Qustodio vs. mSpy 2024: Which Product Is Best for Your Family?

Qustodio includes plenty of features with a user-friendly interface, but has some data privacy concerns. Alternatively, mSpy has extensive monitoring capabilities and real-time tracking, but lacks two-factor authentication and category-based filtering.
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Best for a budget

4.0
Editorial Rating
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On Qustodio's website

Qustodio
  • Parental control app with lots of features
  • User-friendly, clean interface
  • Concerns surrounding data privacy

Best for strict monitoring capabilities

3.0
Editorial Rating
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On mSpy's website

mSpy
  • Extensive monitoring capabilities
  • Real-time location tracking
  • Features like remote camera access can be intrusive

Qustodio can do a lot to ease a parent’s mind. This robust parental control solution allows you to observe your child’s online activity with monitoring tools for calls and messages, among other features. It’s also an affordable app, with both of their plans costing less than $10 per month.

There are three plans to choose from with mSpy, which can range from $11.67-$48.99/mo. You get lots of features for your money, like screen time management and social media monitoring, but you’ll pay a premium price for them.

We’ll provide a comprehensive overview of Qustodio and mSpy so you can determine which parental control app is best to monitor your child.

In this article
Qustodio vs. mSpy review at a glance
Qustodio vs. mSpy: prices
Qustodio vs. mSpy: monitoring and alerts
Which is safer, Qustodio vs. mSpy?
Qustodio vs. mSpy: compatibility and customer support
Qustodio vs. mSpy FAQs
Qustodio vs. mSpy: Which is better?

Qustodio vs. mSpy review at a glance

One of the main differences between Qustodio and mSpy is the cost. You’ll pay more for mSpy no matter which plan you choose. That’s something for budget-conscious families to consider.

Also, you won’t get the remote camera feature with the mSpy Premium plan. That only comes with the Extreme and Family Kit subscriptions. If you want to cover more than three devices, mSpy’s suggestion is to buy more subscriptions, which doesn’t seem exceptionally reasonable.

On the other hand, Qustodio coverage starts at five devices. With the Qustodio Complete plan, you get unlimited device protection, which beats the three devices mSpy can monitor. You can also set app time limits and monitor calls and texts with Qustodio’s Complete plan. If you want the budget-friendly option, Qustodio has the best bang for your buck.

  • Qustodio: Best for a budget
  • mSpy: Best for strict monitoring capabilities

Qustodio vs. mSpy compared

Starting price $4.58/mo (billed annually) $11.67/mo
Free version
Max number of protected devices Unlimited 3
Web filtering
Screen time limits
Location tracking
Activity reports
Learn more Read Qustodio Review Read mSpy Review

Qustodio pros and cons

Pros
  • Comes with plenty of features
  • User-friendly interface
  • Can monitor unlimited devices
Cons
  • Comes with data privacy concerns
  • Doesn’t have third-party auditing

mSpy pros and cons

Pros
  • Has extensive monitoring features
  • Comes with keyword alerts
  • Includes real-time location tracking
Cons
  • Doesn’t have category-based filtering
  • Some options, like remote camera access, may be intrusive to older kids

Qustodio vs. mSpy: prices

Our Pick
Price range $4.58-$8.33/mo (billed annually) $11.67-$48.99/mo
Best value plan Qustodio Basic for $4.58/mo (billed annually) mSpy Premium for 3 months at $28.00/mo
Learn more Read Qustodio Review Read mSpy Review

Qustodio plans

Qustodio has two plans. You can opt for the Qustodio Basic or Complete subscription. It does come with a short, 3-day trial, and you won’t need your credit card to sign up for it. There’s also a 30-day, money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied after purchasing the product.

Here’s a summary of the features you’ll get with these two plans:

  • Qustodio Basic: This plan comes with games and app blocking, web filtering, daily time limits, location monitoring, and internet pause options. It provides coverage for up to five devices.
  • Qustodio Complete: You get all the features of the Basic plan plus custom alerts, calls and text monitoring, device blocking routines, and app and web rule routines. It provides unlimited device coverage.

mSpy plans

There are three options with the mSpy plans: Premium, Extreme, or Family Kit. We had to do some digging to find the prices for these plans and noticed that mSpy doesn’t readily provide that information. Also, if you want to monitor more than three devices, you’ll need to buy more subscriptions, as mSpy covers only up to three with the Family Kit.

There’s a notice on the website showing that mSpy no longer offers free trials, so keep in mind that you aren’t able to try this product without committing to a purchase. We’ll give you the details of each plan below:

  • mSpy Premium: With mSpy Premium, you get plenty of options that cover one device. Included are features like website filtering, social media monitoring, text and email monitoring, a keylogger, and screen time management.
  • mSpy Extreme: With mSpy Extreme, you’ll get everything offered with the Premium plan and get location tracking, screen recording, and remote camera features.
  • mSpy Family Kit: The Family Kit plan covers up to three devices and includes all the same features you get with mSpy Premium.

Winner: Qustodio has plenty of features that come with a reasonable price. The mSpy plans are more expensive, and it’s hard to find information on how much you’ll pay on the product website.

Qustodio vs. mSpy: monitoring and alerts

Feature
Our Pick
Website filtering
App filtering Yes — Facebook, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, WhatsApp Yes — Facebook, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, WhatsApp, Tinder, Telegram, Kik, LINE
Social media monitoring
Text message monitoring
Email monitoring
Internet search monitoring
Screen time limits
Remote lock
Cyberbullying and online predator alerts
Location tracking
Geo-fencing
Activity reports
Learn more Read Qustodio Review Read mSpy Review

Qustodio has almost all the features you need from a parental control app, minus remote lock. If you’re a parent looking for software with comprehensive monitoring tools, this program has it all.


One option Qustodio could improve on is the panic button feature. Currently, it’s only offered for Android devices. Since many children also use iPhones, it would be beneficial to have this available for iOS, too.

For mSpy, you’ll still get plenty of features, except remote lock and cyberbullying alerts. In today’s age of online predators, many parents want that extra peace of mind. Still, mSpy allows for word screening, which alerts you to specific concerns you might have.

However, we found that this software seems more geared toward surveillance rather than parental controls. It includes features like screen recording and remote camera access, which might be excessive. As parents, we want to keep our kids safe, but we also recognize that privacy is important, especially for older children.

For iOS, we noticed that mSpy requires a jailbroken iPhone if you want to monitor certain applications, like Facebook and Tinder. That could be a dealbreaker for parents with children who use iPhones.

mSpy dashboard showing last actions, account data, account info, media, and contacts.

Winner: Qustodio has more features that we think parents will want. It also comes at a more affordable price.

Which is safer, Qustodio vs. mSpy?

Security is always a concern with any parental control app, as you want to know your privacy is protected. To best serve the security needs of parents and children, some parental monitoring apps come with options like two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication.

These forms of authentication force you to prove who you are before you log in so you can protect your account from hackers. When logging in, in addition to your username and password, you may use a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition.

Unfortunately, neither of these apps offers two-factor authentication. At least mSpy offers AES-256 encryption, which is the standard security protocol layer for device protection. We couldn’t find a mention of what encryption Qustodio uses.

Qustodio vs. mSpy data security

Two-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication
Collects data
Shares data with third parties
Learn more Read Qustodio Review Read mSpy Review

Both apps also collect some user data. With mSpy, items like your name and location will be noted. Qustodio collects the same type of data, which can be used for parental monitoring. This is typical for many applications, so we weren’t particularly alarmed by it but felt you should be aware. In terms of safety, we don’t think one is necessarily better than the other.

We know most apps collect user data, so we weren’t surprised to find that Qustodio and mSpy both mention this in their privacy policies. While we know it’s customary, users should always be aware of how their data is used and if it’s shared with third parties. According to the policies, neither Qustodio nor mSpy shares user data with anyone else.

Parental control software has been found to have some security risks, including Qustodio’s Android solution. In 2020, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) published concerns relating to different items, like leakage of session authentication cookies and extraction of Facebook credentials. That stands for many of these applications, so parents should be aware when using them.

Winner: This one is a tie. Both apps collect the same type of data, and neither claim to share it with third parties.

Qustodio vs. mSpy: compatibility and customer support

Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Browser extensions Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari
24/7 customer support
Customer support options Email, support ticket, customer forums Email, phone, help center
Learn more Read Qustodio Review Read mSpy Review

When we tested mSpy, we noted that the interface was intuitive and well-organized. The setup took only a few minutes and was straightforward.

The downside was that our iCloud had trouble connecting numerous times and didn’t refresh afterward, thereby it collected any data. When mSpy worked, we found the app seemed more like a surveillance system than a parental control app. Not all parents will want to spy on their children as much as they will want to know they’re safe when online or away from home.

Qustodio was simple to download and install on our device. The interface was easy to use, and the alerts came in real time, as the program promised. Setting up a child profile was seamless, and took little time. We could view detailed reports to see which apps and websites our child accessed and were able to track our child’s location.

Neither of these apps has stellar customer service. They’re pretty basic, and you won’t get 24/7 service here. With Qustodio, you need the Premium plan to send a support ticket, and the response time could stretch to 48 hours. You won’t get better service with mSpy, as the selections are limited there, too. Either way, you’ll likely wait for a reply.

Winner: Qustodio wins this round. We had some hiccups when trying to connect mSpy to our iCloud, which slowed down the monitoring process.

Qustodio vs. mSpy FAQs


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What are Qustodio’s disadvantages?

With Qustodio, some security issues are present. With the ACM publishing a report regarding security vulnerabilities of parental control apps, we’d like to see Qustodio take an active role in making the platform more secure. This is true with many parental controls apps, not only this one.


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Will my child know mSpy is on their phone?

Your child will not know mSpy is on their phone because there’s no app showing on the screen. That keeps them from finding an unfamiliar logo and knowing they’re being monitored.


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Can kids disable Qustodio?

If kids see the Qustodio app on their phones, they may be able to disable it. The way around this is to deactivate the device admin feature to prevent them from uninstalling the app. You’ll set up parental controls on iOS or your Android device in the settings feature.


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What is the least invasive parental control app?

The least invasive parental control app depends on what you want to know as a parent. Most apps allow you to change the settings to adjust what you monitor.

Qustodio vs. mSpy: Which is better?

As parental control apps go, we tend to think Qustodio is better than mSpy. It’s much more cost effective for parents needing a budget-friendly option, and you get more features for your money. We also found mSpy to be lacking in transparency regarding price and security. It took some internet scouring to find information that wasn’t vague.

We think either of these apps will help parents monitor what their children do online, but mSpy leans more toward surveillance and that may put some parents off, especially if they want to build more trust with their kids. With all the social media apps in use today, we know parents want to make social media platforms safe to use and allow their children some space to have healthy boundaries.

If you want to balance parental oversight with keeping your child safe online, we’d recommend giving Qustodio a go over mSpy. But if you were put off by Qustodio’s security concerns, you can opt for one of the alternatives listed below.

Qustodio vs. mSpy alternatives

If you’ve checked Qustodio vs. mSpy but realized that neither piques your interest, then we have some alternatives you might like. These have security features many parents want and offer different pricing options.

4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Qustodio's website
Qustodio
  • Parental control app with lots of features
  • User-friendly, clean interface
  • Concerns surrounding data privacy
Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.