Can a cell phone be tracked with an IMEI number? – Summary of communications (2023)

A mobile network uses many identifiers for your cell phone and tracks the location of your device at all times to ensure that you can access all the services to which you are entitled. One of those identifiers is an IMEI number, which stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity.

A cell phone can be tracked using an IMEI number to know the exact location of the phone. IMEI tracking can be obtained through your mobile operator, law enforcement agencies (for example, the police) or third-party applications. IMEI information is stored in EIR, a database managed by the mobile operator.

(Video) How any cell phone can be tracked

There could be many reasons why you might want to know how IMEI number can be used to track your cell phone location. For example, if you lose your phone, any identifier that can help you know the whereabouts of your phone can be of great help. The other end of the spectrum is if you're curious or concerned that someone might try to track you using your IMEI number. Let's dig a little deeper to cover all of these scenarios.

What is an IMEI number?

A cell phone has several different identifiers, including IMEI, ICCID, MSISDN, IMSI, and TMSI, which can be used to learn the location of a cell phone. While most of these identifiers are tied to the SIM card, the IMEI is attached to the device itself. So, for example, if you accidentally lose your phone and someone replaces your SIM with another SIM, the IMEI number can still track the phone. An IMEI number is linked to the SIM slot in a cell phone, where you insert the SIM card. If you have a dual SIM phone, you will have two IMEI numbers, one for each SIM slot. IMEI is a unique 15-digit number for every SIM-enabled cellular device, including cell phones,mobile broadband dongles and routers, smart watches, etc. You can locate your phone's IMEI number simply by typing the sequence *#06# on your phone's dial pad. Below is an image of how the IMEI number is displayed on a mobile device with a SIM slot. I have onePost dedicated to IMEI number with additional screenshotsand a comparison between IMEI and other identifiers like IMSI, ICCID, etc.

Can a cell phone be tracked with an IMEI number? – Summary of communications (1)

Who manages IMEI numbers?

Device vendors encode the IMEI number into cellular devices. For example, if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, Samsung encodes the IMEI number into the phone. But only when a mobile phone connects to the mobile network, the IMEI is activated. The mobile operator has a database called the Equipment Identity Registry (EIR) that contains all registered IMEI numbers.

(Video) A Brief Explanation on How Mobile Devices Can Be Tracked

Who can track you with your IMEI number?

The most obvious entity that can track you with your IMEI number is your mobile carrier, which manages the EIR database. In addition to the mobile phone operator, law enforcement agencies, e.g. the police have access to the IMEI number so they can track down stolen phones and possibly the people who carry them. Interestingly, there are also several third-party mobile apps and online portals that provide a free or paid service to locate a phone using its IMEI number.

If you accidentally lose your phone, the IMEI number will allow your mobile operator to track your phone, even if someone discards your SIM card and replaces it with another. The IMEI is one of the device identifiers that police in many countries use to track cell phones in collaboration with mobile operatorsfollow a strict security process to ensure that your personal information is only available to authorized persons.

Is it safe to give your IMEI number to someone?

The IMEI number can be misused, so you should only share it with those you trust, for example. your mobile phone operator, law enforcement authorities, your employer, etc. There may be times when your mobile operator requests the IMEI number of your device to enable/disable services.

(Video) How to Track your Phone using IMEI Number - Does it Really Work?

For example, you need your IMEI number if you want to unlock a cell phone. If your IMEI falls into the wrong hands, it can be misused. Although the IMEI number is unique and remains with the mobile device throughout its life cycle, it is technically possible for someone (with special tools) to change it. Making any changes to the IMEI number is called "unlocking", a criminal offense under UK law. If someone with bad intentions gets your IMEI number and has access to specialized tools, they can use your IMEI on any other cell phone. If that phone is used for some illegal activity, your IMEI number could be at risk of becoming a scapegoat.

Can a random person track you with your IMEI?

It is important to keep your IMEI number to yourself and only share it with those you trust. Technically, anyone who has your IMEI number can use a third-party app or online service to try to track your device. Typically, these apps are designed to locate a lost phone, which is a great service if you're trying to locate your own phone. However, if an unwanted person has your IMEI number, they can technically use these apps to find out the whereabouts of your phone.


The IMEI number is a key identifier for your cell phone and allows you to track your cell phone no matter what SIM is inside the phone. Although the main entities that can track your phone using the IMEI number are mobile operators and law enforcement agencies, some third-party apps and online services allow IMEI tracking. The IMEI number is maintained in the Equipment Identity Registry (EIR), a database of all registered IMEI numbers managed by a mobile operator. If you want to track your lost phone, the best option is to contact your mobile operator.

(Video) Disturbing Details About Phone Tracking in 2022 - The Complete Report

As a disclaimer, this is my personal opinion based on my experience in mobile telecommunications, but it is not professional advice. You should always contact your mobile operator or service provider for professional advice about your phone or subscription.

Here are some useful downloads.

Thanks for reading this post. I hope it has helped you develop a better understanding of cellular networks. Sometimes we need extra support, especially when preparing for a new job, studying a new subject, or buying a new phone. Regardless of what you're trying to do, here are some downloads that may help you:

Students and recent graduates: If you're just starting out, the complexity of the cell phone industry can be a bit overwhelming. But don't worry, I created it.FREE eBookso you can get familiar with the basics like 3G, 4G, etc. As a next step, take a look at theLast editionfrom the same e-book with more details about 4G and 5G networks with diagrams. then you can readmobile networks made easy, which explains the nodes of the network, for example, BTS, MSC, GGSN, etc.

Professionals:If you are a seasoned professional but new to mobile communications, it may seem difficult to compete with someone who has a decade of experience in the mobile phone industry. But not everyone who works in this industry is always up to date on the big picture and the challenges, considering how quickly the industry evolves. The big picture comes from experience, so I've carefully put together a few slides to get you started quickly. So if you work in sales, marketing, product, design, or any other business area where you need a high-level view,Introduction to mobile communicationscan give you a quick start. Also, here are some templates to help you prepare your own slides inProduct descriptionmiproduct roadmap.

(Video) How to Track Stolen Phone? IMEI Tracking? Find IMEI of Stolen Phone? What to do?

(Video) How do the police track a mobile phone? (AKIO TV)


Can someone track my phone using IMEI? ›

An Online IMEI Phone Tracking Service is quick. The IMEI Phone Tracking Service will access the GSM network to track the stolen phone and block it from accessing any other network in a particular country.

What kind of information can you get from an IMEI? ›

The IMEI number matters as it can give information about the kind of device (Android or iOS), the model number, the network, country from where it came, warranty information, date of purchase and other details about the phone.

Can IMEI number show text messages? ›

Yes, you can use an IMEI number to monitor text messages from other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and Skype.

Can IMEI be tracked through WIFI? ›

No, an IMEI number is simply a series number. It does not allow you to trace anything. To track a device, you must be a service provider and the phone must be registered (log in) with a SIM card to your network core.

What can someone do with IMEI? ›

The IMEI is bound to the device, not your phone number or account. It could be used to track stolen phones, and to lock them out from networks (done in a few countries, but not across borders or carriers normally, they could not agree on a global DB).

Can a cell phone be tracked by text messaging? ›

Few people know, however, that phones can be tracked using little more than a text message. A Short Message Type 0, also known as a silent SMS, is used for the purpose, and these have been around for years.

Can phone and text messages be tracked? ›

If you're wondering if there's a way to track down the source of a call or text like they do in movies, the answer is no. However, you have some tracking options for the origins of a text message. One of the easiest options is to check Google.

What could someone do with your IMEI number? ›

The IMEI is bound to the device, not your phone number or account. It could be used to track stolen phones, and to lock them out from networks (done in a few countries, but not across borders or carriers normally, they could not agree on a global DB).

What if someone gets your IMEI number? ›

Having your IMEI number hacked is a serious matter since you could face a service interruption with your own smartphone or cell phone, and it's also possible that thieves could access your personal information to commit ID fraud.

What does giving someone your IMEI number do? ›

The imei number only identifies your phone not any personal information attached to yourself. Many people display the imei number when they sell phones on ebay to allow people to check if it is on a carriers blacklist.


1. How to Track Stolen Phone? IMEI Tracking? Find IMEI of Stolen Phone? What to do?
(Technical Guruji)
2. Can You Get A Phone Location Using IMEI ??
(Technology BiT)
3. How to track anyone's location WITHOUT their knowledge (why you should!)
(Liron Segev)
4. How Law Enforcement Breaks into iPhones
5. How to Track Stolen Phones Using IMEI | 100% Working Latest Official Method
6. How to Track Someones Location With Their Phone Number!
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Last Updated: 03/02/2023

Views: 5826

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Birthday: 1996-05-10

Address: Apt. 425 4346 Santiago Islands, Shariside, AK 38830-1874

Phone: +96313309894162

Job: Legacy Sales Designer

Hobby: Baseball, Wood carving, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Lacemaking, Parkour, Drawing

Introduction: My name is Dean Jakubowski Ret, I am a enthusiastic, friendly, homely, handsome, zealous, brainy, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.