Do you have a sneaking suspicion your partner is spying on your phone? It’s a big accusation, and confronting them without evidence is walking a risky path. If you find yourself in a situation where you think your partner (or someone else in the house) is looking through your iPhone or Android while you’re asleep, there’s a built-in tool that can help confirm or deny your suspicions.
This tip comes to us from Redditor georgewastaken3. Their post focused on iPhone, but the same steps can be applied to Android as well. Whatever smartphone you have, its built-in usage history will tell on whoever was snooping around. On iPhone, the evidence will be recorded in either the Battery summary or Screen Time, while on Android, it will be logged in Digital Wellness.
All three features track your phone usage throughout the day and report back on which apps and services were used when. These tools are typically useful when trying to cut back on screen time or limit the impact of your phone use on its battery life. However, they can also let you know if there’s any activity being recorded while you aren’t using your phone.
Not that any activity at all means you’ve been compromised: Apps sometimes run when you aren’t using them yourself, for both innocent and not-innocent reasons. Your mail client might have background activity because it’s looking for new messages even while the app isn’t open, while Facebook might register background activity because it’s a data leech.
What you want to look out for is specific activity that happens while you’re sleeping or not by your phone that you know you didn’t do yourself. If you see “Messages” or “Gmail” was open for 20 minutes at 2 a.m. (not background activity, mind you), that’s a red flag. The same goes for any app on your phone you know you weren’t using yourself at that time.
For example, on the Battery summary on my iPhone, I can tap on the Battery Level graph to see which apps were used at which times. Between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., four apps were active, all operating in the background. In fact, it’s pretty interesting to see how much activity Photos takes up in the background overnight — the app is hard at work, probably syncing with iCloud.
If I were to see Photos active without the “background” tag, though, I could deduce someone was looking through my pictures in the middle of the night. Not cool.
Again, exercise caution when making accusations. If your partner really is spying on you while you sleep, that’s a big red flag. Of course, not all sneaky activity is malicious. Maybe your kid stole your phone for a midnight game of Minecraft.