How to Track an iPhone Without Them Knowing: A Guide

Tracking someone’s iPhone without their knowledge may seem unethical, but there are legitimate reasons for doing so. Parents may want to monitor their kids’ locations and activities. Employers may need to track company-owned devices. Or you may simply want to locate a lost or stolen phone. Whatever the reason, there are several ways to track an iPhone without the owner knowing.

Why Track an iPhone Secretly?

Why Track an iPhone Secretly

Before we get into the how, let’s look at some of the reasons you may need to track an iPhone without the user’s knowledge:

  1. Parental monitoring – Parents want to keep their kids safe. Tracking their location and monitoring app usage helps parents ensure their children aren’t visiting unsafe places or using apps inappropriately.
  2. Find lost or stolen devices – If your iPhone is lost or stolen, being able to track its location remotely helps you recover it, or at least keeps sensitive data out of the wrong hands.
  3. Employer policies – Many companies require employees to use company-owned phones. Employers have a right to track these devices for security purposes.
  4. Infidelity or relationship issues – While tracking a significant other’s phone without their consent raises ethical concerns, some may feel this is justified if they suspect cheating or inappropriate behavior.
  5. Safety concerns about a loved one – If you’re concerned for the safety or wellbeing of an elderly parent or other loved one, secretly tracking their iPhone gives you peace of mind.

While secretly tracking another person’s iPhone may feel like an invasion of privacy in some cases, there may also be legitimate reasons for doing so. But it must be done carefully and thoughtfully.

How to Track an iPhone Without the Owner Knowing

Now let’s look at several ways to track an iPhone without the owner’s knowledge or consent:

1. Use Find My iPhone

Apple’s Find My iPhone app lets you remotely track and manage any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Macbook associated with your Apple ID. As long as the device has been previously linked to your Apple account, you can use Find My iPhone to view its location in real-time.

Find My iPhone

To track someone else’s iPhone using Find My iPhone:

  • You’ll first need access to the target device just once to link it to your own Apple ID.
  • Open Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > Find My iPhone and toggle on the setting.
  • Make sure Find My iPhone is enabled in iCloud settings as well.
  • Once linked to your Apple ID, you can remotely track the iPhone’s location anytime by logging into and accessing Find My iPhone.

The phone’s owner will not receive any notification that you are tracking their device. Just be sure to disable Find My iPhone’s Lost Mode feature, which locks the phone and displays a message, to avoid alerting the user.

2. Use a Phone Spy App

There are various phone spy apps available that let you secretly track and monitor another iPhone remotely. Some well-known apps include mSpy, FlexiSPY, and Spyzie.

Phone Spy App

Here’s how phone spy apps work:

  1. You’ll need brief physical access to the target iPhone to download and install the spy app.
  2. The app runs in stealth mode without appearing on the screen.
  3. You can then log into your spy app dashboard from any web browser to view real-time location, text messages, call logs, browsing history, photos and more.
  4. Spy apps stay invisible to the user and won’t show up in the app tray.

Phone spyware requires you to jailbreak the iPhone, which can be a complex process, and carries risks. Be sure to research apps thoroughly before installing, as some may be scams.

3. Use AirTags

Use AirTags

Apple’s AirTags are intended to help you find lost items, but they can also be slipped into someone’s bag or car to secretly track their iPhone. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get Apple AirTags (you’ll need one AirTag per device you want to track).
  • Activate the AirTags through your own iPhone.
  • Place the AirTags in the target user’s belongings, like a pocket, bag or vehicle.
  • Check the location via the Find My app on your iPhone.

The owner will not get immediate alerts that an unknown AirTag is traveling with them due to an Apple privacy feature called Item Safety Alerts. However, they will eventually receive a notification that an “Unknown Accessory Detected” is tracking their location over time.

4. Install Tracking Software on Their Computer

If you have access to the computer your target iPhone user syncs with via iTunes, you can install tracking software on the computer to monitor their iPhone activities.

Installing Tracking Software on Their Computer

Some tracking software options to explore include:

  • Spyic – Secretly tracks iPhone locations, messages, calls, and more. Syncs data when the user connects their iPhone to the computer.
  • Refog Keylogger – Records keystrokes made on the target computer to uncover passwords, search history, messages, and more.
  • mSpy for Computer – Another powerful monitoring suite for Windows and Mac computers.

The installation process will vary for each program, so carefully follow the setup guide. Make sure to enable stealth mode in the settings. Once installed, you’ll be able to remotely log into the program’s online dashboard to view detailed iPhone activity and location data synced from the computer.

5. Check iCloud Backup Data

Your target user’s iPhone data like photos, messages, contacts and location history may get automatically backed up to iCloud. If you can access their iCloud account credentials, you can view archived backups and synced data points:

  • Log into using their Apple ID username and password.
  • Go to Settings > [Their Name] > iCloud.
  • Select Manage Storage > Backups to view iOS device backups.
  • Click on a backup to view synced photos, messages, contacts, calendar events and more.
  • Check their location history under Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services.

This gives you access to detailed historical data from their iPhone. New data only gets synced when the phone backs up, so it’s not real-time tracking. But it could reveal past locations and activities.

How to Track an iPhone Secretly Without Them Knowing? (8 Tips)

Tracking an iPhone Secretly Without Them knowing

To summarize, here is a step-by-step overview of how to track an iPhone in secret:

  1. Get initial physical access to the target iPhone to install software or link it to your Apple ID.
  2. Enable Find My iPhone by associating the iPhone with your own Apple account. Keep Lost Mode disabled.
  3. Install a phone spy app like mSpy or FlexiSPY after jailbreaking. Follow all setup steps carefully.
  4. Hide an AirTag in their belongings, then check the location remotely from your iPhone. But beware of Item Safety Alerts after a while.
  5. Set up tracking software like Spyic or Keylogger on their synced computer to capture iPhone activity.
  6. Check iCloud backups by logging into their account to view location history and synced data.
  7. Monitor the tracking dashboards remotely via any web browser for real-time tracking. Avoid logging in from shared devices.
  8. Remain discreet and don’t raise suspicions that could lead to them discovering the tracking.

With persistence and care, the steps above will let you covertly monitor another person’s iPhone activities and whereabouts. Just be mindful of relevant laws where you live related to secret tracking and invasion of privacy. And leverage the data responsibly.

Is It Illegal to Track a Phone Without Consent?

While the strategies above do work, it’s debatable whether secretly tracking someone’s phone is ethical or legal without their consent. A few key legality considerations:

  • In the U.S., there are no federal laws banning secret phone tracking, but it could potentially violate wiretapping and stalking laws. The legal risk depends a lot on each specific situation and method used.
  • If the phone owner is a minor, the law generally gives parents the right to monitor their kids on family plans. But there are limits once the child becomes an adult.
  • Employers have more legal standing to track company-owned devices issued to employees. However, they still must follow certain notice requirements.
  • Spying on a partner’s or spouse’s phone without permission remains a major legal gray area that has complex ramifications.
  • Placing an AirTag or other tracker on someone’s property without consent could be considered stalking or harassment in many jurisdictions.

To avoid legal errors, it’s best to obtain some form of documentation like signed consent from the phone’s owner where possible. And certainly, avoid hacking into accounts or devices illegally. Consult a lawyer if you have concerns.

Ultimately, even if secret phone tracking does fall into a legal gray zone in certain contexts, ethical considerations should also be weighed carefully.

How Can I Tell If My iPhone Is Being Tracked Secretly?

How Can I Tell If My iPhone Is Being Tracked Secretly

If you suspect someone is tracking your iPhone covertly, here are some signs to watch out for:

  1. Unfamiliar devices or accounts – Check Settings > [Your Name] and look for any unknown device or account associations that could hint at Find My iPhone being enabled by someone else.
  2. Unexpected AirTag alerts – Your iPhone will eventually warn that an “Unknown Accessory” is traveling with you if an unwanted AirTag is detected nearby.
  3. Reduced battery life – Phone spyware running in the background could drain your battery faster than usual.
  4. Sluggish performance – Similarly, spy apps affect system performance and slow down your iPhone.
  5. Pop-ups from Cydia – Jailbreaking your device to install spyware may cause Cydia to display unexpected pop-up messages.
  6. Unrecognizable apps – Carefully inspect your app tray for any apps you don’t remember downloading, as they could be spyware.
  7. Suspicious account activity – Login to and check for any activity, backups, or sync data from unknown locations that point to your account being accessed secretly.
  8. Overheating iPhone – Your iPhone getting hot when not in heavy use could indicate monitoring software straining the device’s resources.

If you spot any suspicious signs, run security scans using reputable antivirus apps like Malwarebytes and check all settings carefully for anything unfamiliar. Also, change passwords immediately. Removing spyware may require professional help or even a factory reset.

Ethical Ways to Track People Without Their Knowledge

If you truly need to track someone’s iPhone covertly for legitimate reasons:

  1. Explain why – Be upfront about your reasons for needing to track them and get their buy-in if at all possible. Transparency is key.
  2. Use child accounts – Take advantage of family tracking features offered by apps and cell providers for monitoring minors.
  3. Leverage company policies – Your employer may mandate the use of monitoring software on work-issued phones that employees consent to upon hiring.
  4. Enroll them in a safety program – Some cell carriers let you register users like elderly relatives under a monitored safety program to share their location with loved ones.
  5. Make requests, not demands – Ask politely for permission to track their device instead of doing so secretly without consent.
  6. Appeal to their sense of reason – Explain your tracking rationale calmly and rationally to win their understanding.

Ideally tracking should only be done transparently and with the full knowledge and cooperation of the iPhone’s owner. There are ethical ways to request consent that build trust in relationships rather than destroy them through subterfuge.


While covertly tracking an iPhone may sometimes seem justifiable, proceed with extreme caution. Tracking people without consent raises complex legal and ethical concerns. Get permission where possible, research any tracking apps extensively, and leverage safer methods like Find My or family sharing features when available.

If you feel tracking is necessary despite objections, consult an attorney and mental health professional for guidance on responsibly balancing personal safety with ethics and individual rights. With care and wisdom, it is possible to track an iPhone strictly for legitimate purposes without harming relationships built on honesty and mutual consent.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it illegal to track someone else’s iPhone?

There are no federal laws in the U.S. prohibiting secret phone tracking outright. But it could potentially violate state laws related to wiretapping, stalking or invasion of privacy depending on the specific circumstances.

Can you track an iPhone without installing software?

Yes, using Find My iPhone or AirTags allows location tracking without installing any software on the target device. But brief physical access is needed to link to your Apple ID or hide the AirTags.

What happens if you turn off Find My iPhone?

Turning off Find My iPhone disconnects the device from your Apple account and stops online tracking. But any location history already synced will remain in iCloud.

Can you track a phone if Location Services are turned off?

No, disabling Location Services prevents all methods of iPhone tracking from functioning properly. Some data may sync during brief periods when location was enabled.

Is there spyware that completely hides from iPhone?

Yes, completely hidden and untraceable iPhone spyware does exist, but it requires advanced technical knowledge to install. Consumer phone spy apps are detectable if you know what to look for.