The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is unique for each mobile device and is used to identify it by network providers. Invariably, no two mobile devices have similar IMEI numbers. The IMEI number serves several purposes; one notable one is tracking and tracing a lost device.
So, when you get an iPhone and find that its IMEI has been blocked, it is most likely useless, as you cannot use its network utilities. Also, there is a good chance that there is a tracker on you.
But what can you do? Can you unblock it? Or do you just give up? Read on to find out.
What does IMEI blocked on iPhone mean?
A blocked IMEI number on iPhone means that network operators have submitted their IMEI number to a database pool of blocked iPhones. This can be due to many reasons, ranging from suspected theft or fraud to many other illegal activities.
All network providers use a single database to track these IMEIs. So it doesn’t matter which provider inserts your IMEI number into that database. All it takes to insert your IMEI into this database of blocked IMEIs is one provider, and it synchronizes with the others.
So even changing network providers doesn’t remove your IMEI from the blocked list. Also, your next network provider knows as soon as you insert your login chip that a previous provider reported your iPhone’s IMEI number. However, this is usually not the end for your iPhone. In addition, there are things you can do to remove your IMEI from this blocked list.
What happens after your IMEI is blocked?
Once a network provider blocks your iPhone’s IMEI, you will not be able to use it to its full potential. You cannot activate such an iPhone with a mobile operator. So, in short, you will not be able to use cellular data to connect to the Internet on your iPhone. A blocked IMEI does not prevent you from accessing the Internet via Wi-Fi. But what might frustrate you is that you won’t be able to make calls or send texts with your phone once its IMEI is blocked.
Check if your iPhone IMEI is blacklisted
There are many tools you can use to check whether your iPhone IMEI number is clean or not. But before you proceed, you may want to first find your IMEI number by dialing *#06# on your iPhone. This brings up a series of numbers with barcode blocks. The one that says IMEI is the IMEI number of your iPhone.
Then go to the official IPRO website. Check the reCAPTCHA box and enter your IMEI in the field provided to scan it for any blockage or irregularities. You will see a green status message saying CLEAN UP if your iPhone is not flagged. You can also check your iPhone’s activation lock status to ensure your IMEI is not compromised.
Why is my iPhone IMEI blocked?
As mentioned, a network provider may block your iPhone for certain reasons. Most of them are related to illegal activities. Here are some salient reasons below.
1- Stolen iPhone
Your iPhone’s IMEI can be blocked if someone (or you) reports it as stolen. IMEI blocking is one of the measures that network operators adopt worldwide to crack down on any stolen iPhone.
If someone reports a stolen iPhone to their network provider, the network provider runs a background check to ensure that they are the true owner of the device. Once the network provider confirms ownership of an iPhone, it then proceeds to block its IMEI. Only the reporter (owner) of the iPhone can request to unlock such an iPhone in such a case.
2- Violations of local laws/regulations
Sometimes your IMEI can be blocked due to a violation of local laws. However, this varies by region. But it is not uncommon for people’s IMEI to be locked in areas where strict regulations bind network and smartphone usage. People might have to pay a fine or serve other penalties to unlock their IMEI in this case.
Violation of terms of service, network policies and regulations can also result in your iPhone’s IMEI number being blocked. For example, if your network provider detects that your activities compromise its service to other users, it may block your IMEI. This is rare, though. But it happens.
4- Fraudulent activity detected on your network
Network providers can sometimes be too naive and block your IMEI if they suspect fraudulent activity on your network. For example, your IMEI number can be reported if people keep reporting your phone number by sending spam or making illegal calls.
How to fix IMEI blacklist on iPhone
So you have seen why your IMEI may be blocked. Fortunately, there are several ways to fix blacklisted IMEI on iPhone. Follow the steps below to unlock.
Related: Best ways to send large videos from iPhone
1- Contact the original seller/owner
If you bought an iPhone body to body and find that its IMEI locks up when you insert a login chip, it’s best to contact its previous owner. Also, they may have deliberately blocked it, but forgot to call the network provider to unblock it before selling or giving it away.
It is also unfortunate that you bought a stolen iPhone. Neither you nor your network provider can unlock it in this case. Not until the original owner comes to your rescue. You may want to return such an iPhone if you can still locate the seller. Or you could involve the local authorities if they don’t take responsibility. However, you should be careful and do your research before buying an iPhone hand to hand. Always make sure to ask for the original receipt before completing the transaction.
2- Contact your network operator
If you have been using your iPhone and you are sure that it belongs to you and its IMEI is suddenly blocked, you should call your network provider for more clarity. They are in the best position to explain why your IMEI was blocked and can tell you the steps to take to unlock it.
3- Report suspected fraud to law enforcement
Many factors can be responsible for a blocked IMEI. For example, if you suspect that someone has hacked into your network and exploited it for fraudulent purposes, it might be best to report it to law enforcement. Also, if your network provider can’t explicitly explain why your IMEI was blocked, you may want to present the case to local authorities before they visit. Also, it’s worth reporting if you purchased a blocked iPhone right out of the box. You may have been a victim of fraud.
Your iPhone’s IMEI can be blocked for many reasons. But you don’t need to panic once you are sure you are clean. However, even though I have shown you how to unlock your iPhone IMEI, these are not stereotypical rules or steps. But these are the main steps to take in difficult situations.
Some other situations warrant specific steps. Overall, as mentioned, your network provider has the answer to why they blocked your iPhone’s IMEI number. So contacting them might help find out what’s wrong after all. Be careful, don’t have your IMEI reported.