International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is the identification number for your phone and it is unique at that. The purpose of the IMEI number is to allow the mobile network providers to identify the phone with all the details needed and provide services based on the legality of the device. It is also a great tool for law enforcement agencies to track down a device that has been suspected of illegal or criminal activities.
IMEI numbers can be blacklisted or blocked by the cellular service providers if a device has been reported stolen or lost by its users. Unpaid bills or any other illegal suspect can be other reasons for a phone to be blacklisted. If your phone has been blacklisted and the reason is not criminal, this post will provide you with the info you need to delist it. Let’s Go!
How to unlock a Blacklisted Phone?
Phones can be blacklisted for several reasons. One of the common reasons for the blacklisting of a phone is when they get lost or stolen. The user reports the incident to their carrier or cellular company. The company responds to the request and puts the IMEI number of that lost or stolen phone on a blacklist.
Other reasons can be outstanding or unpaid bills against your cellular plan which has compelled your service provider cellular company to take strict action and block the IMEI of your phone. This will prevent your phone from performing any cellular activities like making calls or using the LTE network for the internet.
Another less frequent reason for blacklisting of a phone includes when you provide false information to the carrier company or your address has changed. There are some incidents of phone insurance fraud that have made the carriers resort to blacklisting the phone.
Regardless of the reasons, if you are in a possession of a blacklisted phone, you surely want it unlocked or delisted right away to clean your name. You can do this as there are many methods and ways around available. Let’s discuss them.
Requesting the carrier which has blacklisted your phone
If you own a blacklisted phone and want to get it out of the blacklist for free, you have only one way out. You will have to contact the concerned carrier company which has previously blacklisted your phone. No one else can “REMOVE” your phone’s IMEI number from the blacklist, no matter what they say. So here is a stepwise guide to follow to get your phone delisted from the blacklist.
1. Check and note down the IMEI/ESN of your device
Before you start your journey of delisting your phone’s IMEI number from the blacklist database, you need to find out what your IMEI number is. You can find it out by dialing *#06# on the dialer of your phone and your IMEI number will be displayed within a fraction of a second.
2. Call you Carrier or Cellular Service Provider company
Once you have noted down the IMEI number of your phone, it is time to make a call to the guys who have the authority to delist your phone from the blacklist. Yes, your carrier! you can call the customer care or support of your mobile service provider.
3. Provide all the necessary information
Once you are connected to your carrier or mobile service provider’s customer care, you will need to provide them with all the correct information they have asked for. Do not try to mislead them with fake information as it can lead to some tricky situations with the involvement of the local law enforcement people.
- If you had lost your phone previously and now found it, provide them with correct proof to establish yourself as the owner of the phone. You will also need to provide them with the IMEI or ESN number that you noted down earlier.
- If there is some unpaid bill against your phone number, pay all the outstanding amounts to get your phone free from the blacklist.
- If there has been some misunderstanding regarding the change of address, you can provide them with the correct one and get your phone delisted.
4. Wait for the unlock code
Once the personnel at your Carrier company verify your identity and believe that your concern or request is a genuine one, they will send you an unlock code via email. In some scenarios, you might have to visit a local retail store of the carrier or service provider for the same.
5. Unlock your phone and get it delisted from the blacklist
Once you have the unlock code with you, you will most often need to insert another carrier’s SIM card in your phone and you will be prompted to enter the unlock code provided to you.
Once you enter the code, your phone will be no more blacklisted and you can insert the old SIM card or any other SIM card to enjoy uninterrupted cellular service on your phone.
It is pretty easy to get your phone unlocked or out of the blacklist if you are the owner of the phone and it was a mistake on your part or some silly misunderstanding that led to the blacklisting of the phone. You can easily contact major cellular service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile for help and they will guide you to successfully delisting your phone without any charge.
But, if you are not the owner of the phone that you have with you and you try calling the carriers to unlock it, it might not be of much help as they won’t be able to verify you as the owner. Things might take a steep turn if the phone you are trying to get unlocked has been reported stolen previously. This might turn into a nasty legal issue pretty quickly.
You should resort to the paid method if you are in a possession of a second-hand phone and you discover that its IMEI number is blacklisted. Before trying any hacks or ways around to get it unlocked or make it work, you should try to return the device to the seller and get your money back. This is the wise thing to do as you have no idea what is the reason for the phone to be on a blacklist. If returning is not an option for you, well here are the paid methods that you can use.
Third-party blacklist remover service
If you really want to get the blacklisted phone unlocked then you can contact and ask third parties for the same. They will try to do their best but at a certain cost.
Services offered by Third-party unlocking delisting service providers
- Your phone will get out of the blacklist as they will do it remotely by using the IMEI number of your phone
- Some of these service providers take a legal path that is permanent. This will prevent the phone from being locked again in the future.
- Some of them are good at unlocking iPhones and certain other premium phones only.
List of websites that offer services of delisting phone’s IMEI from the blacklist database
- IMEI Authority (For Verizon and T-Mobile only)
- Express Unlocks
- Direct Unlocks
- iPhone IMEI (For iPhone Only)
There are dozen other websites in addition to the above that offer the service to unlock a blacklisted phone for some money. But, there is no written guarantee that your job will be done with perfection. If you cannot prove that the phone belongs to you, none of them will be of much help as no one likes a beef with the law. So, before getting all hyped up and paying these service providers upfront, contact them first and discuss your issue. Make sure that they are capable of solving your problem or else it is simply a waste of money.
Third-party blacklist remover apps
There are some apps or software available that use your IMEI number to generate a code to unlock your phone. The technique and approach may vary from app to app but the end goal is the same.
With doctorSIM, it is quite simple to start the unlocking process. All you have to do is fill up a request form provided on their website and select the mobile brand that you want to unlock along with the model number, current network provider, and location.
Once the form is submitted along with the payment, you will be sent an email that will provide you with all the instructions in detail to unlock your Android phone. You can follow these step-by-step processes to get your phone to work on any other carrier network.
This handy SIM unlocks software eliminates the restriction of your network carrier for good in a permanent manner so that you won’t have to go through the same process over and over. Further, you can update your phone and use it with any cellular service provider around the world.
UnlockBase has been around since 2004 as one of the most trustworthy phone unlocking software. The process is quite simple is easy to follow. It claims to have unlocked over 5 million blacklisted phones from around 165 nations.
All you have to do is send the IMEI number of your locked phone along with the model and manufacturer details of the device. UnlockBase will take in the information and send you the unlock code as soon as possible. It claims to have the best turnaround time in the phone unlocking market.
Your money is guaranteed by a money-back guarantee offer along with the promise of the lowest cost on the web. If you come across a cheaper and workable solution, UnlockBase is more than ready to negotiate its charges. There is a 24/7 customer care service for your help.
If you have a locked GSM phone, here is software that claims to unlock your phone in a minute. You read that right! Unlockunit can unlock your phone regardless of your location. It claims to be capable of unlocking blacklisted GSM phones in over 200 nations including Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA. In the last 7 years of booming business, Unlockunit has unlocked over 1 million GSM phones.
Unlockunit works with all the major carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, Vodafone, Rogers, and many others. You can send them the IMEI number of your locked phone along with other details about your device and your location. Next, you will have to make a payment.
In order to unlock your locked phone with Unlock, you will have to first insert an unregistered SIM. Next, you will have to enter the code sent to you via email and you will permanently unlock your blacklisted device.
Unlockunit provides with you empathetic customer service who are always ready to help you and answer your questions.
Here is a versatile software to unlock your blacklisted phone which works equally efficiently for modems and routers. DC-unlocked doesn’t ask for the IMEI number of your device. Rather, you will have to download the software on your Windows or MAC computer to unlock the device.
After downloading and installing from the website, you will be presented with a great UI that is user-friendly and easy to use. There are functions available to unlock more than one device in under 1 minute. All you need to do is connect your device to your computer using a standard USB cable and perform the unlocking process.
The mobile unlock software DC-unlocker automatically detects your phone or other device and you do not have to worry about choosing the COM ports. You can download the DC-unlock client without spending a single penny and give it a try on your locked phone or model. You can also generate firmware update codes with this software.
If you are looking for a free app for unlocking your blacklisted phone, FreeUnlocks can be that app for you if you follow the instructions precisely. FreeUnlocks is basically a paid phone unlocking app but you can use it for free using something called “TrialPay”.
The protocol is similar to other unlocking apps and there is not much difference in the mechanism as well. You will need to send them details about the phone and the carrier along with the IMEI number of the device and they will send you an unlock code in your email with accurate instructions.
FreeUnlocks came in 2009 and it has unlocked over 96000 blacklisted phones since then. Since you do not have to download anything, you are safe from the risk of malware or spyware. The process is cent percent legal and there is no threat to the hardware or the data on the phone.
FreeUnlocks works for various brands like Apple, Samsung, Sony, Nokia, and Huawei. If for some reason, FreeUnlocks fail to unlock your phone and free it from the blacklist, you will receive a full refund.
What happens if I put my SIM card in a blacklisted phone?
Up until this point, you should be aware that getting your phone blacklisted puts cellular restrictions on your device. And to be in a possession of a blacklisted phone that was not owned by you previously can be troublesome.
Now getting back to the question, if you put your SIM card in a blacklisted phone, there can be different outcomes depending on the reason for the blacklisting.
- If the reason for the blacklisting of the phone’s IMEI number is that the phone was reported stolen, you will not be able to access the cellular or LTE network on the device at all. Further, the SIM card that you have inserted will be registered alongside the blacklisted device. So, if someone tries to investigate the matter, you may be found a suspect of a theft crime which can cause a lot of problems for you.
- If the reason for blacklisting is outstanding bills, you might still access the network. But, you might soon get a message from the network service operator stating that you have pending charges against the device and you can clear it to get the phone out of the blacklist. You should pay the charge and get your phone unlocked as this is the right thing to do.
- If the reason for blacklisting was a lost phone that you found it later, you can simply call the operator and ask them or request them rather, to delist your phone and unlock it. Once they verify your identity, they will send an unlock code to remove the device from the blacklist.
- Finally, if the reason for blacklisting the phone’s IMEI number is some unlawful activity and you have no idea about it because you bought it from a sketchy reseller, you can land in trouble. Because such devices are often tracked by the police or local law enforcement department. Once you insert your SIM in such a suspected device, there is a greater chance that they will track you down and you might have to answer some tough questions.
Can you do anything with a blacklisted phone?
You cannot use any of the mobile services will the blacklisted phone. Apart from that here is how you can use a blacklisted phone –
- You can still use the WiFi on the blacklisted device without any issue. You can use it for all the purposes that don’t involve making a call or sending a text message via the cellular plan.
- Blacklisting doesn’t restrict the mobile services on your device across the globe. So, if you have gotten your phone blacklisted in one country, there is a chance that you can use that device without any issue in other countries. There is no such thing as international blacklisting.
How can I change the IMEI number on my phone?
Changing your IMEI number have different consequences in different parts of the world. While it is legal in Asia, Africa, and the USA, it is illegal in the UK under the law. So make sure you know the local law before moving on to change the IMEI number of your phone.
Changing the IMEI number on your phone can be risky as there is a chance that you may lose all of your data and even damage the phone permanently in the process. So, make sure you are up for the risk and have taken a backup of your data. Let’s begin!
Method 1 – Changing the IMEI number of Android phones without root
- Go to Settings on your Android device and find the Backup and Reset option
- Once you tap on the Backup and Reset option, find Factory Data Reset and tap on it.
- Once you tap it, you will get a prompt. Tap on “Create new(random) Android ID”.
- You are done!
Method 2 – Changing the IMEI number on your Android device without erasing data without rooting (MTK Devices only)
- You will need to download an IMEI Changer App for your Android device. I prefer the Mobile Uncle App as it is simple to use.
- Once you download and install the app, open it and go to Engineer Mode
- From there go to Engineer Mode (MTK) and Scroll down to find CDS Information
- Once you find it, click on it and then click on Radio Information
- You will get two options. You will have to tap “Phone 2”
- You will see an option like AT+
- Now, enter any 15 digits random IMEI number in the format (AT + 908765432123670)
- Next, select SEND AT COMMAND option and restart your device.
- That is it.
Method 3 – Changing the IMEI number of your Android device by Rooting
- You will need a rooted Android device
- Xposed must be installed on your device
- Download and install the IMEI changer app from the Google Play Store
- Make sure that the internet connection is a good one
- Note down the real IMEI number of your phone by dialing *#06#
- Open the Xposed app and tap on Modules
- Select the “IMEI Changer Apk” as Module and restart your device
- When the device reboots, you will be provided with your new IMEI number and the original one
- Now, enter the new IMEI number in the NEW IMEI NUMBER field box
- Tap Apply and restart your device.
- That is it.
How do I take my Samsung phone off the blacklist?
You can take your Samsung Phone off the blacklist like any other blacklisted phone in the world.
- For getting it off the blacklist without paying any fee, you should get in touch with the carrier or the mobile service provider. You can request them to take it off the blacklist and do as they ask. You might need to settle some unclear dues or provide your ID proof in the process.
- If you purchased it second-hand and you came to know later that it is blacklisted, you can try the methods (paid) mentioned above to get it unlocked. Android phones are much easier to work with for Third-party apps and services than iOS devices.
How do I take my iPhone off the blacklist?
iPhone is not any different from the rest of the brands when it comes to taking it off the blacklist. It doesn’t get any special privileges or a different method. The process remains the same.
- If you are the owner of the iPhone, you will need to contact the cellular company that has blacklisted it and gets information about the cause for blacklisting. If it is an unpaid bill, simply pay it and they will unlock it.
- If you have someone else’s iPhone which might have been blacklisted because it was reported as being stolen, you cannot do much.
- You can ask for third-party apps and services mentioned above but they won’t be of much help unless you can verify that it is your phone.
How can I flash the IMEI number?
Flashing in computer terms means upgrading the firmware. You will have to flash the IMEI number after you have flashed stock ROM (firmware on your smartphone) in order to restore it. If you do not flash the IMEI number, you may get error messages like “Invalid IMEI number”.
To flash the IMEI number on your smartphone you will need the following hardware and software.
- The Android device that you have flashed the Stock ROM
- A USB data cable for connectivity between your smartphone and your computer
- The original IMEI number of your phone
- Stock ROM or Firmware belonging to the model of the phone for which the IMEI flashing is to be done
- SN Write Tool for reading and writing IMEI number of any phone with a Mediatek chipset
- AP BP Base for SN Write tool is a compressed (zip) file format
- Read&Write Tool for reading and writing IMEI on devices with any chipset (Qualcomm, MediaTek, SpreadTrum)
- AP BP Base for Read&Write Tool
Steps to flash the IMEI number:
- Download the SN Write Tool on your computer using the link. Once downloaded, you will have to extract the Zip folder to see its content. Extract it to a convenient location on your computer like the Desktop.
- In the folder where you have extracted the SN Write Tool, you will see an executable file named SN Writer.exe. Open this exe file by right-clicking on it and clicking on Run as Administrator.
- Once the application opens, click on the ComPort and select the USB VCOM option.
- In the Target Type field, choose a smartphone if you are about to flash the IMEI number of a smartphone
- Next, select System Config and you will be presented with a list of options to tick
- You will need to select the following from the Write Options – IMEI, BT Address, and WiFi Address.
- Below the Database File Option, select the Path of MD1_DB and AP_DB. Keep in mind that both of these files come in a Zip format of the Custom ROM Firmware. Else you will need to download the AP BP Base for SN Write Tool
- Once everything is done Click on Save.
- Next, click on the Start Button
- You will be prompted with a Scan data dialog box where you will need to enter the 15 Digit IMEI number you noted down earlier.
- Now, Switch off your phone and take out the battery. If the battery is non-removable, then just switch off the battery and connect it to your computer using the USB cable.
- Now, Click OK on the Scan Data Dialog box
- The process will take a while. Once the IMEI Flashing is over, you will see a Green Pass Message.
- And you are done!!
Note – The process is similar for Qualcomm smartphones. You will only need to change the software from SN Write Tool to Read&Write Tool.
How can I change my IMEI without root?
If your phone runs on a MediaTek Processor, then you can change the IMEI number of your device without the need to root the Android smartphone. Here is how you can do it:
- Download an IMEI-changing app from the Google Play Store. I like the Mobile Uncle app as it is easy to use.
- Once the app is downloaded and installed on your phone, open the app
- Next, Choose Engineer Mode and from their choose Engineer Mode (MTK)
- now, Scroll down and tap on CDS Information
- From there, select Radio Information
- You will be presented with two options. Select “Phone 2P
- You will be given an option like AT+
- Here, you enter a new 15 digit IMEI number. (for example – AT + 135790864267890)
- Now, Select the “SEND AT COMMAND” option
- Now, you can reboot your smartphone and your Android device will have a new IMEI number.
Can IMEI be tracked when the phone is off?
A blacklisted phone can only get tracked when a SIM Card is inserted into it and it comes alive on the mobile network grid. As soon as the mobile gets cellular network, it is visible on the network map. It doesn’t matter if the SIM card belongs to the original owner or some other person because the tracking takes place based on the IMEI number of the device.
So, if the phone is switched off or there is no SIM card present in it, it is invisible and cannot be tracked at all.