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Missing Features from Parental Spy Apps

remotely take pictures with front or rear camera

As I work with more spy apps and parental spy apps or "parental control software", I notice features that are noticeably absent and wonder why these features aren't being included in the programs.

 

Automatically send GPS when Battery Dies:  I discovered this one on a strange app called "PhoneLeash".  It is NOT a spy app; it is not even an anti-theft app.  To be honest, I don't know what you would call it.  But it offers one very unique feature:

When your phone battery DIES and the phone is about to "shutdown", it sends a message to you with the GPS location of your phone at that moment!

Automatic GPS if phone battery dies

On-Demand Device Information Including CONNECTED WIFI & NEARBY WIFI NETWORKS:  Cerberus has a function to show you REAL-TIME device information; specifically the name of the WIFI the phone is connected to and all the NEARBY WIFI IDs!  I have talked about this before — if your child disables location services, you might know where they are by knowing the WIFI name.

It is not as difficult as you might think.  People create some pretty unique names for their wifi.  On a day when you know your son is at his friend's house, you log in and make a note of the wifi name.  Do that for each friend that he visits.  When he is at school, log in and write down the school's wifi that he is connecting to.

Get the picture?  Then when his location is off or not working, you could look at the WIFI he was connected to and that might be all you need.

Cerberus Device Information On Demand Real Time WIFI ID

Mspy has a WIFI connection list which provides a list of WIFIs that the phone connected to, but nothing as easy as the Cerberus method shown above.

Mspy however, does track ALL of the WIFIs that the phone connected to and gives data about how long connected, showing the last date and time connected, and the duration of the attachment to that WIFI.  It also allows you to BLOCK the use of that WIFI.

Obviously, Mspy does have a substantially better method; but the Cerberus method is easier to implement from what I understand.  Yet none of the spy apps have implemented this feature.

Monitoring wifi connection points

 

 

Remotely Take Pictures Using FRONT or Rear Cameras:   Cerberus has the function and it worked when I tested it (but use it 2 or 3 times and your account gets permanently blocked!); 1mobilespy has the function listed but it did NOT work when tested (Update:  front and rear remote camera access worked after waiting for the phone and control panel to sync; check reviews; theonespy has the function (and shows both front and rear camera), but I have not tested or reviewed this software; Highster, EasySpy and AutoForwardSpy had this function previously (supposedly) but was removed to comply with US law.  Flexispy extreme has a feature to remotely take a picture using the target phone's camera, but I haven't reviewed the extreme version.  The sales data also does not clarify whether it is front or rear camera.  CellSpy lists this function but it did not work on my tests.

An additional function would be SCHEDULING:  For example, each time the phone is activated (waking the phone, and going past the lock screen), take a picture or two with the front camera.  [If I had this function, I would finally get to see who is using my daughter's phone to log-in to Facebook during the hours she is at school}.

remotely take pictures with front or rear camera

From 1MobileSpy Control Panel

From The One Spy (NOT tested)

From The One Spy (NOT tested)

 

Remotely Take VIDEO using Camera Front (or Rear) Camera:  I have not found any software allowing you to take a video remotely ( ie: take a video of the surroundings of the target phone).  In other words, remotely activate the video camera, and activate it to record for a specified number of minutes; store the recording on the phone, and upload to the control panel when connected.

Cerberus allows you to capture video remotely …

cerberus capture video

… but do it two or three times and get your account blocked, and your phone's IMEI number blocked!

cerberus blocked account for TOS violations

I've decided to create a new post on "REMOTE ACCESS TO YOUR VIDEO CAMERA" to discuss my findings so far.

I found an unknown provider that allows you to remotely record video and SCHEDULE to record videos!  It is called CellSpy.

 

I have also found another free program that supposedly gives you 20 seconds of video using the front or rear camera.  The program is here (http://trackmyphones.com/cgi-bin/SpyVideo/spyvideo.cgi) but I have NOT tested it.  It is promoted as an anti-theft app.

 

The Ability to SCHEDULE automatic recording of Ambient room Noises.  There are times that I would like to listen in to the room noises after I go to sleep, since I am in a different time zone that my target.  If I could schedule the automatic activation of the room bug, it would make the function easier to use at inconvenient times.  According to Flexispy extreme documentation, "scheduled ambient recordings" are available on the Extreme package — which I have not tested.  This is the ONLY app offering scheduled room bug recording.

flexispy schedule ambient recording times

Flexispy is the only app which allows you to schedule the automatic recording of ambient noises (aka "the room bug).

I discovered an unknown player who offers the ability to schedule ambient noise recording also — The app is called "CellSpy".

 

The Ability to store the ambient noise recording on the phone and not stream live.  Every app that provides ambient recording has a warning that "target device must be connected to the internet".  This is because the recording is streamed live to the control panel and recorded ONLY on the control panel.

Instead of requiring internet connection for the entire monitoring session, apps should be capable of recording the audio files on the local target phone and upload to the control panel.  Coupled with scheduling, this would allow for better monitoring, by programming the phone to record ambient surround noise EVEN IF NOT CONNECTED TO INTERNET at the time of the scheduled event!

It is possible that Flexispy stores the scheduled recording locally then uploads to the control panel but the documentation is not clear.  It is also not clear if the COMMAND to activate surround recording through the scheduler exists on the phone or in the control panel.  If it exists in the control panel, that means that internet is required to run the scheduled recording.

 

Record Mic After Calls End.   After a call is made, "record audio from the microphone the moment the call has ended. Hear what the target person says to others in the vicinity (or to themselves) after those calls."  I discovered this function on a never-heard-of spy app from South Africa called CellSpy.  It is a feature I have never seen on any other app.

Can you imagine the use?  Mom and Dad call their child to tell them they must be home at 6pm tonight instead of 8pm.  As soon as they hang up, what do you think is going to be said about them and their rules?  :)

 

Set Time Zone:  One setting that caught my attention (on an app I have not reviewed yet) was "time zone" — allowing you to set the time zone that you want all data displayed in!  I think that is an excellent function!  It really is confusing when you are monitoring someone in another time zone and you can't be sure the time shown is from YOUR timezone or the TARGET time zone.

androidmonitor control panel timezone settings

 

Ping the phone – tell me if connected to internet:

When I log in to Cerberus, it attempts to ping the phone and see if the phone is "online" — which means it will accept pushed commands.  Spy apps should do the same thing.  As soon as you log in to the control panel, the panel should try to access the phone and see if it is "available" and "online" for commands.






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