How to find a lost phone by its ID code

How to find a stolen or missing phone

Cell phone theft. An unpleasant situation from which no one is immune. But it can be found by presetting the device. In this review, we will tell you how to find a stolen phone and prepare it for possible loss.

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Finding a smartphone is easier than a simple cell phone because it has a security feature. It will require pre-activation. Otherwise it is impossible to find a stolen device. Further we will tell about working and not working ways of search.

How to find phone by number

There are no special services that allow you to instantly find the phone by its number. If they are, they are fraudulent. Cellular operators do not give out location data for nothing. As for the operator’s geolocation services, they work only if you agree to search. Here is a list of services from Russian operators:

The service “Where am I” from MegaFon allows you to track even your own coordinates, but you need to hold the phone in your hands for this. It is not suitable for our case.

If you have two handsets, set up a reciprocal search through one of the services. Disadvantages. Subscription fee, low accuracy of positioning. Advantages. They work without Internet.

How to find the phone by IMEI

Track the location of your cell phone by IMEI. It’s the realm of science fiction. There are no open services with such functionality. This search is used only by law enforcement agencies, making requests to mobile operators, we will tell you about this later. If someone offers to find a stolen smartphone by IMEI, it is a fraud. This way does not work.

Service “Android Device Manager”

The correct name for this service is “Phone Search. It searches for lost and stolen smartphones via the Internet by determining the location on the map. To find your cell phone in the future, set it up immediately after purchase:

  • Name or sign up for a Google Account.
  • Go to the security settings, and select “Find device”.
  • Set the switch to “On.”.

Done. Now you can find a stolen or lost phone.

Search on this page. Log in and select the device you are looking for from the home page.

Repeat entering your password and click “Find” on the page that opens.

In a few seconds a piece of map showing the exact location of your device will appear.

Drive to specified address or inform police for searching together with law enforcers.

  • Ringing. Press the “Ringing” button, the phone activates a call that allows you to give away the location of the handset in a crowd of people.
  • Locking the device. Turn your phone into a useless “brick” that doesn’t respond to intruder actions.
  • Clean the device. Delete all sensitive or secret data.

All actions are performed with the phone turned on and an active internet connection. Do not forget to enable location detection in the navigation settings.

If the value of the stored data is higher than the value of the gadget, it is recommended to immediately activate the clearing of the device. Use backups to save valuable data.

How to find the phone, if it is turned off

There is also a situation: you have lost your smartphone, tried to call, but all to no avail, and as a result, the battery dies and the gadget shuts down. Is it possible to track the phone if it is turned off? In this case, you will have to apply to law enforcement agencies, because it will be very difficult to find the device on your own. This requires a special equipment, which finds the device on the built-in GPS-sensor and communication with the satellite.

If the cell phone was stolen, and the attackers immediately turned off the device, then you yourself find the device, too, you will not be able to. You can call all pawnshops, but it is best if you go straight to the police and report the theft. You must have the identification documents and proof that the smartphone belongs to you: serial number, receipt of purchase.

Thieves can change the IMEI

IMEI is assigned to the smartphone during the manufacturing process. As said above, IMEI code is unique.

It does not change after it is lost, unlike a regular number, for which it is sufficient to change the SIM card.

IMEI number is loaded in the device to prevent the possibility of subsequent changes.

In exceptional cases, intruders are still able to change the code to another one.

If you do this, unfortunately, the true owner will never be able to track down the smartphone.

What to do to start the search operation?

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The procedure of finding a smartphone via IMEI code is as follows.

1 The owner goes to the local police department and submits an official request. You must have all the documents for the device with you.

2 Competent specialists send an official request to all mobile operators, attaching the submitted IMEI code.

3 Each operator must analyze its database to check whether the phone with the unique IMEI code is in the network, what is the current card number, who is the owner of the device at the time of use.

4 The collected information is further transmitted to the representative office of the law enforcement bodies, where the investigators start the operational-search activities.

How to Find a Lost iPhone

There are a lot of materials on the Internet, which describe how you can find the phone by IMEI via satellite.

Here it should be said right away. The IMEI code has nothing to do with satellites, nor does mobile communication in general, because it is provided by local towers installed in almost every populated area of the country.

What should experts do in such a case? They are obliged to identify the current user when the phone comes back online.

How the police are looking for

A logical question arises. Then how do investigators establish the location of a mobile device, if the IMEI, like mobile communications, does not interact with the satellite? The answer is very simple.

When you get a brand new phone, regardless of what it is. The latest iPhone, or “brick” of 15 years ago, after launching it begins to look for the nearest towers with the highest quality signal transmission.

The operator sees exactly what tower the intruder is connected to, and then determines the approximate coordinates.

Recently, operators have been able to block a lost phone at the internal level.

What it means? If the owner has filed a police report, the operator will first IMEI for re-registration on the network after the loss.

If it is absent in the network, the IMEI is blacklisted. Having tried to switch the device on, an intruder will not be able to make calls, receive SMS-messages, etc.

But then again, not everything is so simple. Despite the fact that it is really possible to find a phone via IMEI, the police very rarely conducts searches.

Under the exception are difficult situations, when the investigators are interested in solving the case and finding criminals.

In other situations nobody will look for the stolen phone, even if it is technically possible.

Is it possible to try to find the device through law enforcement? The officers certainly won’t do this kind of thing. The best they can do is to accept the report and ask you to wait.

In professional circles, they often joke that the police are not a Lost and Found office.

The only true option in this case is to search on your own, without hoping to get help from outside experts.

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Websites for checking IMEI

Online services are unlikely to help you find your phone by IMEI, but they allow you to check the serial number of your gadget before you buy it out of hand. Database portals replenish the real users who have stolen smartphones or other devices.

But there is still one way how to find the phone by IMEI online:

  • Go to a website with a database (for example, SNDeepInfo).
  • Click on the model and series of your gadget.
  • Click the “Add to Lost or Stolen List” button.
  • Fill in all the fields, with the real e-mail for contact and the amount of the reward.

Changing the ID of the smartphone is very difficult, but still possible. In this case, even knowing how to track the phone by IMEI, it will be impossible to find the device.

What’s the best thing to do to be safe

Retrieving a loss by IMEI can be a complicated process, so it is recommended to take some steps in advance to protect personal data in case of theft or loss:

  • Lock the device, additionally set a pin code. Thus, it will be impossible to use the device without entering the passwords.
  • Immediately after purchasing a new model, rewrite the ID. How to check the I.D. Will prompt a consultant in the store.
  • Download and install the tracking application.
  • Upload photos, videos and other personal data to the cloud, which is additionally protected by a password.
  • Attach a key fob to the device, which will quickly establish the coordinates of the device.
  • When in a public place, hold it firmly in your hands or plug it into your headphones.

What is IMEI

This is how the sticker with IMEI code looks like on the box

Each cell phone is assigned its own identification number and registered on the network. This number must be assigned to the device at manufacturing and is supposed to be very difficult, if not impossible, to change. Exactly for security reasons. So that if you steal a smartphone, a thief couldn’t change its IMEI. The algorithm of its assignment is constantly changing. In the beginning, when cell phones were just being made, there were 14 digits in the code, but in 2004 there were 15. It consists of an identifier, the place and date of manufacture and other information that the user does not need to know.

The IMEI can be seen by looking closely at the box your device was packaged in when you purchased it. It can also be found on the phone itself, if you lift the battery, but for devices with a fixed battery this method is not suitable. Finally, you can type on keyboard a certain combination of keys, so that the ID code will appear on the screen.

Is it possible to find the phone by IMEI

Yes and no. And simultaneously. You will not be able to punch the lost phone by yourself. The operator doesn’t keep track of the handsets, but data about their location is saved (coordinates are calculated by polling the base stations). But it’s useless to call a help desk with a request to trace the phone. The service is not provided. Also there are no programs and applications for search of phones.

If your phone is stolen, you can’t find it by its IMEI code. At least not on your own. But you can always write a request to the police to find and return the stolen phone. The procedure is as follows. You give the IMEI to the police, they send requests to cellular operators. As soon as a SIM card is installed in your phone, the operator will send your SIM card data to the police. And that person has to explain where he got the stolen phone.

Tracking a stolen phone by IMEI through the police is possible, but in practice no one does it. The police stubbornly refuses to deal with such applications, although they have all the tools at their disposal to find thieves. I do not know why, but in our country, this scheme somehow works selectively, it is not available to all (in this case it is good to have some friends in the police).


IMEI. A unique 15-digit phone identifier, assigned by the manufacturer. Only the police and your cell phone carrier can track your phone‘s location by its IMEI. It is not realistic to do it yourself.

We recommend the use of modern means of protection.Passential keys, fingerprints and face to unlock the phone, as well as setting its location feature. Then if you lose it, you can use Google or iCloud to find it. It also allows you to remotely manage the data on the device, and remove personal information from it.

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