When you’re considering buying or selling a used iPhone, you should find out if it’s been reported as lost or stolen. An iPhone that has been reported as lost or stolen would be blocklisted (formerly known as blacklisted). Every iPhone has an IMEI, and the IMEI is what you need to check the phone.
An IMEI is a device serial number, and it is unique to your specific iPhone. Depending on the model iPhone, you may even have more than one IMEI. For example, newer models of the iPhone have a “Primary” IMEI and a “Digital SIM” IMEI.
Regardless of whether your iPhone has one or two IMEI numbers — they are all considered to be device identifiers, which really just means they are used by wireless carriers to identify phones on their networks. Or, in cases where an IMEI has been reported as lost or stolen, the carrier would use the IMEI to block the phone from being used on their network.
Some marketplaces, such as Swappa, check the IMEI before approving a listing. However, you should always make sure to check the IMEI yourself if you are buying a used phone from a third party, or from a marketplace that doesn’t run this check. Continue reading to learn more about how to find a phone’s IMEI number, and how to check an IMEI for free.
How to find an IMEI on an iPhone
If you are checking an older model iPhone, you will find one IMEI number. If you are checking a newer iPhone (Xr, XS, XS Max, or later) you will find two IMEI numbers. The IMEI number can always be found within the Settings app on your iPhone. You can follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app
- Tap General
- Tap About
From the About page, you can scroll down to find the IMEI number. And remember, newer models of the iPhone will have two IMEI numbers listed, so make sure you locate and check both. The newer models of the iPhone will have a Primary section, and a Digital SIM section on the About page, and each of those sections will have a unique IMEI.
Now that you have the IMEI number, or numbers, you can check them to ensure they are not on a blocklist.
Check your IMEI on Swappa for free
Checking an IMEI (ESN or MEID number) is quick, easy, and free if you use Swappa’s checker. Once you are on the Swappa IMEI Checker page you just need to enter the IMEI and click the green “Check” button. And, if you are checking the IMEI on a newer model iPhone, remember to run that same check for the Primary and Digital SIM IMEI numbers.
Benefits of using the Swappa IMEI Checker include:
- The check will let you know if the IMEI is good (on the Allowlist), or bad (on the Blocklist).
- You also get information on the model of the phone, which will help you confirm the IMEI you are checking matches the model of the phone you are holding in your hand.
- The other benefit of using the Swappa IMEI checker is pricing information, which is based on actual Swappa sales. The results page will show the model phone you have, along with the average selling price for that model. This information will be helpful if you are using the Swappa IMEI checker to check a phone you are buying from another source. Having this information means you will be able to judge whether you are overpaying.
It is essential to check the IMEI before buying a used iPhone. Or, to make sure you purchase your used phone from a marketplace that checks the IMEI for you, such as with Swappa. The Swappa marketplace is a safe marketplace, and part of what makes it safe is our listing review process. A part of the listing review process includes an IMEI number check, which is performed by a Swappa staff member, and the IMEI must be on the Allowlist for the listing to be approved.