1 Mobile Spy Installation & Review
Today I am installing 1MobileSpy (aka AndroidSpy) in a Samsung SPH-L710, Galaxy S3, NOT ROOTED. Previously, I wrote that I was going to give 1MobileSpy a "pass" even though I had already paid for it, because I wasn't impressed with the control panel. Almost each time I went to the control panel, it wasn't working — and I pondered how valuable was a spy software if you could only access the information "sometimes"!
Now that it is installed, my concerns were valid. Within 1 minute of installation, I logged into the control panel, and it was "not available". Waited a few minutes and tried again and was successful in getting into the panel.
UPDATE October 23, 2015: Three days after installation. Control Panel has never updated; even though phone has had activity and connected to wifi, there is no new data on the control panel.
UPDATE, October 24, 2015: Working now … updated information at end of this post.
First process is to setup the control panel account, which requires your purchase ID from the credit card processor. Once the account is setup, log in to the control panel from the phone and click "download" in the upper right corner. You will notice the control panel header shows "WIN-SPY" which is PC version of 1mobilespy. Since I have not installed any devices yet, the control panel shows "No Device! There are no registered devices"
Once the apk has downloaded, pull down the status bar and click on the apk. You can also go to your "downloads" section and click on the apk from that screen.
After clicking on the apk, the program will install — and call itself "Google Play Updater". At the bottom of the page, click OPEN.
After pressing Open, you will be presented with the screen to give 1mobilespy "device admin" access. You will notice that the program uses the name "Sample Device Admin" for its admin user account.
And if you go to your "device admin" setting, you will see 1MobileSpy listed as "sample device admin".
The program will prompt you to enter the name you wish to use to identify this phone, and your email address (this MUST be the email address you used to create your control panel account).
After that, you are connected and the phone begins updating the control panel with all the data on the phone.
Important: Use this time to go to "downloaded files" and delete the apk; go to the browser and delete the "browser history". If you do not do this step, your target will be able to see that you downloaded and installed "something" on their phone.
It installs very easy, but this phone did NOT have virus protection installed, so I don't know what warnings would have been triggered when I installed the program.
I returned to the home screen of the phone, and immediately noticed that 1MobileSpy installs a (non-clickable, non-deletable) ICON withe the name "Google Play Updater". Since the icon does nothing, and doesn't like to the program, and makes the user think it is keeping their "play store" app updated, it isn't that bad. Obviously, this makes it NOT discreet or HIDDEN; but I would prefer to have a non-clickable "hidden-in-plain-sight" icon like this, than some of the previous ones I have seen.
After Installation Review:
Now I return to my computer, and log into the control panel. I notice that immediately the "count" of data items in each section of the control panel is shown. But I also notice that many of the sections have ZEROS next to them, indicating that NO items were uploaded in this section.
On the left side of the green box, you will see "Recent", "Device Status", and "Functions".
"Recent" is your basic dashboard, showing a list of the sections and the number of data items in each section. "Device Status" shows a section that is incomplete (!), along with verification that the app is installed and working, and that the app has device admin status.
The last box is the "Functions" box. The blue box is to activate surround recording (ambient room noise or "room bug"); the red box is to tax a picture using the phone's front or rear camera; the green box is to obtain the latest phone location; and the black box is to obtain a "screen capture" of the screen on the phone.
BUT NOT ONE OF THESE FUNCTIONS ACTUALLY WORK!!! Nothing happens when you click on them! This phone is NOT rooted, and it is possible that these functions require a rooted phone, but there is nothing that explains this. So as it is now, it appears to me that these functions do not work. Too bad, because if these functions worked, they would make this software WELL worth the price. (READ MY UPDATE!)
Back on the dashboard, first item in the green box is "Calls". Calls are listed with the telephone number first, then whether the call was Inbound ("received") or Outbound ("calls made"), along with the duration, and the time and date of the call.
Note that the log does NOT show the CONTACT NAME! It only shows the number.
The next item is "SMS" or the text message log. Same basic information as the calls, except the text of the message is shown. And just like the last section, the caller's NAME from the contact file is NEVER shown.
After text messaging, is CONTACTS. Contact name, phone number and date added are shown.
Apps provides a list of "installed applications". The most recently installed app is listed first — giving parents an easy opportunity to see what their child has been installing on their phone.
URL Listing, actually called "Browser" on the control panel dashboard, shows each of the URLs that were visited using the phone's browser.
And finally, IMAGES. This is the section that copies all of the images located on the phone to the control panel. The first sync can take quite a while as the images are large files.
However, I was not able to click on an image to make it larger! I had to right click on an image, copy the url location, and then paste that into another window to view it! Not an easy way to look at the images in the control panel.
There are other sections — but NONE OF THEM WORK! Here is a list of what DID NOT WORK: Notifications,
Geolocation, Environmental Recording, taking pictures using front and rear cameras, Video, Screen Capture, WhatsApp, Skype, Gmail, and Facebook.
I would expect that WhatsApp, Skype, Gmail and Facebook would not work because the phone is not rooted.
But Geolocation??? That means that this program will NOT display the location of your target phone! I have seen this happen in other apps, and am still shocked — parental monitoring apps lose a great deal of "value" when you can't use them to track the location of your child.
Cerberus can be used as a "backup" if necessary. When I installed Cerberus, it immediately connected and reported the location. That was additional proof that the phone was reporting location. The problem is with 1mobilespy and not the phone.
More NEGATIVES about this software … it does not report the last date and time that the phone sync'd with the control panel. So you will never know if the phone and the control panel are talking.
As I wrote about the calls and SMS logs, all entries are reported by telephone number only. YOU must get the number, go to the contacts list, and manually determine WHO the message is from. If that is not poor coding, I don't know what is!
I tried to find other reviews online but was unsuccessful. I wasn't able to find any FAKE reviews either! NOTHING at all has been written about 1mobilespy.
My original thoughts were correct about 1MobileSpy — it isn't worth the time or money. So many items don't work, making the program unusable.
I am backing down from this statement because of the changes described below.
*Updated October 24, 2015: After rebooting the phone (as it was not uploading any data), I was shocked to see that the program began updating data immediately.
But even more surprising was that previously NON WORKING FUNCTIONS were now functioning CORRECTLY!
For example, previously GPS tracking was NOT working … but it is now — and it is reporting all locations correctly. You can choose to display the locations tracked in list form (shown) or on a map.
Taking a picture with front and rear cameras was NOT working — and I assumed it was because the phone is not rooted. But now it IS WORKING CORRECTLY! I was able to take a picture using both the FRONT AND REAR CAMERAS!
And the fun continues. Ambient Surroundings Recording (ie: room bug) did not work at first. But now, it is working! I chose to record for 3 minutes (choose from 1-10 minutes) and press record.
After three minutes, the recording appeared in the dashboard section, ambient recordings. The recordings saved as ".mp3" but when I clicked to listen to the recording, nothing on my machine (3 different players) would play this file. I was forced to do the same conversions that I did for thetruthspy audio.
After conversion, I was able to listen to the file and the quality was very good. Update! I don't know what the initial problem was, but the files will now play on Windows Media Player without any conversion!
The capture phone screen shot feature is not working — but that feature clearly states that root is required. However, I don't have high hopes that this feature actually works, because the control panel gives an error when you go to the page that is intended to display these screen shots.
CALL RECORDING IS WORKING! Every call made or received on the phone is now being recorded. I didn't even notice that this feature was working until I looked at the call log and noticed the "download" button. And the calls play in Windows Media Player. I did notice that it is difficult to hear the OTHER party in the conversation, as their voice level was VERY low. But it works!
Of course, none of the features that very clearly indicate root is required are working.
Perhaps someday, I'll get to test this on a rooted phone. Or perhaps someone with experience can post a comment here.
However, my opinion has changed about this software … and for what it costs, I am more likely to suggest it … especially for the ambient recording ability and ability to take pictures remotely with the front and rear camera on a NON rooted phone!
WARNING ABOUT SETTINGS: There are NO settings for this software in the control panel; you can't control what uploads by WIFI or by DATA, and that can be a real problem with limited data plans and photos/videos! There are NO settings to deactivate features like image or video uploading. There are no settings to control how often data is uploaded to the control panel, nor are there any settings to control how often GPS is updated.
As I write this, I decided to return to the control panel and see if the "service monitor" was working. The "service monitor" identifies when the phone and the control panel last communicated. I noticed a "warning" in red which stated that the phone and control panel had not communicated in 30 minutes.
I clicked on the GPS section and instructed 1mobilespy to get the current GPS location immediately. It did and reported the location. When I went back to the "service monitor" I noticed that it had updated the communication (sync) time.
The fact that it didn't communicate for more than 30 minutes may be a problem — especially since it is reporting it in red. I will need to keep an eye on the control panel to see if it "hangs" when trying to sync the phone. At least I know that sending an "immediate" command caused an immediate re-sync.
1mobilespy SUPPORT: I believe that support request are handled by the owner/developer of the software. I have written 3-4 emails to support, and have been answered each time with 24-48 hours. Considering how other spy apps don't reply to anything, it was nice to see replies in a timely manner.