Sometimes, it is better to purchase a smartphone from a secondhand provider. You can get the products for a much lower price, linking them directly to your service provider.

From time to time, these devices are blacklisted. Thankfully, you can learn how to check if a phone is blacklisted by looking for the IMEI.

If you find out that the device is blacklisted, you will need to unlock it. Learn how with the step-by-step guide below.

The Ultimate Step by Step Guide on How to Know if a Phone is Blacklisted

This step-by-step guide will help you learn how to check if a phone is blacklisted. There is a real chance that you could purchase a stolen or lost device. Sometimes, a phone gets blacklisted because of unpaid bills also.

In any of these situations, you can unlock your device. Learn more about these phones and how you can use them below.

Understand a Phone that is Blacklisted

There are several reasons why a phone may be blacklisted. The most common reasons are unpaid bills.

Customers can also report their phones as lost or stolen. When this happens, the carrier will blacklist the device.

Wireless carriers blacklist the phones to prevent third-party sellers who steal devices. They do not want these individuals making money off of their loot.

You will need to ask the wireless provider to unlock the iPhone before you can use it. A third-party tool is necessary if you purchased the device from a secondhand seller.

How Does a Blacklisted Phone work?

Before learning how to check if a phone is blacklisted, you need to understand how the process works. The list records the IMEI number of your iPhone.

Every iPhone comes with a different IMEI. This number acts as a fingerprint for your smart device. It allows phone carriers to identify each iPhone they offer.

The phone carrier will use the IMEI numbers to track phones on the blacklist. They will shut those devices out of their networks, ensuring that no lost or stolen iPhone is usable.

How to Use a Blacklisted Phone

You may purchase a blacklisted smartphone, only to find out after the fact. The carrier will not have the capabilities to add the device to your mobile plan. The iPhone will not activate as it should.

You need to find a device’s IMEI number to answer, “is my phone blacklisted?” The steps differ depending on if you have an iPhone or Android.

Find the IMEI on Your iPhone

There are several methods you can use to learn how to check IMEI numbers on your iPhone, as seen below.

Find the IMEI Number in Your Settings

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Click on “General,” followed by “About.”
  3. Scroll down to find the section labeled “IMEI/MEID.”

Connect Your iPhone to the Computer

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  2. Open “Finder.”
  3. Click on the “General” tab to locate your device.
  4. Press “Phone Number.”
  5. Scroll down to the section labeled “IMEI/MEID.”

Go to the Apple Website

  1. Type in a browser of your choice.
  2. Sign in with your Apple username and password.
  3. Click on “Devices” and choose the appropriate iPhone.
  4. Look for the section labeled “IMEI/MEID.”

Check the IMEI Number on Your Android

You can also find the IMEI number on an Android with the below methods.

Check the Device

  1. Sealed Phone: Look at the bottom of the back of your phone. There is a section labeled “IMEI.”
  2. Phones with Removable Covers: Remove the cover. Look for the sticker, followed by the number next to “IMEI.”

Check the IMEI in the Settings App

  1. Open the Settings app on your Android.
  2. Click on the section labeled “About Phone.”
  3. Look for the number next to the field labeled “IMEI.”

Call *#06#

If you have service on your smartphone, you can call *#06# to find your IMEI. This method will work on your iPhone also. A screen will show up that contains the IMEI and your serial number.

This phone number will work like a stolen phone checker. You will get a notification if the device is on the blacklist.

Use a Third-Party Tool to Find out if you have a blacklisted phone

You can also use a third-party stolen phone checker to determine if your device is blacklisted. You will need the IMEI number to begin. Some of the best available options are below.

1. IMEI Pro

IMEI Pro allows you to perform an Android or iPhone blacklist check for free. It works with international devices.

The required steps are in the information below.

  1. On your browser, go to
  2. Copy the IMEI number from your device. You can also write it down.
  3. Enter the IMEi number in the field labeled “Enter IMEI Number Here.”
  4. Press “Check” and complete the captcha form.
  5. See if the phone is clean.

2. IMEI 24

IMEI 24 is another tool you can use to perform an IMEI blacklist check. It is free to use with the below steps.

  1. On your browser, type in
  2. Copy the IMEI from your smartphone.
  3. Provide the number in the field labeled “IMEI.”
  4. Press “Check.”
  5. Verify that your smartphone is clean.

Unlock a Blacklisted Phone

After you learn how to check if a phone is blacklisted, you need to know how to unlock the device. You cannot use it effectively otherwise.

Contact the Phone Carrier

The first method you can use to unlock a device after learning how to check if a phone is blacklisted is to contact the phone carrier. This tip will only work if the iPhone or Android already belongs to you.

You will find out if you owe money on your device after contacting the phone carrier. Pay off the balance to get your iPhone or Android working again.

You should also contact the phone carrier if you found the device after reporting it as lost. They will remove it from the blacklist immediately.

Replace the IMEI Chip

You can reach out to a gadget or phone repair store to ask for a new IMEI chip. Work with a legal provider to avoid trouble.

Call ahead to gadget stores to determine if they have an IMEI chip for your specific device. Some phones do not have physical products, and all of the data is digitally stored.

This method is the riskiest, as there are many illegal secondhand sellers. Look at reviews and ask if the store has any certifications. You could also contact your wireless provider to ask if they know anything about the location.

Use a Third-Party Provider to Unlock Your Phone

There are a few third-party providers you can work with to unlock your blacklisted device. Some of these only work with specific phone carriers. Do your research first to avoid wasting time and money.

IMEI Authority

IMEI Authority only works with Verizon and T-Mobile. They will send you a new SIM card after completing the process outlined below.

  1. Go to on your browser.
  2. Choose the country where you live.
  3. Select your phone carrier.
  4. Enter your IMEI number in the appropriate field.
  5. Choose your specific device.
  6. Press “Continue.”
  7. Wait 24 hours for the SIM card to arrive.


DirectUnlocks charges a fee to unlock a blacklisted device, just like the IMEI authority. The steps below will help you use this tool after you learn how to check if a phone is blacklisted.

  1. Go to on your browser.
  2. Choose your country and network.
  3. Press “Unlock for any SIM Card.”
  4. Enter your IMEI number.
  5. Select the device you own.


Finally, ExpressUnlocks is another third-party tool that is free to use with the steps below.

    1. Go to on your browser.
    2. Enter your country and network.
    3. Press “Unlock for Any Sim Card.”
    4. Enter your device details, including the IMEI.


What Does Blacklisted IMEI Mean?

When you perform an IMEI blacklist check, you may notice that you get a “blacklisted” message. When this appears, there is a high chance the device was lost or stolen.

The blacklist contains IMEI numbers of all reported phones. When you look up the IMEI, you will see if it is on that list.

How Do You Know if an iPhone is Blacklisted?

There are several methods you can use to perform an iPhone blacklist check. Before using any of them, you will need to find your IMEI number. Call *#06# to get it.

After you get the IMEI number, contact your phone carrier. You can also use an online tool like IMEI Pro.

How Much Does It Cost to Unlock a Blacklisted iPhone?

If you contact your carrier, you can unlock your iPhone for free. This method will only work if you claim the device was lost or stolen.

If you purchased a blacklisted iPhone, you need to use a third-party tool. Typically, these services cost anywhere from $140 to $200.

Can You Do Anything with a Blacklisted iPhone?

If you find out you own a blacklisted iPhone, you may wonder what you can do with it. You can connect it to wifi to access the internet or take photos, as long as you can enter your account information.

You will need to unlock the blacklisted iPhone to register it with a carrier. After, you can use data, send text messages, and make calls.

Can Verizon Unblacklist a Phone?

You can contact Verizon to ask them to remove the block. They may require you to settle a debt. You can also inform Verizon if you locate your lost device.

Check if a Phone is Blacklisted

You should feel confident knowing how to check if a phone is blacklisted and how to unlock it. You will need to learn how to find the IMEI on your device before completing either of these processes.

You can find the IMEI using a third-party tool or the Settings app on your device. You can also call your phone carrier to determine if your device is on the blacklist.

To unlock your iPhone or Android, contact your service provider. They will remove your device if you are the person who reported it as lost.

Use a third-party provider to get a new SIM card if you bought the device secondhand. Only work with a legal company to ensure you do not get in trouble.

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support Clever Sequence

Latest Guides