The IMEI number is one of those terms that many of us might have heard, but few have explored its specifics. Standing for ‘International Mobile Equipment Identity’, this number serves a unique purpose in the world of mobile communication. Read on to find out more about it.
What is IMEI Number?
Every mobile phone, whether it’s a basic handset or the most sophisticated flagship release, comes equipped with an IMEI number. This is a 15-digit unique identifier, which is globally recognised. It’s like the DNA for your phone, setting it apart from every other device in the world.
The IMEI system was established to provide a unique identifier for each mobile device, ensuring that telecommunications networks can recognise, authenticate, and effectively manage the vast number of devices accessing their services. This is especially important given the surge in mobile device use worldwide.
An IMEI number is structured in a specific way:
The first 8 digits represent the TAC (Type Allocation Code). This code provides information about the device manufacturer and the model.
The next 6 digits, known as the serial number, are unique to every device of the same model, ensuring individual distinction.
The final digit, called the Luhn check digit, exists for error-checking purposes and is derived algorithmically.
The allocation of TAC and oversight of the IMEI system is managed by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association). They ensure that each device produced and launched in the market has a unique IMEI, preventing duplication and potential conflicts.
IMEI Importance in Mobile Security
Beyond just identification, the IMEI number plays a key role in mobile security. For instance, when a device is reported stolen and its IMEI is shared with service providers, networks can block that particular device from accessing services, effectively rendering it useless for thieves. What’s more, in some countries, tampering with an IMEI is illegal, showcasing the weight of its importance.
Manufacturers and IMEI
From the perspective of the manufacturer, the IMEI serves as a record-keeping tool. When devices are sent for servicing or when warranties are claimed, manufacturers can use the IMEI to track the device’s history, understand any potential recurring issues, and validate genuine products.
Is the IMEI on the SIM Card?
It’s not uncommon to confuse the IMEI number with SIM card details. After all, both are associated with our mobile devices. However, drawing a distinction between the two is essential to fully grasp the mobile communication system.
SIM Card Basics
The SIM card, or ‘Subscriber Identity Module’, is a tiny card inserted into mobile devices. Its primary role is to store information that helps identify and authenticate the user onto a mobile network, thereby allowing connectivity.
A SIM card contains its unique identifier, the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity. This number primarily links your device to your user account with the mobile service provider. Essentially, it lets the network know who you are.
Not an IMEI Repository
Now, it’s crucial to note that while a SIM card holds the IMSI, it doesn’t store the device’s IMEI. As previously mentioned, the IMEI is specific to the mobile device itself, and not to the network subscription (or the SIM card representing that subscription).
A straightforward way to understand the distinct roles of IMEI and SIM cards is this: if you were to travel abroad and swap out your regular SIM for a local one, your phone would now have a different phone number and network subscription, thanks to the new SIM. However, the device’s IMEI remains unchanged, as it’s hardwired to the phone and not the SIM.
Where to Find the IMEI of Phone
The IMEI isn’t’ just a digital concept – it often has a tangible presence on the phone itself. Many phones have the IMEI printed on the back or within the battery compartment. In smartphones with non-removable batteries, the IMEI can often be found in the SIM tray area or finely printed at the back of the device.
Where is the IMEI on iPhone?
For iPhone users, there are multiple ways to locate the IMEI:
- Navigate to Settings > General > About. Scroll down, and you’ll see the IMEI.
- For iPhones with a physical home button, the IMEI is sometimes printed on the SIM tray.
- If you have the original box, the IMEI is typically printed on the barcode label.
Samsung IMEI Location
Samsung, one of the leaders in the Android world, offers a few methods for finding the IMEI:
- The universal *#06# method works on Samsung phones.
- Go to Settings > About Phone > Status to find the IMEI.
- If you still have the original packaging, the IMEI is often printed on the box.
How to Find a Huawei IMEI
If you have a Huawei smartphone, you can:
- Dial *#06# to reveal the IMEI.
- Head to Settings > System > About Phone
Where is the Motorola IMEI Location?
Motorola devices are known for their diverse range. If you have one of these smartphones, there are a few ways to check the IMEI.
- Like other devices, you can simply dial *#06#.
- Navigate to Settings > About Phone > Status
- For older Motorola devices, especially ones with removable batteries, the IMEI might be printed on a label beneath the battery.
Find the IMEI on a Google Pixel
If you’re using Google’s Pixel phones:
- Use the reliable *#06# method.
- Go to Settings > About Phone. Here, you’ll find the IMEI listed.
OnePlus IMEI Locating
For OnePlus users:
- Dial *#06# to immediately display the IMEI on your screen.
- Alternatively, go to Settings > About Phone to find the required details.
Using the IMEI Number 06 Search
While different phone brands have various interfaces and different settings to find the IMEI, the good news is that there’s a universal way to find it. As mentioned, the *#06# code will show you the IMEI of almost any phone.
How Does it Work?
Utilising *#06# is easy:
- Open your phone’s dialler, as if you were going to make a call.
- Type in *#06#.
- Almost instantly, your screen will display the 15-digit IMEI number. There’s no need to press the call or send button as the code triggers an automatic response.
If you are using a phone with dual SIM capabilities, you might see two IMEI numbers – one for each SIM slot.
Why is *#06# So Important?
- Universal applicability: Whether you’re an iPhone user, a die-hard Android fan, or have just picked up a basic feature phone, this code works seamlessly across the board. It gives you peace of mind to know that irrespective of brand or mode, you can simply enter it to find the details you need.
- Quick access: In situations where time is of the essence and you don’t want to look through menus or search settings, *#06# offers almost immediate results.
- Ease for non-tech-savvy users: Not everyone is comfortable navigating their phone’s settings or taking their handset apart to look behind the battery. In these cases, the *#06# code comes in handy. It’s simple, easy to remember, and effective.
While just a series of numbers at first glance, the IMEI of a phone is the linchpin of mobile device identification. It ensures that each device in the world of mobile communications can be distinctly identified, managed, and serviced.