Many of our readers have been struggling with getting IMEI numbers on their locked iPhones. As such, we decided to create prepare this special article, in which we will cover all the ins and outs of this topic. After reading this article, you will know exactly how to get IMEI number on iPhone if locked.
But first things first. Since there is often some confusion regarding the IMEI number, we want to ensure that we are all on the same page, thus we will start with the basics.
Are you ready to dig in? Let’s do this, shall we?
What is the IMEI number?
As promised, we are starting with the basics. In order for us to talk about how to get IMEI number on iPhone if locked, we need to make sure that you all know what the IMEI number is.
IMEI is an abbreviation that stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It is a unique 15-digit number that every phone has, including iPhones. The number is used to identify the phone, its activation status with the carrier it belongs to, and much more (more on this below).
People often confuse serial numbers with IMEI numbers, as such we need to point out that these are two different numbers. ESN, which stands for Electronic Serial Number is not the same number, however, you will see many sites mixing those two numbers. When you want to check if your device has a clean ESN, the IMEI number is what should be using.
Let us also inform you that IMEI is also known as a phone ID number. Thus, another abbreviation used for the same thing is MEID (Mobile Equipment ID).
Very confusing, right? Well, luckily most carriers and mobile phone stores use IMEI.
What is a ‘Bad IMEI’ and What is a ‘Clean IMEI’?
You will often encounter the terms ‘bad IMEI’ and ‘clean IMEI’, as such we want to let you know what these mean.
We talk about ‘bad IMEI’, when:
- iPhone is still active on someone else’s account
- The iPhone is not paid off in full by the original owner
- The iPhone has been reported stolen or lost
When an iPhone has a bad IMEI, it cannot be activated on another user’s carrier account.
As the opposite of the ‘bad IMEI’, we have the ‘clean IMEI.’ It just means that the iPhone or any other phone that has a clean IMEI is completely ready to be activated with its intended carrier (if locked) or with any other carrier (if unlocked).
So, in order for an iPhone to have a clean IMEI, it must not be activated on someone else’s account, have outstanding payments due or any sort of negative balance on the carrier contract related to that IMEI number, and it must also NOT be reported as lost or stolen.
What Do We Mean by ‘Locked’ iPhone’?
Before we finally move on to the details regarding how to get IMEI number on iPhone if locked, we need to make sure you know what we mean by ‘locked phone.’
Locked phones are all phones that are ‘locked’ to a specific carrier. This means that they may only be used with that specific carrier’s SIM cards. On the other hand, the unlocked phones are those that are able to work with basically any SIM card (after 4G, even GSM and CDMA are interchangeable). Carrier locked phones are also known as the ‘SIM-locked’ phones.
Oftentimes people use the term ‘locked phone’ to refer to a device that is physically locked, however, that is ‘screen lock’, which is a completely different thing.
Steps To Get IMEI Number On iPhone If Locked
Herein, we will cover all the ways that enable you to get your iPhone’s IMEI number. Keep in mind that there is no difference in obtaining an IMEI number for an unlocked or locked iPhone. You have many ways.
However, if the phone is ‘screen locked’, which means that you are unable to use it, you will need to use the methods that don’t require phone access to attain the number.
That said, let’s take a closer look at each of the IMEI number obtaining steps.
- Dial To Get IMEI: Dialing *#06# causes a box with your phone’s IMEI inside to appear immediately. It’s that simple. However, if you are dealing with a locked screen, you will have to use other methods.
- Finding IMEI Under The Settings: Another way to get your iPhone’s IMEI number is by navigating the menu. Go to Settings>General>About. Once there, scroll down until you can see the ‘IMEI’ line. Again, this option will not work for you, if your phone’s screen is locked and you cannot access it.
- Use iTunes: There are two methods you can use iTunes to get an IMEI number. One includes using your iPhone, while the other one does not.
- Plug the iPhone into a PC/laptop > Open iTunes > Select your iPhone > Select the ”Summary” tab > Click on the ”Phone Number”. The 15-digit number you should be able to see is the IMEI number.
- Make sure to use the latest iTunes version. Go to an iDevice backup, open preferences in iTunes. In case of Windows: Go to Edit > Preferences; in case of Mac: Go to iTunes > Preferences. Then select the “Devices” tab and hover the mouse over the backup iPhone, which will display the IMEI number.
- Have a Look at The Back Of Your Phone: Not all iPhones have IMEI numbers at their back, however, you should be able to find it on these older models: iPhone SE, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5. The IMEI number is engraved on the back of some iPhone models. This method proved to be easily falsified, thus Apple removed that option for newer models. Keep in mind that it can be fake.
- Have a Look at the SIM Tray: Most iPhone models (iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 3G) have their IMEI numbers engraved on the SIM tray. This means, that you can easily locate it, even if the phone’s screen is locked.
- Check The Original Box: If you have the iPhone’s original box, you can find your phone’s IMEI number at the back of it (normally). Look at your box, and the number next to the ‘IMEI’ is what you are looking for. Again, keep in mind that this can be falsified.
- iCloud Locked Phones: If you have an iCloud locked phone, you only need to tap on the ‘i’ icon as soon as your phone is turned on. This will display the IMEI number.
So there you have it. Now you know how to get IMEI number on iPhone if locked. Not all of the above methods are available for each iPhone series. That said, go with the method that suits your needs and your phone’s condition.
Once you have successfully attained the IMEI number, you can use it for various purposes. For details on that, move to the section below.
What Can I Use The IMEI Number For?
IMEI number of your iPhone can be used for various purposes. If you are buying a new iPhone from a reputable dealer, Apple Store, or a reputable carrier, you will not need to deal with IMEI at all. However, if you decide to buy a used iPhone or want to use a Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) option, then you will need to or want to deal with the IMEI.
Avoid Purchasing Stolen Used iPhone
If you’re buying a used iPhone, you should make your priority check that the phone has what is called a “clean” IMEI number, which we’ve covered above. Always request phones IMEI, and then perform the check. You can do so with any carrier.
How To Track Down Your Phone Using IMEI
If you’ve lost your iPhone, there are several official methods that can help you track it down, including ‘Check device IMEI/MEID/ESN’, ‘iCloud Find Service’ on a PC or Mac, or use Find My iPhone app on another iOS device. If your phone has been stolen, you will need to call the police and give them your iPhones IMEI number.
Is Your iPhone Unlocked or Locked?
Using your iPhone’s IMEI number, you can check whether your phone is locked or unlocked. This can be done on most carriers’ websites, typically under their BYOP section.
iPhone IMEI Unlocking
The IMEI Unlocking is what carriers use to unlock your phone when eligible (there are unlocking policies set in place). And this is by far the best method to unlock your iPhone. There are also third-party IMEI unlocking services available online, which may work, but require extra caution, as there are many scams related to that.
Officially, only CLEAN iCloud devices can be unlocked. That said, there are various online service providers that can help you unlock iCloud using your IMEI number.
Blacklist Your Phone
With the IMEI number, you can also call your local police and report your phone as stolen. Also, you can call your mobile carrier to report a stolen phone, and providing them the IMEI will allow them to blacklist it.
Blacklisting your device won’t help you get it back, however, it’ll at least make its cellular functionality impossible for anyone else to use it.
Once (if you are lucky enough) your phone is retrieved, you also get it of the Blacklist by providing its IMEI number.
What Information Does IMEI Number Provide?
In the case of iPhones, the IMEI number provides all of the following info:
- Model: Αs well as storage size and color
- IMEI2: Αvailable on iPhone XS and beyond for eSIM
- Serial Number
- Activation Status: Activated/Not Activated
- AppleCare Eligibility: Yes/No
- Warranty Status: Under/Out Of Warranty
- Telephone Technical Support: Active/Expired
- Repairs and Service Coverage: Active/Expired
- Valid Purchase Date
- Registered: Yes/No
- Replaced: Yes/No
- Loaner: Yes/No
- iCloud Lock Status: ON/OFF
- iCloud Status: CLEAN/LOST/ERASED
- SIM-Lock Status: Locked/Unlocked
- SIM-Lock Carrier: Ιn case it’s SIM Locked
- Outstanding Financial Balance: Unpaid Bills/Pending Installment Plan
- Blacklist Status: CLEAN/Blacklisted/Blocked
- Blacklisted as: STOLEN/LOST/REPLACED/FRAUD
- Blacklist by: Carrier (in case it’s Blacklisted)
- Blacklisted in: Country (in case it’s Blacklisted)
- Blacklisted Date (if Blacklisted)
If you got to this point, you are a semi-expert on IMEI numbers. You know what this number is and how to get the IMEI number on iPhone if locked as well. You’ve also learned about the purposes for which the IMEI number can be used. The two most often cases being BYOP options and buying used iPhones.
We hope you will use the knowledge attained herein wisely. Best of luck!