IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit code authorized by GSMA, just like an identity certificate for your phone. Every time a phone uses a particular network to make or receive a call, send or receive a message, its IMEI number is automatically emitted and tracked. Because the police and service providers have databases in which these ID numbers fall into white and black lists, an owner can report his/her IMEI number and make it blacklisted after a theft.
In our daily lives, some people use a Bluetooth tracer GPS locator to locate smartphones nearby — however, this approach has distance limitations.
If, unfortunately, your phone has been taken out of the 10-meter range, use the IMEI number and an anti-theft tracker to know where it is and turn it into nothing more than a brick for the thief.
Getting to know the number is easy. The fastest way is to dial *#06#, a command to make the unique ID appear.
Another easy way to find the IMEI number is to navigate through "Settings" and tap "About Phone" to check the IMEI code of your Android phone.
In most cases, the IMEI number exists on the reverse side of a phone, or underneath the removable battery. If your phone is lost, but its packaging is kept, you are still able to find the IMEI number on the label.
Read See the unseen: How to reveal your IMEI number EASILY to know more details to find the serial number. Please note that if your phone supports two SIM cards at the same time, there are two different IMEI numbers.
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There are many phone finder apps available for you on Google Play, such as AntiTheft App & IMEI Tracker All Phone Location, Find Lost Phone, Find My Device, SeekDroid: Find My Phone, and so on. Most can be activated by the SMS you send; some support using the IMEI number. Let's take the first one for example.
Step 1: Search for "IMEI tracker" in Google Play, find "AntiTheft App & IMEI Tracker All Phone Location" on your phone. Make sure your phone is running on Android 4.4 or higher. Then, start installing the app.
Step 2: After finishing the installation, run the app. Give all the permissions that the app asks for, including contacts, calls, storage, SMS, and location. In case you need to track your phone, all these permissions will be necessary to activate full functionality.
Step 3: Press "continue" to move on after watching a short commercial. This free app is great, but the only problem is that it contains ads that you have to watch. Unluckily, you cannot skip the ads, if the video is not yet loaded, you will not be able to go to the next step.
Step 4: Input the IMEI number of your lost Android phone, check your input, and tap "Track". A small window with a list of places will appear, indicating the location and the close proximity of your phone.
Using the IMEI number to track the lost phone is not the only function of an IMEI tracker. There are also some important anti-theft functions that you should know about.
To protect your device further — and before the theft — you should set the PIN number and remember it. Thus, you can control the stolen phone by sending the corresponding codes to make it give out alarms, send SMS about its real-time location, sync data to the device you are using and more.
If you prefer using a computer, you may be interested in How to track your lost Android Phone on the PC. The article is an instruction on how to use Android Service Manager to track a lost phone.
Embedded on the handset, an IMEI number is difficult but possible to be changed for thieves with professional tools. Once it is changed, a phone is no longer identified as the same by the network.
Get acquainted with your IMEI number beforehand, and never wait till it is too late after your phone is stolen or lost. Report your IMEI number to the police, ask the service provider to block all services of your lost phone as soon as possible.
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