When is the information passed during a streetpass?

Two hypothetical people pass each other on the street, and 'streetpass' each other. At the moment their 3ds's link up, is the information then passed, or is it possible that only a name is passed and the information is later downloaded once you are connected to the internet via wifi?

I ask because I got a streetpass today with no one around. I figure I had streetpassed a few minutes earlier and it was delayed, or it was as I proposed above.

  • 1
    There are other options, like "the data was exchanged immediately but the device did not indicate that to you for a few minutes". Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 22:30
  • I considered that, mentioned it in the last paragraph.
    – Stephen B.
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 22:34
  • There seems to be a little bit of a range- I've frequently hit coworkers a few rooms over on streetpass when neither of us brings our DSs out of our work areas for the day. So that could be it, too, a wider range than you anticipate. But don't quote me on that.
    – LLF
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 22:54
  • 1
    You weren't alone, it was a Streetpass ninja.
    – Brian
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


When the 3DS systems connect, all of the data that is going to be shared, is shared at that moment in the quick burst of data exchanged. Normally the light kicks on after a data exchange, but I've seen it lag at times. I'm not sure why. I've also had it not light up at all after a data exchange. I'm not sure what the contributing factors are in each case.

Mind you, you can also pick up street passes from Nintendo Zone hotspots. So some Starbucks, McDonalds, Best Buy and others... can give you up to 6 StreetPasses. I've gotten StreetPasses just going through a McDonalds drive through.

It could be something else though. The system uses standard 802.11 for communications which can have a range of as much as 200ft indoors and 800ft outdoors based on the strength of the signal.

If you want way more technical detail about this you can read this page which has a full breakdown of the network activity.

  • 1
    Thanks for the link to the breakdown of the network activity =)
    – Stephen B.
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 15:44
  • Your welcome. Say, if this answered your question, could you go ahead and accept it? Thanks!
    – Bryan C.
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:15

Data that i can visual see as being passed over is the

  • Mii associated with Streetpass including
    • The Mii
    • Mii's Name
    • Welcome Message
  • Last Game Played
  • StreetPass Quest puzzle
  • your Sate/Province

i didn't have Streetpass Plaza opened instead i was just sitting on the home screen highlighted the GameCard game i had in at the time.

I can confirm this from like the only Streetpass hit i got when i had my 3DS on while i was driving around during my driving lesson. this is the information i got

  • The Person's/Mii's name (don't remember)
  • Their Mii wearing a pikman hat
  • The Welcome Message: "hello my friend"
  • The Mii said they had been playing Super Mario Brothers recently
  • In Streetpass Quest they had a bunch of puzzles i didn't have
  • Streetpass Plaza brought up a map and highlighted Victoria

the information above was received by my 3DS before connecting to the net as when i get home before turning the net on i check how many coins i have gained and noticed i had a notification. calculating when i had gotten the Streetpass hit i could guess that i got hit while i was driving on the highway roughly 10 minutes away from home when i passed someone's house.

connecting to the internet as i passed by would be impossible as i doubt someone in this day in age is stupid enough to have an unencrypted wireless network (the router i have had all ready been secured by my ISP) and even then i'm pretty sure the 3DS doesn't connect automatically to wireless networks (though this may only apply to encrypted networks as i had to scan for my home one despite being next to the router)

As for the delay, that could be processing, in Bryan C. answer in the link they posted it seems the header information will contain a list of StreetPass services enabled on the device, so then the hit you got had a number of services enabled and your console make take some time to sort and prep the data to the applications for when you start them up, extra time may be taken if it's doing a check to only prep data for application you have yourself, ofcause the only games i have which had Streetpass is Etrian Odyssey Untold and Bravery Default and neither one got a hit when i started them up so that's my only evidence

  • Your answer seems to agree best with what is happening on the 3DS itself, I was hoping someone with some knowledge of the programming behind it could comment, but that may have to wait =P
    – Stephen B.
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 15:42

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