5 Things You Need To Know Before Buying Or Selling A Smartphone

The market of second-hand phones, be it Android or iPhone, utilizes many terms that the layman doesn’t understand. From IMEI to Blacklist to GSX check, thrown around regularly, there are numerous other words like these.

What does the average person do when they are looking to either sell their smartphone or purchase a pre-owned one? How do they know if the IMEI of the device is not blacklisted? Through this exhaustive article, we aim to answer some of the most common questions related to buying a pre-owned phone.

One by one, we explain ways to check and double check if a device has been stolen, reported lost or has unpaid bills attached to it. Succinctly, we provide methods of finding more about your phone.

Understanding A Blacklisted Phone And Its Repercussions!

The blacklist is precisely what the term states. It is a record of all the smartphones stolen in USA and Canada and reported. It is a database that is created and shared by all wireless carriers. The common belief that Apple or other Android companies are the makers of this list is untrue. America or Canada is not the limit of the blacklist; various countries have their own database which they share internationally.

The Issue With Blacklisted Phones!

If a smartphone is recorded in a blacklist, it will not connect to any cellular network. No carrier will allow the phone to make or receive calls even when the phone has a valid SIM card. Since blacklists are shared among different nations, the device will not work in any of them. For example, a mobile that has been shoplifted or burgled in the US will not function north of the border too. The reverse also applies.

Implemented in 2013, the problem with blacklisted devices is that they are worthless. No network will activate them within or outside the home country. You cannot use them to make calls, send SMS or even access mobile data. All one can do is connect to the Wi-Fi or employ the phone as an iPod. Built to counteract the burgeoning theft of mobiles, the blacklist is made up of unique numbers called IMEI found in every mobile device.

Understanding IMEI & Their Usage!

It is simple to unravel the mystery surrounding the IMEI. These are numbers put on various elements of a phone. These digits are added so that each cell phone can be identified easily. The acronym for International Mobile Equipment Identity is IMEI. Every smartphone manufactured in the recent past has this “unique identifier.” All carriers and nations have a common standard as per which they create an IMEI which means it takes zero effort to point out a stolen phone. Furthermore, while a SIM card can be removed from the gadget, the IMEI cannot be erased by the average person.

The Undeniable Reason Every Phone Should Have An IMEI!

In short, the IMEI is used to recognize any mobile. Because it can be used to spot a phone, it is consequently used to prevent robberies. Let’s say the stealing of an iPhone occurs. The thief changes the SIM card and continues to use the phone as theirs. There are few to nil chances of recovering the phone. On the other hand, if there is a number that is “hard-coded into the hardware” of the phone, even upon switching the SIM card the stolen mobile will be recognizable.

How the Blacklists interacts with the IMEI?

It is apparent, by now, that each mobile built has its own IMEI number. These digits etched on hardware have low chances of removal without irreparably damaging the phone. When information reaches a network provider that a particular phone was robbed/ stolen, it adds the corresponding IMEI to the blacklist. The mobile is also locked out of the carrier’s system and then from the cellular network. To make it easier to understand blacklist, think of it as a register of the IMEI codes of every phone robbed in a country.

How To Check The IMEI Code Of A Phone?

There are two procedures that can be used to check the IMEI number of any phone:

  • The first method is also the fastest way. Open the keypad of your mobile and type the following: *#06#. When you press the last hashtag, a new screen will pop up instantly. This screen will show the IMEI code. If the gadget has two SIM cards, then there will be two IMEI numbers visible on the pop-up.
  • The second method to check the IMEI of any phone is to go on the Settings tab, then About Phone, then the Status and finally the IMEI information. This process becomes useful when the previous one does not work.

Do note that dissimilar to other functions of the phone, it is not possible to copy and then paste the IMEI code. One has to write it down manually.  

Can A Phone Be Removed From The Blacklist?

The straightforward answer is yes. As long as you are the original owner of the phone, you can exclude it from the blacklist. For example, a stolen phone is reported and then blacklisted. Sometime later it is returned to the owner. To un-blacklist it, the real purchaser will have to call the network carrier and inform them. It is the service provider who removes the IMEI code from the blacklist.

The longer answer leads to most probably no. Any person, who has purchased a stolen phone or a preowned mobile that was blacklisted, cannot get it removed by themselves. The only way is to contact the previous owner and:

  • Either ask them to get it withdrawn from the database,
  • Or ask them for a refund.

Check If Your Phone Is Blacklisted

A simple tool to check if your phone’s IMEI is blacklisted or not is provided by Unlockr. All you need is the IMEI code and a working email. In as less as 60 seconds the answer is sent to your mailbox.

Find Out The Carrier Your Phone Is Locked To

A mobile sold by a Carrier is most often locked to the network of the Carrier. The phone cannot be used on any other mobile network. Therefore, it becomes vital to check which carrier your phone is currently locked to. To have your device unlocked you need to know the carrier. The easiest method to do so is to find the IMEI code of the phone, go to Unlockr and follow the steps.

Steps A Mobile Owner Can Take!

The gist is that knowing the IMEI code of a smartphone is essential. It can inform if the gadget is blacklisted or not. It is highly advised to return a blacklisted phone, if found, to the wireless carrier. They can take the appropriate steps to put it back in the hands of the first buyer or owner.

It also bears reiterating that a mobile listed on a national blacklist is unusable in many countries. Be on the safer side and use a free IMEI checker to know if the phone purchased is on the database or not!
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