How to Find a Lost Bluetooth Device

Use your smartphone to find your Bluetooth tech

Is there such a thing as a Bluetooth device finder? When you set up a Bluetooth device, you usually pair it to another device. For instance, you’ll connect a headset to a phone or a phone to a car audio system. This pairing mechanism is critical to helping you find a lost Bluetooth device.

These directions work for phones and tablets running Android or iOS.

Finding a Lost Bluetooth Device

As long as your headphones, earbuds, or another Bluetooth-enabled device still has some battery life and was turned on when you lost it, the odds are pretty good that you'll be able to find it using a smartphone and a Bluetooth scanning app. Several of these apps are available for both iOS and Android-based phones and tablets.

  1. Make sure Bluetooth is active on your phone. Your phone won't be able to pick up the signal from the lost Bluetooth device if your phone's Bluetooth radio is off.

    On Android, access Quick Settings. If the Bluetooth icon is gray, tap it to turn it on. (You may have to swipe left to find Bluetooth.) It's also easy to turn Bluetooth on in your iPhone's settings.

  2. Download a Bluetooth scanner app, such as LightBlue for iPhone or Android. These apps detect and list all Bluetooth devices broadcasting nearby.

  3. Open the Bluetooth scanner app and start scanning. Locate the missing Bluetooth item in the list of found devices and note its signal strength. (Be sure to enable location services.) If it’s not showing up, move around in the location where you think you might have left it until it shows up on the list.​

  4. Once the item has shown up on the list, you can try to locate it. If the signal strength drops (for example, goes from -200 dBm to -10 dBm), you've moved away from the device. If the signal strength improves (e.g., goes from -10 dBm to -1 dBm), you're getting warmer. Keep playing this game of "hot or cold" until you find your phone.

    LightBlue app on Android.
  5. Play some music. If you’ve lost Bluetooth headphones or another audio device, send some loud music to it via your phone’s music app. Chances are, you can control the volume of your Bluetooth headset on your phone, so you can crank up the volume and listen for music coming from the headset.