How to Check If a Used iPhone is Stolen or Blacklisted (2024)

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Buying a used iPhone can be a cost-effective way to upgrade your device. However, the last thing you want is to buy an iPhone that’s stolen or blacklisted. It’s a common problem and can result in the device becoming unusable. But don’t worry, there are ways to avoid this. In this blog post, we’ll guide you on how to check if a used iPhone is stolen or blacklisted using the IMEI number.

What is an IMEI?

The IMEI is a unique 15-digit number assigned to every mobile device, including iPhones. It serves as the device’s identity and is used by network providers to track and identify individual devices. By accessing an iPhone’s IMEI, you can gather vital information about its history and determine if it has been reported as stolen or blacklisted.

Why should you check an iPhone’s IMEI?

There are several reasons why it’s important to check the IMEI of a used iPhone before purchasing:

  1. Stolen device detection: An IMEI check allows you to verify if the iPhone has been reported as stolen or lost. Purchasing a stolen device is illegal and could lead to legal trouble, not to mention the hassle of dealing with a non-functional device.

  2. Blacklisted status: If an iPhone is reported as lost or stolen, the network provider can blacklist the device’s IMEI. A blacklisted iPhone will not be able to connect to any network, rendering it useless as a phone. Checking the IMEI ensures that you don’t end up with a device that can’t be activated on any network.

  3. Outstanding financial obligations: An IMEI check can also reveal if the iPhone has any unpaid bills or financial obligations attached to it. In such cases, the device may be blocked from network usage until the outstanding amount is cleared.

How to Find the IMEI Number

There are several ways to find the IMEI number of an iPhone:

If the iPhone has been set up

  • Phone Dial: You can dial *#06# and the IMEI number will appear on the screen.
  • iPhone’s Settings: Go to Settings > General > About, and scroll down to find the IMEI.

If the iPhone hasn’t been set up

On the Hello screen, tap the (i) info button to see basic information about the iPhone, including the IMEI.

How to perform an IMEI check?

Once you have the IMEI number, the next step is to check if the iPhone is stolen or blacklisted. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Open a browser and navigate to the iPhone checker at [](
  2. Below the ad, enter the IMEI number in the search field where it says, "Enter IMEI Number here…"
  3. Complete the Captcha and then clickCHECK.4. Scroll down past the ad to see the results. You’ll want to see:
    • Find My iPhone should be OFF
    • Simlock status should be Unlocked.
    • Blacklist status should be CLEAN.

Other IMEI databases to check

There are several online services and dedicated apps that offer IMEI checks. Some popular options include:

  • IMEI24

  • Swappa

  • IMEIpro

  • CheckMEND

  • IMEI Detective

  • Visit one of these websites or download an app on your iPhone that offers IMEI checking services.

  • Enter the IMEI: Enter the iPhone’s IMEI in the provided field on the IMEI check service website or app. Double-check that you’ve entered the correct digits to ensure accurate results.

  • Initiate the check: Once you’ve entered the IMEI, initiate the check by clicking the "Check" button or relevant option on the website or app. The service will access the necessary databases to retrieve the information associated with the IMEI.

  • Review the results: After a few moments, the IMEI check service will provide you with the results. Pay attention to the following details:

    • Stolen or lost status: The check will indicate if the iPhone has been reported as stolen or lost. If the check reveals that the iPhone is stolen, it is essential to avoid purchasing it. Acquiring a stolen device is illegal and supports unethical practices.
  • Blacklisted status: The IMEI check will also determine if the iPhone is blacklisted. If the device is blacklisted, it means it has been blocked by network providers due to reported theft or unpaid bills. A blacklisted iPhone cannot be activated on any network and should be avoided.

  • Activation status: The IMEI check may provide information about the activation status of the iPhone. It can indicate whether the device is currently activated or if it is still tied to a previous owner’s iCloud account. Ensuring that the iPhone is not linked to someone else’s account is crucial for a smooth and hassle-free user experience.

  • Outstanding financial obligations: The IMEI check may reveal if there are any unpaid bills or financial obligations associated with the iPhone. If there are outstanding payments, it is advisable to avoid purchasing the device, as it may be blocked by the network until the financial obligations are resolved.

  • Analyze additional information: Some IMEI check services may provide additional information, such as the device’s model, color, storage capacity, and manufacturing date. While not directly related to theft or blacklisting, this information can help verify the device’s authenticity and ensure that it matches the seller’s claims.

  • Cross-check information: If the IMEI check reveals any concerning information, it is recommended to cross-check the results with other reputable IMEI check services. This can help validate the accuracy of the findings and provide further assurance before making a purchasing decision.

What if the iPhone is Blacklisted?

If you find out that the iPhone is blacklisted before buying, don’t proceed with the purchase. The phone will likely not work properly, and you could be unknowingly receiving stolen property.

If you’ve already bought a blacklisted iPhone, your options are limited:

  • Contact the Seller: Try to contact the seller and request a refund. If the seller was unaware the phone was blacklisted, they might be willing to cooperate.

  • Contact the Police: If the seller doesn’t cooperate or if you suspect the phone was stolen, contact your local police department.

  • Contact Your Carrier: If the phone was blacklisted because of an unpaid balance on the phone, you might be able to pay off the balance and have the phone removed from the blacklist. This is not always possible, but some carriers will allow it.

  • Use as an iPod: As a last resort, you could still use the phone as an iPod, assuming it’s not activation locked. You’ll be able to connect to Wi-Fi and use apps that don’t require a cellular connection.

How to Protect Yourself When Buying a Used iPhone

To avoid buying a stolen or blacklisted iPhone, consider the following tips:

  1. Purchase from reputable sources: To minimize the risk of purchasing a stolen or blacklisted iPhone, buy from reputable sellers. Authorized retailers, certified resellers, and trusted online platforms are more likely to provide legitimate devices with verified IMEI numbers.

  2. Meet in person for local transactions: If you’re purchasing a used iPhone through a local transaction, arrange to meet the seller in person. This allows you to inspect the device physically, check its IMEI on the spot, and ensure that it matches the information provided by the seller.

  3. Verify proof of purchase: Request the seller’s proof of purchase, such as the original receipt or invoice, to validate the authenticity of the iPhone. Legitimate sellers should have documentation that proves their ownership of the device.

  4. Check for iCloud activation lock: Apart from the IMEI check, make sure to verify if the iPhone is iCloud activation locked. This lock prevents unauthorized access to the device and ensures that it can only be used with the owner’s iCloud credentials. To check the activation lock status, ask the seller to provide the device’s serial number or IMEI, and use the official Apple Activation Lock Status website.

  5. Consider warranty and return policies: Before finalizing the purchase, inquire about any available warranty or return policies. Having a warranty can provide additional protection and support in case any issues arise with the iPhone after purchase.


Performing an IMEI check is an essential step when considering the purchase of a used iPhone. By verifying the device’s status through an IMEI check, you can ensure that the iPhone is not stolen, blacklisted, or associated with any outstanding financial obligations. Remember to use reputable IMEI check services, cross-check the results if necessary, and consider other factors like the seller’s reputation and proof of purchase. Taking these precautions will help you make an informed decision and avoid potential legal and financial troubles associated with buying a stolen or blacklisted iPhone.

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GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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