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What the IMEI Can Tell You About Your Smartphone

In the mobile industry, abbreviations are used every day: SIM and eSIM, ICCID, APN, LTE, 5G, the list goes on and on. IMEI is just another one that you probably don’t need to worry about. Wrong! The IMEI can actually come in handy in a variety of situations. As a user, you can use the knowledge of the IMEI to learn more about your specific smartphone or even take measures should it ever be stolen or lost.

What Is the IMEI?

IMEI stands for: “International Mobile Equipment Identity”. It is a 15-digit serial number that is supposed to uniquely identify your smartphone internationally. It is made up of various numbers that allow conclusions to be drawn about the accreditation body, device type and the device-specific serial number. Depending on the smartphone, the IMEI can be displayed in the settings, on a packaging sticker, or in any case via GSM code.

You can view the IMEI of your device by entering the code “*#06#” in your phone app. Dual-SIM smartphones have two IMEI numbers.

The IMEI Helps to Identify Your Smartphone!

If you write down the IMEI of your smartphone and keep it in a safe place, you can report your smartphone as stolen in an identifiable way in case of theft. Like the frame number of a bicycle, the IMEI allows you to identify your specific smartphone in case of doubt.

A little bonus: The IMEI can also be used to blacklist your smartphone. Then, even with a new SIM card, it can no longer be used in the networks that use this blacklist.

In this article, we have summarized what else you should consider in the event of theft or other loss of your smartphone.

The IMEI Is Full of Interesting Information!

The possibilities of the IMEI do not stop at identification and device locking. Online tools such as can tell you a lot about your smartphone via its IMEI.

Smartphone with IMEI tool open

First, you usually get a complete overview of all installed components including antenna standards, battery capacity, SIM format or eSIM capability. Thus, you can immediately see whether the specifications of a purchased device match the listing in the store.

You can also use the database to find out whether the device is already on one of the blacklists. If your device is a used phone and is on a blacklist, it could be a stolen device.

Smartphone with open IMEI blacklist check

You can also find out whether the smartphone is restricted via a SIM or net lock via the IMEI. If this is the case, you can request the unlocking from the corresponding provider.

Know Your Device!

What might sound like a technical gimmick to some people can save you a lot of frustration in everyday life. The market for used smartphones is large and it can also be worth checking the new devices of some (cheap) manufacturers.

You can check the installed components via the IMEI, see if it is possibly a stolen device and get further interesting information, such as the remaining (manufacturer) warranty period.

No matter if you want to check a purchased or yet to be purchased product, or need the correct information for a sale, the IMEI will help you.

By the way: The GSM code also works without an existing cellular connection. Thus, you can easily read the IMEI from a demo device in the store and get the exact information, completely independent of the product description on the price tag.

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