I added Pumpic to my list of parental control solutions several months ago but wanted to return for a more thorough review. Pumpic is a monitoring tool for iOS and Android devices. As with most solutions, there are broader monitoring features available for Android phones than iPhones, and this is due to the restrictions that Apple places on developers. But even so, for parents looking for a way to keep tabs on their child’s phone activity, Pumpic has a lot to offer.
The base features of Pumpic available for both iOS and Android devices are:
- Call history – Inbound and outbound call logs (number/contact called, call duration)
- Location history – current GPS location and a history of locations
- Text messages monitoring (including iMessage for iOS- message content including images)
- Photos – camera shots and downloaded files
- Browsing history – web browser, sites visited
- Calendar and Contacts
- Monitoring of a few messaging apps – WhatsApp, Kik and Skype
- Location geo-fencing and alerts
- Ability to block websites
- See a list of apps and limit app time per day, or block
- Facebook Messenger and Snapchat text messages
- Follow Instagram activity – photos and videos uploaded, as well as comments
Quick note on these features – as you can see, Pumpic can track a bit more on an Android phone. But, some of these features depend on the Android version or on “rooting” the device.
Pumpic has a free trial so I signed up to see how it works. To start a free trial, just enter you name and e-mail address. No credit card is required for the trial. Choose your platform (iOS or Android) and follow the instructions. I tried it out using my iPhone. I did not test on an Android so I can’t speak to those features.
Regarding iCloud vs. iOS – Pumpic is moving away from the iOS monitoring that required jailbreaking the phone. While it was still an option when I started my trail, I’m told that Pumpic plans to move away from that method. I chose the iCloud monitoring which does not require jailbreaking.
The setup instructions were clear and easy to follow. To monitor an iPhone you will need to know the Apple ID and Password for the phone you will monitor. You’ll also need to have that phone set up with iCloud backups and have enough storage available for the backups. Additionally, to monitor photos you need to disable iCloud photo library.
Pumpic Control Panel
The control panel is the web page where you view all the details on the monitored device. Pumpic’s control panel is one of the more intuitive and well-designed compared to other parental control products I’ve encountered. You can quickly navigate around to view text messages, browser history and everything else. You can also download an app to your own phone to view the control panel, although it does not show you everything you’ll see in the web version.
The ability to search within the list of texts, calls or visited web sites is a useful feature. For example, in the browser history I could search for a particular website, in this case YouTube, to see which particular YouTube videos were viewed. In the list of texts, you could search for a contact name or number.
SMS text and iMessage details
I also really liked the details of the SMS (text and iMessage) listing. Again you can search the list of messages, sort by date, and you can quickly see if there are any images within the message.
You can click into any of the messages to see an entire history of that particular text conversation, even for Group messages.
You can even see deleted message – well, some of them. According to Pumpic, “On iOS devices Pumpic saves deleted messages previously backed up to iCloud. Simply go to the SMS category in your Control Panel and look for ‘Deleted’ in the ‘Status’ column. If the message had been deleted before the backup was performed, you won’t be able to read it.”
Since the iCloud backup can only report on a deleted message it knows about, kids might figure this out and delete messages – truth is, they may be doing this already. But, you will still get a decent overview. On Android, deleted messages are a bit easier. You’ll be “able to see the message, if it was deleted in more than 5 minutes after it had been sent/received.”
Overall I thought Pumpic was a solid choice for parents looking for a monitoring solution. You can get a good overview of how your children are using their devices if they have iPhones, and even more thorough insight for Androids. Monthly costs start at $6.99/month, if you pay for 12 months at a time. You could try it for, say 3 months only, but it would then cost $14.66/month. While there is a refund policy, there are circumstances where you will not get a refund, so before signing up for several months at a time, you’ll want to review the policy and give the product a thorough trial. As mentioned, there is a free 7-day trial period available, and you can also view the Demo site.
Learn more: Pumpic – https://pumpic.com/
(I always like to add, Parental control tools can help you as part of a “digital parenting” toolkit. I say toolkit because that’s what any software product is – a tool to assist you, not to replace you. Meaning, you can’t just rely on a parental control software product alone. Ongoing discussions with the kids is key to establishing healthy internet and device usage habits.)
Have you used Pumpic? Do you plan on trying it? Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.