Turn Your Smartphone Into A Spy Camera
Turn Your Smartphone Into A Spy Camera is a subject I have written about a few times on this site. But you might be wondering, WHY it is important for me to find an app that allows me to remotely activate the camera and take pictures from the front camera of the phone.
If you have read any of the posts on this site, you know that I communicate with my stepkids on Viber, Wechat, Facebook, or sometimes SMS texting, as we are in different countries. They live with their Mom, and suffice it to say, she and I don't have fun talks.
Last weekend, I received more than 50 (fifty!) Viber messages about needing money — supposedly from the youngest girl. So many things didn't make sense, such as telling me they need to pay fees for a Christmas party, and the teacher told them they have until tomorrow (!), which was a Friday to pay. I explained that I would send the money over the weekend and she could pay on Monday — I knew if she really owed money for school as she said, three-fourths of the students would not have the money until after the weekend anyway.
Over the next few days, the tone and content changed, to anger, to disappointment, to aggravation. And she told me the same story the next day saying she needed the money "right now". It was as if she forgot what we had already talked about … or perhaps I WASN'T TALKING TO THE SAME PERSON.
As an example, before bed one night, "she" sent me the message, "Ok daddy, thanks, I'll wait. I'm not attend the party ok". The next morning, "when you send the money"? And then later the same day, "Ok daddy, I'm lose if you really don't want to send money"! And in the same conversation, "Sorry daddy for being naughty" about asking for money.
I wanted to say, "Who are you and what did you do with my children?"
I'm rambling, but I am getting to the point. On Monday, around 7:30pm, the youngest text me "Hi Daddy, How are you?" We chatted for a few minutes, and then she tells she is going to sleep, because she is tired from dance practice. Nothing unusual; it is a school night, and this kid can sleep 10-12 hours without a problem.
A little background information … my daughter usually deletes her chats with me to hide them from her mom, to protect her from what she tells me about what is going on … so there is no way Mom can find out when daughter talked with me or what was said.
THEN ONE HOUR LATER: I receive this message: "Hi Daddy, how are you? Hope you are fine". WTF. Now I am positive that either my ex, or someone else in the house is using the youngest's phone while she is asleep, and pretending to be her!
It infuriates me, but since I can't prove it, I play along. If I challenge her, she will awaken my daughter and make my daughter send me a VOICE recorded message (a message recorded in her voice) telling me it is really her sending the messages.
BUT IF I WAS USING A SPY APP THAT ALLOWED ME TO REMOTELY ACTIVATE THE FRONT CAMERA AND TAKE PICTURES OF THE PERSON USING THE PHONE, THEN I WOULD KNOW FOR SURE WHO IS SENDING MESSAGES TO ME PRETENDING TO BE MY DAUGHTER.
And that my patient readers, is WHY it is important for me to find a spy app (that I like and actually works) that allows me to remotely activate the camera and take pictures from the front camera of the phone.
I don't want to accuse anyone without knowing the truth. Even though I don't plan to challenge my ex or my kids with this information, I'll know when I can ignore the messages. In other words, if I start getting all these crazy money messages, I can activate the camera, and see it is my ex — then I can put the phone down and ignore the rest of the mesages that night; pretending that they don't exist.
My success and failures so far in locating spy apps with this feature. (inclusion in this list does not mean I have reviewed or tested the app):
TheTruthSpy: I've had a like-hate (notice I didn't say "love-hate") relationship with this parental app since the first day. The continued "upgraded versions" have brought about more stability, but feature availability across phones (even phones by the same maker!) have been varied. And there is no remote camera activation in TTS.
1MobileSpy: Even though this software hasn't remained working in its test installation, I would suggest it over highster any day. Considering its low cost, it has potential for someone who really can't afford to spend much money to monitor their kids. It allows you to remotely activate both the front and rear cameras — and I was able to take pictures with it once.
HighsterMobile: Supposedly you can "can activate target phone to take picture from remote location", but this activation must occur by sending an SMS to the phone which is NOT hidden and shows up in the inbox. That is not very discreet and difficult to explain why you keep sending these weird text messages from your phone. PLUS, it never worked for me in the testing stage. The SMS was received and visible, but the camera never took pictures.
Flexispy: The regular package ($149USD/yr) of this app does not provide access to remote activation of the camera. But "for only $200USD/year MORE", the premium package will allow you to take pictures using "either camera" according to the sales data. I really believe $349USD/year is a ridiculous amount of money to pay and I have only subscribed to the regular package for testing.
Mspy: haven't tried it, but it has been neutered so much; and does not support remote activation of the camera.
Cerberus: This is an anti-theft program; use it to take pictures more than two or three times and your account will be blocked. Save it, in case your phone is really stolen.
CellSpy: This software has remotely activated camera listed as part of the features, and since it is the next spy app I will write about, I can't wait as it appears to have serious promise!
TheOneSpy: The one spy refers to their "camera bug" — the ability to remotely activate the front or rear camera and view the surroundings. Only available on the "xtreme package" ($215USD/yr Xtreme vs $140USD/yr regular). Interestingly, the version shown on the India site does not have camera access.