parental control

Top 12 Free Parental Control Apps for iPhone & Android: Stay in Sync With Your Kids 24/7

In the United States, 53% of kids aged 11 or higher are smartphone owners. Although parents think it’s a great idea to teach children about technology from a young age, smartphone usage can be harmful to kids. 

In recent years, adverse vices like cyberbullying, child predation, and sexting have become the new “normal” on the web. 

Since most kids have the “innate” desire to explore, it’s easy for them to get entangled in these activities. 

As a parent, you must track your kids’ internet activities on their iPhone or Android cell phone. However, since you’re not with them 24/7 due to other commitments, is it possible to know what they’re up to, regardless? The answer is a resounding “yes.”

To do this, you must use a tested and trusted parental control application. But with numerous scams on the market, what options can you trust?

This guide will look at 12 free parental control apps for iPhone and Android devices that’ll keep you in sync with your wards’ Internet activities 24/7. 

Are you itching to know more about the best monitoring software for parents? Let’s dive in!

How to Choose the Best Free Parental Control App for Android and iOS Devices?

With numerous fraudulent parental control apps on the Internet, conducting due diligence is vital. 

If you’d like to follow the DIY (Do It Yourself) path when choosing a free iPhone monitoring app, do well to factor in these considerations:

Your Child’s Age

When investing in a parental control app for your ward, it’s crucial to consider their age. If they’re under 12, you can select an alternative, limiting their online actions all day. 

However, if your wards are teenagers (18 and above), note that you won’t have access to their iOS or Android device unless they permit you. 


When choosing a top-tier child monitoring app, it’s vital to look at the feature list. 

Typically, an excellent parental control app should have these add-ons in the mix: 

  • GPS location tracking
  • Social media tracking
  • SMS and call log monitoring
  • Web history tracking 
  • Keylogger
  • App blocking

Installation Process

Your preferred parental control application should have a simple installation process. Before using one, ensure the service has a “step-by-step” guide for Android and iOS. 


To use the best parental control app, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Options that charge $50 or less monthly are decent. 

If you’re scared of taking the plunge, engage a parental control app with a “money-back” guarantee. So, you’ll get a refund if the app doesn’t tally your preferences. 

DID YOU KNOW: The parental control app sector is on an upward trajectory, with projections suggesting that it could be worth $2453.8 million in 2029

Top 12 Parental Control Apps for Android and iOS Cell Phones in 2024

As we’ve established, many parental control apps on the Internet are fake. Although they might seem legit at first glance, usage denotes their inefficiencies. 

To help you get past these scam-themed alternatives in their entirety, we’ve done the legwork to sift out options that showcase efficiency and effectiveness in all areas. 

Notable mentions include:

#1 mSpy

mSpy spy app

Most people ask questions along these lines – what is the best parental control app? The answer to this query is mSpy. Since this application came online in 2011, it’s become the “go-to” for parents seeking context on their kids’ Internet activities 24/7. 

Available on Android and iOS devices, the mSpy app is a jack of many trades as it integrates these features:

  • Call log monitoring
  • Track text messages 
  • Read messaging apps
  • GPS location tracker
  • Access all installed apps and programs
  • Screen recorder
  • Multimedia files viewing
  • Internet monitoring
  • And much more

What’s more? mSpy issues updates every 5 minutes. Thus, parents can know what their kids are up to while at work and take action before things get out of hand. 

mSpy’s installation process is seamless. The app sends a detailed guide to aid installation on your kids’ device upon sign-up and payment. Following the steps featured to the T, mSpy will be up and running on your ward’s phone within 5 minutes.

mSpy also has bank-grade encryption technology. Thus, no third party can access tracked data from your child’s device. 


mSpy has the following plans available:

  • 1 Month: $48.99
  • 3 Months: $27.99 per month
  • 12 Months: $11.66 per month


  • Simple set-up process
  • Cost-effective payment plans
  • Bank-grade encryption available
  • Great Refund Policy
  • Works as intended on Android and iOS devices
  • Has Demo Mode available


  • Plans only cater to one device at a time
  • Updates from the target phone aren’t sent in real-time 

#2 eyeZy

eyeZy features

With technology constantly evolving, a parental control app that can keep up is essential for parents. Although many applications on the web tout themselves as ideal for this venture, eyeZy ranks “primus inter pares.”

Usable on Android and iOS cell phones, eyeZy adopts a techy route (something that’s seen in its feature list). 

Talking about what’s in eyeZy’s résumé, here are some things parents can enjoy with this application active on their wards’ devices:

  • Keystroke Capture
  • Social Spotlight
  • Pinpoint
  • Plans Breaker
  • Files Finder
  • Web Magnifier
  • Connection Blocker
  • Magic Alerts
  • Phone Analyzer

It gets better: Since you don’t want your wards to know you’re spying on their smartphone, eyeZy tows a stealthy route. After installation, the app’s thumbnail disappears. Thus, your target doesn’t know you see all their actions on a clutter-free dashboard. 

If you encounter problems during usage, don’t worry, as eyeZy has a customer support team available 24/7.


Unlike other pricey apps to control kids’ phones, eyeZy ranks as a budget-friendly application with these plans:

  • 1 Month: $47.99
  • 3 Months: $27.99 per month
  • 12 Months: $9.99 per month


  • Friendly Installer makes installation hassle-free
  • Decent subscription packages
  • Has a “Compatibility Checker” available
  • Numerous tracking add-ons 
  • Proprietary app available on the App Store


  • Doesn’t offer a free trial

#3 Cocospy


Cocospy has a spot on our list due to its simplicity. To get started with this application, all you need to do is follow 3 steps. Like most free parental control software, Cocospy adopts “Stealth Mode.”

With Cocospy, you can monitor your kid without them ever knowing. 

Here are some top-notch features you get to enjoy with Cocospy: 

  • Call log tracking
  • SMS monitoring
  • GPS tracking
  • Geofencing Alerts
  • Social media tracking
  • SIM location tracking
  • Website history monitoring
  • Keylogger

Cocospy has a spot among the best free child tracking apps for iPhone and Android. 

Why? Cocospy has a 60-day money-back guarantee in place for all its newbie patrons. So, if you use the service and aren’t content, you can seek a refund within 60 days. 

For problem resolution, Cocospy has a support service available 24/7. So, if you’re finding it difficult to access your profile by 2 AM, there’s no need to worry, as a rep will be on hand to attend to your issues speedily. 


Although Cocospy has sophisticated add-ons available for parents, subscriptions are priced decently. 

  • Premium: $9.99 per month
  • Basic: $39.99 per month
  • Family: $69.99 per month
  • Premium: $10.83 per month
  • Family: $99.99 per month
  • Business: $399.99 per month


  • Accepts Bitcoin payments
  • Decent array of tracking add-ons
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Virus-free and plugin-free software
  • 60-day money-back guarantee


  • Certain subscriptions are pricey
  • No free trial

#4 Parentaler


Parentaler has the “cell phone tracker for modern parents” mantra. So, if you’d like to know what your kid is up to all day on their cell phones with minimal stress, Parentaler is available to grant you perspective. 

Social media leads the charge for adverse acts on the web. With the Parentaler app, you can easily access your wards’ discussions on popular social media apps. 

So, it doesn’t matter if your kid is chatting with a shady character on Instagram or Skype; Parentaler keeps you in the know 24/7.

Besides its social media tracking attribute, Parentaler has other top-notch functionalities available.

The top mentions are:

  • Call history tracking
  • Text message monitoring
  • Access to camera and microphone
  • View deleted messages and calls
  • Restrict calls
  • Delete installed apps and programs
  • Block websites
  • Access data storage
  • SIM card replacement notification

Since kids are becoming tech-savvy, Parentaler gives you the luxury of hiding the app’s icon upon installation. Now, you can receive notifications from their devices without them getting suspicious. How convenient! 


  • 1 Month: $40.68
  • 3 Months: $22.83 per month
  • 12 Months: $9.60 per month


  • Intuitive user interface
  • Cost-effective subscription packages
  • Supports tracking on social media apps
  • Responsive live chat support
  • 5-minute set-up timeline


  • You can’t use one plan to monitor multiple devices 
  • It doesn’t offer cryptos for payments

DID YOU KNOW: A report depicts that more than 42% of kids have been cyberbullied. This act is typical on social media channels. With parental apps like Parentaler, you can see if your ward is experiencing cyberbullying and put a stop to it. 

#5 Bark


Are you a busy parent concerned about your kid’s acts on the Internet? Look no further than Bark. 

Bark is so confident in its offerings that it gives parents the chance to activate a free trial. With most of the best parental control applications featuring expensive plans, Bark deviates from the norm. 

So, what can you do with Bark? A lot. 

Notable mentions include:

  • Blocking websites and installed applications
  • GPS location tracking
  • Text message monitoring
  • Social media monitoring
  • Web browser monitoring
  • And lots more

Bark is also targeting schools – a goal that came to the fore after the 2018 Parkland School tragedy. So, while individual parents can use Bark, it’s good to know that it adopts a community front also. 

What’s more? It’s free for schools!


Although Bark is free for schools, individuals using the application must subscribe. 

However, featured plans aren’t expensive. 

To use Bark after the free trial period, subscribe to one of these two packages:

  • Bark Premium: $14 per month
  • Bark Jr: $5 per month


  • Offers a Free plan
  • Works on Android and iOS devices
  • Effective screen time management feature
  • Monitors over 30+ applications
  • Issues accurate location updates


  • Set-up can be time-consuming

#6 FamilyTime


Digital parenting might seem a tad stressful. However, with FamilyTime “pulling the strings,” this act becomes all shades of effortless. 

This free parental control app for iPhone and Android gives parents the luxury of tracking everything done on their wards’ devices. 

For context, here’s what you get: 

  • Time Limits 
  • BedTime
  • Family Pause (locks all devices in one tap)
  • Real-time GPS location monitoring 
  • Geofencing alerts
  • App blocker
  • Internet filtering
  • Call monitoring
  • App usage statistics
  • Watchlist contacts

If you have teens that drive, you can activate the “Teen Safe Drive” feature. When enabled, you can see if your wards are driving above the recommended speed limit and keep them in check. 

To ensure your kids are safe 24/7, the FamilyTime app has an SOS/Panic Button add-on available. Once your ward taps this button, you’ll get their GPS location. 

Parents can restrict their kids from uninstalling the app. Since FamilyTime integrates rock-solid encryption, you can use the app without worries of data breaches.


FamilyTime has a 3-day “free trial” plan available. 

After this period, you need to subscribe. 

Here are available subscription packages:

  • 1 device: $27 per year
  • 2 devices: $35 per year
  • 3 devices: $45 per year
  • 5 devices: $69 per year

NOTE: Although the aforementioned subscriptions are inexpensive, you can receive rebates through the app’s discount codes. To get one, visit the live chat.


  • Simple to use and install
  • Top-tier family control add-ons
  • Functions optimally on Android and iOS phones
  • Responsive and helpful customer support
  • Seamless installation procedure


  • Some features won’t work as expected

#7 OurPact


As a parent, you’ve already made a pact to guard your kids. In the smartphone era, you can do this using a parental control app tagged “OurPact.” 

Compatible for any family size, OurPact is an excellent alternative to track the content your wards are taking in online 24/7. 

Using this leading parental control application, parents can access the following:

  • App blocking
  • Website monitoring and blocking
  • SMS restrictions
  • Schedule screen time
  • View multimedia files (photos and videos)
  • Family locator

What’s more? OurPact is a free cell phone monitoring app for parents as it integrates a “Free” plan for all and sundry. It truly doesn’t get better than this!


Besides OurPact’s free plan, those seeking a premium tracking experience can subscribe to these packages:

  • Premium: $6.99 per month
  • Premium +: $9.99 per month


  • Permits simultaneous tracking on 20 phones
  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Has a Free plan available
  • Available on the App Store and Google Play Store
  • Positive ratings from revered software entities


  • Installation is a tad complex

#8 Canopy


The “how can I see everything on my child’s phone for free” question is one most parents ask. To get a hold of your wards’ online trails while you’re out and about, consider Canopy.

With Canopy active on your kid’s device, you’re certain they won’t encounter “18+ rated” content while surfing the Internet. 

This app is also seamless to “set up.” You can get it up and running on your kid’s Android or iPhone cell phone within 15 minutes. 

Classified as one of the best free apps to monitor your child’s phone, here’s what you get with Canopy: 

  • Set downtime
  • GPS location tracking
  • Customizable Internet
  • Explicit content restrictions

Canopy is “tamper-proof.” So, after you’ve installed the app on your ward’s device, they won’t be able to delete or uninstall the service without your approval. 


Canopy slots in as one of the best free parental control apps for iPhone and Android with a 7-day free trial plan in the mix. 

After you’ve exhausted your free plan, you can use this service and enjoy its advantages via these plans:

  • 3 Devices (Basic): $7.99 per month
  • 5 Devices (Family): $9.99 per month
  • 10 Devices (Full House): $15.99 per month

NOTE: Patrons can cancel these plans as they see fit.


  • Hassle-free installation process
  • 7-day Free Trial available
  • Intuitive and navigable user interface on Android and iOS devices 
  • Inexpensive subscription plans
  • Helpful “newsletter” add-on


  • Support isn’t available 24/7
  • Live chat is unavailable

#9 Qustodio


It’s impossible to know what your kid does 24/7 without help. However, with Qustodio leading the charge, your kid’s actions all day are visible to you. 

Thus, it’s no surprise that 4+ million parents worldwide engage Qustodio for a bird’s-eye view of their kids’ acts on the Internet and related applications. 

Using Qustodio, you can seamlessly:

  • Filter Internet results and installed applications
  • Track social media interactions
  • Monitor incoming and outgoing calls and texts
  • GPS location tracking
  • Receive alerts, reports, and SOS notifications

Qustodio’s FAQs segment is also extensive. Using this section, you can resolve a nagging issue. If your problem is a bit technical, Qustodio’s customer service reps will cater to your needs accordingly.


Although Qustodio has a free package, going premium is your best bet at getting detailed reports of your kid’s Internet activities. 

Qustodio has the following premium plans:

  • Medium (10 Devices): $8.08 per month
  • Small (5 Devices): $4.58 per month
  • Large (5 Devices): $11.5 per month


  • Supports multiple devices
  • Subscription plans aren’t pricey
  • Extensive FAQs segment available
  • It has a free plan
  • Revolutionary parental control features


  • The panic button is only available on Android
  • VPN can bypass the app’s “Web Filter” add-on

#10 Net Nanny

Net Nanny

Net Nanny is a revolutionary Internet filter that ensures your wards are safe while surfing the web. Before your kid encounters 18+ rated content on a site, Net Nanny is on hand to remove them. 

Here are notable features available on Net Nanny:

  • Screen time management
  • Block pornography
  • Restrict installed applications
  • Instant alerts on explicit content
  • YouTube protection
  • Social Media protection
  • GPS tracking 
  • Distinctive Family Feed

Besides working on Android and iOS smartphones, the Net Nanny service functions intuitively on macOS and Windows-based devices. 

Talk about a proven parental control application!


The “#1-Rated Internet Filter,” Net Nanny, doesn’t have a free trial for new users. 

Nonetheless, it has budget-friendly subscriptions to suit your finances.

Available alternatives include: 

  • 5 Devices: $54.99 per year
  • 20 Devices: $89.99 per year

NOTE: Featured plans are already discounted by 30%. We advise taking advantage of these packages before they revert to their original values.


  • Decently-priced subscriptions
  • Ranks as one of the best apps to limit screen time
  • Revolutionary web filtering attributes
  • Works simultaneously on numerous devices
  • Responsive customer support channels


  • Sophisticated VPN services can impair web filters

#11 WebWatcher


One of the best apps for parents to monitor the social media profiles of their wards is WebWatcher. Using this parental control application, being a responsible parent and safeguarding your wards from web ills is possible. 

Webwatcher has the following features available:

  • SMS and call monitoring
  • View deleted messages
  • Access website history
  • Track popular social media platforms
  • GPS location monitoring
  • App usage metrics


WebWatcher, despite its vast array of features, doesn’t hold intending customers ransom to astronomic plans.

To use Webwatcher, subscribe to any of these plans: 

  • 1 Month: $39.95 
  • 3 Months: $59.95 
  • 12 Months: $129.95


  • Tamper-proof application
  • 5-minute set-up
  • Clutter-free dashboard
  • Doesn’t require rooting for seamless use
  • Compatible with most Android and iOS devices


  • Glitches noticeable during usage

#12 Kidlogger


Last but not least on our round-up listing is Kidlogger, a free alternative to WebWatcher. This parental app gives you vital context on your kids’ Internet activities all day.  

With Kidlogger, you can execute the following:

  • Monitor web history
  • Time tracking
  • View metrics on DVD/Drive usage
  • Keylogger
  • Access messaging applications
  • Monitor usage of installed apps
  • Get accurate email reports


Although Kidlogger has a “free trial,” patrons must key into a subscription to use the app’s premium functions.

Packages available include:

  • Standard: $29 per year
  • Professional: $89 per year


  • Free plan available
  • Easy to use UI
  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Rock-solid monitoring features
  • Demo mode 


  • The free package has limited features


Can I Track My Kid’s Device Stealthily?

Using parental control apps, you can monitor your kid’s activities on the Internet and social media apps without them knowing. 
Just install your preferred variant to get cracking.

Is It Possible to Control My Kid’s Device From Mine?

With a parental control app, the answer is yes.
These apps allow you to block apps, filter web content, and set “screen on” limits. To do this, install the app on the target phone and log into your unique dashboard.

What Is the Best Parental Control App?

mSpy takes the crown. This app has the functionalities required to execute cell phone monitoring remotely. 
From cell phone monitoring to GPS tracking, mSpy is a “must get” to accurately track your kid’s Internet acts.
What’s more? You can seek a refund within 30 days if the app doesn’t tally your preferences.

Are Parental Control Apps Expensive?

Apps for parents to monitor the social media profiles of their kids are priced moderately. Most available options feature prices hovering around $10 to $50 monthly. 
Although there are expensive variants, we recommend engaging the alternatives on our listing to avoid boring a hole in your finances.

Major Takeaway

We’ve looked at 12 parental control applications, bound to give you an insight into your kids’ activities 24/7. To curate this listing, we integrated pricing, features, and ease of use as markers. Using these criteria, mSpy ranked top. 

This app grants you access to SMS tracking, real-time GPS location monitoring, and a keylogger to get you in sync with your kid’s keyboard taps all day long. 

What’s more? There’s a “demo mode” to get you up to speed with its inner workings.

Besides mSpy, the remaining alternatives on our listing are worth considering. Just pick the medium that tallies your preferences to the T.

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