Table of contents
- Why would your spouse spy on you?
- The signs that your spouse is spying on your phone
- Your phone is sluggish
- Poor battery life
- High data usage
- Unexplained activity when the device is on standby
- Device overheating when not in use
- The methods your spouse could be using to spy on your phone
- Tracking apps
- Google Maps or Apple's “Find My iPhone”
- Google Chrome
- iCloud/Google account data
- How to react to a spouse spying on you
- How to keep your phone safe from spying?
- Don't use the same accounts as your spouse
- Use a strong passcode for your device
- Delete any apps you don't recognize
- Always keep your phone updated
- Reboot your device regularly
- Use VPN to change location to stop being tracked
Why would your spouse spy on you?
There are many reasons why a person would spy on their spouse:
- The person suspects that their spouse is cheating. They may be doing this for their own peace of mind, or even gathering evidence in preparation of filing for a divorce or annulment.
- The person may be interested in learning whether their spouse truly gave up a bad habit, such as drinking, gambling, or pornography.
- The person may want to learn more about a sensitive topic, such as their spouse’s financial habits, but cannot broach the topic openly. Perhaps the spouse may shut the conversation down or white lite about their spending.
- The person is insecure and wants to become a better partner for their spouse. By reading through their spouse’s conversations, they can do things with a greater chance of pleasing them.
- The person is overly controlling in general. One of the best ways to control their partner is to spy via their smartphone, which is a view into all their thoughts, activities, and plans.
The signs that your spouse is spying on your phone
Fortunately, there are several red flags that could indicate a phone is being used for spying.
Your phone is sluggish
When a smartphone is sluggish, actions take longer to execute, apps do not run as fast, and web pages load slower. While a slow phone is a frustrating experience, it could also point to spying. The phone may be slugging because it has spyware or tracking apps running in the background. The phone may also be slow because it has high bandwidth functions operating unbeknownst to the owner, such as Apple’s Find My iPhone.
Check if your partner or ex is tracking your phone immediately to prevent anyone from accessing your personal information.
Poor battery life
Battery life degrades over time. Battery life depends on its health. The lower the health, the shorter will be its life. Both Apple and Android have dashboards that help users review their battery life and usage, accessible in the phone’s settings.
When there is a sharp drop from the typical performance at any given time, the smartphone may be subject to spying. The battery life is being drained by energy-intensive tracking apps or spyware that are in constant use.
If your battery is significantly degraded, it might be because someone is spying on your phone.
High data usage
If there is no clear reason for a spike in data consumption on their phone, it could be evidence of spying. The data is being consumed by spyware or tracking apps that are running under seemingly benign app names.
Alternatively, the data may be used by a data-intensive, geo-tracking function enabled on a legitimate app, such as Google Maps. Both Android and iOS users can check data usage within their settings. Because users will see not only their total usage for the given period but usage per app, they can identify any suspicious activities.
Unexplained activity when the device is on standby
A user should be suspicious of unexplainable activity. Examples include apps randomly opening up on their own, the device flipping through different screens, or even text being typed into different fields, such as search bars.
This unexplained activity is a top sign of spying. It could indicate that the spouse has installed spyware equipped with powerful tools, such as remote access. With this feature, the spying person can manually access the smartphone on a live basis from another device.
Device overheating when not in use
People should be alarmed when their smartphones are hot for no reason. For example, when your phone is on standby. If the smartphone is hot in cases like these, it may be a sign of spying. There may be spyware, tracking apps, or other spying functions running in the background that lead to the phone heating up.
Is someone watching you?
Learn how to check if someone is watching you through your phone camera in our guide.
The methods your spouse could be using to spy on your phone
People should be familiar with all the different ways used for spying so that they can prevent themselves from being victimized. Below, you will see the most common ways to spy on someone.
There are many legitimate uses for tracking apps. For example, a parent may want to know the location of their underage son or daughter. Unfortunately, these tracking apps cannot vet whether a person is downloading it for legitimate or for nefarious purposes.
A spouse can easily repurpose a popular tracking app for spying. Tracking apps are meant for one specific use — parent-child monitoring. However, they have shown themselves to be quite effective spying tools. All your spouse needs to do is covertly install the tracking app on your phone, and grant themselves permission to monitor the device from an admin or parent account.
Nearly all tracking apps are marketed toward parents, but they can easily be repurposed for other use cases, such as spying on a spouse.
Tracking apps provide a surprising amount of aggregate and granular data on the person, as this dummy dashboard shows.
While tracking apps and spyware are often used interchangeably, these are different. Tracking apps are legitimate apps commercially available on Google Play or the App Store. Spyware, on the other hand, is a type of malware. While they are ostensibly parental control apps, they are generally repurposed to achieve dubious goals, such as spying on a spouse.
Spyware is not available on app stores because they violate their terms of service. Spyware can instead be obtained or bought on torrenting sites, the dark web, or other back alleys of the internet. Because spyware is not downloaded via an official app store, it is most often deployed onto a spouse’s phone via a malicious file, website, or install package.
Google Maps or Apple's “Find My iPhone”
Apple’s “Find my iPhone” feature was developed to help users find lost or stolen phones. Enterprising users have since co-opted the feature for spying. Once a person gains access to their partner’s iCloud account or grants themselves access via a family sharing group, all they need to do is initiate a search of the given device. If the smartphone is online, the app will show the current location. If the smartphone is offline, the last known location will be shown.
The location sharing feature on Google Maps can be repurposed similarly for spying. This feature is meant for sharing a location on a one-time basis, such as showing a friend where to meet for lunch. A spouse can covertly activate this feature when needed to keep tabs on the whereabouts of their partner. Because location sharing is done on a one-off basis, some spouses may elect to turn on location history on their partner’s phone, which may be accessed at any time.
There are multiple indicators that a person’s location is being shared. On Google Maps itself, their position will continually refresh to provide the most accurate location data to the other person. The person will get a push notification on Google Maps as well as immediate and monthly emails indicating that they are sharing their location.
Google Chrome is one of the most popular mobile browsers in the world. Like Google Maps, Google Chrome can be repurposed for spying. Google Chrome, after all, tracks an extraordinary amount of data related to a person’s internet usage. This includes the searches they made, the sites they visited, and even how much time they spent on a particular website.
A spouse could access their partner’s Google Chrome history to find out all these details. An easy way to prevent this kind of snooping is to delete browser data on Google Chrome, which wipes out all information. Users may want to take similar measures for other mobile browsers that they use.
iCloud/Google account data
Google tracks a wealth of user information from its suite of apps, which includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and more. This data is visible in a person’s Google account: everything from online purchases and location history to Gmail and YouTube activity. This data can be accessed via the person’s smartphone, or even another device if the spouse knows their credentials.
This same principle applies to iCloud as well. iCloud stores and syncs data across the Apple suite, such as Apple Mail, Photos, Calendar, and more. The sensitive information contained on iCloud can be accessed via the person’s device or remotely using their credentials.
How to react to a spouse spying on you
There are numerous actions a person can take if they discover that their spouse is spying on them via their phone:
- If a person feels that their spouse might deny the accusation, they can gather evidence of the spying. For example, they can request a forensic examination of the phone for any suspicious apps or activity from technology companies that specialize in this area.
- Victims of spying should remove all suspicious apps, change their passwords, and review their security settings on their devices and software. They should continue to maintain these best practices to ensure their data privacy.
- If the person feels like the relationship can be mended, they should speak with their partner. Rather than focus only on the spying, they may want to concentrate on the underlying issue. For example, if the spouse spied on their partner in fear of an alcoholism relapse, they can provide assurance that they are taking active steps to remain sober.
- In some cases, the person may feel like their life is in danger. They should immediately remove themselves from the home they share with their spouse, seek shelter elsewhere, and report the spying to local authorities.
How to keep your phone safe from spying?
Because there are numerous ways to spy on a partner, people should follow the best practices for personal cybersecurity. Following them ensures that there are no weak points through which a spouse can spy from.
Don't use the same accounts as your spouse
Many spouses surprisingly share accounts. This makes it very easy to spy. For example, if a couple shares a Google account, one spouse would just need to enable the most granular data collection to spy on their partner. They could simply disregard their own usage in the data to see what their partner is up to.
Sharing accounts may also present a security threat to non-shared accounts. If a partner creates a shared account using a certain password, their spouse may try to use those credentials to enter other non-shared accounts.
Use a strong passcode for your device
Though it may be convenient to have a simple password like “000000” or “123456,” users should strive for stronger passcodes. While many people like to have passcodes related to their personal life, such as a birthday, they should avoid this practice. Because spouses have such intimate knowledge of your life, they may be able to guess this type of passcode. The best type of passcode will be a random string of numbers.
There is also strength in regularly changing a passcode. Even if a person has a random passcode, a spouse may still obtain it by looking at them when they type or reviewing CCTV footage. Frequently changing passcodes will minimize this threat.
Delete any apps you don't recognize
People should regularly review the list of apps on their phone. If there are any apps that they do not recognize, they should delete them immediately. Some tracking apps may have clear names that indicate their purpose. Because they are available in app stores, a person could also look them up to confirm their purpose.
Spyware may masquerade as benignly-named apps. This design is intentional: the spyware developers want to minimize the chances it gets deleted. For example, a recently installed app may be known as “Tip calculator” and have a calculator icon, but actually in fact be spyware. To avoid being tricked, people should delete any unrecognized apps, no matter how harmless they may seem.
Always keep your phone updated
New updates for software or even the phone’s operating system often include security patches. These updates address a previous vulnerability, which may also be an entrypoint for spyware.
Putting off these updates heightens the risk of spyware. Regularly updating a phone whenever software or operating system updates are available ensures that the latest cybersecurity defenses are implemented.
Reboot your device regularly
Rebooting a smartphone ensures that any software or operating system updates are in working order. Furthermore, Google and Apple have strict cybersecurity standards that are making it increasingly harder to deliver malware, including spyware. Many hackers are delivering these payloads via “in memory payloads” which gets wiped out when a device is rebooted.
Use VPN to change location to stop being tracked
Location tracking is a particularly sensitive data point. Based on a person’s location, a person can easily infer what they are doing or who they are with. If a person is location tracked as being at a gym, they are probably exercising. A spying spouse can make these inferences to have a fairly accurate picture on what their spouse is doing on a moment to moment basis.
Fortunately, a person can use a virtual private network (VPN) to change their location. One such example comes from Clario, which privates a VPN for smartphones running on Android or iOS. With this VPN, users can change their browsing location to an entirely different country. This prevents potential spies from getting any kind of accurate location information.
Here’s how to connect to Clario’s VPN:
- Download Clario and get a subscription to create an account
- Open the Clario app and click Browsing
- Turn on Browsing protection
- Tap on your browsing location to change it
- Choose your desired browsing location from the list to thwart any location tracking.
Unfortunately, a spouse can easily spy on their partner’s phone. There are many technologies that make spying easier than ever, including legitimate apps such as tracking apps, Google Workspace, and more, as well as nefarious tools like spyware. Because of how common spying is, people should pay attention to their phone’s behavior. High data usage, sluggish responsiveness, and unexplained activity are just some of the signs that a phone may be compromised. In these cases, a person should discuss the issue with their spouse. Go to proper authorities if you feel you are in danger.
To prevent spying, people should follow best cybersecurity practices. First, run your device through an antivirus software. Then check if your data has been leaked or compromised. Then encrypt your internet connection. All this you can do with one single app - Clario anti-spy solution. While spying is a heavily intrusive crime, it is ultimately our responsibility to ensure our privacy.