IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It refers to a code or number that identifies a specific mobile phone over a mobile network. Every mobile phone has a unique IMEI number consisting of 15 to 17 digit numbers. Usually, it is printed on the backside of the mobile battery. The IMEI number is used for identification on Global Mobile Communications System (GSM) phones. Any telecommunications firm’s SIM card is connected to the customer and can be transferred from one phone to another, so it is a necessary method for keeping aware of the hardware itself.
- By dialing * # 06 #, anybody can search for the IMEI mobile number.
- The IMEI code indicates details about the model name, system serial number, and source.
- For instance, if the IMEI number is XX-YYYYYYY-ZZZZZZ-A / BB, therefore the XX number shows the identity of the reporting body, which is part of the TAC and indicates the model & brand of the cell phone.
- Also, the number YYYYYYY is part of the Type Allocation Code (TAC), the number ZZZZZZ is the sequence number, and the rest is the version number of the software.
- If a smartphone is misplaced, the IMEI code is used. So, if the phone of a user is stolen or lost, he may provide a mobile network company with the IMEI number and request them to disable the device.
- IMEI number shows the information about the serial number of the device, model number, and origin.
Format of IMEI Number
AA: It shows reporting body identifier. It is a part of TAC (Type Allocation Code) and shows the mobile phone model and brand.
BBBBBB: It is also a part of TAC (Type Allocation Code)
CCCCCC: Shows serial number
D: Luhn checksum
EE: Shows software version number
As of 2004, the format of the IMEI is AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D, although it may not always be displayed this way. The IMEISV does not have the Luhn check digit but instead has two digits for the Software Version Number (SVN), making the format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-EE.
Prior to 2002, the TAC was six digits and followed by a two-digit Final Assembly Code (FAC), which was a manufacturer-specific code indicating the location of the device’s construction. From January 1, 2003, until April 1, 2004, the FAC (Final Assembly Code) for all phones was 00. After April 1, 2004, the Final Assembly Code ceased to exist and the Type Allocation Code increased to eight digits in length.
For example, the old-style IMEI code 35-209900-176148-1 or IMEISV code 35-209900-176148-23 tells us the following:
- TAC: 35-2099 – issued by the BABT (code 35) with the allocation number 2099
- FAC: 00 – indicating the phone was made during the transition period when FACs were being removed
- SNR: 176148 – uniquely identifying a unit of this model
- CD: 1 so it is a GSM Phase 2 or higher
- SVN: 23 – The “software version number” identifying the revision of the software installed on the phone. 99 is reserved
IMEI number is used in the case of mobile theft. Telecom operators have a database with the IMEIs number. When a mobile is lost, that handset IMEI number is marked invalid and mobile operators will restrict the use of any SIM card. Although, a smart thief can install an unmarked IMEI number on the stolen handset and can reuse it again which is illegal.
How to Trace a Mobile Using an IMEI Number?
There are plenty of mobile phone IMEI tracking applications you can use to locate your device. With most of these apps, you just need to enter your IMEI number and it can find your device. One of the best ones for Android and iPhone is IMEI Tracker.
Besides using an IMEI tracker app, you can start tracking the location of your misplaced or stolen phone by using the Find My Device or Find My iPhone apps. These apps are highly effective in tracking a lost phone. However, it must be activated prior to the phone being misplaced, and the phone must be on with the location and Wi-Fi on to work.
That’s everything there is to know about IMEI tracking and how it can be used to locate your Android or iOS phone. Knowing your IMEI number can definitely help when your smartphone is lost or stolen.
The difference between an IMEI and a Serial Number
A serial number is used primarily by the phone’s manufacturer. It can tell you where the phone was made, whether it’s in warranty and, if you ever need to send it to repair, will help you get the same phone back when it’s returned. This can be found within your phone’s ‘About’ data, and on the back of the device in some models.
An IMEI has a similar but larger purpose. It’s still there to identify a mobile device, but it offers a level of protection if the device is stolen or lost. Similar to a VIN on a car, it gives detailed information regarding the device and its history.
Is there personal information attached to an IMEI?
The information IMEI provides is mainly added when the phone is built. It doesn’t include any information about the name or address that the phone is registered to, or the number on the SIM card. There is some information about the network and location that is transmitted by the IMEI number.
What information does it hold?
The basic information that an IMEI number holds is all about the device. The primary reason that IMEI numbers are important is their ability to help track down and secure lost or stolen phones. With every connection your phone makes, your IMEI number is shared with the provider. This serves a few vital purposes. Firstly, it helps locate the phone and guide it to the local connections so that you connect to a nearby tower. This provides a secondary benefit that in the event of a lost or stolen phone, it’s easy to locate where the last connection was. This is often used to locate missing people and understand the calls that were made from their devices to track their movements.
Finally, if the location isn’t enough to find your lost phone, every IMEI number in the country is connected to a nationwide database that allows providers to see if it has been marked as lost or stolen. When you report your phone as stolen, it will be blacklisted so that if it’s unlocked or sold, it can be traced.