IMEI Blocking: Everything You Need to Know

How do you block a phone number? What does it take to permanently lock a stolen phone? Is cell phone blocking legal? Can we use IMEI trackers for phones? In this article you will learn all you need to know about IMEI blocking and how it really works.

IMEI Blocking: What is it?

Every mobile phone comes with a 15 digit unique IMEI number. Be it a GSM phone or a CDMA phone, these 15 digits are printed by the mobile manufacturer. So, for example, if you have an Apple iPhone then you can check the IMEI number of iPhone by looking at the box or the back panel.

This number is useful in blocking a cell phone forever.

IMEI Blocking: Why?

So why should you go with IMEI blocking? Note that IMEI blocking is not a technology. It’s simply a method by which you can lock a mobile phone. In a way you can say IMEI blocking is equal to “cell phone blocking.” There are many advantages of blocking a phone through IMEI, one of which is explained as an example here:

David has lost an Apple iPhone. He believes someone stole it while he was in the classroom today. So, with no hopes of finding the phone, he asks the mobile company to block iPhone using IMEI. By blocking iPhone, all his data — photos, videos, voice clips, sms text messages, movies, etc. — will not be accessible to the thief. Although his phone may or may not be returned to him, but he can breath a sigh of relief as he knows that the data is now safe and locked.”

Privacy is one of the reason why many phone owner prefer IMEI blocking over other tracking techniques, because let’s face it: tracking a phone can be a tedious task if we don’t have the right kind of apps installed.

Another reason people choose to get their phones IMEI blocked is because of the misuse. Many folks can make phone calls from the stolen or lost phone, which leads to huge amount of bills. This bill, unfortunately, must be paid by the owner.

IMEI Blocking: Make Sure Your Cell Phone is Eligible

You simply cannot request any company to block your cell phone. Let’s say that you are using a Verizon Apple iPhone under contract (in other words, a locked iPhone), then you have to contact Verizon to block the phone. But if you are using a GSM iPhone with different SIM card provider, then it doesn’t make sense to contact the SIM card provider (unless both SIM and phone are under the same company brand).

SIM card provider will not be able to block the phone, regardless of the model and the type — be it a smartphone or a cheap basic handset. The IMEI number of the phone is useless for SIM providers, which is why you have to get in touch with the original distributor. That doesn’t mean if you lose an iPhone you have to get in touch with Apple customer care.

Instead you have to get in touch with the company providing you this authorized iPhone. Say, if Vodafone store provided you an iPhone, then you have a relationship with them.

Only network operator authorized phones are eligible for IMEI blocking. If you have an unlocked phone, with no contract, even then you can request for IMEI blocking by filing a complaint. Thousands of Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Huawei, Micromax and many other Android smartphones are blocked this way.

IMEI Blocking: The Complete Procedure

For anyone wondering how to block phone using IMEI number, here is the complete step-by-step procedure:

Step 1: Find your phone’s IMEI number. You can go to our “Check IMEI Number” section to find IMEIs of your phone.

Step 2: Get in touch with your network carrier.

Step 3: Confirm your identity and supply the IMEI number, asking specifically to block the phone due to theft or loss.

Step 4: The representative will block your phone immediately, but you must wait anywhere between 24 hours to 48 hours.


Question: What steps should I take to IMEI block a stolen phone, apart from the ones mentioned in this tutorial?
Answer: Depending on the company, you will be asked a lot more details before they lock your mobile phone. For example, Vodafone asks its customers who have purchased a Vodafone phone insurance, to file a complaint in the police station. Then obtain a crime reference number. Only then they will be able initiate the IMEI blocking process.

Question: Should I give IMEI number compulsorily?
Answer: If you have a phone under contract then you don’t have to give your IMEI number. Most of the time people want to block a phone without IMEI number, which is always possible for contract-based phones.

Question: Can police track phones blocked by IMEI?
Answer: Police can only use SIM card information to track the phone, including the IMEI number of the device. Tracking location through IMEI number is not possible though. Read more: Hide IMEI number from being tracked.

Question: Are all phone models blocked through IMEI?
Answer: Yes, technically any phone can be IMEI blocked. However, some carriers do not provide this service unless they are forced to do so.

Question: What if the IMEI number of the lost phone is changed?
Answer: Although there are many IMEI changing software, but changing IMEI number is not legal. Even then if the number is changed then there is nothing you could do to avoid it.

Question: What happens after registering a IMEI blocking complaint?
Answer: The company will add the phone in the blacklist database. You can easily enquire or check IMEI blacklist for more details.

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