The Best Phone Monitoring App Reviews Series

A series of reports on mobile monitoring apps, based on real testing to let you decide which is the best spyphone app for your needs.

OwnSpy Review | iPhone Spy App & Spy Recorder App

Reviewed on May 31st, 2017

Pros, Cons and Bottom Line

    • Logs can be uploaded based on a timer to save battery.
    • Subscription plans suit all budgets.
    • The software is not hidden.
    • Support staff are not knowledgeable.
  • OwnSpy is one of the oldest spyphone apps and it shows. Limited features and not fully hidden software means that you are better off looking at an alternative option.

Executive Summary

OwnSpy's latest version spy app is designed to be both an iPhone Spy app and an Android spy app. It is aimed at parents who want to monitor their teenagers or employers who want to monitor their employees whilst they are at work.

OwnSpy sells mobile monitoring software for Android and iOS devices. At this time they do not offer PC or Mac monitoring. It makes sense that they offer this sooner rather than later considering that many of their competitors now also offer this, alongside the usual mobile monitoring packages.

The target market is parents who want to monitor their teen's internet usage and companies who want to monitor the employee devices in the workplace to see if they really are at work and being productive.

OwnSpy has 10 features designed for monitoring mobile devices. All of these features can be found in other spyphone products.

Installation Summary

This is spy recorder app is not recommended to spy on iPhone or Android. It isn't hidden

When you install OwnSpy it will automatically be detected by antivirus. This occurs even though the OwnSpy icon itself is hidden from the main app drawer, so this will not be seen. This is not a good start for software that is supposed to be undetectable.

When you install OwnSpy it will automatically be detected by antivirus. This occurs even though the OwnSpy icon itself is hidden from the main app drawer, so this will not be seen. This is not a good start for software that is supposed to be undetectable.

This leads to the device losing battery quicker and also running hotter. You can see more information about OwnSpy and how it impacted both battery and data performance on our device in the Performance section of this review.

“OwnSpy is one of the original spyphone apps that has failed to keep up with the times.”

OwnSpy is also not installed as a device administrator either. That means that the device owner can easily find out that it is installed by being listed in the Application Manager menu and from there they can remove it completely.

Any spyphone apps for Android that advertise themselves as the best need to be fully hidden, both from Application Manager and in terms of any notifications and once again OwnSpy fails in this regard.

Overall, starting with the installation summary, OwnSpy is neither fully hidden from antivirus software that gets installed or from Application Manager. If you want completely invisible software then we cannot recommend OwnSpy.

Features

After reading this OwnSpy Android review you may be wondering if instead it's the best spy app for iPhone. It isn't.

OwnSpy only offers 10 features in total. This makes it one of the least attractive spyphone apps in terms of features available.


As expected, all of the OwnSpy features are inside the online portal. Here, all settings are made from the online dashboard, which also presents a graphical overview of general statistics such as the most commonly called phone number, web sites most visited, etc. This is a way of seeing the most frequent activity and communications at a glance. Logs are shown as “stats” which are accessible via a drop down menus, as opposed to more typical menu bars.

Capturing can be turned on or off individually for each feature in the Dashboard. 3G or WiFi can be selected as the connection type, but this setting is universal for all features. A timer can be set for how often the phone should connect to upload data, and a dashboard timer also confirms how long it’s been since the last connection has occurred. In this way, you can see if there are any connection problems, or if the phone is not connecting when it should.

“WhatsApp is only captured once a day with OwnSpy.”

Data can also be downloaded in .xls format which is organized in multiple tabs, and any pictures or media is included in the download as a zipped file. All data is deleted from the online account every 15 days, so downloading regularly is important. Inconvenient is that new logs are not automatically refreshed, even when logging into the Dashboard account.

To check for new logs requires manually syncing the dashboard logs with the server, and this was not initially evident. This is the case whether new logs have already been reported since the last manual sync or not. Location tracking is well organized and it is easy to navigate routes of travel from several days’ worth of data. Location information also includes speed of travel if in motion, and conveniently shows the relative accuracy of a given reading.

Performance



“OwnSpy is an app that causes data usage and battery drain increase once installed.”

Whether you are looking for the best spy app for iPhone or Android spy recorder app - it isn't OwnSpy

We used "Battery Monitor" and "Data Usage" to monitor battery and data usage, both available from the Android Play store.

We ran a series of usage tests during a set period, which included typical activities most people carry out on a smartphone.

Although live listening (ambient or environment surroundings) is offered, this is done differently than other products we’ve seen. With OwnSpy you cannot schedule when to record the surrounding, it can only be monitored (and recorded) live.

Live listening must be initiated manually from the Dashboard account only and depends heavily on a stable Internet connection from both the Target phone and also the monitoring computer. OwnSpy then opens an audio streaming connection between the phone and server, which you can listen to through the Dashboard live.

The recorded audio files cannot be played directly from the Dashboard but they can be downloaded. There are some drawbacks to this system. Streaming can only be accomplished when a fairly good Internet connection is maintained from the Target phone, and also at the computer, you’re logged into. This connection often drops momentarily as well, causing the stream to pause at times. These missing parts cannot be recovered.

Support

If you want to spy on iPhone or Android you need customer support and OwnSpy doesn't give you any.

Support is promoted via Live Chat and Email tickets, although we found that Live Chat is not always available. Email ticket replies came back in roughly 24 hours.


“OwnSpy support staff kept us waiting and could not solve our issues.”

We contacted Support to ask why the 3G connection showed near constant activity, why we were not receiving any new uploads during one point in our testing, and also to request help with audio live recording over 20 minutes in length.

Our other two issues were addressed and partially resolved. We were told nothing could be done about the 3G activity displayed on the icon (no explanation of why it is consistently active). We were also told the reason we did not receive new uploads was that our license had suddenly expired, even though our subscription was still valid.

Support advised us to get the Target phone back into our hands to physically uninstall the software, and then reinstall the software to reset our license on the server. It is often difficult to physically get the Target phone and install the software in the first place.

Needing to get it back a second time to reinstall is not an option that all customers may easily have. In summary, as a spyphone, OwnSpy may look tempting due to not requiring rooting and the low price point for their entry level version but it simply does not have a strong enough feature set for us to recommend it when there are far better options out there.

Learn more about OwnSpy

For the latest updates and to learn even more about the OwnSpy iPhone spy app and spy recorder app, visit their website by clicking here.


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