Many parents are concerned about the texting habits of their children and with whom they communicate. I receive many questions from parents wanting to monitor text messages on their child’s iPhone. Unfortunately, there is no quick, easy, and free solution that will allow you to monitor all the various ways your child can communicate with others.
There are ways to keep track of your child’s iPhone activities. However, it can be a little challenging because of all the different ways your child can communicate with others.
Monitor Text Messages – Consider the Messaging Options
The iPhone is capable of sending and receiving regular SMS text messages as well as iMessages. SMS text messages are managed by the cellular provider according to the child’s text messaging plan. An iMessage is managed by Apple and can only be sent between Apple devices. This article provides additional information on the difference between SMS text messages and iMessages.
In addition to SMS text messages and iMessages, your child can download a host of other third-party Internet-based messaging apps such as Text Free, Text Plus, Viber, and other instant message and social media apps. These Internet-based messaging apps provide additional avenues for your child to communicate with others.
What No-Cost Monitoring Options Are Available?
When it comes to monitoring your child’s text messages, you will need to decide if you want to pay for a professional monitoring service or use some no-cost options. Both approaches have their pros and cons, and in most cases it will be difficult to find one solution that will monitor all the potential communication methods used by your child.
Monitoring SMS Text Messages
SMS text messages are handled by your cellular provider. You can monitor the phone numbers your child is texting by signing in to your account on your cellular provider’s website. When viewing your account, there should be a list of all the phone numbers for which your child has sent or received text messages. Since the actual content of the text message is not available online, you will not be able to read the message, but at least you can see the phone numbers.
If you know your child’s Apple ID and password, you can access their iMessages. A simple way to monitor their account is by using an old non-activated iPhone, an iPad, iPod touch, or a Mac computer that is not currently used for your own iMessages. You may also be able to have your child’s SMS text messages delivered to the monitoring device.
Other Internet-Based Messaging Apps
There are a wide variety of Internet-based messaging apps available on the App Store. These apps allow the user to send text messages over the Internet and are difficult for a parent to monitor. It is important to understand a teenager is likely using more than one of these apps. Most professional monitoring services can monitor some of these apps, but you probably need to verify what apps are supported by the individual monitoring services.
In the end, your best solution may be the old fashioned method of physically taking your child’s device and manually checking these apps.
Using a Professional Monitoring Service
If you don’t mind paying a monthly fee, a professional monitoring service provides another solution for monitoring your child’s iPhone activities. When comparing professional monitoring services, there are basically two types of services: those that do not require jailbreaking your child’s iPhone, and those that do require jailbreaking the iPhone so a special monitoring app can be installed. In general, the services in which jailbreaking is not required have more limited monitoring capabilities than services that require jailbreaking the iPhone to install a dedicated monitoring app. If you don’t know what it means to jailbreak an iPhone, it probably isn’t something you will want to attempt.
Basically, jailbreaking is the process of removing restrictions and protections in Apple’s iOS software to allow the download of software not available through the official Apple App Store. There are articles all over the Internet explaining how to jailbreak an iPhone. Some companies that provide monitoring apps also provide links to help jailbreak the iPhone. Jailbreaking is not recommended by Apple and you should understand the risks associated with jailbreaking before attempting to jailbreak your device.
Some examples of professional monitoring services that do not require jailbreaking are TeenSafe, Pumpic iCloud Monitoring service, and the PhoneSheriff Investigator edition.
Examples of monitoring services requiring the iPhone to be jailbroken to install their monitoring app are Pumpic, PhoneSheriff, mSpy, and Mobile Spy.
DISCLAIMER – The examples above as well as many other monitoring apps are available on the Internet. I am not affiliated with any of these companies and have never used their products. I only provided the examples as a starting point for your own research, not as any specific product recommendation. If you do use a monitoring service, I would be interested in hearing some feedback on your experience with the service. I am also not promoting the jailbreaking of your device. You should understand the risks associated with jailbreaking before attempting to jailbreak your device. If you decide to jailbreak your device, do so at your own risk.
Find My iPhone
It is worth noting that many of the professional monitoring services offer location tracking of your child’s device. There is a free app available on the App Store called Find My iPhone that will also provide location tracking of your child’s device. You can also use the Find My Friends app for location tracking.
Using either the Find My iPhone app or the Find My Friends app, you can locate all devices associated with a certain Apple ID. For example, if your child has their own Apple ID, you can open the Find My iPhone app on your iPhone (or any Apple device) and sign in with your child’s Apple ID and password. The Find My iPhone app will locate all devices associated with your child’s Apple ID and display their location on your iPhone.
Additionally, from any computer, you can go to https://www.icloud.com and sign in with an Apple ID to locate all devices associated with that Apple ID. This article provides additional information on Find My iPhone.
More Information on Monitoring Your Child’s iPhone Messages
If you would like additional information about using an old non-activated iPhone, an iPad, iPod touch, or a Mac computer to monitor your child’s iPhone messages, click the link below for a more detailed article.