I want to view the MAC address of a Bluetooth device I haven't paired. Like a WiFI scanner can put the wireless radio in listen / scan mode (which on ethernet is sometimes called promiscuous mode), I’d like to operate my Mac bluetooth radio to list and log nearby transmissions.

I’m much more familiar with windows and Linux than macOS and am running Catalina (10.15.6) on a 2019 MBP. I'm looking for some equivalent to "bluetoothctl" or "hcitool."

Is this something Apple provides or do I need third party software to log or collect identifying information from nearby bluetooth transmissions and identify devices that have not yet been paired?


1 Answer 1


I've been spoiled by the Apple Developer tools, so I haven't needed to use any command line tools.

In the additional tools download for your Xcode version (get Xcode from the App Store even if you have a developer account). The link above probably requires a paid account, but might work for free developers.

Bluetooth explorer

Bluetooth explorer and PacketLogger are two tools suited for your task. The former would be the best tool for scanning Bluetooth radio and deconstructing the advertised devices that are in range.

RSSI sweep

It's got a ton of other tricks and tools like dashboards, RSSI sweepers, throughout testers, but if you need professional level first party tools, I'd recommend this.

  • 1
    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed Aug 8, 2020 at 18:09
  • Wonderful. I should have said Welcome to Ask Different, earlier. I’m glad you’re here @tronicdude6
    – bmike
    Aug 8, 2020 at 19:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .