What Is IMEI Number and How To Decode It


You may have heard of the acronym IMEI and you know that it refers to the ID of your phone, but do you really know for what this function is needed? Each new phone (including iPhone) must have a unique number IMEI, which remains at the device throughout its lifetime. So what is IMEI number and how to decode it.

Since the recent smartphones have become a prime target for theft around the world, do not underestimate the significance of IMEI numbers. It would be right decision if you save this numbers somewhere in the safe place. In this article, we will explain why our mobile devices must have IMEI and list of the basic techniques that will allow you to find and record your unique number.

So What Does IMEI Number Mean or What Is It?

IMEI means: International Mobile Equipment Identity. Each device must have a unique number, which will distinguish it from the rest. When you buy a new phone, you may notice IMEI on the box or on the store receipt. If you ever bear mobile phone in for repair, there is a chance that the service center will ask your IMEI on the warranty card for identification purposes.

what is imei number

Standard IMEI number is a 14-digit string that is further accompanied by a special screening room, and we now have the IMEI / SV (SV – designed for software) with a 16-digit string that is present only on the new devices. However there are 15 digits for Apple iPhone of GSM operator and 14 digits for the CDMA iPhone. The main objective of IMEI goes beyond simple identification, this number can be used to block the device access to the network provider. Also you can use IMEI to unlock your phone from mobile operator.

If your mobile phone is stolen or lost, and you report it to your mobile service provider, they will block the device to access their network and can even block access to other networks and the use of other regions. The police maintain a record of all stolen phones and uses the IMEI numbers to identify the devices.

 How to Find your IMEI Number

Most mobile devices will display IMEI after you type *#06#. This is usually sufficient to identify the device code that works on both the old and the new devices. You can use other methods. Here are some options for different manufacturers:

  • iOS (iPhone, LTE/3G iPad): Look in Settings -> General -> About and scroll down till you see IMEI. Also it can be found on the Sim tray where you put the Sim. But make sure that the Sim tray is native to the iPhone.
  • Android: go to Settings ->About and find section where you can see IMEI, serial number, etc.
  • Older Sony or Sony Ericsson: just type – * Right * Left Left * Left *
  • Blackberry or the new Sony Ericsson: go to Options -> Status.

In case you need to get info about your phone using IMEI # you can check it using free network checker and get information like the mobile operator to which your phone is locked, warranty status, SIMLock status, contact number (CTN), etc.

iphone imei number


How To Decode IMEI Number

Since 2004, the format of unique identifiers is the following phone numbers: AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D where:

  • AA: These two digits are for the Reporting Body Identifier, indicating the GSMA approved group that allocated the TAC (Type Allocation Code).
  • BBBBBB: The remainder of the TAC (FAC)
  • CCCCCC: Serial sequence of the Model (SNR)
  • D: Luhn check digit of the entire model or 0 (This is an algorithm that validates the ID number) (CD)

For example, the current iPhone 5 has a TAC with numbers 01-332700, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 uses 35-853704. The section of code marked as the letter C is a unique serial number and the number is affixed only by the manufacturer. The last digit is a check digit and is used to test the entire line.


IMEI belongs to the device, and has no relation to the SIM-card. If your phone is stolen, the settings are reset and SIM-card is replaced, the IMEI number will not change without outside interference. If your phone is stolen and you want to block it with the IMEI, be sure to ask your service provider to expand the lock to other networks as well.

If it does not, you can contact other operators in your area and ask them to activate the lock for your IMEI. In some regions, changing these numbers is illegal and this usually requires a very good reason.

Although it is illegal, sometimes IMEI can be changed. Thieves use numbers that are not in the black list, and install them on the stolen device to use it again. That is why it is recommended to never share or publish your IMEI in the network. Otherwise your IMEI can be cloned for changing blacklisted IMEI to normal.

By the way, in the interest of the criminal investigation, IMEI can be used for listening devices.

So, as you see, IMEI number of mobile devices is important and unique ID that you need to know and backup right now.

If your phone is stolen, this identifier does not help you to get it back, but you will get some comfort knowing that the mobile operator will restrict the possibility to use any Sim card.

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