A mobile phone or smartphone (or any mobile device) can be identified by many attributes. The make, model, and year of production a few examples of such attributes.
However, the one identification method that gives information about all the attributes of a phone is the IMEI number.
Before we start talking about the importance of the IMEI number of a mobile device, let’s first understand what an IMEI number is.
What Is An IMEI Number?
IMEI number, which is short for International Mobile Equipment Identity number, is a unique identity number given to each mobile device produced anywhere in the World.
The number is usually 15 digits long and is divided into four parts that are separated by hyphens. Here’s an example:
There is also a lesser known 16 digit version of the IMEI known as IMEISV. The IMEISV also contains information about the software version of the device.
When you enter this number into a free IMEI checker tool, the tool will return basic information about your mobile device.
So what do these numbers mean? Why are they separated by hyphens?
The first two parts of an IMEI (12-123456) are known as the TAC (Type Allocation Code). As the name suggests, TAC identifies the manufacturer and the model of a device. For this reason, different devices of the same make and model will have the same TAC.
For instance, the TAC of every iPhone 11 Pro Max is 77-63181.
With that said, there are certain instances when the same model may have different TAC codes. This happens when there is a change in version, manufacturing location, and other factors related to the make and model of a device.
The most famous example of the same is perhaps the Apple iPhone 5C which had five different TACs during its production lifetime.
The next portion of the IMEI number, containing the next six digits, is unique to every device. Defined by the manufacturer, this part is the serial number of the device. The final digit of the number is known as the check digit. This digit is not technically a part of the IMEI number but is used to ensure that any device’s IMEI abides by the Allocation and Approval Guidelines.
The IMEI can be found on the retail packaging of your device. Additionally, Android and iOS device users can also access their device’s IMEI number by going into the Settings of their device, then tapping on General and then tapping on About/About Phone.
Another common way to access the IMEI number is by simply dialing *#06# on your device’s keypad.
Now that we know what an IMEI number is, and how you can find the IMEI number of your device, let’s understand its significance, along with when you should check the IMEI number of your phone with an IMEI checker tool.
When You Should Use Free IMEI Checker Tool
The IMEI number of your phone doesn’t just return basic information about the make and model of your mobile device. The number, since it is unique, is used by insurance companies and law enforcement agencies to keep track of lost or stolen mobile phones.
For this reason, changing the IMEI number of a device is a legal offence in many areas.
This also means, when you are purchasing a used device, it is important to check its IMEI to determine it has not been blacklisted.
A blacklisted device is a device that was reported stolen or lost and was disabled by the authorities. When manually activated, the IMEI number can be used to track the device down. If the device you are thinking of purchasing turns out to be blacklisted, there is a good chance that it was stolen from its real owner.