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Installing CellSpy App – Install Failed

cellspy the guardian spy app installation root

Installation of CellSpy:  Previously I mentioned a previously unknown app that had me extremely excited and I couldn't wait to attempt to install and test.

CellSpy:  (  2500-Rand (ZAR) (approximately $181USD per year).  I discovered this app by accident, as they don't appear in any regular searches for spy apps in the first 20 pages!  But if this software does what its sales pages profess, it would be an incredible discovery!

Background recording (ambient surrounding noise), SCHEDULED background recording!!, Remote Video capture, SCHEDULED remote video capture!!, Remote Photo Capture, SCHEDULED remote photo capture!!, plus all the "normal" activities such as monitoring SMS, Call Logs, IM chat services, etc.  Some of these features require activation by SMS which may be a problem when phones don't hide the incoming SMS'.

"After call" recording:  Listen to what is said to people around the phone AFTER you hang up."

Immediately I wrote to the company (support address) with a few questions.  Based on the experience I have had with spy app developers, I didn't have high hopes for much of a reply — that is, if I even received a reply.

Imagine my surprise when I received a detailed, well-thought-out reply with lots of information — all written in correct English!!  Again my excitement level increased.

Quick Summary of the reply:  CellSpy has all the features as described above, but only works on Android 4.4 and below.  The replacement software for 5.1+ has been renamed the "Guardian", but does NOT have any remote monitoring ability of the camera or audio.  It is a stripped-down version that complies with US law.

From what I can understand, the app has had an identity crisis and has been known as phonevigil, phonesafe, or cellspy.

Also, they want to eliminate the "cellspy" name as there is a rip-off company on the internet using the same name that sells a software that allegedly installs a spy program on your friend's phone "just by calling your friend's phone number".  Obviously, it doesn't work, and they have ripped off many people, which has hurt the "real" cellspy brand.  They dedicated a blog page to debunk the myths:

The phone I wanted to install this was the Samsung S4 that I have been forced to re-install TheTruthSpy at least four times!  It is running on 4.4.4 so I knew there would be no problems.  The Samsung is rooted, and I verified that the phone was STILL rooted when I got my hands on it with "Root Checker", making sure my daughter didn't install some type of update that wiped out root.

Before installing the spy app, I was instructed to install an app from the play store called "busybox".  I installed this app and rebooted the phone.  My understanding is that "busybox" is a "souped-up" version of Android tools that developers use to gain better feature access.

In the first screen of the software installer was a disclaimer to prove that the software provider told you that you are responsible for your actions; and that you will only install the software on phones that you have the legal right to do so.

The page also explains that CellSpy has recorded your phone's IMEI number (similar to a serial number), and that this phone will get ONE trial use of the software because the IMEI will get logged on their servers.

cellspy IMEI locks up trial use

In the installation and activation process, it wanted my email address to setup access for the control panel.

cellspy registration information install

CellSpy also checked and verified that root was ok.  Good — I know it is rooted and the software knows it is rooted.

cellspy the guardian spy app installation root

Next, the software attempted to install itself as a system app.  Installing as a system app makes removal or "un-install" difficult; allows the software to survive a soft reset; and allows the software access to certain functions that "regular user-installed apps" can't access.

But before it attempts to install as a system app, it confirms the registration for the "free 24-hour trial" of the software.  I was disappointed in this because the software provided 12 hours of validity for a trial!  Look at the time on the phone, 2:58am on 11-15.  The trial was scheduled to stop working at 2:49pm on the same day!

cellspy installation and setup

I clicked "ok" and allowed the phone to begin working again, attempting to install the program as a system app.  "Super SU" popped up an authorization box asking me if it was ok to give super user privileges to CellSpy, and I click Yes (or "grant") to allow super user.

Within a minute, CellSpy popped up a message that the installation failed.  The exact message was "An error occurred while moving the application:  Failed to locate".

cell spy installation failed

I knew it was installed correctly, and checked in the app manager to make sure.  App Manager shows it installed correctly and was running.

installing the guardian cell spy

I uninstalled the app and tried again.  Second installation gave the same error.  If you can't install it as a system app, it isn't worth installing the program as many features will not work.

Since I had my daughter's phone for only a limited amount of time, and this was a weekend, I decided to re-install TheTruthSpy and follow up with CellSpy later to see what might have happened with the failed installation.

Based on their previous replies, I'm sure I will get another detailed response that will help me to correct the failed installation.

Even though I wasn't able to test the software yet, I know there is one major section that I "dislike immensely" (I'm trying to take the advice I give to my daughter about not using the word "hate").  I'm sure it is something they intend to change if the next incarnation of this software.

ALL SETTINGS ARE ON THE PHONE.  So if something changes, and you want to change what you are monitoring, or the method that you want alerts, or many other items, you MUST have the target phone to implement these changes.

These settings should exist on the control panel, and be able to be "pushed" to the phone, to allow for the least amount of "hands-on" time with the target phone.

Do you know how difficult it is to get the phone pried away from teenage "facebook-ers"!

And yes, I know the images in this post are poor quality — I was trying to shoot pictures of the screen with another camera because I was having trouble getting my daughter's phone to easily take screen shots.  Maybe when I can try this install again, I will be better prepared with quality screen shots. :)











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2 Comments to Installing CellSpy App – Install Failed

  1. Brett Powell says:

    Finally, a spy app review site with integrity. I can’t tell you how many so-called review sites have contacted me over the years offering the top spot for a fee. Some have even offered to rank competitors poorly or leave them out altogether – for a negotiable fee, of course. Those types of sites only benefit the corrupt owners. They do not help the customer and they’re not doing the spy app any favors by misrepresenting it. They’re practically ensuring that the latter will fail (sometimes dismally) to live up to the expectations of the former. This site is different. It adds true value to all stakeholders. For potential customers it gives an honest and unbiased account of the type of experience they can likely expect from the company and their software. For the producers of spy apps, it is an opportunity to improve the product (and the service that goes along with it). For the rip-off artists, those engaging in corrupt marketing practices, and the fly-by-night junk-ware peddlers that pollute our industry it is a huge and well deserved ‘up yours’. Thank you for telling the world how it really is, and not how the highest bidder would like it to be portrayed.

    [ADMIN NOTE: Brett is a member of tech support for the REAL CellSpy and the Guardian Spy Apps. Although I was not successful in my first attempt at installation, Brett and his team have been in constant contact trying to determine why I had problems. I will be trying again to install this software.]

    • Brett Powell says:

      [UPDATE: I’m the Managing Director, and this was kicked up to me by our tech support team because of the unusual nature of the issue you encountered. The buck stops with me, so this matter stays on my desk until it is resolved… or at least understood, if a solution is not possible]

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