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What is an IMEI Number?

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Virginia Cheng

Content Editor at Textr

Published Sep 21, 2022

Performing an IMEI check is useful if you need to find out your IMEI number. If you’ve owned a cell phone for a while, you might already be familiar with the term, but not everyone knows why it’s important.

In this article, you’ll learn how to do an IMEI check and how to find where IMEI number on phone. First, though, let’s look at what an IMEI number is.

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What is an IMEI Number?

IMEI is short for International Mobile Equipment Identity. In short, it’s your cell phone’s unique identification number that’s shared between manufacturers and carriers. An IMEI number functions as your phone’s tracking ID, so companies know which devices they’ve sent to which carriers.

It contains 15 digits, which are broken down into 3 parts. These are:

  • The first 8 digits – the model and origin of the phone, known as the Type Allocation Code
  • The following 6 digits. – the manufacturer code
  • The final digit – the Luhn check digit (an identification number)
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What is the Difference Between IMEI and ICCID?

Cell phones are associated with plenty of acronyms. As such, it can be easy to confuse them, particularly IMEI and ICCID. You’ve got a definition of IMEI above, so here’s a definition of ICCID:

ICCID stands for Integrated Circuit Card Identifier. Where an IMEI number is a unique ID for your phone, an ICCID is a unique ID for your SIM card. It performs pretty much the same function as an IMEI number, but finding it is much simpler than an IMEI check.

You’ll find it on the SIM card and the card’s packaging, and you can also find it in your phone’s settings menu. You might need it in the following situations:

  • To activate a new SIM card
  • To confirm which SIM card is linked to which plan (if you have several)
  • You’ve swapped SIM cards between devices and need to remember which goes with which
  • You need to quote it to a repair technician if you’re having network issues

It’s fair to say that, for the general public at least, an IMEI number is more important than an ICCID.

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Why is IMEI Important to You?

IMEI numbers are related to tracking mobile devices. However, they’re important for consumers as well as manufacturers.

For example, you’ll want to do an IMEI check before setting up a secondhand phone. Although an IMEI number itself doesn’t prevent theft of phones, it can be used to block or blacklist a stolen device. This is typically done by the carrier and prevents the phone from being used, even if the thief puts a new SIM card in.

Carriers share blacklisted IMEIs with each other, so they know not to allow new plans on the device. This is why you’re usually asked to do an IMEI check if you’re buying a SIM-only plan from a carrier.

However, you can also use an IMEI unlock checker to see whether your device is genuine. Fake mobile devices will typically use another device’s IMEI number, which will be flagged on a carrier’s system if you try to set up a plan on it.

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How I Check IMEI Number?

If you’re wondering, how I check IMEI number, the steps vary slightly by device manufacturer. In the old days (when phones had removable batteries), you could do an IMEI check simply by checking inside the phone. 

However, that’s no longer possible. Instead, here’s how to find where IMEI number on phone on 3 major devices.

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IMEI Checker Apple

  1. Go to Settings and tap General. Then, tap About.
  2. Your device’s name should be at the top of the list. Scroll down and you should find your IMEI number.

Alternatively, you can find do an IMEI check by looking in various places on the device. For iPhones 6s to 13, it’s written on the SIM card tray (provided your phone has one). On iPhones 5-6, you can find it engraved on the back of the phone at the bottom. On iPhones 3G to 4s, it’s written on the SIM tray.

Finally, if you don’t have your phone to hand, you can use another device as an IMEI checker Apple. Do the following: 

  1. Go to the Apple ID website.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  3. Find the Devices section and look for your phone. Click on it and you’ll find the IMEI number.

How I Check IMEI Number on Samsung?

To perform an IMEI check on a Samsung device, you have several options:

  1. Open the Phone app and dial *#06#
  2. Your device will bring up a screen displaying the IMEI number and other codes.

If your phone has a removable back cover, you can check under the battery. It’s written on a white sticker. If you can’t remove the cover, the IMEI will be engraved on the back of the device, at the bottom.

Finally, you can look in the settings menu:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap About Phone.
  2. At the top should be your device’s model number. The IMEI is located below this.

Google Pixel IMEI Check

The process for finding an IMEI number on a Google Pixel is almost identical to the above. You’ll find it on the phone’s box, in its SIM card tray and in the settings menu.

  1. Open the Settings and tap About Phone.
  2. Scroll down to find the IMEI number.
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Next Generation: eSIM

As of the iPhone 14, Apple has removed the SIM tray. This is arguably the beginning of the move towards eSIMs, which will only become more popular in time. However, you’ll still need to use an IMEI unlock checker to see if your phone can take an eSIM.

Textr is soon launching its eSIM service, which will be much quicker and easier than physical SIM cards. What’s more, you can use it alongside the Textr Team app. You can text and call all in one app, and set up multiple phone numbers from different countries. All this comes with unlimited texts and high-quality call minutes too.

So, download the app today to see how it can make communication easier.

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