Spy on smartphones
Sometimes you leave your smartphone unattended at work, in the office, or at home and feel that someone has used it in our absence, without our permission. Find out if someone has used the smartphone, but we can read some easy clues to understand if someone really had access to our smartphone or even just “tried”, without being able to overcome the lock screen protection systems.
In this guide we will show you in detail how to check if someone has used the smartphone in our absence, using both the integrated tools on modern smartphones (Android and iPhone) and some “spying apps” and anti-theft apps that can always show us who is trying to log in with our phone.READ ALSO: Check/spy on another’s phone (Android)

How to check if the smartphone has been used

There are various methods and tricks that we can use to immediately know if someone has used our phone while we were away or if we have been distracted for even a few minutes. It starts from the simple control on the lock screen (the simplest) up to some third-party apps useful for protecting the smartphone from theft and “spying”.

Lock screen control

If we have activated the lock screen protection on our phone, it is quite simple to check if someone has attempted to log in: not knowing our password and not having our biometric data (fingerprints or face), the system will display a warning about too many failed login attempts promoting you to type the system password.
PIN lock

This is a clue about the activity carried out during our absence: a probable spy tried to use our smartphone by typing PINs or passwords he knows or understands, without success.
The lock screen is for this, so it is best not to neglect its security: if we are still used to using the unlock path, we strongly recommend that you increase the security level as shown in our guides Smartphone protection and safer screen unlock for Android is More secure screen unlock for iPhone.
To these precautions we also add the choice of a robust system password, difficult to guess: in this regard, we can read our in-depth analysis How to choose a secure password for any account.

Use time and battery check

If we are afraid that our smartphone has also been used with active protections (maybe we had a simple unlock with a very easy path to guess or a PIN like 1234), we can carry out our investigations by checking first of all the time of use and the status of the battery.
On Android, for example, we can check the active screen statistics, taking us to the app Settings, pressing on Battery or similar menus, opening the item Battery usage statistics, and viewing the details on the use of the battery (we can do this by pressing on the item Ranking and selecting Details).
Battery statistics

Let’s check the voice Active screen and, if we notice the presence of an active part shortly before our arrival, probably the smartphone was used during our absence.

On the iPhone instead, we can perform a similar check by opening the app Settings, pressing on Usage time by selecting the item View all activities, and scrolling the screen until you find the section Screen activations.
IPhone screen

In this screen, we will in fact find all the screen activations, complete with a graph with the activations performed in a certain time slot (it may be necessary to press on the current day to see the complete graph).
Again these are clues, but useful to understand if someone really used the phone while we were away.

Anti-theft app to protect your smartphone

If we want to add evidence to simple clues and suspicions, we must necessarily install an anti-theft app on our phone, able to secretly photograph anyone trying to unlock the smartphone.

On Android, we can use the Lockwatch app for this purpose, available for free for all devices.

This app replaces the phone’s default lock system and, in case of the wrong PIN, password, or unlock pattern, sends an email a photo of the spy, obtained through the front camera (which will be activated on the spot in a completely invisible way). This way we will have a nice photo of the spy who tried to use our phone!
We talked about this app in the guide App to catch those who try to unlock the phone (Android).

Another app similar to the one seen above is CrookCatcher, also available for free.

Exactly like the app seen a little while ago, it replaces the lock screen and, in case of an error in typing the PIN, password, or unlock pattern, sends an email a photo of the spy, using the front camera of the phone for the purpose.

If we are looking for a complete anti-theft app that is also compatible with the iPhone, we recommend that you install Prey Anti Theft, downloadable for Android and iOS.

This app allows you to always track our phone even in case of loss or theft and integrates an interesting front shooting function, with which we can see who has tried to use our smartphone with a series of multiple shots (viewable via email or via online website).
To discover other effective anti-theft apps, we recommend reading our guide Anti-theft for smartphones that locks, locates, and erases memory.


If someone dared to use the smartphone during our absence or when we were distracted, we now have all the effective tools to ask for clarification on what happened, complete with a compromising photograph of the access attempt.

Do we want to apply the same security to our PC and find out who used it in our absence? Just read the suggestions proposed in our article Check if anyone uses my computer.
To automatically lock the computer when we get up or go to sleep, just follow the advice seen in our guide Lock your Windows PC with a password, even automatic.


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