How to find a phone by IMEI. Dispelling the myths

Published: March 2, 2022

Last Modified: April 12, 2023

How to find a phone by IMEI

Unfortunately, sometimes a smartphone can be lost, sometimes it can even be stolen. Is it possible to find a phone by IMEI, via satellite or in some other way? No. The only way is to search with the help of the police. However, there are several strange myths associated with this issue, which we decided to deal with.

So, you have lost your beloved gadget, in which almost your entire life is hidden. What to do in this situation? There is only one answer: search. And of course, according to IMEI, we will deal with the details in the process. It remains only to understand what this very IMEI is. Let’s start with this question.

What is IMEI

This is what the sticker with the IMEI code looks like on the box

Each mobile phone is assigned its own identification number by which it registers on the network. This number must be assigned to the device at the factory and, in theory, changing it, if not impossible, then very laborious. It is to ensure security – that, having stolen a smartphone, an attacker could not change its IMEI – the algorithm for assigning it is constantly changing. At the very beginning, when mobile phones were just starting to be made, there were 14 characters in the code, and in 2004 there were 15 of them. This code consists of an identifier, designation of the place and date of assembly, and other information that the user does not need to know.

IMEI can be seen if you look closely at the box that your device was packed in when you bought it. It can also be found on the phone itself , if you lift the battery, but this method is not suitable for devices with a fixed battery. Finally, you can type a certain key combination on the keyboard so that the identification code appears on the screen.

Important: the code for checking IMEI is *#06# and calling .

The phone was stolen. What to do?

No one is safe from a thief

If your phone was stolen, first of all you need to write a statement to the police . Well, or say goodbye to your device, because – and this is important to remember – only this body can search for a phone by IMEI. The fact is that, according to our legislation, only the police can send a request to the operator to track the phone .

When a phone enters the network, this happens precisely with the help of an identification code, and the base station “knows” that this or that phone has entered the network using two factors: the signal of the SIM card and the IMEI of a particular device. However, the mobile provider cannot determine the location of the smartphone  only by IMEI .

Only the operator can tell where the lost phone is, and he can do this only at the request of the competent authorities .

In order to write a statement to the police in connection with the theft of a smartphone, you need to indicate your passport data, provide documents for the purchase of a smartphone (receipt, warranty card, etc.), as well as the IMEI of the device. The district police department transfers the case to the unit that deals with such issues, and it – in turn – sends a request to the operator. As you can see, this is not a quick matter, since the police are not a lost and found office, and criminal intent still needs to be proven.

In fact, your gadget will only be searched for if it was lost as a result of a criminal offense, such as robbery, etc.

That’s why any other offers to find a phone by IMEI   – via satellite, online, for free or otherwise, firstly, are doomed to failure , and secondly, they are fraudulent by default . Also, there are no programs for finding a phone by IMEI, unless it is a database of stolen devices, created in order, for example, not to buy such a device from hand.

Why can’t you find a phone by IMEI online

Imagine: your phone was stolen . What do thieves do in this case? That’s right: SIM card – in the nearest trash can, turn off the device itself. It would seem, how to track the phone in IMEI? But the myths that this is possible are very tenacious, and for good reason.

The fact is that even when the gadget is turned off, there are still running processes : battery consumption control, a network processor that periodically sends low-frequency signals by the radio frequency module, but does not go into the network, but waits for an alarm to go off or connect to a USB port, and static memory. Everything else is sleeping, including the actual radio module. Therefore, no satellite, no base station – indeed, no one – this phone “sees” and cannot find it.

On the other hand, as soon as a new SIM card is inserted into the stolen phone and it tries to register on the network, it is thanks to IMEI that the system will show that the stolen phone appeared there. In Europe and the USA, such a device is immediately blocked, so a pickpocket or a saver will not get much joy from theft. But in the Russian Federation there is no such system yet, but it may appear soon .

However, it is possible to protect your phone from thieves, or at least make their life not so sweet, and in subsequent articles we will tell you how to do this.

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