Hard-Won Insights on Tracking a Cell Phone Without Your Child Knowing


Hard-Won Insights on Tracking a Cell Phone Without Your Child Knowing

Wondering how to track your teenager without them knowing? I’ve been there, believe me. When my relationship with my son started unraveling, I knew I had to act to keep him safe. I looked extensively into how to monitor my child’s phone and want to share my hard-won wisdom with fellow parents right here.

How I Tracked My Son’s iPhone Without Him Knowing

As my son started to fall in with the wrong crowd at school, he drifted away from me.

It was a tough reality to come to terms with: ultimately, I had no idea where he was or what he was doing when he was out of the house. I had no idea whether he was safe.

Talking to him openly failed miserably. He recoiled rapidly, shutting me out further. Eventually, I knew I had to track my child’s phone without him knowing.

My research led me to discover the free tracking options available for iPhone and Android – more on those below. Eventually, though, I settled on the tracking app mSpy because of its reliability, subtlety, and added insights into my son’s digital life.

What You Can Track on Your Child’s Phone

To tell you the truth, I’ve found mSpy’s capabilities to be impressively comprehensive.

Location tracking and geofencing

View your son’s device location in real-time on a detailed map. Set up restricted or safe zones with geofencing, such as his school, sports centers, or trusted friends’ and relatives’ houses.

Monitoring your child’s messages

mSpy allows you access to the device’s emails, multimedia content, text messages, messaging apps (including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on), contacts, and calendar entries.

Even if starting to track your kid’s iPhone without them knowing isn’t your primary concern, perhaps checking in on what they’re sharing online should be. 1/3 of teens say they regret posting something online so that yours could need a guiding hand.

Call logs and Internet

You can see incoming and outgoing calls, as well as monitoring overall Internet usage on the device.

Child Tracking Apps to Consider

So, to the question of the hour: How best to track my kid’s iPhone without them knowing?

Back in 2015, I stumbled across this insightful article on the topic. From personal experience, I’d have to say mSpy is the all-out winner for its versatility, wide-ranging insights, easy installation, and constant helpline support.

I’ve outlined some further insights for you here:



mSpy is an advanced solution to spy on your kid’s phone. With it, you can monitor all incoming and outgoing calls, and even block unwanted numbers from your child’s phone. Such software provides you with access to your child’s social media accounts, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, etc. You can be sure that mSpy will satisfy all your spying needs.


  • High-quality application.
  • Easy to use control panel.
  • Price is at a low range.

North App

North App44

North App is a tracking app designed to help you stay on top of your goals and improve your productivity. North App allows you to set up daily, weekly, or monthly tasks and track your progress over time. You can also receive reminders and notifications to keep you on track. North App is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.


  • North App is a free tracking app that can help you boost your productivity.
  • North App allows you to set up and track daily weekly, or monthly tasks.
  • You can also receive reminders and notifications to keep you on track.


  • North App is only available for iOS and Android devices.
  • Some users have reported issues with the app’s interface.
  • Some users have also reported that the app crashes occasionally.



XNSPY is a monitoring solution that allows you to monitor calls, contacts, texts, emails, instant messaging, multimedia, GPS location, and Wi-Fi network usage. With such software, you can receive 24/7 alerts on specific words used, record phone calls and background audio, and monitor keystrokes on the device.


  • Stealth monitoring.
  • Lots of useful services.
  • Friendly customer support.


  • No geofencing option.
  • Extremely pricey.
  • No real-time monitoring.



Glympse is spying software that allows securely share your real-time GPS location with family, friends, and colleagues, even with recipients who don’t have Glympse downloaded.


  • It supports iOS, Android, and Windows phones.
  • Runs in the background.


  • Temporary, real-time location information only – no movement history for the device.
  • No insight into messages, calls, Internet usage, multimedia content, and so on.



Life360 connects your family or different ‘circles’ up with synced messaging and GPS movement alerts. Thanks to this app, you will always stay connected to the people who matter most.


  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
  • Keeps you connected with your close ones.


  • Limited tracking abilities.
  • Very complex in use.

How to Install an App to Spy on Your Kid’s Phone?

At this point, I can tell it’s a given that you’re concerned about your child’s safety and have exhausted all your other options. So, how can you get tracking a cell phone without them knowing?

mSpy for iPhone

Without Jailbreak:

  • Download mSpy to your device.
  • Follow the installation instructions from the mSpy Control Panel.
  • Make sure the iPhone backup is on.
  • If it isn’t, sync mSpy with the device data via Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup > On > Backup Now.

With Jailbreak:

  • Check the target device can be Jailbroken via Settings > General > About > Version.
  • Complete the Jailbreak process.
  • Download mSpy, access the Control Panel, and select ‘iPhone.’

mSpy for Android

Without Rooting:

  • Ensure you have authorized physical access to the target device.
  • Select ‘Android’ in your mSpy Control Panel, then follow the instructions.

With Rooting:

  • If you want to monitor WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, Skype, Line, Snapchat, and Gmail, you’ll need to Root the Android device in question.

Free Ways to Track Cell Phone Location


Using ‘Find My Device’ to track an Android phone

If you and your child have Android phones, you can head to the Google Play Store to find and download the ‘Find my Device’ app directly.

If you’ve got a newer Android model, the chances are that it’s come with the app already primed for use. 

Once the app is downloaded and installed, enter it and use the target phone’s Google credentials to sign in. Whenever you need to check up on your child’s Android device location, simply open the ‘Find my Device’ app and view the dashboard that’ll provide you with the phone’s location.

The interactive map lets you accurately pinpoint the target device’s current location.

Additional ‘Find My Device’ features

These are particularly useful if the phone’s lost or potentially stolen – if your child’s initially unwilling to let you install a tracking app, explaining these extra benefits could bring them round.

Remember, it’s vital to have an open conversation, if possible, before starting to spy on your kid’s phone without them knowing.

  • Remotely lock the device so it can’t be accessed – add a message or contact number so you can be contacted if someone does find the device.
  • Remotely change the Screen Lock access code or pattern.
  • Remotely delete all phone data so that it can no longer be accessed.
  • Remotely trigger a loud, attention-grabbing sound that can help you to locate a misplaced device, for example, around the house or in the car.

Using ‘Find My iPhone’

If your child has an iPhone, you can follow its location via iCloud. However, you will need to know your kid’s device and Apple credentials to use this option.

First, be sure to check the ‘Find My iPhone’ option is on for their device. Do remember that – as this option is built-in for iPhones – your child will be able to turn ‘Find My iPhone’ off at a touch of their screen if they figure out your methods.

Then, log in to your iCloud account from any device and click on ‘Find iPhone’ straight from the main menu. Enter in your kid’s Apple credentials and complete the sign-in process as prompted.

Enter ‘Find my iPhone’ from the main app’s dashboard, tap on the ‘All Devices’ drop-down menu, and then choose the name of your child’s device to begin tracking it.

Additional ‘Find My iPhone’ features

Similar to the options available for Android devices, you can lock the device or erase its data remotely and get it to emit a sound to help you to locate it if it’s in the vicinity.

Using Family Orbit iPhone monitoring software

I’ve taken a good look at this free option, and it’s great for parents looking for a cost-saving alternative. Bear in mind, though, that this is designed specifically for iPhone devices!

It’s a tracking service that runs from iCloud and details your child’s device’s current location, plus an in-depth history of its movements. You can also use the monitoring services to track your child’s phone usage in general.

What’s more, you won’t need to alter anything on your child’s device: you’ll just need the relevant iCloud login details and to ensure that the backup to iCloud option is enabled on your kid’s device.

Additional Family Orbit features

Unlike other free options, Family Orbit does let you take a look at your kid’s browser, call, text, instant messaging, and photo history. However, mSpy is still hands-down the option I’d recommend.

A tracking app is your best option

I’ve put the time and effort into researching the best ways to check in on my son’s device; you can take my word on that front. mSpy’s further reach and enhanced capabilities mean tracking – and, ultimately, keeping your child safe – couldn’t be simpler.

Advantages of Secret Tracking

It goes without saying that the best way to keep track of your child’s whereabouts is by having open, honest conversations about how, where, and with whom they spend their time out of the house. But – as I know from experience – that ideal just isn’t always feasible.

Keeping your child safe is a key part of responsible parenting

As our children grow up and enter the rebellious teen stage, it’s natural that they’ll drift from us and reject parental authority.

This can be a normal and healthy – albeit challenging – period of their development into independent adults. But, if you can see that their safety is being put at risk, as was the case with my son, it’s your responsibility as a parent to step in.

Finding out how to track my son’s iPhone without him knowing was a crucial step towards better understanding his-out-of-character behavior.

Eventually, I was able to impose boundaries to more effectively keeping him safe.

Advantages for you as a parent

For me, it was mostly the peace of mind that I sought. Gone were the times of endlessly questioning my son’s whereabouts to no avail; gone were the moments of gut-wrenching concern about his safety but complete powerlessness to help.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a conscientious parent in a similar, complicated situation to the one I found myself in, tracking your child’s phone without them knowing could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

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