In today’s hyper-monitored and connected world, not only is the government watching and listening, so too are parents worried about their children, employers concerned about intellectual property and employee productivity, and women and men who suspect their spouses and mates are being unfaithful.
At the tip of the spear for this monitoring are spy apps that are knowingly or unknowingly installed on cell phones and tablets.
Base versions of many of these spy apps are often free to use while more advanced features are available with recurring monthly prices. One software package has no free version and is rather inexpensive. This is a review of the controversial spy app known as Highster Mobile.
What is Highster Mobile?
Highster bills itself as an industry leading spyware app for monitoring cell phones and tablets and is geared towards Apple and Android products. The app is packed with a host of features to make it easy to monitor whichever device the software is installed on.
Is Highster Mobile legal, you ask? In a word, yes. The company that created Highster is permitted by law to produce device monitoring software for the following two groups.
Parents with minor children can legally monitor any device used by their children, without the child’s permission. Employees may legally monitor the devices of their employees as long as these devices are employer-owned. Best business practices would suggest the employer inform the employee that their device will be monitored.
Use of the software for any other reason invites law into the discussion. In their frequently asked questions section, the company states they “absolutely do not condone the use of our software for illegal purposes”. There is also a disclaimer on the website that says the end user is to comply with all federal and state laws. Does this stop people? Hardly. And the company knows this.
How Does It Work?
The developer of Highster Mobile, ILF Mobile Apps, designed the app to be easy to use for people who have no, or limited, experience with cell phone or tablet monitoring.
Once you have successfully installed this app on iPhone or Android, data from the target phone is uploaded to servers. Users can now login to the Highster Mobile website using their username and password. The dashboard will now be available for viewing all the data retrieved from the device: pictures, videos, call logs, texts, etc. This information can also be downloaded for future use.
You will want to read to the bottom of this review to get the full story, but Highster Mobile claims to have some of the best features of any spy app. In fact, if their claims are to be beleived, they would be second only to FlexiSPY (read full review).
Understanding and using technology can be hard. Highster is easy to use. It allows you to monitor the target phone in real time, change display options and create time triggers. The live dashboard can be used on any web browser and can be viewed on desktop computers, tablets or smart phones.
Phone Call Monitoring
Incoming and outgoing phone calls are logged with date and timestamp and uploaded for later viewing.
With texting now the most popular form of communication, users can easily monitor outgoing and incoming text messages, including messages with photos and deleted messages. Date and time are also recorded.
All contacts from the target device are recorded, and this includes new contacts.
With the GPS tracking feature, you can always know the real-time location of the person being tracked. On the control panel the person’s location is overlaid on a Google map. Tracking history is also included.
Users can view all websites visited on the device including the dates and times these websites were visited. This includes any bookmarked websites.
Incoming and outgoing email is viewable by the user. Emails are saved remotely which means any deleted emails can also be viewed. You will also be able to see all senders and recipients of the email. According to the website, this is for iPhone only at the moment.
Photo & Video Viewing
All photos and videos the device takes or receives are stored and easily viewed on the control panel. All media include a time and a date stamp.
Activity on sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram, and Snapchat can now be monitored. This requires rooting for Android phones, but it can be an especially helpful feature for parents.
You can take pictures using the device’s camera. This gives you the ability to view the person’s surroundings. This feature works with both front and rear facing cameras.
Highster Mobile can record live phone calls, letting you hear both sides of a conversation. In my view, this is one of the more important features this spy app possesses.
This features lets you turn the target phone into an active room bug. It essentially makes it possible for you to have a microphone on the individual you want to watch at all times, since many people carry their phones with them absolutely everywhere they go.
Customers receive free customer support when they purchase Highster Mobile. Agents can answer questions and guide you through the installation process.
Uninstalling the app has never been easier. You do not have to have the target phone in your possession. Pressing the Remote Uninstall button on the control panel removes the spy app from the targeted phone.
It is important to mention up front that the target phone should have an up to date operating system installed. This will prevent the chance of Highster being deleted when upgrading to the newest version of the operating system.
|Operating System||Android 3+ and all iOS versions|
|Model||All Android models from all major manufacturers and iPhone 5+|
|Access Requirements (Android)||Physical access during installation|
|Access Requirements (iPhone)||Physical access is only required for the non-jailbreak version|
From the company website, the full Highster Mobile app is $69.99. There is a basic version available for $29.99 which may suit the needs of some parents who want basic monitoring of their children.
Once you purchase the app, an email is sent containing all the information needed to download and use the app. There is no physical product shipped. To install the app, you must have physical access to the phone you want to monitor for long enough to complete the installation.
You will receive an activation link directing you to a page with installation instructions. This activation link is entered into the phone’s web browser to download.
Once the link is accessed, you will enter a license key from the e-mail to activate the spy software on the phone. When this is completed, the user doing the spying will never need to have the phone in their possession again.
Highster Mobile should remain completely hidden from view and anyone who uses the phone will be unaware anything is installed.
Data from the phone is immediately uploaded to the dashboard and you can view the data by logging into their account on any desktop, phone or tablet.
How long does installation take?
Most users find that it takes about 10 minutes to install. You should allow a few minutes extra on iPhones as it seems some installations are more difficult and time consuming than others.
Can Highster Mobile be installed remotely?
Highster Mobile can not be installed on Android without having physical access to the phone.
The non-jailbreak version can be installed on iPhones remotely, provided you have the phone’s Apple ID and password, if 2FA is not enabled.
Physical access is required to install the more full-featured jailbreak version.
It’s important to remember the purchase is only good for one phone. If the user wanted to track another device, they would need to pay for another license key.
Highster Mobile Reviews
While preparing this review, I scoured the Internet for user reviews of Highster Mobile. We like to get a feel for how things work for other people, not just what we see for ourselves. This is especially true when working with spy apps.
Sometimes having more technical knowledge makes something seem easier to use than it really is for the average person. Other times, we just got lucky getting something to work the 1st time and everyone else had a different experience.
Unfortunately, reviews for Highster Mobile seem to suck, really bad.
Attempting to get the pulse on how this spy software works for people proved to be a daunting task, as it is in any competitive market.
For instance, I found a site with horrible Highster Mobile reviews calling the product a scam. The thing is, most of these blasted Highster but then advertised for other software or a hacker group. It’s safe to say most of these reviews are illegitimate. Likewise, it’s hard to tell if a positive review was bought and paid for.
However, there were persistent and troubling complaints from users who seemed to have no motive to post a negative review. These all centered around the following problems:
Horrible Customer Service
The phone number for customer service goes to a voicemail box. Many users have left comments stating they never received a reply when they e-mailed technical support. I even read some claims that attempts to contact support by e-mail bounce and are returned as undeliverable.
It appears there may simply be no help when you need it.
Free Trial Scam
Numerous reviews from 2019 claim the customer signed up for a free trial and canceled within 24 hours but were still charged the full purchase amount.
There are many claims that getting a refund of a payment is almost impossible due to a policy that they do not issue refunds after you have used the phone monitoring software.
The problem is there is no way to know if you can get the application to work before you load the software on the phone.
To use the best features, you need to root or jailbreak the target phone before you try to install this mobile spy app.
A common theme among complaints is that this app is lacking the best spying features that were advertised. Some reviewers openly state that they did not jailbreak their iPhone or root their Android devices, while others claim to have done so but still state that the app was not useful and didn’t function as advertised.
This may be blatant false advertising, user error (which is likely if the process is not user-friendly), or simply that their smartphone had compatibility issues.
For parents on a budget concerned with where their children are, who their children are talking to, or what they are viewing on the web, the basic version of Highster Mobile ($29.00) may be enough for them. Though I would caution that you often get what you pay for. For my money, I would rather have mSpy (read full review).
Before I conclude, it’s important to address the 400 pound gorilla in the room: using Highster Mobile or any spy software to track your spouse or significant other. Companies that produce this software depend on this source of revenue even as they throw a disclaimer on every page telling you they don’t condone using their program for illegal means.
I would caution against installing this for illegal purposes. Whatever results you garner from this intrusion of privacy would never be allowed in a court of law, but you could end up in legal trouble. Based on my research, if it is imperative to use cell phone spy software, there are more reliable options available for purchase.