How to Locate a Hidden or Lost Bluetooth Device

    A Bluetooth logo with a question mark beside it.

    If you suspect there is a hidden Bluetooth device in your house, apartment, or office—or you just lost a Bluetooth-capable device—there’s an easy way to track down its physical location thanks to an app on iPhone and Android. Here’s how to do it.

    The Bluetooth Beacon

    All devices with Bluetooth running in an activated state emit a constant signal that can be picked up by other Bluetooth-capable devices. This is how they send data wirelessly—and also how the devices connect to one another.

    Using this property of Bluetooth, an app called Wunderfind for iPhone or Android can help you physically locate a lost, hidden, or unknown Bluetooth device using your smartphone. This includes PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, Bluetooth headphones, Airpods, smartwatches, smart home devices, and more. To locate any of these devices through Bluetooth signals, however, they have to be powered on with Bluetooth enabled.

    Wunderfind is free to use without any annoying ads, and the Pro version that offers extra features is currently a reasonable $5 in-app purchase (as of May 2022). There are other Bluetooth tracker apps out there, but we’ve found some of them to have predatory app subscriptions or intrusive ads. Wunderfind currently has none of those problems. Here’s how to use it.

    RELATED: What Is ELK-BLEDOM on my Bluetooth List?

    How to Locate a Hidden or Lost Bluetooth Device With WunderFind

    To find an active Bluetooth device, first make sure you have Bluetooth enabled on your smartphone. Next, download Wunderfind for your iPhone or Android device and launch the app. Immediately, you’ll see a list of Bluetooth devices that your smartphone has detected using its built-in Bluetooth radio.

    Beside each device, you’ll notice an estimated distance between your smartphone’s current location and the hidden or missing Bluetooth device. This number changes dynamically as you move around. To get more detail about signal strength, tap one of the items on the list.

    Estimate the distance to ELK-BLEDOM using Wunderfind.

    After tapping an item, you’ll see a screen that instructs you to move around while holding your smartphone and watching the signal strength of the targeted Bluetooth device change.

    Wunderfind Bluetooth signal strength screen.

    As you get closer to the target device, the signal strength will rise closer to 100%. As you move away from the target device, the signal strength will drop closer to 0%. Using this readout, you can move around your space until the signal strength can’t get any higher. If the device is lost and is located is in your home or office, it will be nearby.

    If the device is unknown and you can’t find it, it might be in someone else’s home, office, or apartment. Or it might be purposely hidden somewhere nearby. It’s worth nothing that most hidden surveillance cameras use Wi-Fi and not Bluetooth to communicate, since Bluetooth typically has a short wireless range, and someone would have to be nearby to receive the data. (You cannot detect Wi-Fi-only cameras with Wunderfind, but there are other methods that will help.)

    In the past, we’ve seen a mystery Bluetooth device called “ELK-BLEDOM” in our Bluetooth lists and discovered it was a neighbor’s LED Strip Light, so don’t assume you’re being spied on if you can’t find the unknown device in your home or office—you are very likely picking up a neighbor’s Bluetooth device that is sending stray signals in your direction.  Good luck, and stay safe out there!

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