What is an IMEI Number?
When people buy a new smartphone they usually get so involved in the features and applications that they overlook an important part of their phone – the International Mobile Equipment Identity, IMEI for short. It is a special number assigned to your phone and acts as a unique identifier. You will never find two phones with the same IMEI. This number comes to the rescue when the most dreaded thing happens to us: our phone is lost or stolen. The IMEI is an extremely useful tool for tracking a lost or stolen phone. Depending on which phone you use, there are different ways of locating and identifying your IMEI number. It can also help to identify a device’s model and serial number.
How many digits does an IMEI number have?
An IMEI has 14 digits with an additional 15th digit for verifying the entire number. At times you might also come across a 16-digit variation which usually gives information on the phone’s software version as well. This 16-digit IMEI number is known as the IMEISV. If you have a dual SIM phone, you’ll see two IMEI numbers, one for each slot. These numbers are hardcoded into the phone and are almost impossible to change them without damaging the device itself.
The IMEI follows the AA-BBBBBBB-CCCCCC-D format. The A and B digits which form the Type Allocation Code (TAC) help in identifying the manufacturer and model of the device. The C digits indicate the device’s unique serial number and the D digit ensures that the IMEI meets the appropriate guidelines.
When a mobile network carrier finds out that a certain device has been stolen they can blacklist that IMEI code and block it out of that network. However, there is also a downside to this IMEI affair, if a hacker wants they could possibly track your location through your IMEI.
How Do I Locate The IMEI Number?
1. Use your phone’s dialing pad
- Open the dialing pad on your phone, as you would do for a normal phone call.
- Input *#06# in the dialing pad. You will typically not have to dial it.
- A fifteen-digit number will appear on your screen automatically.
- This is your IMEI/MEID number. You won’t be able to copy or paste it. You will have to write it down for future use.
CDMA phones have an IMEI number while GSM phone will have a MEID number. MEID stands for Mobile Equipment Identifier. It is simply a different format of phone identification.
2. Look on the back of the phone – Only for iPhone (6 Plus and earlier models)
If you are an iPhone user (6 Plus or earlier), just flip the phone and you will see the IMEI number engraved on the lower back panel.
3. Under the battery
In case you have a phone with a removable battery, some brands provide IMEI number under the battery. So just open your cover and remove the battery to locate the IMEI number.
4. Look at the SIM tray
Some brands like Apple provide the IMEI number on the SIM tray as well. Just remove the SIM tray according to the prescribed procedure. You will be able to locate the IMEI number engraved on the side of the SIM tray.
5. Look in the Settings menu
- Open settings.
- Go to general.
- Tap on “About” in general.
- Tap on “IMEI”. This will display the IMEI number. You can copy the IMEI number from here if you wish to.
- Open setting.
- Tap on “About phone”.
- Tap on “Status” and scroll down to your IMEI number.
- You might find multiple IMEI numbers if you have a dual SIM phone.
6. Check the device’s packaging box
- Look at the box and you will find the IMEI either written it or on the sticker that’s usually stuck on the box.
- Sometimes the sticker is put on the opening to act as the seal so be careful not to damage it!
Are all phones made without an IMEI number?
No. Technically and legally all the phones should have an IMEI number. However, some devices do not carry an IMEI number to avoid identification and tracking which makes them illegal.
How do I check the IMEI number?
Now that you know all about IMEI numbers, you can go on checkesnfree.com or stolenphonechecker.org to verify your IMEI number to make sure it is clear. Also, if you are buying a used phone it’s always good to double check online if the IMEI is blacklisted or not. The link above can be used for that purpose.