IMEI number is a special mobile device code that may be needed in different situations. For example, it might help to check used gadgets or to track them in case of theft.
What is an IMEI number?
IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a 15-digit code that is assigned to each mobile device which can be connected to the network. These include smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, modems and other gadgets operating in GSM, UMTS, LTE, 5G networks.
Even if you change the SIM-card or the owner of the device, its IMEI will stay the same.
What is IMEI for?
IMEI number is a kind of unique ID for your device, which allows you to distinguish it from any other device, even if they look the same in appearance and technical characteristics. IMEI consists of 15 digits and may be accompanied by an image of barcode. As a rule, there are no punctuation marks between the numbers, but you can find a spelling option through the forward slash “/” or through a space.
Where is the IMEI number located?
How to find the IMEI on your device? You can check it in many ways. Choose whichever one you think is the easiest or most convenient:
- Dial special IMEI code.
The fastest way for finding the IMEI number is to open the keyboard on your smartphone and dial the following code:
There is no need to activate the USSD with the call button. Information about the IMEI of your device will be displayed instantly.
- Find IMEI in settings.
The exact path and sequence of actions depend on the specific model of your device, but as a rule finding the information is quite simple:
How to find IMEI on Android
|Open the settings menu and find the “About phone” item. The IMEI will be indicated in the list of technical data below.|
How to find IMEI on iPhone (iOS)
|There are several options where is the IMEI number on an iPhone:
How to find IMEI on Samsung
|Find the “Phone Details”, “About device” or “About phone” section in the settings menu. The IMEI will be listed under the model number and serial number.|
How to find IMEI on Xiaomi
|Follow the same instructions as for checking IMEI on Android. If there is no such information in the “About phone” section, use the USSD *#06#.|
If you still don’t understand how to find the IMEI on iPhone, you may contact Apple Customer Support for more details or write a comment with your questions below this article.
- Find the IMEI on the device case.
How to find iPhone IMEI if it is locked? There is an alternative way to find out the information not only for Apple devices but for other brands as well.
You can find IMEI number in different places depending on the type and model of the mobile device. It might be:
- in the slot where the SIM card is inserted (if you need to know phone IMEI) or near it (for routers and modems);
- on inner side of the removable battery;
- on the back of the gadget (usually at the bottom).
IMEI and S/N are not the same. The second means the serial number of the device. It can be needed for other purposed and may consist not only of numbers, but also of letters.
- Look at the package
For IMEI checking it might be also helpful to find the box that the smartphone came in (especially in case if the mobile device is lost or stolen). The code you are interested in should be printed on it (for example, on a pasted sticker or somewhere else).
IMEI 1 & IMEI 2. What does it mean?
Dual-SIM mobile devices have two radio modules. That’s why they provide two IMEI codes at once instead of one. In this case, IMEI 1 is the code for the first SIM slot, and IMEI 2 is for the second.
What is it used for?
Each mobile device gets its IMEI during production, but the numbers are not chosen by chance. They are provided to the manufacturing company by GSM Association. The uniqueness of each code is guaranteed, so by the numbers you can even determine such gadget characteristics as:
- The first 8 digits of IMEI define the Type Allocation Code (TAC). It is a code which helps to find out the device model. For example, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 has TAC 86881303, Samsung Galaxy S9 has 35330509, iPhone 8 has 35299209. Some earlier popular Apple models have several codes at once.
- The next 6 digits indicate the serial number of the device (SNR). It can identify a specific device within a model with the same TAC.
- The last digit is called Check Digit (CD). It means a check mark.
A 16-digit IMEI code may also be used. It is called IMEISV and allows you to determine the firmware version of the smartphone by the last two digits.
Well-known manufacturers pay for the IMEI assignment of their mobile devices. However, sometimes, in order to save money, little-known brands (especially if it is a manufacturer of counterfeit products) release batches of gadgets with exactly the same IMEI codes. It means that you can’t track it in case for theft or check authenticity of your purchase.
What can you do with IMEI?
The main thing, what is IMEI number for, is tracking in case of theft. If you know the 15-digit code of lost or stolen device, you will have such opportunities:
- Contact your mobile operator to remotely lock your phone;
- Request relevant authorities to track with IMEI your mobile device and its current location (if it is connected to a network).
Using IMEI you can check a mobile device for various parameters: its authenticity, its activation date, and other information that allows you to determine whether the smartphone was in use before your purchase or not.
How to check IMEI on the iPhone
Checking the IMEI of iPhone allows you to know the following:
- iCloud Activation Lock.
In case of buying used Apple gadget there is a risk that iCloud Activation Lock is not removed. If someone used the iPhone before, then the lock must be removed by deleting the sold device in iCloud (only the previous owner can do this). Otherwise, the buyer will not be able to log in with his Apple ID and fully use the mobile device.
To take full advantage you should first check if there is an iCloud lock on. If the seller cannot remove the iCloud activation lock, there is a risk that the device does not belong to him. This may indicate the fact of the resale of stolen property!
When you find IMEI of iPhone, check it using the official iCloud Lock service from Apple or other applications (third-party IMEI checkers).
- Service and Support Coverage.
IMEI check on the official website of the manufacturer:https://checkcoverage.apple.com/us/en allows you to find out information about the warranty status of your iPhone, as well as eligibility to purchase additional AppleCare coverage. In such a way you’ll check what you’ve bought (a completely new device or used equipment).
To check the IMEI of your iPhone, just dial the 15 digits you know in the field and confirm it by entering a security code (captcha). The name of your smartphone’s model will be shown immediately as well as the statuses which are needed to understand whether someone has used this device:
- If you see the status “Please activate you iPhone“, it means that the device is new.
- If telephone technical support as well as repairs and service coverage are expired, it might mean that the phone has already been used.
If you know IMEI number, where to find the activation date? This information is not displayed there, but you can calculate it yourself. If you see the statuses “Expired”, then more than a year has already passed. If an estimated expiration date is written, subtract 365 days from it and you will know when the device was activated.
How to check an IMEI of other brands’ devices
By IMEI or the serial number of the device, you can also check equipment of other brands on the official websites of manufacturers.
For example, how to check Xiaomi by IMEI:
Track an IMEI
Search by IMEI in case of gadget theft or loss is possible only under the following conditions:
- The mobile device is not disabled.
- Your device is in GPS mode.
If it is so, then it is possible to track the phone by IMEI. To do this, you should contact law enforcement officers and your mobile operator. In order to find a lost phone yourself you can also use special services of the operating systems (iOS and Android).
IMEI tracker for iPhone
In case of iPhone theft or loss, you can use the “Find My iPhone” service. The main requirement is that the function must be activated before the device is lost. To activate it, you need to open the iCloud menu and go to the account section. Among other items, you will see “Find My iPhone”. This function must be enabled by moving the slider to the active position or changing “off” to “on”.
This service allows you to search not only for lost iPhone, but for iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Mac, AirPods and AirTag as well.
For tracking by IMEI you need to log in to the iCloud web version from another device and enter your Apple ID data. After that, you will have access to the following functions:
- Tracking the location of the mobile device on the map (only if it is not disabled);
- Remote deletion of all data from the iPhone (they will remain in your iCloud backup);
- Activation lock of iCloud (to prevent the resale of a stolen/lost gadget);
- Lost mode, which provides a wider range of options: location tracking, remote setting of a secret password to access your data, notifying the owner when the phone is connected to the network, etc.
IMEI tracker for Android
In general, to search for Android mobile devices remotely, it is not necessary to know the IMEI. Tracking is available by a similar service, which is provided to all users of Google accounts. The “Find my device” function is on all devices using Google applications, as well as on the website android.com/find or https://www.google.com/android/find (after you log in).