The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a unique 15- or 17-digit code used to determine a mobile station or satelite phone to a UMTS or GSM network. It is usually located underneath the phone’s battery. The IMEI is a useful means of preventing a stolen phone from being used to access a network.

The owner of a stolen phone can ask his mobile network provider to shut off the phone using the IMEI. The service provider can then quickly and easily ban the phone from the network. This will make the phone useless, even if the SIM is replaced. An IMEI is saved on the phone and not on the SIM card.

An IMEI is only used to identify the device. It has no direct link to a specific individual or organization. It is different from a Electronic Serial Number (ESN) and a Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEI) that can link an individual to the device.

How to Find an IMEI

There are several ways to find a phone’s IMEI:

  1. Remove the battery of your phone. You can simply find it on the white label under the battery. You will have to copy the first 15 numbers for future reference. The IMEI has no slashes or letters.
  2. If the IMEI is not found on the back of your phone, return the battery to its slot and turn the phone on. Let the phone initialize before continuing. On the keypad of the phone, enter *#06#. Upon pressing the last #, the phone will display the IMEI number composed of 15 numbers. Copy it for future purposes.
  3. If you have a SIM card, check the Menu of the phone. Scroll through it and look for the IMEI or SIM ID menu. Enter it to find the IMEI number.
  4. For older phones with a SIM card, press the right arrow and look for the IMEI menu. Then press Enter for the IMEI to be displayed. If you just see seven digits, press the Menu key and the Next key to show the rest of the code.
  5. If your phone is a Motorola, enter #,*, (menu). Then press the right arrow immediately. Press these keys without pausing. The IMEI will then be displayed.

Further Reading on IMEI’s