A series of reports on mobile monitoring apps, based on real testing to let you decide which is the best spyphone app for your needs.
Highster is a cell phone spy app for iOS and Android devices. It is sold under many different names and websites but is ultimately the same product being purchased each time.
Highster supports both Android and iOS devices. It does not support older phones, such as Symbian or BlackBerry devices and they have no PC or Mac monitoring software either.
The target market for Highster are parents who want to monitor the mobile usage of their teens or employers who want to monitor their employee's device usage in the workplace.
Highster is sold under many different names and offers a total of 25 Android spying features in total and they take being legal very seriously after StealthGenie was shut down by the FBI. As an example of this, Highster is one of the few remaining Android spy apps that force the software to be a visible icon on the device after installation, but you can send a special SMS command to the device to hide it later.
If you are looking for the best cell phone spy for Android and you come across Highster then you may be tempted to choose it over other competitors, thanks to the wide range of features and the attractive pricing. However, you also may want the application to be completely invisible and Highster fails in this regard. Firstly, it is not immediately obvious that the application icon can be hidden, you must send a special remote SMS command to the device to do this which is buried inside the online portal.
Secondly, on our test device, Highster was immediately discovered by Clean Master after we had installed it. Thirdly, Highster does not allow you to hide the application icon at all. That means that it is always visible, both in the app drawer with your other applications, and application manager.
Even though it installs itself as a device administrator using a non-descript name, the device owner may still get suspicious that they have an application installed that they cannot remove.
What's more, SuperSU notifications for Highster routinely appeared on the device. Highster don't tell you how to stop these notifications from appearing in the same way that competitors like FlexiSPY do, so the device owner can easily see that something has been installed without their knowledge.
This will ultimately lead to them performing a factory reset which removes Highster completely. Immediately then, if you are looking to purchase Highster as the best Android spy phone but you need it to be fully hidden then you must look elsewhere for an alternative.
“Right from the start, Highster is easy to find.”
We also discovered that Highster does not automatically delete the downloaded APK file and browser URL so if you do not remember to delete them as part of the Highster installation then there is a chance that the device owner will find them. Once they do that you can easily research them on the internet to find out that it is Highster.
What is interesting though is that it does not automatically delete the browser history or the installation APK file. This is quite lazy in all honesty. You need to know that the cell phone spy software you are buying is completely hidden. Unfortunately, TheOneSpy is not so perhaps it is not one of the best phone spy apps for Android after all.
Highster did not even put any real thought in what to call the software. The name that they give, which we will not divulge here, makes it so obvious to the owner that something has been installed without their knowledge that you have to wonder if Highster doesn't design the software to get detected on purpose.
“Highster can be easily found on a mobile device.”
It was not only Clean Master that flagged Highster. We also tested Lookout, a popular Android antivirus software, and that found Highster too. Bear in mind that this could be expected if the device was not rooted but our device was fully rooted, yet Highster has no option or method to hide the software, even if the device is fully rooted.
We later found out whilst testing the software that Highster does allow you to hide or unhide the software icon. Except the method that they use to allow you to that doesn't work and is also entirely visible on the device. This will immediately raise alarm bells to the device owner as well, along with all the other visible aspects of Highster that they see.
Highster offers a total of 25 features. Out of all the features on offer, there were several that we were interested in the most. Namely, application blocking and deleting. For IM capturing, which requires a rooted device, they only capture the text of the conversations for the main ones, such as Facebook, Skype, Viber, BBM and LINE. We could not get Instagram capturing to work when we tested it, nor was Snapchat working.
Therefore, if you want Snapchat capturing specifically then you may want to look elsewhere. One key difference for Highster is that many of the features rely on special remote SMS commands to work, such as the option to remotely use the device camera to take pictures.
When we sent these special commands to the device they were immediately visible on the device and the feature also failed to work. This is clearly a grave mistake because you want your cell phone spy software to be completely invisible but with Highster there are just too many ways to notice it.
Furthermore, the main features we wanted, application blocking and application deleting failed to work. Another mistake is that whenever we sent the command to delete an app from the Highster online portal our device would immediately restart itself and the app would not be deleted either. This is just unacceptable.
“Highster has many deal-breaking flaws with its features”
The best cell phone spyware needs to be hidden always, with all features working, but Highster fails to meet both conditions. That means that, for the price, which is now a monthly subscription, not a lifetime fee as it used to be, you only really get the basic features, such as browser history, SMS capturing, GPS tracking, address book and so on, in terms of features that work reliably. This reduces the attractive number of 25 features in total to about 10 in all for ones that really do work.
Highster also has a feature that alerts you of any SMS messages that contain profanity words. When this was enabled we sent some SMS messages to our device containing those words. Obviously, they were visible on the device because they were just normal SMS messages, but we were not alerted by Highster at all. Even when we added our own keywords the alerts failed to arrive for any SMS our device received that contained the same keywords.
Our device also had another issue with Highster. The license would not stay registered. That means that every time we tapped the icon (we chose to keep it visible and not hide it using a special remote SMS command which would have been visible on the device - see earlier) it registered the license again and started capturing, but it would stop working and we would have to repeat this process over and over in order to get Highster to work.
Inevitably that means that, had we not had the icon visible, we would not have known that the license key lost registration status each time and so, without that, data capturing would not start. This is also a very bad problem with Highster if it stops capturing of its own accord.
“Highster immediately causes increases in battery usage and data”
We noticed that our device lasted a little over seven hours with normal use once Highster was installed. Not only did we routinely see SuperSU notifications from Highster every time it tried to do something but we could also see when it was transmitting data too. This was because the data transmission icon that sits in the title bar was flashing constantly.
After taking pictures and a few videos, we noticed that the device started to run warm. This also led to the phone beginning to be sluggish and to slow down. After leaving the device for twenty minutes we checked the Highster portal and the pictures and videos had been uploaded. Well, some, not all, but the fact that this can cause the device to become noticeably slow is alarming.
RAM usage also increased as well. That was evident from the fact that the slow literally slowed down and became unresponsive. We have never had a device act this way through all the Android spy apps we have tested.
Clearly then Highster is not the best cell phone spyware by a long shot. They have to make a lot of changes if they want to be the best Android spy app. Currently, as it stands now, Highster is just too noticeable from the moment it gets installed, and that is not acceptable if you are looking for cell phone spyware that is completely hidden.
Highster provides support by email only. You have to submit a support ticket to them using their dedicated support portal. When we sent them questions about why our software was not working properly it took them longer than 24 hours to reply back to us. This is far longer than the support teams of competitors.
“Highster staff completely ignored our questions and left them unanswered”
When Highster did reply it was just to tell us that our request was being looked in to. In fact, we received several emails from them saying that someone was looking in to our issue. But, after waiting 48 hours for any kind of reply to the several questions we had sent them we finally just gave up.
Customer support is not something that Highster really take to heart or take seriously. When it comes to smartphone monitoring software you need to know that someone is there to help you because they can be technical to both use or install. Highster instead decides that after you purchase you are on your own and that says more about the company and how they view their customers than anything else.
We cannot recommend Highster to anyone who is looking for an Android spy app that is both completely hidden and has a robust support system to help you with any problems you may have using it. That might explain why Highster is sold under so many different names, they hope that people will soon forget about how poor this cell phone spyware is and move on to a different product. Ultimately, that ends up being the same product, just with a different name.
If you have any questions or comments about the best phone monitoring app - or if you want to see additional cell phone monitoring software reviews - let us know in the comments below.
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