There are legitimate reasons you might want to find out what network your phone is on. A common reason is having a locked phone without a SIM card. If you have a locked phone and want to switch to a different provider or sell it, you need to know what network it is on to ask the provider to unlock it. You might also need to know what network you are on if you have a phone with a SIM card that won’t eject. There are various ways to get this information; some are less intuitive than others.

How to Find Out What Network My Phone is on When It is Locked

A locked phone is restricted to connecting to a specific carrier and will not connect to any other, even if you switch the SIM card. You can try the SIM cards you have to see which one it connects to, but this is not always feasible if the phone is a second-hand model, as you would have to test SIM cards from all providers.

The process for checking the network your phone is on will depend on whether you have an Android or iOS device. Since there are many Android versions, the process is different but similar. You need to go to Network & Internet or an option with similar wording inside your settings. Go to the Mobile Networks action and then tap on Network Operators. Next, select Search Now, and you will see a list of the networks your device can connect to.


If you own an iPhone, go to settings and then Mobile Data or Cellular Data. Click on Mobile Data Network to see which network your iPhone can connect to.

Check Device Documentation

If you own a locked device, it was bought from a carrier or network provider. For this reason, you will be able to find the network that the device is on by checking the purchase documentation, packaging material or device documentation.

The main downside of this option is that you might have bought a locked phone on the second-hand market and thus have none of these available. If this is the case, you will need to consider the other options on this list to find the network provider.

How Do I Know What Network My Phone is on Using an IMEI Checker?

Another option is to use an online IMEI checking tool. The tools check whether your phone is unlocked and which networks it can connect to if it is unlocked. To use them, you need to find your IMEI number.

You will find this information on iPhones by going to Settings, General, and then About. The IMEI number is typically located at the bottom of this page.

For Android devices, you need to go to Settings, About or About Phone, and then IMEI. Tap on the option to retrieve the number.

Once you have it, you can search for IMEI checker tools online. These are usually free, and the only thing you need to provide is the IMEI number. Once the search is complete, you will know if your phone is locked or unlocked and, where possible and depending on the tool, the networks it can connect to.

Note that using these tools does not guarantee that you will know the carrier or network, and they can produce wildly inaccurate results depending on the tool and the data they have available in their databases.

Check the Signal Bars or Network Icons

Most devices display network bars on the screen’s top left or top right side. In some cases, they will also display the name of the network the device is on or the company’s logo or icon.

Know Your Network by Checking the SIM Card

If the phone has a SIM card in it, knowing the network it is on is very easy. All you have to do is remove the SIM card and examine it. Most SIM cards that are not generic will have some branding from their provider.

Check the Access Point Name

Access Point names (APNs) provide a network path for all network connections. They are either provided by the carrier or entered manually. Since most people do not know what they are and that they can change them, it is safe to assume that the ones on the device you have are unchanged.

APNs provided by the network provider typically come with their name or parent company’s name. This means you can look at them to find the network a device connects to. On an iPhone, you can check the APN settings by going to either Settings>Mobile>Mobile Data Network or Settings>Mobile Data>Mobile Data Options>Mobile Data Network.

For Android Devices. Go to Settings and then to Mobile Networks. The settings might also be under Connections or Network and Internet. Once there, click on Access Point Names to see which APN settings the device uses.

Use a Speed Test

Speed Test is a platform that allows users to test their internet speed. It collects different types of data, including your IP address and the network you are currently on, to help give accurate results. For this reason, it is easy to find out what network you are on using the platform.

Go to and wait for the page to open. You should see the network you are connected to at the bottom and your IP address.

Use a Number Lookup Service

Another method that is not used often to find out the carrier a phone number belongs to, and thus the network it is on, is number lookup services. These online services provide users with different types of information on a phone number, including its carrier.

There are both free and paid versions of these services, with the paid versions providing more granular data than the free options. Since many of them are used by marketing agencies, they require you to pay for the lookup since they think you are using their service to verify data for targeted SMS marketing.

Check the Name of The Wi-Fi Network

A mobile network is not the only unknown network a phone can connect to, as it can also connect to Wi-Fi. If your device always has Wi-Fi on, it might connect to open Wi-Fi networks in a mall, restaurant, or airport, for example.

In this case, finding the Wi-Fi network’s name is very easy, as all you need to do is go to your Wi-Fi settings and look at the connected networks. It should be at the top, as the networks a phone has connected to are listed in order of when they last connected.

You can also use this technique to find out which Wi-Fi networks you are connected to in places you often frequent and where you have previously connected to more than one Wi-Fi connection.

There are many ways of finding out the network your phone is connected to, whether mobile or Wi-Fi. Using these techniques one at a time is best as they work with different degrees of success. It is also to double-check by calling the carrier’s customer service number whose network you think your phone is connected to ensure you have the right one. If not, keep trying, using the other methods discussed above.