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 Mi-Fi devices.
This International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a unique, 15-digit number assigned to each mobile device, including feature phones, smartphones, as well as some satellite phones. It is used to identify devices.
In essence, when you put your SIM card in a mobile phone, the device starts communicating with the SIM. It passes on its IMEI number to the SIM, which then passes it on to the wireless carrier or mobile network. So, yes; your mobile operator or carrier can read your phone’s unique identifying number.
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What is an IMEI number used for?
As already pointed out, it is used to identify each device on the mobile network. As such, it is a useful tool for finding and blacklisting stolen phones. If your smartphone gets stolen, the security agencies, in tandem with your mobile carrier or network operator can find its location. You give them your stolen device’s IMEI and they can track it, if it is in use on that network. Security agencies often work with multiple mobile networks to find stolen devices.
Also, if your country has a system in place to blacklist stolen phones, once the device is located, it can be blacklisted, so that nobody can use it on any mobile network or carrier in that country.
It is also possible for security agencies to actually not only track the device, but nab the thief. So, your cell phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity number is very important. In summary, here are the benefits and advantages of IMEI Number:
The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique identifier assigned to every mobile device. Here are some advantages of the IMEI number:
- Helps in tracking lost or stolen phones: The IMEI number can be used to track a lost or stolen phone, making it easier for law enforcement agencies to recover it.
- Enables remote locking and wiping: The IMEI number can be used to remotely lock or wipe a lost or stolen phone, preventing unauthorized access to personal data.
- Protects against phone cloning: The International Mobile Equipment Identity number helps prevent phone cloning, which is the process of creating a duplicate of a phone’s identity and using it to make unauthorized calls or access data.
- Enables network blocking: The IMEI number can be used to block a phone from accessing a network, preventing it from being used with a different SIM card.
- Helps in device servicing: The International Mobile Equipment Identity number is used by manufacturers and service centers to identify and service mobile devices, making it easier to diagnose and fix issues.
How many IMEI Numbers does a dual-SIM phone have?
More accurately, an IMEI number is allocated to each wireless radio in a device, so a dual SIM mobile phone has two IMEI numbers. Each SIM card slot in a dual-SIM phone can function as a separate connection to a mobile network, and therefore, it is associated with its own unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number.
This allows the phone to have two different phone numbers, two separate network connections, and the ability to use two SIM cards simultaneously, making it convenient for users who need to manage multiple phone lines or network providers on a single device. In essence, a cell phone has as many IMEI numbers as it has SIM card slots.
Where do I find the IMEI number on my phone?
There are a number of ways to find or locate your cell phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity number.
- It is usually found printed as a label on the sales box of each device.
- In addition, if your phone has a removable back cover, its IMEI number can also be found inside the battery compartment of the phone.
- Lastly, you can retrieve the IMEI of your phone by dialing *#06# on your phone; the number will be displayed on the phone screen.
- On your iPhone or iPad, you can find it on the SIM tray. You can also find it in the phone’s Settings. Go to Settings > General and tap About. Scroll down to find the International Mobile Equipment Identity (as well as serial number, MEID, and ICCID too). On your Android smartphone, go to Settings > About phone > Status. Scroll down to find it.
IMEI Number and stolen phones
When buying used phones, you have to be careful. Many used phones on sale in the informal/grey market are stolen devices. They can be traced, and you do not want a stolen device traced to you. Yes; you are honest and had no idea that the device was stolen, but you can get into a lot of trouble with the police all the same.
Buy used mobile phones only from trusted sources. Also, there are online services that you can use to check the status of a device you are buying. An IMEI checker is such a tool. Browse to the website and enter the unique number of the used device you want to buy. The IMEI checker tool will reveal important details about the phone. An example of an IMEI checker is imei.info.
Can you change IMEI number?
People ask if it is possible to change IMEI number of a mobile device. Yes, it is. The IMEI of devices can be changed. But why would you want to do that? Why would you want to change IMEI Number when there are no advantages to doing it?
Disadvantages 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 International Mobile Equipment Identity number.
Also, note that if you change your phone’s IMEI, 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. Bricked: unusable, dead.
One benefit that used to exist was changing the IMEI of an Android smartphone to that of a Blackberry device to be able to use Blackberry internet Service on Android. BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) has since been discontinued years ago, so that benefit is gone with the wind.
How To Change 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.
In the end, changing your IMEI provides no real benefits in terms of privacy or security. It actually 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.
Lastly, keep the IMEI number of your device securely. Avoid putting it out in public. If you observe gadget review videos, reviewers hide the number when displaying the package of the phone or the phone itself (when a label with the number printed on it is on display).
You should not publish your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number publicly or share it with individuals or websites that you do not trust. Your IMEI number is a unique identifier for your mobile device, and it should be treated as sensitive information.