I'm trying to find out how to access the IP address + MAC code of a computer (macbook pro) that I once had on my network at home.

Does terminal store the 'connected' or 'linked' computer ID or IP of a networked computer anywhere that I can access after the laptop is no-longer within range?

The laptop was part of my airport extreme network, its now out of range (stolen!), and I would like to know if its possible to discover the physical address of that laptop, even though I no-longer have physical access to the laptop.

I have my airport extreme configured (somewhere??) to sniff out that laptop if it comes within range, and then connect to it. Where would this 'configured info' be stored on my desktop?

  • I have no experience with these, but this may help: macobserver.com/tmo/article/…. If your router stores a DHCP client list, you might be able to find your old Mac's MAC address. – Kale Muscarella Sep 16 '12 at 17:59
  • thanks, just checked through the linked article, didnt seem to help, but now i guess i'm also looking for info on how to access the DHCP client list! – floebs Sep 16 '12 at 18:24
  • You will be able unable to locate your laptop based on the ip address you have stored in your own router. Your router will only be connected to the laptop, if the laptop attempts to connected, this assumes the theift didn't already wipe and restore the system. – Ramhound Sep 17 '12 at 16:50
  • @Ramhound - I got excited when I logged in to my Router, and both IP address and the MAC addresses for the Desktop (G5) and Airport showed up in the log - I was hoping that there was some way to access 'connected devices' logs for the day before the burglary - when I also had the laptop connected. The only reason I think they havent wiped the laptop yet is that my Dropbox account is still active and still has the files and folders I put there! I can access that laptops Dropbox by signing in online. I could even put a file into the Dropbox that would appear on my stolen laptop - oh so close! – floebs Sep 17 '12 at 18:09

if you have a log on your dhcp server (probably your router), you may be able to retrieve its MAC address from the log. The IP will be local and will be of no use to you as many networks use the same local IPs but if you remember the IP it was assigned, it will be easier to identify its MAC address in the log.

  • hi, this is exactly what i was hoping for! yes, just discovered that i could log in to my router (inspired by first comment re DHCP logs and check the client log list) as i only had the router installed days before the lappie went missing, there arent many MAC addresses - 4 in total! i think one is the actual router(?) need to call the IP provider tomorrow (biz hours) to see if they can provide an activity log for the day before it was stolen - i can only access the last 7 days online - now i just need to see if i can do something constructive with that MAC address! – floebs Sep 16 '12 at 19:42
  • good luck hunting!!! – laurent Sep 16 '12 at 19:58
  • cheers! its an interesting learning curve too :) – floebs Sep 16 '12 at 20:08

Even if you had the address, it wouldn't help identify your stolen laptop. Access points normally assign IP addresses from a private address space. Thousands (millions?) of access points are using this address space, there are a lot of computers out there with the exact same address.

Besides, your laptop is no longer using that address. If it's currently connected to another network, it's using the address that network assigned to it.

If you're hoping to probe the intertubes and find traces of your computer, the name of the computer is more useful than the IP address. The MAC address of the wireless interface is even better, since it's unique. Difficult to see how you can utilize these facts, however.

  • yep, the MAC address is what i ultimately seek, but as i dont have it in my lap, and i didnt knowingly make a note of it, i am trying to work out the route to accessing the MAC address with what i DO have... so exactly how does the network identify that a certain computer (my lappie) has permission to join my network? What data is stored (and where) in my network settings/inner guts of my desktop/airport extreme that i CAN access, that might get me a little closer to that elusive MAC address? when my lappie was in range, it popped up in my shared network - what voodoo makes that possible? – floebs Sep 16 '12 at 19:31
  • Some access points log MAC addresses. I couldn't tell you if Airport is one of them; check the documentation. You might also look in the documents that came with your laptop, in case your MAC address is recorded there. And maybe Apple has a record. Not that I think it will do you any good. ¶ Your voodoo curiosity is best dealt with in its own question. – Isaac Rabinovitch Sep 16 '12 at 19:45
  • Thanks Isaac, sadly no MAC address on the remaining laptop documentation, but I think it still had Applecare warranty, so maybe Apple can help in some way. Will post voodoo question separately! Cheers. – floebs Sep 16 '12 at 20:07
  • @floebs - Apple will be unable to assist in a situation like this, unless its connected to a Apple Cloud account, then thats a simple case of logging intot he account and wiping the laptop. Be sure you report it as stolen so its unusable to anyone who has it. – Ramhound Sep 17 '12 at 16:51
  • @Ramhound - thanks, I thought as much about Apple, although I do have an iCloud account, sadly am still on Snow Leopard, my understanding is the new cloud accounts sync all Lion accounts, the Snow Leopards are left without the automatic syncing options since shutting down MobileMe, but I could be wrong about this(?) - open to options re using my iCloud account to access, or, if possible, the old MobileMe account which is still currently syncing via my Mail account on the laptop! I'll call Apple tomorrow, thanx! – floebs Sep 17 '12 at 18:02

Your laptop does not have a physical IP address. It received its IP address via DHCP and it is not permanent. Once conneted to another DHCP server it is reassigned.

It does have a media access code (MAC) that is unique, but that can be hidden or changed.

Your best hope of finding a lost machine is contacting the manufacturer, in this case Apple, and telling them the laptop was stolen. Apple will be able to detect if the thief tries to register the Macbook with them if they havent changed the MAC.

  • trouble is, i dont have a copy of the MAC address, any ideas how to find out my MAC address after its already been stolen? – floebs Sep 16 '12 at 19:46
  • 1
    Did you register the Mac with Apple? They should have it. – Keltari Sep 16 '12 at 20:33
  • No, its a secondhand laptop. The previous might have though, I'm awaiting a reply from email sent to previous owner. – floebs Sep 17 '12 at 18:03
  • be sure to file a police report. I have had laptops stolen from work before and Dell wont help unless you have previously filed a police report. – Keltari Sep 17 '12 at 18:07
  • cheers, yep, i filed a police report immediately on waking and finding the house had been broken in to and the apple laptop + nikon camera missing. – floebs Sep 17 '12 at 18:15

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