Are there methods to grab imei numbers of mobiles irrespective of smart or ordinary using Bluetooth or similar wireless technologies. Case : other mobile may not have Bluetooth or possibly switched off...

Note : this information is being collected for finding solution to a problem.

  • 2
    you might get better answers on a mobile tech forum - and the answer might be dependent on the device
    – schroeder
    Mar 23, 2016 at 19:44
  • 3
    Only via an IMEI Catcher (a device that acts like a base station to trick phones into associating). They are illegal in most (if not all) jurisdictions. The IMEI is protected for the exact reason that you are curious: users don't want their handsets allowing them to be tracked pseudonymously.
    – Jeff Meden
    Mar 23, 2016 at 19:54
  • 3
    this information is being collected for finding solution to a problem. That's awfully vague. Mar 25, 2016 at 3:03
  • @SomeoneSomewhere some nasty ad tracking perhaps? Mar 28, 2016 at 22:08
  • @AndréBorie ..or stalking someone perhaps. Lots of nefarious possibilities here.
    – Kjartan
    Aug 26, 2016 at 8:17

1 Answer 1


Businesses that are worried about mobiles being used in unauthorised places uses technology that might be useful to you.

I wrote an answer on the Academia StackExchange with some products but I think only AirPatrol (though I note on the site AirPatrol now says they don't collect IMEIs, check with your sales rep) and Libelium will be relevant. Some of these you can buy multiple sensors to work out which "zone" the mobile device is being used in.

These will typically list the IMEIs of broadcasting devices and as they do not interfere with them or broadcast on licensed spectrum themselves I believe are legal (but IANAL). Still I'd be surprised if they were illegal to operate given they sell them!

  • With 4G, IMEI exchange is encrypted. Most communication uses a randomly assigned temporary ID. You can probably get a reliable device count. Breaking that encryption would be illegal.
    – MSalters
    May 23, 2017 at 23:14

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