What Is an IMEI Number and Why Is It Important?

Mobile Operating Systems

Millions of phones are either lost or stolen every year. There’s always that lingering fear of losing your phone. Your private information and even your phone contacts are always at risk. But did you know that you can actually track your phone? You can do this by finding your phone’s IMEI number.

What is IMEI? Well, it’s called the International Mobile Equipment Identity number. It can help with your problem, and you can use it to get a lost phone back.


Understanding the Purpose of IMEI Number

IMEI number
Photo by Urfan Dadashov on Adobe Stock Photo

The main purpose of having an IMEI number is for identification. People use it to identify mobile devices and their models. Another purpose of the IMEI number is tracking. Every phone has an IMEI number and provided you have information regarding the IMEI number, you can track most phones.

Your carrier and occasionally your manufacturer track your IMEI. While their main purpose is to identify your device, the secondary intention behind them is to prevent theft. This means that if you know your phone’s IMEI number and it gets stolen, you can lock the thief out. 

The IMEI is universally identifiable and is established on the model of the phone itself rather than the SIM card. This makes it so that even if the thief were to change SIM cards, you’d still know where it is. Even if the hypothetical thief knows what an IMEI number is and what it does, they’ll still have trouble.

IMEI numbers are hard-coded into device hardware because it’s based on your phone model. They can try tampering with the IMEI number, but unless they’re an expert, it’ll be impossible. Even if they do change the IMEI number, there’s a possibility they might damage the device. 

Additionally, when your carrier finds out your phone has been stolen, they can block the IMEI out of the network. This makes it so that your private information and data are all protected, effectively blacklisting the thief. Networks aside from your carrier can blacklist the IMEI code as well.


How to Find My IMEI Number?

How to find IMEI Number on iPhone
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After asking what IMEI is, of course, the next question to ask would be how to find the IMEI number. If you want to do an IMEI check, there are a couple of methods you can do. Of course, these methods differ for both Android phones and iPhones.

There are numerous things you can do to find your IMEI on your phone. Of these, there are a few easy ways to find your IMEI code. Here are three of the easiest methods to check your IMEI on your device.


Method One: Type *#06#

Type in IMEI number on numberpad
© Photo by macworld.co.uk

By far the easiest way to find your IMEI code is to go to your phone’s dialer. Afterward, the only thing you have to do is type in *#06# on it.

Once you’ve done this, all of the information regarding your IMEI will pop up. This works for both Android and iPhone.


Method Two: Check Settings

Go to setting of your phone to look for IMEI number
© Photo by iphone-tricks.com

Another thing you can try is going to your device settings. Once you’re there, tap on the tab that says “About phone” and it will display all the information you need. Of course, this includes the IMEI.

If you’re on iPhone, go to settings. After that, tap on “General.” It will lead you to a page with a tab that says “About phone.” Once you select that, your IMEI will be displayed.


Method Three: Check Your Phone

IMEI number at the back of your phone
© Photo by unlockboot.com

For Android phones, your IMEI code can be located on a sticker attached to your battery. All you need to do is open up your phone and look under your battery, and you’ll find it.

For iPhone users, simply check the tiny fine print on the back of your device. Alternatively, you can check your SIM tray and the entirety of your IMEI can be found there. Your phone’s serial number will be there, too.


Should I Share My IMEI Number?

Sharing IMEI number
© Photo by Ting.com

After asking what IMEI is and how to find it, what should you do with it? Should you share it with anyone? Well, we don’t really recommend sharing your IMEI number with anyone. It’s an important piece of information you should probably keep to yourself.

The IMEI code tracks you and where your phone is, so sharing it with anyone would be risky. Your privacy will become at risk because there is the potential of them tracking you with it. The government can already track you with your IMEI number, too.

The best course of action is to check your IMEI code and then storing it somewhere just in case. Of course, you would want your code somewhere you can remember it being in. Perhaps consider keeping a note of it. But having it on your phone and desktop can be dangerous, so we don’t recommend it.

Although, if you can’t trust yourself to remember it or keep it, then ask a friend to do it for you. Of course, you should only ask a friend that you can trust it with. You should also ensure that said friend is responsible enough to remember it if ever your phone does go missing. 

Alternatively, you can entrust the code to a family member. You can ask your mom or dad to keep yours while you keep theirs. What you can do is ask them to keep your code on them and then keep their codes on you.

That way, if anyone of your phones ever goes missing, you already have the IMEI code. However, you should never leak your IMEI number to untrusted people. This can prove extremely dangerous.


What Can Someone Do With an IMEI Number?

IMEI number infiltration alert
© Photo by liffhappens.com

Escalating from the question of what IMEI is, what then, can someone do with an IMEI number? Well, there are a lot of things people can do with IMEI. The government uses it to track people, especially suspicious individuals.

Lots of heinous things can also be done with the use of IMEI. For instance, just by leaking your IMEI, you are already leaking your current location. Criminals can trace your location based on your IMEI and track where you’re going.

It doesn’t stop there. Leaking your IMEI to untrustworthy individuals or leaking it on online networks gives people access to your messages. And even worse, they can even access your call logs. Your privacy will be at high risk.

Conversations and calls can also be tracked. All of your calls, future messages, and most phone activities can be tracked. You will quite literally have zero privacy. Moreover, criminals can use your IMEI to frame you for acts that they have done. 

They do this by masking their IMEI with yours. And since the government uses IMEI to track suspicious individuals, they’ll think that you’re somehow connected to them. It’s scary to think of what someone can do with a small piece of information. 

It’s especially scary to think about someone with malicious intent towards you having knowledge of your IMEI. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. This just goes to show how important keeping your IMEI to yourself is.


What Can I Do With IMEI Number?

We’ve gone from what is IMEI to what it can do. Now, what can you do with an IMEI number? For starters, operators use it to control phones allowed in their network. They can also use it to track your phone in an emergency.


How to Track Lost Mobile With IMEI Number

Tracking lost phone through IMEI number
© Photo by Globalhackingservice.com

Where is my phone? How can I track it? These are questions that instantly pop in your mind when you can’t find your phone. If you’re concerned with finding your phone using your IMEI number, then there are some methods we can tell you about.

You can ask a friend or relative for their phone and then install an IMEI checker app. Apps like the mobile number tracker or IMEI Tracker are especially good at tracking lost phones. They’re also easy to use; you just need to open them and enter your IMEI. Once you’ve done this, they’ll show you an approximate address of where it may be.

Some trackers can also protect your device further by providing you emails regarding the device’s real-time location. Additionally, IMEI also prevents your phone from being used by erasing data or getting your phone blacklisted.

Lastly, the most important thing you can do is keep your IMEI to yourself. Don’t ever let it get into the wrong hands. An IMEI on its own may not be much, but if coupled with things like an IMSI, it can prove dangerous. It can compromise not only your privacy but your personal safety as well.


Taking Care of Your IMEI Number

We’ve gone full circle from what is IMEI to keeping it safe. In short, your IMEI is your phone’s lifeline. You should prevent it from getting used or track it when it gets lost or stolen. It is an important piece of information that protects you, but it can also be a double-edged sword. The best thing you can do with it is to keep it to yourself. 

If you’re looking for more ways to keep your phone secure, check out our Norton Mobile Security review and how to block robocalls with RoboKiller