If an IMEI number is blocked, the mobile operator associated with that phone adds it to a list of blacklisted devices. So can you use an IMEI-blocked phone? No, not really. A blacklisted iPhone cannot access its associated cellular network to use data or make calls. The iPhone can still connect to and use Wi-Fi networks, however.

Also, in some countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, an IMEI block or blacklist means that the iPhone won’t be able to access any cellular network in the entire country. This means that you will not be able to unlock the IMEI by simply changing cellular service providers. There is a growing international IMEI database, but it does not yet extend worldwide. So if your phone is taken to a country outside the database, it could be unlocked and used there.

Can you unlock an IMEI-locked iPhone? If you have reported your iPhone stolen or lost and your cellular service provider has added it to the IMEI blacklist, you will need to contact them again to have your IMEI unlocked. The requirements for IMEI unlocking vary slightly between providers, but most will want proof of ownership of the iPhone.

So, you’ve been shopping, and you finally go out and buy a phone as a private party. You get in touch with your carrier, only to find out that they can’t unlock the phone because it’s a blacklisted phone! You now essentially have a clipboard sitting on your desk that you can’t use because of this blacklist. You tried to contact the vendor because you were told you could still use the phone, but you didn’t receive anything. In this case, Mobiltelefoner can help you, it’s a free online tool that can easily unlock iPhone IMEI.