If you are wondering how to check if your phone’s IMEI is clean, the process is quite straightforward and can be done in a few easy steps. Every phone has an IMEI and knowing if yours is clean is important, especially if you want to sell it, trade it or hand it down to another family member. It would be embarrassing and problematic if yours isn’t clean and someone tried to activate it, and they couldn’t. Knowing what an IMEI is and how to make sure it’s clean is a pretty simple process once you know what you are doing and looking for.
Table of Contents
- How do you check if your IMEI is clean?
- How Do I Check if an IMEI Number is Clean?
- What Else Can I Use My IMEI To Check?
How do you check if your IMEI is clean?
To check and see if your IMEI is clean, follow these steps:
- Locate the IMEI number of your phone
- Check with your carrier to see if the IMEI number is clean
- Check with an online IMEI site to see if the IMEI number is clean
Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about the IMEI number of our phones. And normally, that’s perfectly fine. But, if you are in the process of selling your phone (or buying one that’s been used), knowing how to find the IMEI number and check that it’s clean will be an important part of the process.
Finding out a phone you are selling or buying has an IMEI number that’s been reported as blocked by a carrier for some reason can make it inoperable, and you’ll want to get to the bottom of why. Following these steps will make this an easy task.
Recently, I was in the market for a used iPhone, and I was told by a friend that I needed to find the IMEI number and check to see that it was clean before I completed any purchase.
To be honest, I had never even heard of an IMEI number up until that point and would have never thought to do this until it was suggested to me. Knowing that I understand what an IMEI is and what to check for, I’m happy to be able to pass this information on to others who may find themselves in the same situation.
How Do I Check if an IMEI Number is Clean?
To start, let’s talk about what exactly an IMEI number is and why it’s an important part of your phone.
Every cell phone has its own IMEI number, regardless of if it’s an Android or iPhone. Manufacturers of cell phones assign each new phone one of these numbers as a way to identify what each phone’s activation status is and which cell phone carrier that specific phone is locked to.
IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. This number is usually between 15 and 17 characters in length and is assigned as soon as the phone is manufactured before it ever shows up in retail stores or with cellular service providers.
A good way to think about the IMEI number is to compare it to your social security number – it sticks with the phone forever, no matter how many hands it changes or where it’s bought or sold.
A good use for an IMEI number is to determine if that particular phone has had any suspicious activity since it left production.
For example, let’s say your phone was stolen. When you report this to your cell phone carrier, they will immediately be able to pull your phone’s IMEI number from your contract and put a block on that phone, alerting other carriers that it has fallen into the wrong hands.
Now, when the person who stole your phone tries to activate it, they won’t be able to and will be told that the phone has a block on it.
Just remember that if you were to report your phone as lost or stolen, and then you found it again, you will need to let your carrier know, or you won’t be able to reactivate it.
When you are selling an older phone, you’ll want to check and make sure there are no blocks or holds on your phone by locating and checking the IMEI. If you have missed a payment or have an overdue balance for some reason, there is a good chance your IMEI number will be temporarily blocked.
Similarly, if you are purchasing a cell phone that has been previously used, it’s a good idea to check the IMEI number of that phone as well.
As with the example above, if the person who is selling you the phone owes any money on it, you will be able to find that out before you try to activate it. You will also know that the phone has not been stolen by checking that IMEI number and that the person who is selling it to you has a right to do so.
Let’s dive in and learn where you can find your phone’s IMEI number and how to then make sure it’s clean and able to be activated on any cellular network.
1. Locate the IMEI Number of Your Phone
Before doing anything else, you’ll need to know where you can find your phone’s unique IMEI number so that you can check that it’s clean.
One way to locate the IMEI number of your phone is to do it through the Settings app.
Begin by opening your Settings app and clicking on the “General” tab. Under “General,” go ahead and open the “About” screen.
When you open the “About” screen, you’ll see a series of informative tabs that will provide you with information about your phone. You may have to scroll down toward the bottom of the page before you find the one that says “IMEI.”
That long list of numbers is the IMEI that you are looking for.
2. Check With Your Carrier to See if the IMEI Number is Clean
Now that you know the IMEI number for your phone, you can easily check and ensure it is clean by contacting your cell phone provider directly.
Any large and reputable cell phone carrier will have an active website where there will be a page that is entitled “IMEI Activation” or “Bring Your Own Device.”
Once there, you will be prompted to put in your IMEI number to the search engine.
Most providers will need 3 to 5 days to do an activation check on the IMEI number you provided. Be prepared to wait a few days to receive this information.
Once your phone is checked, you will be emailed a report letting you know the status of your phone’s activation options.
3. Check With an Online IMEI Site to See if the IMEI Number is Clean
Another way you can check your phone’s IMEI number is through various websites that offer this service for a nominal fee.
Some people may prefer to go this route because the information on your phone’s IMEI status may be quicker to obtain than going through your cellular carrier.
Perhaps you are in a hurry to sell your phone, or you need to buy a replacement phone quickly. Using an online third-party site can speed the process up for you.
When searching for a site, you can google the words “IMEI Check Online,” and several different sites will pop up.
Most offer this service for a small fee. You can also buy a monthly subscription if you buy and sell used cell phones frequently and are often in the market for checking multiple IMEI numbers on a regular basis.
What Else Can I Use My IMEI To Check?
One of the most common uses for an IMEI is to check if a device is compatible with a wireless carrier’s network.
Some wireless carriers allow customers to add their own devices to their service as long as the device is compatible with their network.
Using an existing device with your cellular service can save you money since you don’t have to spend money on a brand-new device.
New devices are often very expensive and may not be as good as the device you already have.
Even if a new device has more advanced features than your existing device, you may not need or want a bunch of fancy features.
If your wireless carrier has an option for bringing your existing device to their service, you can usually follow a few easy steps to see if your device is compatible with their network.
Wireless carriers that let you use your own device with their service often have a page on their website that lets you submit your device’s IMEI number to verify your device’s compatibility with their network.