Everyone's talking about IMEI and how to find it from a mobile phone. The sound of this four-letter word is no longer foreign to everyone's ear, especially when it is linked with topics such as blocking mobile phones, registration of GSM phones, mobile phone theft, etc. But have you personally asked yourself what does IMEI really mean and what is the importance of knowing or looking for it in your very own mobile phone?

What is IMEI?

Simply put, IMEI is a unique set of numbers used by a GSM network to identify its subscribers as well as the type of mobile phone they use. IMEI stands for "International Mobile Equipment Identity" and can usually be found printed on a sticker-type label or compliance plate inside the battery compartment cover of a mobile/cellular phone. In some phones, it is printed as "IMEI Serial No" or just "Seial No." followed by a 15-digit number. (see image below)IMEI Serial No display

What is the importance of knowing your IMEI number?

In some cases such as mobile phone theft, you can request your GSM network service provider to block or disable your phone from its unauthorized user by giving them your IMEI number. This will prevent anyone to use your phone during the time it was stolen.

For example, in some countries such as Turkey, all mobile phones used within the country are required to be registered with the Turkish government's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA). This is the kind of approach that the Turkish government uses in dealing not just mobile theft, but also in preventing as well as discouraging some acts of terrorism through the use of mobile phones. Therefore, if anyone who uses a registered mobile phone in Turkey happens to lose it, he or she will just have to contact his/her GSM network service provider, inform them of the incident, and request them to have his/her mobile blocked.

How do I find my mobile phone's IMEI number?

It is very important that anyone who owns a mobile phone should know their assigned IMEI number and keeps a copy of it in a safe place. This way, you won't have to panic where to find your IMEI number once your mobile phone gets misplaced or stolen.

There are two simple ways on how to find your mobile phone's IMEI number. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Through the display screen…

1) Turn ON your mobile phone.

2) Simply enter the code *#06# on your keypad (just like you are dialing a phone number). The title "IMEI" or "IMEI Serial No." along with a 15-digit number is your phone's IMEI number which will automatically appear on your phone's display screen. (In some phones, the IMEI number may also appear as "Serial No." along with the 15-digit number. If you're using a Dual-SIM phone, two sets of IMEI numbers will appear on screen).dual SIM phone's displaySee image below.

3) Copy your mobile phone's IMEI number on a piece of paper and keep it privately where its safe and secure. Note that in case your phone may get lost or stolen, you will have to find this number immediately from where you kept it.

Note: This procedure may not always work with some GSM phone models.

The other way to find your IMEI number is through the back of your phone.

1) Turn OFF your mobile phone.

2) Open the back part of your phone and remove the battery. Most IMEI numbers are printed somewhere inside the battery compartment on a white sticker-type label or compliance plate.

3) Just as what you will do in step 3 (above), you will have to keep a written copy of your IMEI number and keep it safe.

IMEI No printed at the backNote: If you still cant find your IMEI in this process, then you will have to try looking for it on your mobile phone's box (if you still keep it). Chances are, you will finally find it printed somewhere near the barcode prints.

What should I do if my mobile phone gets lost or stolen?

If ever your registered mobile phone happens to be lost or stolen, here's what you should need to do:

1) Call immediately your GSM network service provider.

2) Inform them that your mobile (cellular) phone has been lost or stolen.

3) Give them your (lost) mobile phone's IMEI number.

4) Request your GSM network service provider to have your phone blocked as soon as possible.

Once your mobile phone is blocked, this will prevent the thief or anyone who finds your phone from using it (even with another SIM card). Until you will authorize your service provider to have it unblocked, your mobile phone will remain blocked and of no use. This will help prevent you from paying high phone bills that you didn't incur (during the time it was lost) as it applies to both prepaid or subcription plans. In short, no one can profit from your lost or stolen phone, not even the thief's possible buyers, unless otherwise they are after to sell some of its parts. Still, it wont be worth their effort for snatching or stealing someone else's property considering the punishment that awaits for them once they are identified and/or arrested.

So in as much as you need to have a written copy of your IMEI number, it is also equally important that you will note your mobile phone service provider's Customer Service number at hand. Remember, aside from calling the police, this will be the number that you must need to call immediately in case your phone may get lost or stolen. (To read a related article on this topic, click here.)