What is IMEI number and Why is IMEI important? - Explained

It is barely necessary to mention that whenever we purchase any smartphone we definitely look for the IMEI number on it. In fact, those cell phones which do not contain IMEI are declared as illegal by the Police Department. In this article, I have discussed what exactly is IMEI? Why is it mandatory to check the device we want to buy has valid IMEI or not? Read this till the end, I am gonna clarify all such questions.

What is IMEI number and Why is IMEI important?

So talking about the topic, the first thing we must know is what is the meaning of IMEI?

What is an IMEI number?

IMEI is an acronym for International Mobile Equipment Identity. This is a 14-digit string that includes information on the origin, model, and serial number of the mobile device. Also this series of numbers are unique for every other cell phones that you are seeing around. The IMEI number is used by a GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) network to identify valid devices and hence is used for barring a stolen phone from accessing that network. To make it crystal clear IMEI numbers are allotted to those components of the electronic device that wants to access the terrestrial or satellite network. So we see two IMEI numbers for a Single Unit of Dual SIM phone. But what exactly does IMEI let us know?

What does the IMEI tell us?

The sole purpose of these IMEI numbers can be deciphered right from its acronym whose last word reads IDENTITY. Clearly these numbers bear an unique identity of the corresponding mobile phone. You can compare this to our Fingerprint ID or the trendy FACE ID.

If you are guessing that this is the only purpose of an IMEI number then you might have missed out the secondary purpose of an IMEI number, which is to prevent theft. If any cell phone can be universally identified, a thief can't change the SIM card on that phone and expect to have the phone. IMEI numbers are coded deep into device hardware, making it ALMOST (yes, almost) impossible to change them without causing any damaging the device.
When a carrier knows that a device has been stolen, it can blacklist the IMEI code and lock it out of the network. Later on, it conveys other cellular networks to do the same.

Can your mobile be tracked using IMEI?

Want to know between Yes or No?
The prompt answer is YES.
How? Well take some time out and read it through. Most FAQ among us is how to track IMEI in order to find the lost phone. Well let me say you tracking IMEI is not at all an easy process.
Firstly, this should be reported to the local authority so that they put up an IMEI tracking letter which is then forwarded to the network service provider. Once this is done the network provider will block the handset making it useless unless recovered. The phone will fail to work even if the network SIM card is changed with some other network's one.
The authorities or the manufacturers carry a dedicated device which can track any phone having an IMEI number. This device is connected to the manufacturer’s database where the particulars of every single handset made by them exists. As long as the phone is connected to a network, it can be tracked using triangulation process. I will go in details about this is the very next article. So do keep this site bookmarked.

Can IMEI be cloned?

Cloning is found to be successful on CDMA, but rare on GSM smartphones. GSM phones don't bear any ESN or MIN, only an IMEI number. There are various methods used to obtain this IMEI. The most common methods are to hack into the cellular company, or to eavesdrop on the cellular network.

Why does dual SIM device comes with IMEI 1 and IMEI 2?

If the phone is a dual-SIM (which most of the devices around us are), then it has two separate modems (maybe one in practice, which is registered to two different networks) and thus two registrations to network. For each registration a unique IMEI is needed. Thus we see two IMEI numbers on dual SIM mobile phones.


How to check my mobile's IMEI number?

There are two ways to do this. The quickest one is to type *#06# from your phone's dialer and wait for the pop-up to appear. In case you are using a Dual-SIM device then there will be 2 separate IMEI numbers labelled as IMEI 1 and IMEI 2.
Other than this method you can re-verify the IMEI numbers from the Phone Settings too. For this Go to Settings → About Phone → Status → IMEI information.

IMEI information

Other than these too, if you are deeply inquisitive and you have a cell phone with removable battery, then remove the case and the battery as well. You will notice IMEI stickers near the SIM tray.

Is my IMEI valid?

Here is one more FAQ that I get to hear a lot around. Is my IMEI valid? How to check its validity? You can visit this website over here and find it out yourself.
IMEI validator

The steps are really quick and simple as well. All you need to do is type *#06# from your phone dialer and then type the string that you find popping up on the screen. Hit Enter or Validate IMEI button. The Blue alert message below will inform you the status.
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