Children no longer want toys on their 7th birthday, they want cell phones and iPods but with the increase in cybercrimes, parents need a way to protect their children before granting their wishes. So, the creators of Mobile Spy, Retina X Software,have stepped in with the PhoneSheriff Investigator; a software that promises to help parents efficiently monitor their children’s cell phone activities.
Like many people you’re probably curious about this product– I used to be just like you. However, after beta testing the software, I have unlocked the answers to my questions and I am ready to share the facts with you.
Before we move on, note that this review is about PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition and not the regular PhoneSheriff software where you can download and install the monitoring app directly to your mobile, much like Mobile Spy. The investigator edition works in an entirely different way, let’s find out how.
What Is The PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition
As the name suggests the PhoneSheriff Investigator is a surveillance software that allows the carrying out of investigations on mobile devices, specifically iPhones, iPods and iPads. The program was primarily designed to help parents keep tabs on their children and better protect them from cybercriminals who seek to attack through a seemingly harmless handheld gizmo.
Most monitoring programs for mobile devices generally require jailbreak for optimum performance. The PhoneSheriff has ditched this feature, along with the need to download and install an app on the device you wish to monitor.
Instead, users simply install the software on their personal computer and adjust the cloud setting on the device they wish to monitor. All you need is the Apple ID and Password for the target devices and you can rest assured that your information will not be forwarded to the developer.
The PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition is only compatible with Apple devices. I adore iOS devices so I was well on my way to get started prior to receiving the program. But if your kids own a Blackberry or android mobile, you should think about purchasing a 5.x iOS device or later for their upcoming birthday(iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch).
The catch is you will only be able to install the program on one computer but once it has installed you can monitor multiple devices at once and there are no annual or monthly fee.
Also, bear in mind that the application is only works with Windows 7 and 8 computers; it does not work with Windows XP.
How To Get Started
It doesn’t take a tech savvy person to set up the PhoneSheriff investigator. Below are a few steps you can follow to get started once you’ve secured a compatible device:
Retrieve the user name and password for the device you intend to monitor
Ensure that you use iCloud to back up the device.
Purchase the PhoneSheriff Investigator and install it to your computer
Check for internet connection.
Sign in with the Apple user name and password.
Start monitoring the target device from your computer screen.
The software uses Apple’s iCloud that stores images, notes and music on iOS devices. Users can use the cloud to back up information stored on the on the device by registering for a free account – simply download and install the application by entering the user name and password.
The iCloud will keep tabs of the data (text messages, contact information, images etc.) on your target device and give you daily updates.
Most children with iOS devices today will have an iCloud account set up; in this case, you can easily gain access to their Apple ID and password by exerting your authority. However, if for some reason they do not have an account you can create one on your own time.
One of the things I admire about PhoneSheriff investigator is that is does not install an application on the target phone, thus the user may remain oblivious to the fact that their activities on the mobile device is being monitored externally.
After the iCloud is set up, it will automatically sync to the device once daily whenever there is wireless access. However, you also have the option to sync the device manually to your PC using the iCloud app.
Simply put, the Investigator will pull information from the iCloud and allow you to view it on your computer. Without directly connecting to the device, the software will tell you everything you need to know from the backed up information. Awesome if you ask me!
Weakness Of The PhoneSheriff Investigator
The only noticeable weakness I came across while testing the product is the fact that the data is updated only once daily; thus it will require some amount of waiting for you to know what your kids are up to. Adding to this you will only receive GPS information on areas where the device is updated – not where it has been all day.
Another downside of the program is the fact that it requires an Apple ID and password. Although this might not be a problem for parents with younger children, in which case they would have access to their account. Some parents may be a bit reluctant to ask their teenager kids for their login information.
PhoneSheriff Investigator Capabilities
Now let’s jump into the good stuff, after all we are mainly interested in what this software is bringing to the table. As mentioned before, PhoneSheriff investigator differs from many mobile monitoring programs in a number of ways, however, its features are not much different from its so-calledlesser counterparts. Let’s look at what this software has to offer:
Text Message Monitoring: The software allows you to access all text messages delivered to the device under supervision as well as those that sent from the device. This includes contact numbers, full message content and the time the message was sent or received.
Call History Logging: User receives information for all incoming and outgoing calls on the device being monitored. This includes time stamps and contact details.
GPS Tracking: The software cannot track real time location. However, it periodically records the last location of the devices whenever it backs up data to the cloud – stay tuned for more information on this.
Safari Bookmarks: Parents can review internet bookmarks to know which websites their children have been visiting.
Notes: The application allows you to review notes stored on the phone.
Photos Access: PhoneSheriff Investigator will allow you to view and save all images taken by the target mobile.
Contact Details: Allow you to access all contact information stored on the phone.
For more information on the features, feel free to visit their website.
Do I Recommend PhoneSheriff Investigator?
After intense sessions of interrogating the software over a period of months, it is with great confidence that I recommended it to you.
There are no surprises – they tell you exactly what you’re getting into. However, I have to say I am not surprised by its performance. Retina X Software has surpassed our expectations numerous times in the past with their monitoring software – not necessarily common among software creators.
The PhoneSheriff Investigator has gotten popular among parents and with good reason. Its relatively easy to setup and does not require jailbreak – a true evolution for mobile software. Its shortcomings were very apparent to me due to my long history handling monitoring software but for most parents it will suffice.
It does not include the fancy features that come with most spy software but it is an efficient tool to monitor your children’s activities to protect them from cybercriminals.
It enables you to know whom your children are communicating with and about what – minus the long awkward dinner table conversations. It will not allow for real time monitoring, as discussed earlier but its usability and manageability is sufficient for most users. If you want to skip the trouble of a jailbreak, there is no alternative.
Save yourself the headache and do not compare it to mundane mobile spyware – they are completely different.
The software can be yours for only $79 and there are no monthly fees – great value considering its capabilities and you can sync it to all your kids’ cell phones. If you’re sceptical you can always go for the trial version so you know what you’re getting into.
It does not require that you disclose any credit card information and it will be viable for a week – enough time for you to test it out before you make a decision.