EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

Smartphone monitoring apps offer a vast range of features. Typically, most apps are designed either for use by parents or by employers. However, some apps have the flexibility for use in different scenarios. It is the list of features available with such apps that sets them apart from others. In this article, we will identify some of the top features that you should look out for when purchasing a smartphone monitoring app for Android. We will list these features and review one app we think offers the best available list of functions. Take note that any use of a smartphone monitoring app requires the consent of the other party, as not obtaining consent is illegal in most parts of the world.

Top features to look for

Call monitoring

A smartphone monitoring app is next to useless without the ability to track telephone conversations. Look out for this feature and its associated sub-functions. Most apps typically provide access to call logs. This lists all calls made to and from the device. All incoming, outgoing, and missed calls are also marked with the date, time, and call duration. Call recording and call interception are other important sub-functions. With the former, you can record calls, while with call interception you can listen in on live calls. The call logs feature is useful for parents wishing to establish oversight into who their child is talking to. On the other hand, the call recording feature is suitable for office use, particularly in the customer support department. Remember; check the sub-features before you purchase any app.

SMS, IM, Social media monitoring

Smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate. Combined with high-speed internet access, social media, instant messaging, and Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) apps have grown tremendously. Billions of users around the world now use these apps for socializing and entertainment. As such, a good smartphone monitoring app should be able to track the activity on popular platforms. These sets of features are particularly useful for parents because most adolescents now use such apps for communication, socializing, and entertainment. A parental monitoring app has no use if it does not offer this feature. Watch out for sub-features such as Spoof SMS and VoIP call tracking.

GPS tracking

Most smartphone monitoring apps offer some form of location tracking feature. However, do not be misled by claims about its effectiveness. This is because GPS tracking is a broad function and includes important sub-features as well. For example, you need to check if the app offers real-time location tracking or not. Many apps claim to offer GPS tracking but the location tracking is not done in real-time. Similarly, check if you can view the location history. Moreover, geofencing is an important sub-feature that many monitoring apps do not offer. It is a very useful feature that lets you mark locations on the map. The app can then detect the moment they enter or leave the geofenced area. Overall, it is a very useful feature for both parents and employers.

Internet activity monitoring

Like the previous feature, the internet activity monitoring function is also useful for both parents and employers. This set of features includes access to web browsing history, bookmarked pages, emails exchanged via different platforms, a content filtering system, and a website blocking tool. These are important sets of features that should not be overlooked. For example, employers can use the web browsing history to gauge the productivity of their employees. Similarly, they can use the monitoring app to stay abreast of all emails related to office work. On the other hand, parents can use these features to prevent their children from accessing inappropriate content online. The web browsing history showcases each visited website, so parents will know what their child is doing online.

Remote control features

This is a pretty broad category because it is a generic term that refers to many different features. Features included in this category include remote app management, screen-time management, phone locking, phone data deletion, or phone surround recording. Moreover, some apps also offer to remotely control the camera of the device to record videos or take photos. However, we feel that this is a very intrusive function. At any rate, it is up to you to decide if you wish to use an app that includes these features. Be sure to check before buying any smartphone monitoring app for Android.

Alert-based functions

This is arguably the most important feature. This is because monitoring apps typically collect large amounts of data from the phone. Therefore, it can be quite difficult to access the right information at the right time. In other words, a large amount of information can be a bit of a hassle to go through. Moreover, you want information in a timely fashion too. You do not want to be in a situation where you are too late for intervention as this defeats the very purpose of a monitoring app. In short, make sure an alert-based feature is available with the app.

Now that we have covered these features, let’s take a look at one of the top Android monitoring apps. We used the app for a while and checked out the features in practice to see how if it can be considered among the best.

XNSPY monitoring app

XNSPY has developed a strong reputation over the years because its developers continuously incorporated customer feedback into new versions. The latest version offers a sophisticated array of features, with the flexibility and affordability that is quite impressive.

How much does it cost?

Almost all monitoring apps work under a subscription-based model. XNSPY offers two different subscription packages to choose from. The basic version does not offer a full range of features but costs USD 4.99 per month. For full functionality, we recommend you opt for the premium version that costs USD 7.49 a month. This pricing makes it XNSPY a very affordable option as many other apps can run into hundreds of dollars!

Is it compatible with my Android device?

The app is probably compatible with the Android version installed on your phone. This is because it supports a broad range of versions. It can be installed on phones using Android versions 4.0 and above.

Does it offer features that I need?

As we previously mentioned, the app offers a solid range of features. However, let’s take a quick look at some of these features and evaluate whether they match what we discussed earlier.

  • Call logs
  • Call recording
  • Instant messaging and social media apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Tinder, Line, and Kik.
  • GPS tracking
  • Location history
  • Geofencing
  • Access to photos, videos, and audio files, along with calendar entries
  • Web browsing history
  • Bookmarked pages
  • All emails
  • Remote Surround recording
  • Remote Phone lock
  • Remote App view/blocking
  • Remote phone data deletion
  • Remote screenshots
  • Instant alerts that work on keywords. The app will notify you the moment it detects any activity related to a keyword you have added to the XNSPY list.

How do I install and use the app?

  1. Visit the app’s official website and purchase a subscription package.
  2. You will receive an email that contains a URL to download the app, installation instructions, and your XNSPY control panel login/password.
  3. Open the URL on the phone you want to monitor and run the installation wizard. No further physical access to the phone is required.
  4. Wait for a day so the app can begin transferring data.
  5. Open the XNSPY website and log in to the control panel.
  6. Select the relevant Android device.
  7. Monitor all data and use phone control options through the menu bar on the left.

Are there some pros and cons I should keep in mind?


  • Highly affordable.
  • Live customer support.
  • Sophisticated instant alerts function.


  • Some features may require rooting.
  • No content filtering or website blocking tool.
  • Highly intrusive call recording and surround recording features.

Here is a quick summary of the app:

EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

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