What is an IMEI?
IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is the Electronic Serial Number that is created to give a unique identification to mobile devices. This is applicable to a GSM network.
IMEI blocking is one of the approach available for combating phone theft.
A lost phone, iPad, or other mobile device can be tracked using the IMEI number. If your phone is lost, all you need to do is call up your network provider, give them the IMEI number and they would blacklist the IMEI number. As these numbers are hard-coded into device hardware, it is impossible to change them without damaging the device. The carrier can blacklist the IMEI code, locks it and also passes the information to other cellular networks to do the same.
If a police complaint is lodged, the first thing they would ask is the IMEI number. They will be able to track the device and would also add the IMEI number in their stolen device database. This will help them in returning the device in case they are able to find it.
How to find IMEI number on your phone?
Here are the ways in which you can find the IMEI number on your phone:
1) Dial *#06# on your phone. The number will be displayed. This is the most common method. However, this procedure might not work on all phones.
2) Switch off your phone and remove the back cover. Remove the battery. There will be a white label in the empty battery slot which will have the IMEI number.
3) For iPad & iPhone users: Open the Settings window > General > About > IMEI
Note: When an iPhone 4s is activated on a CDMA carrier, the SIM tray displays both the MEID and the IMEI number as 15 digits. The MEID number uses the first 14 digits, disregarding the last digit, and the IMEI number uses all 15 digits.
MEID: A mobile equipment identifier (MEID) is a globally unique number identifying a physical piece of CDMA mobile station equipment.
Always keep a note of your IMEI/MEID number in a secure place!.