How To Block a Stolen iPhone With an IMEI Number

Stealing Iphone

An IMEI number is a unique number given to smartphones, including iPhones, that contains information about the devices like the model, origin, and serial number. Hence, if your iPhone is stolen or lost, you can find or block it with the IMEI number. But how do you use the IMEI number to block a stolen iPhone? 

Quick Answer

You must contact your carrier to use your IMEI number to block your stolen iPhone. Your carrier will then blacklist the iPhone with the IMEI number, immediately making your iPhone unusable by anyone who stole it. 

You should only block your iPhone with an IMEI number when you know you wouldn’t be getting your iPhone anymore. Although if you can retrieve your iPhone at the end of the day, you can easily unblock it by contacting your carrier. This article elaborates more on blocking your iPhone with the IMEI number. 

Steps To Block a Stolen iPhone With an IMEI Number

If your iPhone is stolen, it is crucial that you urgently take steps to protect your data. Even with a password enabled, your iPhone is still vulnerable to hacks when stolen. Hence, you should wipe your iPhone and block it with the IMEI to keep your data safe. 

The steps below explain what to do when your iPhone is stolen.  

Step #1: Report the Theft  

When your iPhone is stolen, you must report the theft immediately. So, if the thief wants to use your device for anything malicious, reporting it as stolen prevents it.

Reporting to the appropriate authority may even help in retrieving your device. You could walk into a local police station to give a complete description of the incident or give them a call. 

Step #2: Wipe Your Data With Find My

After reporting that your iPhone is stolen to a competent authority, use the Find My iPhone app to locate your iPhone. Log into iCloud on a PC or another iPhone with the Apple ID and password you used on your stolen iPhone and navigate to the Find My iPhone section. If you cannot pinpoint your iPhone’s location, wipe the data on it. 

Step #3: Get Your IMEI 

After clearing the data on your iPhone, you should also block it with the IMEI. Usually, you can find the IMEI number of your iPhone in the Settings app or on the device’s packaging. So, check your iPhone’s original packaging; you should find the IMEI number next to the serial number barcode

You can also check the original invoice or receipt of the iPhone; you should find the IMEI number written somewhere. Or better still, launch the Settings app, tap on “General”, then click on “About Device”

Step #4: Call Your Carrier

Now that you know your IMEI number, you should call your carrier and request that they block your iPhone. You would be asked a couple of questions to verify that you own the iPhone. Once you prove you own the iPhone, it will be blocked immediately. 

Keep in Mind

When you block your iPhone with its IMEI, it does not matter whether the iPhone is turned off, the SIM card removed, or the phone is formatted; it will block the device, rendering it useless to whoever stole it.


Using your IMEI number to block your stolen iPhone is pretty straightforward. But to prevent data loss, you should always back up your files. So, in the case of theft, you would not lose your data forever. 

Also, after wiping your iPhone data with the Find My iPhone and blocking it with the IMEI, you should remove it from the list of trusted devices. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can my iPhone be located with the IMEI? 

Interestingly, you can track the location of your iPhone with the IMEI. Using your iPhone IMEI to trace the location is more reliable as it works without the SIM card, internet access, or even GPS location. 

The use of IMEI to trace a device location is the same technique emergency services use to locate a distress call. To trace your iPhone location with the IMEI, you can do so through the CEIR website.  

Can a thief change the IMEI of my iPhone? 

While it is possible to secure your iPhone by blocking it with the IMEI number, unfortunately, hackers have devised a way to change the IMEI number of an iPhone.

Although hackers can change the IMEI number of an iPhone, they cannot permanently change it. So, even if they can change the IMEI number, it would only be for a short period. Moreover, changing the IMEI number of an iPhone or any smartphone is illegal and considered a crime. Moreover, changing the IMEI number of an iPhone voids the warranty, among several downsides. 

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