide Cydia raises the risk of detection. Many customers will either forget or be unable to complete the required steps, making it more likely that they will be discovered while using mspy.

NOT jailbroken phone can get you detected

As you’ve learned, when you install spy phone software on an iPhone which is not yet jailbroken the Cydia icon shows up on the target phone, drawing attention and raising suspicions.

To a software developer who is truly in touch with the product’s customers, designing a spy phone app that allows the Cydia icon to be quickly and conveniently hidden just makes good sense and is not difficult to do.

Trying to hide Cydia using mspy requires you to install an additional program and restart the phone, and the software doesn’t let you know more steps are required.

ALREADY jailbroken phone threatens monitoring stealth

If the target phone has already been jailbroken, then the Cydia icon will already be visible and won’t attract any unwanted attention. But what will stand out is the upgrade notification appearing within Cydia that shows the requesting app. And that’s exactly what happens with mspy.

When you install mspy on a previously jailbroken phone, an upgrade notification bubble appears along with the listing for the software installation package. Once the upgrade notification is seen, all it takes is a couple clicks to entirely remove the app from the target phone.

Here's mSpy showing itself again.

Here’s mspy showing itself again.

Furthermore, even if mspy is upgraded via Cydia, the notification bubble will not go away. This will cause even more suspicion which could lead to the app being removed entirely.

This next image shows how easy it is to spot these two threats to your concealment while using mspy:

mspy’s software design requires specific actions to remove clear traces of invisibility on the target phone. FlexiSPY takes care of this for you by automatically deleting the package source, so no installation listing or attention bubble will ever appear.

Since we didn’t install any other apps on our test phone after it was jailbroken, we know that the listing “iPhoneInternalService” is actually mspy and not some easily recognizable apps like Facebook or phone software such as Maps.

Bottom Line: mspy CAN be detected on an iPhone

mspy’s website says their software runs in “100% invisible mode”, but what this means is simply that their app does not have an icon. But not having an icon is not guarantee of 100% invisibility.

So if you’re using mspy, our advice is to make a list of potential stealth threats so you won’t forget that you have to deal with each of them if you don’t want to be discovered.

Or you can take a look here and see how FlexiSPY lets you get truly invisible with just one click.

mspy’s claim that their app “…cannot be detected by your target…” is not a promise they you won’t be uncovered. The point is, there is no gray area when it comes to cell phone monitoring software. It either actually does what it claims and keeps you hidden on the target phone, or it lets you be detected.

Just remember this and you’ll stay hidden…

To successfully monitor an iPhone without being detected, you need a spyphone app that’s always invisible in all areas of the target phone. So if you’re looking for the most powerful cell phone monitoring features available plus the confidence that you will never be detected, the truth is in the facts: FlexiSPY takes care of everything you need to always stay invisible, everywhere on the target phone.

Appendix

Below are listed detailed specifications of mspy and the iPhones used for testing.

mspy-chart

A chart of the specifications of both FlexiSPY and mspy applications

Stay tuned for further blog pieces as we face-off FlexiSPY against all other major spy phone competitors to show that, when we say FlexiSPY really is the best spy phone software and really is 100% undetectable once installed, we have the evidence to prove it.

You can see how FlexiSPY stacked up against the remaining competitors for software visibility by clicking the links below.

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