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Possible ways to detect presence of a phone?


Hey guys,

this is actually quite a serious question...and hardly a simple one.

So basically, my friend had his apartment broken into the other day.

The only thing we're sure of is that the thief had a phone. There are no leads and I was wondering if anyone happens

to know of a way to find out information about his phone that was inside the apartment?

Maybe the router saves some sort of information about the devices it sees in the vicinity?

Maybe other devices in the house, like an iPad for example, have "seen" the phone or something like that and saved the data?

As you can tell im not an expert and am just throwing possible directions. I know computer science but not communication.

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The router wouldn't have seen it unless he connected to WiFi, which would be a pretty unusual thing for someone to do while trying to get in and out quickly without being seen.


Any other method AFAIK the thief would have had to leave Bluetooth on and your friend have a device actively logging nearby Bluetooth devices.  Even then, I'm not sure how useful knowing the MAC address of the thief's phone would even be.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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Once the person has left there's nothing you can do sadly. As stated above if they had been on your wifi network you may have been able to get something.


The most you would've figured out is the brand of the phone and whatever they named the phone (iDevices will often use your name like Sam's iPhone). Other than that you won't get any definitive information about who owns the phone.


Only cellphone towers will have such information - law enforcement would have to issue a subpeana, take the data for the date/time, compare it to other weeks of the same day and time, and look at unique phones. Lot of work to only get circumstantial evidence.


But at least this should be a good motivator to get apartment insurance - I think I paid $10/m for mine in a high crime area located in a city.

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