Getting to know the IMEI number of your phone is pretty useful in some cases like unlocking your phone, buying a second-hand phone or reporting a lost or stolen phone. However, have you ever wondered about what exactly an IMEI number is and what it can be used for? Well, you are not alone, as it seems that a lot of users are asking the same question.
Three years ago, I asked myself the same question, but I did not get my answer until I lost my lovely LG G3 to a suspicious guy while walking down the streets alone. I reported my lost phone to the police and they asked me to provide the IMEI number of my phone. That’s when I started looking for the answer.
In this post, I will help you discover what an IMEI number is and walk you through the steps to find the IMEI number of your phone.
First, what’s an IMEI?
The letters IMEI stand for International Mobile Station Equipment Identity. Basically, it’s a unique 15-digit number assigned to every mobile device and you can use the IMEI number to check all known information about your phone regarding manufacturer, model type, warranty status, production date and more. The IMEI number is stored on your carrier’s database, and it allows them to check if your phone is now locked to a network.
An IMEI is not only restricted to identifying your mobile device, as it can be used to block a device from accessing cellular network. If you have your phone stolen, you can remotely block your phone with IMEI number.
So, why do you need to get an IMEI number?
The IMEI number is pretty useful in some cases, so it’s a good idea to access it on your phone. Now, I will show you how useful an IMEI is.
- Buying a second-hand phone
If you are now planning to grab a used phone from a stranger, it’s a good idea to ask him for the IMEI number. The IMEI code allows you to check if a phone is locked to a network, stolen or activation locked (iPhone only). If an iPhone is still locked to the previous owner’s account, you won’t be able to do anything with it.
- Tracking a lost or stolen phone
One day, you are walking down the street with your friends, you reach into your pocket to pull out your phone to make a call and you realize that your phone is missing. Don’t freak out. If you have obtained the IMEI number of your phone, you can ask your service provider to block your phone in that network so you can hopefully get it back.
How to find your IMEI
There are two major methods for finding your phone’s IMEI number including USSD code and phone Settings.
- Use USSD code
This could be the easiest and quickest way to obtain the IMEI number of a phone. All you need to do is to open the Phone app on your phone and dial *#06#. Once you do that, the IMEI code will be displayed on the screen (If you now use a Windows phone, you can get the IMEI code from Microsoft page).
- Phone Settings
All mobile operating systems allow you to access the IMEI code in the Settings page. On Android, the IMEI code can be found in the Settings menu under About Phone section. If you now have an iPhone, go to Settings > General and select About.
Buying a smartphone outright is not always an option especially if you have a limited budget. Most carriers out there now offer a monthly payment plan that involves zero money down or a small deposit. However, the carrier wants to limit what you can do with your phone. This ensures that you stick with their service for the duration of your contract. If you want to change networks, you need an IMEI unlock.
IMEI unlock is the best way to unlock a phone, as it is safe and permanent. Basically, an IMEI unlock is where you change the status of your phone from locked to unlocked on your carrier’s database.
Find an IMEI checker
There are a lot of IMEI checkers on the market. However, like any service, not all of them are created equal. There are a lot of scams and there might be chances that you will end up losing money and time. You can try expressunlock.com (my favorite IMEI checker). They are fast, reliable and reasonably priced.
Last year, I grabbed my Samsung Galaxy S6 and immediately signed up with AT&T. Two months later, I decided to unlock my phone (I used expressunlock.com) so I could use it on my trip to Singapore. Before placing my order, I headed to IMEI checker page to get all information about my phone. The process was simple. First, I entered my IMEI number. After that, I completed my payment (only $1.3) and then I received an email including all information about my phone.
The IMEI numbers are pretty helpful in some cases like unlocking your phone or tracking a lost or stolen phone, so make sure that you already have the IMEI number of your phone.