How to Read Someone Else's Texts Without Their Knowledge

Tools to use if you think a loved one is in trouble

Mother watching daughter use cell phone

JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Digital privacy isn't just about protecting your data, but also respecting boundaries when it comes to dealing with personal devices. Under normal circumstances, it's not OK to read someone else's texts, but it can come in handy in rare emergency situations.

For example, perhaps you have a friend who has expressed a desire to self-harm, or you think your child may be getting texts from people with bad intentions. Phone carriers don't always allow parents to monitor the content of text messages, so sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

Before looking at anyone's texts, or any other electronic communications, be sure to check and follow applicable laws regarding this action in your area.

The information here should apply to both iPhone and Android devices, regardless of manufacturer: Apple, Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Read People's Texts With Spy Apps

Spy apps let you read texts on another person's phone, but you won't find them in official app stores. A quick Google search, however, will yield spy app options to download and use just like any other app.

In most cases, in order to monitor someone's phone, you'll need access to it at least once to install the spy app software. After that, you'll be able to read texts remotely without the owner's knowledge.

Be extremely careful when downloading apps outside of an official app store. They could contain viruses or even copy or view information from your device.

How to Use the XNSPY Mobile Spy App

One example of a text spy app is XNSPY. It works on both Android and iOS and offers annual pricing plans. There's a basic edition as well as a premium version that offers extended features. Here's how it works:

  1. Visit the Buy XNSPY Now page of the product's website and select Buy Now next to the version you prefer.

    Be sure to read through the list of features for both XNSPY Basic and XNSPY Premium to understand the features offered. Some features work only on rooted Android devices or iPhones that have been jailbroken. There are also heavy iOS version restrictions for the edition that works on jailbroken iPhones.

  2. Review and follow the directions for installing the software on the target device.

    xnspy installation instructions

    If you bought the iOS version for non-jailbroken devices, you need to know only the person's iCloud information (you don't need their phone). The jailbroken version requires physical access to the phone.

  3. Log in to your XNSPY dashboard to review text messages, location information, and more.

    XNSPY text monitoring screen

Read Someone Else's Texts With a Web Access Tool

Several texting apps let users view messages from a web browser, a feature that can assist you in reading someone else's texts remotely. In some cases, you'll first need access to the other person's phone.

You can read someone's Facebook Messenger texts from a computer if you know their login details. You don't need their phone at all because the texts are available from any computer or phone that logs in with the person's email and password.

However, other apps, such as WhatsApp, require access to the phone first. For example, to view your child's WhatsApp messages, you'd need to use the app on their phone to set up WhatsApp web access. Then, as long as they're on Wi-Fi, you'll be able to read all their texts instantly from your computer.

Android Messages works similarly, offering a Messages for web website where Android users can read and send texts from a computer. If you set up Messages for web from their app, each time they're on the same Wi-Fi network, you'll be able to read their text messages from your computer.

iMessage offers another way to read someone else's texts without them knowing. If some of your family members are using the same Apple ID on their iOS devices, set up iMessage texts to show up on every device, and you'll be able to monitor their texts.

To monitor your child's computer, consider using a parental control app, or block texts on their phone if you're concerned about a particular person.