Trade-In Tech
by on October 26, 2021

There is a lot of information inside of a smartphone. With that in mind, one of the most important types of information within any smartphone is its IMEI. You might also hear about a smartphone’s MEID, which an IMEI often gets confused with. An IMEI acts as a kind of identification code for cellular phones. This means that this number identifies the actual phone itself instead of the user.


If IMEIs seem unfamiliar, that’s ok. Chances are, you’ve seen many IMEIs without realizing what they are. It’s hard to blame you, especially since IMEIs are usually either in small print or difficult for most people unfamiliar with smartphones to track down.


In order to better understand how the IMEI works, you’ll need to take a look at how it builds off of previous technologies. Before smartphones hit the mainstream market, cellular phones only had a few significant numbers associated with them. The first part of a phone number was used to identify the network that a user was on. Now, things are much more complex.


But, you’re here because you want to know about IMEIs. That means that your smartphone is more than likely running on cellular networks. If you work in the electronics industry (especially as a phone flipper), it’s important to understand what IMEIs are and how they can help you out. In this article, we’re going to go over:


  • What an IMEI is

  • What makes IMEIs important

  • How IMEIs, MEIDs, and ESNs differ from each other

  • How to check an IMEI on iPhones and Android devices

  • How electronics wholesalers can mass test smartphones

  • Why you should think about using Trade-In Tech to find clean phones


What is an IMEI?



IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. An IMEI is a unique number, meaning that no two phones will have the same IMEI. You can think of this number as something that’s similar to your social security number. No two people have the same social security number.


With that said, some smartphones can have two IMEIs. However, this is only if this phone is what’s known as a dual SIM model. This type of phone would have a single modem that’s registered to two networks. The second IMEI is just there for the SIM card that’s not in use.


The Importance of Keeping IMEIs Relatively Private


When you see an IMEI, it typically looks like some kind of secret code. With that in mind, it’s understandable to wonder if you should keep the IMEIs you come across private. Generally speaking, it is best to avoid giving out an IMEI if you don’t have to.


However, you’ll also need to remember that it’s impossible to remain completely anonymous in the modern world. Even if you give out your IMEI for one reason or another, it won’t expose any of your personal data.


For instance, it’s understandable for a potential buyer to want a phone’s IMEI to make sure it’s not blacklisted before they buy this device. But, someone with bad intentions might also be able to gain valuable information from your IMEI.


Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to know who has good or bad intentions with the IMEIs on your company’s phones. If you don’t have good vibes or the person you’re speaking with doesn’t seem legitimate, it’s probably best to avoid giving them any IMEIs.


What Makes an IMEI so Important (and Why You Shouldn’t Share It)?



At first, an IMEI can look like a bunch of random numbers. However, this important series of numbers can actually tell you quite a lot about a smartphone. An IMEI can provide information about the device it’s tied to. Fortunately, an IMEI can not hold any information about the person or people who owned a phone in the past.


The first reason that you need to know what an IMEI is is that it’s a type of ID that every smartphone has. All smartphones have their own unique ID, and some electronics stores make use of this by requiring basic information from you before they sell you a phone. This makes it very easy for them to figure out your phone’s warranty, and whether or not the smartphone is stolen.


As we mentioned earlier, you can think of an IMEI as a social security number. Social security numbers play a really important role in identity theft and keeping people protected.


You can also learn about things like warranty dates, blacklist status, and carrier info by having a smartphone’s IMEI.


They Can Help Protect Lost or Stolen Smartphones


In most cases, you’re not going to spend much time remembering or even thinking about your phone’s IMEI. Well, that is, unless you’re one of many people unfortunate to either lose their phone or get it stolen. If this happens, you can (in most cases) contact your cell phone provider, and they’ll lock your smartphone.


If a thief gets rid of your old smartphone and replaces it, there’s a good chance that you could find out about it.


Having a locked phone is also good if you tend to lose things. If you lose your cell phone, you can have your smartphone service provider lock it temporarily. When you find your phone, the provider can unlock your phone again. By doing this, the smartphone owner would get back the full usability of their respective devices.


Protection Against Counterfeiting


If you buy or resell electronics, you must watch out for counterfeit merchandise. Unfortunately, there’s quite a lot of counterfeit merchandise for sale online. Recent research from ITU News found that, during 2017, about 12.9% of all legitimate sales were lost due to counterfeiting.


In order to combat the counterfeit market, some manufacturers have tied a device’s IMEI with its product registration. By combining these two important pieces of information, you can get a good idea of whether or not a device is real.


Once you register your device with such a service, it becomes much harder for counterfeiters to sell knock-off versions of that product. For example, if an iPhone is made and then registered with the IMEI-based authentication system, it would be very difficult for someone to sell fake iPhones.


Otherwise known as “fake” merchandise, counterfeit products are made or distributed by people looking to scam others into buying inferior products. Unlike their name-brand counterparts, counterfeit products have no brand recognition. More often than not, counterfeit products also perform much worse than name-brand smartphones.


In the United States, it’s much easier to sue a business for distributing counterfeit goods. In fact, according to, people can sue counterfeiters if they deceive or mislead consumers into believing that their products are actually made by the company whose name appears on those counterfeits.


However, you might be buying electronics from other parts of the world. If this is the case, you might not have the same protections as a buyer in the United States.


How Does the IMEI Blacklist Work?


When you sign up for a service that uses IMEI as a form of ID, you’ll need to provide your device’s unique number. Thanks to the many stolen smartphones being sold online, the IMEI blacklist is something every reseller wants to check out. Hopefully, they don’t find any of their purchased phones in this list.


Companies like Google and Apple use IMEIs as a way to combat the sale of stolen and counterfeit devices. If you try to sell a smartphone that has been blacklisted, you’ll have a very difficult time getting the sale to go through.


When it comes to being aware of stolen devices, many companies are on the ball. They’ve taken great strides towards making sure that they can track every device and blacklist it if need be.


What’s the Difference Between an IMEI, MEID, and ESN?



While the IMEI is widely used, it’s not the only way to identify a phone. There is also the MEID and ESN. While most of these identifiers look different from one another, they all serve one purpose, and that’s to help identify a phone. Some of these identifiers are also used to identify many types of popular electronics, including smartwatches and tablets.


First, let’s take a quick look at what each of these abbreviations stands for:


IMEI: International Mobile Equipment Identity - The subject of this article. An IMEI is also the main way that mobile devices can distinguish themselves from one another. No two phones will have the same IMEI.


MEID: Mobile Equipment Identifier - Made to replace the ESNs, a MEID contains 14 hexadecimal digits. This is used in America, especially for cell phones.


ESN: Electronic Serial Number - You’re not going to find this identifier on modern cell phones. That’s because this format completely ran out of new numbers to assign in 2008.


A serial number is a way for a manufacturer to identify a device. However, an IMEI or MEID would be used only for smartphones. A television or computer wouldn’t have this identifier. IMEIs and MEIDs are used internationally. This means that a phone made for use in the United States won’t share an IMEI of a smartphone made for use in India.


The IMEI, MEID, and ESN all serve the same purpose: identify a device. Unfortunately, there is no way to convert an IMEI into an ESN or MEID. You also cannot convert a MEID to an IMEI or ESN. Each of these identifiers serves its own singular purpose.


Most smartphone manufacturers also place information about a phone or tablet’s model into IMEIs. For instance, Samsung might use “S8” in their IMEIs to identify only phones that are Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones.


IMEIs are great sources of help for separating real and counterfeit phones. However, it’s not foolproof. For example, you could possibly clone that information into a fake device. The only way to tell if an IMEI or MEID is legitimate is to compare it against the manufacturer’s records.


How to Check the IMEI Number of iPhones and Android Phones



Let’s now start learning how to check the IMEI of an iPhone. It’s important to note that there are several ways to achieve this goal. Where you’ll need to look depends on the iPhone you have. You can sometimes find this important number by connecting your iPhone to iTunes.


If you’re working with the most reasonably modern iPhones, you can find the IMEI on the SIM trays of these phones. Some iPhone 6 and iPhone 5 smartphones will have the IMEI on the back of these devices, near the bottom.


However, one of the easiest ways to find out an iPhone’s IMEI is by doing this:


  • Turn on your iPhone.

  • Tap on the Settings program.

  • From Settings, tap on General.

  • From the General menu, select About

  • On this menu, you should find the iPhone’s IMEI.


It’s now time for you to learn how to check an Android phone’s IMEI. Don’t worry - checking the IMEI on an Android smartphone is incredibly easy. All you have to do is dial the following on your Android phone’s keypad: “*#06#” After you do this, you should see the IMEI of your Android smartphone.


By typing in those four simple characters, the IMEI of your Android smartphone should appear on this device’s screen.


You don’t only have to use the previously mentioned method to find an Android phone’s IMEI. It’s also sometimes possible to find an IMEI by removing an Android phone’s battery from the device itself. However, this is only true for Android phones that have removable batteries.


Most of the newer Android devices have non-removable batteries. In these cases, you might need to find the IMEI of an Android smartphone by going to the manufacturer’s website.


Another important thing to note is that some Samsung smartphones can have more than one IMEI. This is only true for dual-sim smartphones. These types of phones have two IMEIs, one for each SIM.


Finding Out If the IMEI is “Clean”


At this point, you should know how to check the IMEI of many popular smartphones. So, you now might be wondering what you’ll do with an IMEI. One of the most beneficial things to do after learning a phone’s IMEI is to test it.


We’re not talking about the kind of tests you took in school. Instead of that, these tests involve the IMEIs of your phones. So, put away the calculator and cheat sheets. You’ll be doing these smartphone tests to make sure that the phones you’re interested in aren’t blacklisted. 


You can tell if a phone is clean or not by checking the IMEI with a blacklist checker. This is sometimes an online tool. To use this service, you’ll need to input your IMEI into the website via your smartphone or another device that has an internet connection.


A device with an IMEI that isn’t clean is often either lost, blacklisted, or stolen. This can also happen if a phone’s owner is behind on their payments. Regardless of the reason, you don’t want to carry or try to resell blacklisted smartphones.


Consider Using More Than One Website to Check Your Phones


The good news is that it’s easy and fast to check a phone’s IMEI online. However, the bad news is that IMEI checkers use the same database. Sometimes, this can result in you worrying about not finding a phone in one database and assuming the worst.


From there, this can lead to you assuming that a phone is blacklisted. But in reality, the IMEI might actually be clean because it’s not in another service’s database. So, if one website tells you that an IMEI is not clean, we recommend that you use more than one service when checking your device.


You don’t want to rush this part of the phone checking process. Yes, it will take a little extra time to complete IMEI checks on various websites. However, doing this will save you a lot of potential headaches in the future.


Mass IMEI Testing for Electronics Wholesalers



We’ve covered how you can find the IMEI for the most popular types of phones. While this information is great to have, it doesn’t solve the problem of how to mass test devices. It might not seem like a big concern now, but you could soon find yourself needing to perform a lot of IMEI checks down the road.


Here are the main reasons why it’s best to avoid testing a lot of phones manually:


Time-consuming: In life, time is money. With that in mind, you don’t want to spend all of your valuable time checking IMEIs on a phone-by-phone basis. Fortunately, you won’t have that problem if you use some kind of phone testing software. By doing this, you can complete in a few hours what might normally take days (or even longer)!


Getting confused: You might think that you’re the type of person who is familiar with just about every smartphone on the market. If so, you can skip reading this section. However, it’s best to avoid spending time checking IMEIs by hand if you're not comfortable manually checking phones. It's almost impossible to find two smartphones from different companies that are exactly alike. So, be prepared to look through a lot of manuals and online forums to find IMEI locations for unfamiliar smartphones.


Easy to Make Mistakes: Another disadvantage of manually checking IMEIs is that it’s incredibly easy to make mistakes while doing this. And that’s the last thing you want to deal with. For example, imagine that you had a blacklisted phone. Because you entered in one incorrect number, it looks like everything’s fine with the phone you’re about to sell. Wrong. Soon, you’ll likely have an angry customer trying to get in touch with you. So, be extra careful to make sure you’re entering every character of an IMEI correctly.


It’s Boring: Let’s be honest - no one wants to spend eight (or more) hours per day inputting characters into a checker to learn more about a phone’s IMEI. Even the people who love data entry are going to be bored to tears after a full day or two of doing this. Instead, use phone testing software to make this process quick and efficient.


Should I Automate IMEI Checks?


You can try to test phones manually for a while. It might even not be that bad when you’re checking a small number of electronics. However, you’ll soon find that you have far too many phones to test manually. This is a problem that many electronics wholesalers commonly encounter. If this is the case, there is good news. 


You don’t have to deal with this potential headache. Instead, you can purchase a piece of phone testing software. This will allow you to access a large pool of IMEI checkers in one spot. You simply have to enter some information about the phone and click on the “Check IMEI” button (or whatever button the software you choose uses).


Fortunately, some companies offer services enabling them to mass test smartphones. One of these companies is Phonecheck. If you haven’t heard of this company, Phonecheck is a business and tool that helps automate all sorts of - well, phone checks!


An automated phone testing tool has a lot of advantages. If you use PhoneCheck, this tool does an extremely thorough 80-point diagnostic test. With this test, you can learn more about the external and internal parts of your smartphones. Even if you’re only worried about IMEIs, having this information is incredibly helpful if you’re a phone flipper or an electronics reseller.


Oh, and you can also find this company on Trade-In Tech. We’re so happy to have Phonecheck as one of our many members. If you are an electronics wholesaler or someone with another job title who processes a lot of phones, Phonecheck could be an incredibly valuable service to sign up for. You also don’t have to worry about making mistakes either because this software is very accurate.


Phonecheck also takes care of erasing data, which is an important thing if you’re a reseller. The last thing you want to do is resell phones with someone else’s data on them. If you’re using a service like Phonecheck, you’ll have the assurance that all of your smartphones are ready to resell.


Find Phones With Clean IMEIs on Trade-In Tech



As you’ve learned, buying phones with clean IMEIs is a must. You don’t have to spend hours each day trying to track down clean smartphones that are ready to resell. All you need to do is join Trade-In Tech, a wholesale platform for electronics wholesalers.


But we’re much more than just a great platform. Take a look at the many reasons why Trade-In Tech is the best place to find smartphones for sale online. 


A Massive Selection of Clean Phones


Because you’re reading this article, chances are, you’re interested in phones with clean IMEIs. We’re glad to let you know that there is a wide range of clean, unlocked phones available for sale on Trade-In Tech. After you become a member of our wholesale electronics platform, you can start working with our exclusive network of buyers and sellers throughout the world.


As soon as you join the community, you’ll have access to thousands of phones. You can filter your search to find out which phones are clean and ready to resell. If you don’t see what you need immediately, be sure to check back later. Our inventory is frequently updated often because of our large membership network.


In addition to our huge selection of high-quality smartphones, we also have many tablets and other types of electronics available. This includes laptops (both Apple and PCs), computers, and video game systems like the Nintendo Switch and the Xbox One.


We also specialize in accessories that you might need to resell. Need memory cards? How about headsets or portable chargers? We have it all!


Smartphones From Popular Companies


Another understandably important concern is making sure you’re buying phones that people and companies want. If not, it won’t be easy to start or scale a resale business. Fortunately, you won’t be worried about a lack of selection if you’re a member of Trade-In Tech.


Since the products available for sale on our website come from a large, worldwide network of electronics dealers, you can rest assured that you’ll find clean smartphones from all of the most popular companies, including:


  • Apple

  • Samsung

  • Google

  • Oppo

  • Huawei

  • And many, many more!


You can find anything from iPhones, Samsungs, and Blackberries to cheap phones from around the world. If you’re looking for a new company for your wholesale electronics business to partner with, there isn’t a better option.


When you’re buying the most popular smartphones, you’re making it incredibly easy for yourself as a reseller. And that’s always a good thing!


A Competitive Marketplace


We might be a little biased, but we feel that many of our members are always looking to make a sale. Having such a competitive marketplace is great when you’re looking for smartphones that are reasonably priced.


Trade-In Tech’s sellers list a wide range of smartphones that have clean IMEIs. Plus, you can bet that our members tend to offer lower prices for their phones than other sellers. This is yet another reason it makes sense to buy phones from Trade-In Tech!


Not only can you get an incredibly wide range of smartphones for sale here, but you can also benefit from lower prices than other sellers. That sounds like a win-win to us!


Sell Clean and Unlocked Phones for Maximum Profits


There’s no arguing that unlocked smartphones are the most popular, in-demand devices to buy and sell.




Because they give you the freedom to choose which carrier you use for your device. Plus, unlocked phones tend to be more powerful than locked models (even if their specs look identical on paper).


Of course, buying and selling clean, unlocked smartphones is just one key part of starting up your own electronics resale business. That’s why we make it easy for you to sell these kinds of phones on Trade-In Tech!


After you get your phones, consider taking pictures of them and creating your very own listings in Trade-In Tech. It’s fast and easy to do. Plus, what’s better than being able to buy and resell smartphones by only using one platform?


Not Worrying About Transaction Fees


We let you sell your popular unlocked phones on our website without any hassles. We do all of the hard work for you, making it an easy and enjoyable experience. Plus, we let you start selling right away on our website with no membership fees!


We understand that when you’re in the process of starting a new business, it can be difficult to find the products and resources you need. That’s why we provide entrepreneurs with an easy way to get what they need without any hassles or fees. Without worrying about fees, you have more money in your pocket and not in ours.


When you’re ready to complete a transaction, we give our buyers and sellers the freedom to choose how they want to complete it. You’ll be glad to know that you can complete this transaction through PayPal from our platform. If you prefer, you and the buyer or seller can discuss completing transactions through another payment provider.


Wrapping Things Up


In conclusion, it's smart to check the IMEI number of phones you plan to resell. Doing so will ensure you're buying and reselling high-quality smartphones that work well for your customers. It'll also help you purchase phones that work properly. With these phones in your company's inventory, you can start selling them for maximum profits!


If you’re looking for an online marketplace where you can buy and sell smartphones with ease, Trade-In Tech is the best place to do it. With such a wide selection of high-quality phones available on our website, we make it easy for resellers (with or without experience) to start making money with their smartphone resale business.


Find out more information about reselling electronics at You can also take a closer look at what our members currently have for sale by visiting our marketplace.


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