What are the benefits of changing phone’s IMEI number?

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Every mobile network dependent device has a unique 15-digit identification number called an IMEI number. By network dependent devices, we refer to mobile phones, USB modems, and mifis. More accurately, an IMEI number is allocated to each wireless radio in a device, so a dual SIM mobile phone has two IMEI numbers. IMEI is an abbreviation of International Mobile Equipment Identity Number. The number identifies each device and can be used to trace it.

IMEI number

How To Find Your Phone’s IMEI Number

Your device’s IMEI number can be found inside the back cover. For mobile phones, you can also enter *#06# and the number will be displayed on the screen.

Changing The IMEI Number Of Your Phone

There are people who keep asking about how to change the IMEI of their mobile phone. The first issue is that it is illegal to do so in many countries. It is easy to see why: it is a unique identifier. As such by default, you shouldn’t be wanting to change it if you are not involved in illegal activities, all other things being equal.

Any Benefits of Changing IMEI Number?

There are no real benefits to changing IMEI number of your phone. It does not provide you more privacy, for example. There are technologies that can identify you even if you alter your phone’s IMEI number.

Also, note that if you change your phone’s IMEI number and it so happens that the number you replaced it with belongs to another phone that is already in use, you will end up with a bricked phone.


One benefit that used to exist was changing the IMEI of an Android smartphone to that of a Blackberry device so as to be able to use Glo Blackberry internet Service on Android. Glo has since discontinued its BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), so that benefit is gone with the wind.

In the end, changing your IMEI provides no real benefits in terms of privacy or security, poses a risk of killing your phone, and also opens you up to legal issues. You do not want to be caught on the wrong side of the law.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

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6 comments

  1. At the time Glo BlackBerry service ruled Naija, changing the phone IMEI number had a cult following like crazy. I did too!

    This reminds me of those times CC reps of the network companies would ask what type of phone you use whenever you had to call them to help resolve any issues. I since discovered that they actually know your phone type and were only asking just to confirm any discrepancy courtesy of the IMEI number. Go to http://www.imei.info and see your phone make up for yourself.

    1. Recently I checked a few IMEI numbers and saw that the IMEI.INFO site was renewed and completly rebuilt. It works even better than before.

  2. How i just wish those who are into changing their IMEI number and those that are still willing to do the same can see this information and see the risk behind it. For me, I don’t support the idea of doing that. Thanks, I really appreciate this info

  3. Is it illegal in Nigeria?

    Also, note that if you change your phone’s IMEI number and it so happens that the number you replaced it with belongs to another phone that is already in use, you will end up with a bricked phone.

     

    Never knew this…..

    Why do (some) phone manufacturers make this IMEI changeable, in the first place? It is supposed to be unique.

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