How To Tell If Your Cell Phone Has Been Tapped with Spy Software

What’s the one thing you have to take with you when you leave home? Most of you will say your cellphone – we all love them and they have become a major part of our lives. Whether it’s to send messages, browse social networks or snap a selfie on your way out, we rely on our cell phones. Cellphones have become our best friends and likewise carry all our secrets.

This is one part of my main Online Security Section - have a look when you can.

detect spy software on phone

The scary thing is that these gadgets we love so much aren’t good at keeping secrets. Anyone with the right skills and knowledge can tap into your phone, track your whereabouts and read your messages. While it’s illegal to tap a person’s phone without their consent this has not stopped many criminals and with cyber related crime on the rise, your phone could be next.

The information below will help you to know when your cellphone, tablet or mobile device has been tapped, hacked or spied on in some way without your knowledge.

Has My Mobile Really Been Tapped or Hacked?

It isn't as farfetched an idea as you might think. There are a number of reasons why a person might want to gain access to information received or sent from your phone. A jealous partner, a criminal, or a strict boss looking to keep an eye on employees may decide to tap your phone.

Perhaps you are a celebrity being targeted by paparazzi! Corporate spying has become a big deal these days - you get the idea, this stuff is real and it is happening today - everywhere!

Once your phone has been tapped your phone calls and text messages are no longer private. In fact that is just the tip of the iceberg - all of your communications, everything on your mobile phone or device is potentially at risk.

Oh and did I mention they are most likely tracking your (phones) movements very accurately and in real time! It can be scary stuff.

On this site I cover some of the most popular cell phone monitoring applications freely available. Have a look at a few of the reviews just to see what these programs can actually do - most people are shocked. Flexispy is a good one to start with as it is probably the most advanced and mSpy have a program that works without Jailbreaking (iPhones) plus computer monitoring software.

Remember, this software is readily available for very little cost, works anywhere in the world and can be sold legally (even if it is sometimes used for illegal acts).

It Can Be Hard to Spot

As the monitoring programs have become more sophisticated it has become very difficult to actually find out if your device has spy software on it. They have quickly isolated the obvious signs that used to flag it really easily - such as high data use or hot battery. Good programs will not exhibit these signs unless they have a problem with poor installation and setup.

The list below can help you to know when someone else has access to your phone with spying software. It is a guide of some potential signs to look for, but it is important to know that in many cases you simply will not see any obvious signs.

While there is no guarantee that you’ll pick up on these signs, a little preparation can go a long way - just be cautious and don't jump to conclusions just because your phone shows one of these signs.

Look for Changes

So many outside forces can affect our phones behavior - from bad signals to buggy apps and updates. We know our phones - simply looking for any sudden changes in the devices behavior will be our best way to spot potential spy apps.

For example if it starts lighting up, making sounds and shutting down when not in use. This may be quite common behavior for some phones but if it happens too often there might be a hidden software on the phone.

If you know how your phone usually behaves and it suddenly starts acting up - it might be worth looking at closely.

Is Your Battery Running Hot?

A high battery temperature used to be one of the easiest ways to tell if your phone was tapped. It is quite rarely caused by modern spy programs these days but if your phone easily gets warm when it’s not in use this could mean that someone else is monitoring it.

Overuse generally causes phone batteries to heat up but if this should not persist even when the phone is not in use, if this happens then you should look into it.

Poor Battery Life - not holding a charge

Having to charge your cellphone a lot can also be a sign that spy software is installed on your phone. Again keep in mind to look for sudden changes to your phone battery life.

Most spy software apps tend to increase battery usage so be sure to monitor your battery life closely. The fact is that the battery of most cellphones diminishes over time, hence what you are looking for is a significant change. If you have owned the same phone for over year, it’s possible that the battery is already going bad.

Phone apps such as BatteryLife LX or Battery LED can help you monitor your phone battery.

Problems Shutting Down Your Phone

If you recognize changes in your phone’s behavior when you attempt to shut it down, your phone might be tapped. For example if it refuses to power off, delays shutting down or the backlight remains on. Be aware of strange activities on your phone at all times.

Of course these signs do not guarantee that your phone has been tapped. Cellphones are made up of hardware and software, making them vulnerable to glitches. Still, worth investigating!

Receiving Strange Messages

Receiving unusual messages from strange numbers with unreadable characters and symbols is also another sign that your phone might be tapped. Monitoring software features remote controls that work by delivering coded messages to your cell phone. These are sent as SMS texts and are hidden, but sometimes they show up (when there is a problem with the software installation).

If you receive these text messages regularly there is a chance a spy software might be on your phone - but you could also have a friend with really poor spelling ability!

Strange, Unusual Background Noises

Hearing a lot of strange sounds in the background when you’re on a call can also indicate a breach of your privacy. Now be sensible here - not just regular background noise now and again.

Usually it sounds like clicking, echoes, or static and in most cases you may misinterpret these sounds for bad reception. You may also hear a static sound coming from your phone even when you’re not using it if it has been tapped. As always look for it being repeated, not just a one off.

Distortion of Surrounding Electronic Devices

A cell phone that has been tapped may cause distortion in electronics devices within close range when in use. If you notice your television becoming distorted whenever you are using your phone this could be an indicator that there is a hidden hardware on your cellphone. Of course this may also happen under normal circumstances.

All of the Above!

You have probably come to this article looking for a definite answer - Yes, your phone is being monitored or No, it is not! I'm afraid it is never that easy. The best you can do is look for changes in device behavior - and does it continue.

You will be following your instincts to a degree - do you have any particular reason to suspect that someone is spying on your cell phone? Don't be too paranoid!

Will Antivirus Software Find Spy Apps?

The short answer is no - not always and not reliably! They can be another line of defense but none will find all spy software all of the time. In tests the best are about 60% accurate - and it changes all the time because the programs keep evolving.

The spy programs work hard to hide all traces of the software - some can hide everything very successfully. They even go as far as to keep changing the hidden file names, which further deters anti-spy apps from getting accurate results.

Antivirus and spy detection apps can only identify what they have been programmed to look for - as this keeps changing, they are always a step behind. You can not rely on any program that I have tested (or heard about).

Prevention is Key

The best way to ensure your device is not being monitored is to take measures to stop any spy software being installed in the first place.

It can be simple or complicated. Don't let anyone ever have your phone and set a strong password. Spy software needs to be installed on the target device physically (in most cases). Stop anyone having access and you are 99% safe.

You can get more sophisticated with password and encryption apps - maybe a retinal scanner to gain access to your phone!

Can I Remove Spy Software?

So you have looked at all the signs and you think you really do have spy software on your device - or you aren't sure but still worried - what to do?

This is the best kept secret - it is really easy to remove. All Spy / Monitoring software can be removed by simply doing a factory reset on the device. It really is that easy - I go into more details in this article.

Just remember that a factory reset will remove everything from the phone - including all of your data.

Well I hope that has been at least a little help to you. People are often disappointed when they can't get a quick and easy Yes or No to are they being spied on - but it is impossible without actually getting inside the phones settings.

If you are concerned the best thing to do is a Factory Reset and then take measure to stop anyone getting access to your phone again.

Have a good look around this website - especially the security section - but also be familiar with the power of the main monitoring products. Good luck!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Jessica Taylor - November 27, 2015

Will a factory reset remove all my files on the phone like photos and contact numbers? And will it definitely remove the phone spy – it seems too easy. Thanks

    John Pruitt - November 29, 2015

    It might sound too easy but it definitely works – it will remove any spy software app installed on the phone. It will as you say remove everything on the phone so you need to make a backup of all your important data – and then restore those files after the reset.

      Dave jones - May 6, 2016

      Can they just spy on you again once you’ve done a factory reset

        John Pruitt - May 12, 2016

        Yes – if they gain access to your phone again and re-install the software. The reset will remove the old instance of the software.


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