The MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier) or IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique set of digits that plays an important role as an identifier for a mobile device. Your phone’s MEID or IMEI is very unique and no other phone has exactly the same combination of numbers. Knowing your phone’s MEID or IMEI number is your best weapon against lost or theft. This set of numbers is what you are going to need if you want to track your phone and to disable its use.
The MEID is a 14-digit string of number that also includes details on the model, serial number and origin of the mobile device. On GSM phones the IMEI number has 15 digits and is useful in identifying a valid mobile phone to the mobile operator. Blocking the IMEI is the best weapon against phone theft. When the IMEI is blocked or disabled the phone will be useless in that network.
Importance of Knowing your Phone’s IMEI Number
A car’s serial number is important and this is the kind of importance that can be used to compare with that of a phone’s MEID or IMEI. Your mobile operator will have an easier time in tracking the usage of your mobile device through this set of unique number. This is especially true if the phone is used in the same network.
For instance, you lost your phone and you are not sure if you have misplaced it or if it was stolen from you. If you have the MEID or IMEI number of your phone, your network provider will be able to track the unit and see if it has been used by another person since the time you have lost it. If there will be data indicating usage, then you will know for sure that someone else has your mobile device.
There will be a problem though if the device phone is unlocked and can be used in another network. If that will be the case, usage of your mobile device cannot be tracked down by your mobile operator.
What to do if you lose your phone?
If you lose your mobile device, you need to report the lost to your mobile operator and the police immediately once you are sure that you will not be able to find it. You need to provide the details on IMEI, phone model, phone manufacturer, color and other recognizable details. You must also be precise about the place and the time you lost the phone. If you are not sure about the time of the lost or theft, you should be able to provide the time that you last used the device.
You can also report your lost or stolen phone online. But you need to understand that reporting online does not mean that you should ignore the police. A theft is a crime and it should be reported immediately. Reporting online though is a good first step in making sure that your phone can be tracked immediately.
If you are positive about the theft, you can request your mobile operator to disable your phone so that the thief will not be able to use it, much more sell it. Mobile operators can easily disable phone use by disabling the phones’ IMEI.
Basic Method of Finding your Mobile Phone’s IMEI or MEID
The most basic way of finding your mobile device’s IMEI or MEID number is by dialing a code. The universal code is *#06#. All you need to do is to type in that code and your phone’s IMEI or MEID number will be displayed on the screen. Typically there will be no need to press Call after dialing the code. Once the IMEI or MEID number of your phone is displayed it would be a good idea to copy it.
Most mobile phones will indicate, once a set of numbers is displayed on the screen, if the number is an MEID or an IMEI. If your mobile phone doesn’t indicate such, you can confirm which type of number it is, just check what type of mobile carrier you use. CDMA networks such as US Cellular, Verizon and Sprint use the MEID number, while GSM networks like T-Mobile and AT&T use the IMEI number.
For MEID number you can go to your mobile phone’s Home screen and tap Applications. Got to Settings and then to the About Phone and to Status. There you will see the MEID in two formats: in Hexadecimal number and Decimal number.
Finding IMED and MEID on iPhone
For the original iPhone, the iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, you will be able see the IMEI number near the bottom at the back of the phone. The engraved numbers represent the iPhone’s IMEI. If you also want to know your iPhone’s MEID, just ignore the IMEI number’s last digit and you will have it. Keep in mind that MEID is only 14 digit number combination, while IMEI number has 15 digits.
For older iPhones (iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S), you should check your phone’s SIM card tray. The device’s MEID/IMEI number is displayed on the tray. Again, if you need the MEID, just ignore the 15th digit of the printed IMEI number.
You can also check your iPhone’s IMEI and MEID numbers by opening the Setting app on your phone’s Home screen. Then you need to tap the About option in General Menu. You will see IMEI/MEID, you need to tap that option so that the screen can display the phone’s unique identifying numbers. With an iPhone, you wouldn’t have to manually copy the number displayed. You can make a copy on the iPhone’s clipboard by pressing and holding the IMEI/MEID button for just a few seconds. You will then see a message telling you that the set of numbers were successfully copied.
Finding MEID and IMEI using Apple iTunes
Using iTunes is another way to find your iPhone’s IMEI and MEID. This is the next best alternative in case your iPhone is not turning on. Just connect the device on your PC or laptop and then go to iTunes for the retrieval of your phone’s IMEI or MEID number. Here are the simple steps:
Connect the iPhone into the PC
From the Device menu, choose your iPhone
Click Summary tab
Select Phone Number option next to your iPhone’s image
The needed numbers will be displayed
Again, remember that the number displayed will be based on your carrier – IMEI numbers for GSM networks (T-Mobile and AT&T) and MEID numbers for CDMA networks (US Cellular, Verizon and Sprint).
Finding MEID or IMEI Number on your Android Phone
You can start finding your Android phone’s MEID or IMEI number by opening the Settings menu. This can be done by a single tap on the Settings app or by pressing the Menu button. You then need to scroll down and find the About Phone option on the Settings menu. Tap the About Phone and then tap Status. Scrolling down the choices will eventually lead you to the IMEI or MEID entry. There could be two sets of number listed and these should represent the IMEI and MEID number. You are going to need to verify that by checking your network (GSM or CDMA). Since you are using an Android phone, there will be no way for you to copy the numbers into the clipboard. You will then need to manually copy the numbers.
Finding MEID or IMEI Number through Google Dashboard
By using any computer or laptop connected to the Internet and with web browser, you will be able to find your phone’s MEID or IMEI number. You have to log in using your Google account that is linked with the Android device.
By visiting www.google.com/settings/dashboard you will be able to gain access into the Google dashboard. You need to click the Android heading in order to expand that section for Android. You can find your mobile phone from the list to be shown. If you have more than one device linked with your Google account, all devices are going to be displayed. Look for the mobile device that you want to retrieve the MEID or IMEI number for. Your Android phone’s IMEI number will be displayed. If you are on a network with MEID number, just ignore the last digit.
Finding IMEI or MEID Number under the Phone’s Battery
By looking under the phone’s battery, you may also be able to see the IMEI or MEID number of the device. Before you remove the battery though, you have to make sure that you have powered down the device. Once the phone’s power is off, you should remove the back part of the device in order to remove the battery. If you are using an iPhone, this is not possible as it surely uses an affixed battery. Once the back part has been removed, you should be able to gently remove the battery and then you can look for the needed numbers.
The location of the IMEI or MEID number is going to vary from one phone to another. Generally though, the MEID or IMEI number is written on a sticker and then pasted under the battery. If there are 15 numbers written on the sticker, then it is an IMEI number. In case you are on a CDMA network (US Cellular, Verizon, or Sprint) then you should just ignore the last digit. If you are on GSM network, then you will need all 15 numbers.
Finding your Phone’s IMEI or MEID from the Original Packaging
If you still have the original packaging of your mobile device you will be able to see the IMEI or MEID number there. The numbers will be displayed on the barcode label on the box. The IMEI or MEID number may be listed along with the phone’s serial number and the barcode.
It is important to check your mobile phone’s IMEI or MEID number immediately. Do not wait for the time when you will need the numbers. It is better to have it on hand in case you lose the phone or it gets stolen from you.
In case, your phone did get stolen, report the theft immediately. Go to your mobile operator’s service center nearest you and give the IMEI number so that it can be blocked or disabled. You should also report the theft to the police.
Write your mobile phone’s IMEI or MEID number in a piece of paper and store it where you will have easy access. You can also write it down on your journal.
It is also a good idea to make sure that all the IMEI or MEID numbers of all the mobile phones in your household are written down.
Do not throw away your phone’s original packaging. It could contain special numbers like IMEI or MEID, the unit’s serial number and the barcode.
Finally, there are many methods of finding your mobile phone’s IMEI or MEID number. The methods you can use will depend on the kind of phone you are using. The most basic – and probably the most obvious – method is to look at the unit’s original packaging. You can also use the universal code *#06#; just dial the code and then the IMEI or MEID number will be instantly displayed on your mobile phone’s screen. Other methods include: looking under the phone’s battery – if the battery is removable; using iTunes – for iPhones; going through Google Dashboard; looking into the SIM card tray – for older iPhone versions; looking at the back of the iPhone – for the original version and the latest versions; and by opening an Android phone’s Settings menu.