When you're registering your phone, or trying to sell an old one online, you might be asked for your IMEI number. If you're drawing a blank and trying desperately to find out what this number is, don't worry. The IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is a unique number assigned to every mobile phone sold via official channels. This number is very useful if you lose your phone, or if it is stolen. Police usually require you to mention the IMEI number when reporting your phone as stolen and, then, depending upon the local laws, your phone can be blocked from accessing networks or placing calls by blacklisting its IMEI.
Note that an IMEI is associated with a SIM slot, so dual SIM phones will have two IMEI numbers. Similarly, tablets with cellular connectivity will also have a IMEI number.
This makes the number important in emergency situations. And if the device is located, you can use the IMEI number to establish that it is indeed your phone. This is how to find your phone's IMEI number.
When you have the phone:
This is the simplest method of finding your phone's IMEI number. The good thing about this method is that it is more or less universal. It works on almost all feature phones and smartphones, so try this before you go hunting for the phone's bill.
- Dial *#06# on your phone.
- The IMEI number will now be displayed on the screen. You should note it down somewhere safe or you can always take a screenshot.
On the phone
If you have an iPhone 5 or newer iPhone, the IMEI is also engraved on the back panel. Just flip the phone to note it down. On iPhone 4s or older iPhones, the IMEI is printed on the SIM tray.
On Android, go to Settings > About > IMEI to see the IMEI number. Tap Status and scroll down to see the IMEI information.
On an iPhone, tap Settings > General > About and scroll down to IMEI.
On most other phones with a removable battery, the IMEI is printed on a sticker that is inside the phone, under the battery. Take the battery out to check.
When you don't have the phone:
Retail box or bill
The retail box and the bill both have the IMEI number written on them, which is a good reason to keep them safe instead of throwing them out. Keep the box safe at least, because it will be useful if you need to check the IMEI, or if you choose to resell the phone at a later date. The IMEI number will be on the sticker on the side of the box.
Android users can check their device's IMEI number even if they've lost the phone. All the methods mentioned above work perfectly and are faster, but if you've lost the phone and not kept the box, this can still bail you out.
- Log in to Google Dashboard using the Google account linked to the Android phone.
- Click Android, next to the green robot logo.
- This will reveal a list of devices registered to the account, along with their IMEI numbers.
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