It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to pick up an iPhone or a Galaxy, buying a gently used phone is a great way to save a lot of money. But anyone looking to buy a secondhand phone on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, you should know there are some inherent risks involved.
It’s not entirely uncommon to find used phones for sale that have been reported lost, stolen, or are still being financed. This results in a “blacklisted” device that cannot be activated by your carrier, leaving you with little more than an overly expensive paperweight.
Swappa marketplace = safe
We know that buying a secondhand phone can be stressful, but there is a much better way to protect yourself from would-be thieves looking to make an easy buck. The first is by buying your used phones on Swappa. Why Swappa? Well, we have a team of moderators that manually verifies each listing before it goes live in our marketplace. We do this by checking each device’s IMEI to verify its status before it’s given the green light. This gives our users a little extra peace of mind in knowing they’re buying a safe device that’s ready for activation.
Not buying on Swappa? No problem
Whether you’re buying a used phone in our marketplace or not, Swappa still provides access to our free IMEI check that allows anyone to see if a phone has been blacklisted. This, of course, isn’t something we have to do. It’s just our way of extending a helping hand to anyone fed up with paying ridiculously high prices on new retail devices. Don’t worry — we feel you.
Read more: How to perform free IMEI check online
What is an IMEI number?
Every smartphone has its own IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, sometimes referred to as an Electronic Serial Number (ESN). Carriers and manufacturers use this unique code to identify each device they sell. Since this number is permanently tied to a device, carriers can use the IMEI to blacklist a device that’s been reported lost or stolen, preventing it from being activated on their network.
While it’s a great way to prevent theft or activation of stolen devices, it doesn’t always stop people from attempting to sell blacklisted devices to unknowing buyers online. Swappa does our part to help prevent the sale of blacklisted devices by providing everyone with a free IMEI check.
How do I find my phone’s IMEI?
There are plenty of reasons why you might need to locate your device’s IMEI (like a hardware defect that needs to be returned to the manufacturer) but one of the most important is when buying a used phone from someone. Here’s how you can find a phone’s IMEI number in case you’d like to check its status using our handy online tool.
How to find IMEI on iPhone
Locating the IMEI on older iPhones like the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPhone SE, iPhone 5c, is extremely easy and can be found in a few places. The first is right on the back on the device, on the original box the phone came in, or even printed right on the SIM tray. Just keep in mind that, like the box, this can easily be swapped out with another device (so it’s best to check in the device settings when possible).
On newer iPhones, Apple no longer prints the IMEI on the back. This includes the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.
For all iPhones, the IMEI can only be found in the Settings app (Settings > General > About > IMEI), or in iTunes (connect device to computer > open iTunes > locate your device > Summary > Serial number). If the device cannot be powered on, again, you’ll have to locate the IMEI on the original box or SIM card tray.
How to find IMEI on Samsung Galaxy
Finding the IMEI on an Android device is a little trickier since there’s so many different types of phones out there, practically all of them running their own custom version of Google’s Android software. We’ll start with Samsung Galaxy devices since it’s by far the most popular.
Your steps, of course, may vary depending on the specific Galaxy device, but for the latest devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10e, Samsung Galaxy S10, and Samsung Galaxy S10+, simply open the Settings app > About phone > (IMEI is listed toward the top). You can also go into Settings > About phone > Status > IMEI information.
How to find IMEI on Google Pixel / other
If you have an Android device running a more stock version of the Android UI — like the Google Pixel — finding the IMEI is still easy. Simply tap the following: Settings > About phone > and you’ll find the IMEI listed toward the middle of the page. That’s really all there is to it.
Now that you’ve successfully located your phone’s IMEI or ESN code, you can easily punch those numbers into Swappa’s IMEI/ESN check to find out a device’s status. This will check a phone (or unlocked phone) for all major US carriers including T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.
While Swappa makes no guarantees, the results generated in the check are provided as accurately as possible. If you have any further questions, check out our Terms or the ESN Check FAQ for more. We wish you the best of luck and don’t forget you always shop smarter — and safer — with Swappa.