Trade-In Tech
by on January 23, 2020

Many people love earning a living by reselling electronics. If you plan on selling devices online, you'll need devices with clean ESNs. Here is more information about how to check ESNs and how to use these numbers to check the status of your phone.


What's the Difference Between a Good or Bad ESN/IMEI?


It's understandable to feel confused about the difference between an ESN and an IMEI. An ESN stands for an Electronic Serial Number and these unique numbers identify a phone's activation status and its carrier. An IMEI stands for a mobile phone's International Mobile Equipment Identity. This number is exclusive to iPhones, meaning other types of phones won't utilize an ESN.


A phone with a good or clean ESN is one that's ready to sell or purchase. This type of ESN means that someone can purchase this device, choose a carrier, and not experience any issues. On the other hand, bad ESNs cause many more problems for both resellers and their customers. This typically happens because of:


A phone is either lost or stolen.

This device is still in an activation state.
This phone's owner still owes payments.


It's important to note that not all phones appearing lost or stolen are causes for concern. When someone's phone goes missing, most people will call their mobile providers and report it lost or stolen. Unfortunately, certain individuals forget that they must make another call if they're able to find their phone.


Imagine someone lost their mobile phone, found it, and neglected to inform their mobile carrier it's been recovered. The mobile carrier would understandably still have this phone as lost or stolen in its computer network. If the owner tried to sell the phone later, it would come back as lost or stolen.


To put it simply, phones with bad ESNs and IMEIs are unusable for new owners.


Obtaining an iPhone's IMEI


Considering the popularity of mobile phones, there can be lots of differences between these devices. With that in mind, Apple's iPhone features both an IMEI and ESN. However, Apple often changes the location of this number. You don't need to waste time searching for where this number is on your phone. Here's a helpful way to find the IMEI on your iPhone that's based on the generation and model you have:


All iPhone 3 and 4 models: On this device's SIM card tray

iPhone 5, 5c, 5s: On the back of this device
iPhone 6 and 6 plus: On the back of this device
iPhone 7 and 7 plus: On this device's SIM card tray
iPhone 8 and 8 plus: On this device's SIM card tray
iPhone X, XR, XS, and XS Max: On this device's SIM card tray
iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max: On this device's SIM card tray


If you're still having trouble finding your iPhone's IMEI, there is another solution. You can also find your iPhone's IMEI by turning this device on and navigating to Settings > General > About. Once you're at this menu, scroll down to find an option that says IMEI. To the right of IMEI, you will see the unique number assigned to your iPhone.


How to Obtain a Phone's ESN


Whereas IMEI numbers are for one type of mobile phone, all of these phones utilize an ESN. Considering that, you'll typically find this number from a mobile provider. To help you solve this problem, here is information about how to find ESNs for several popular mobile carriers. Fortunately, you can check ESNs by making a simple phone call. Also, most mobile carrier's websites have a check ESN option.


Obtaining a Verizon Phone's ESN


To obtain the ESN for a Verizon phone, you can call 1 (800) 922-0204 or you can visit Verizon's check IMEI page.


If you choose to verify through Verizon's website, you'll only need to enter the IMEI of the device you're checking in the Device ID field and wait for this page to load your results.


Obtaining a Sprint Phone's ESN


If you need to get the ESN for a Sprint phone, you'll want to either call 1 (888) 211-4727 or visit Ting's IMEI finder.


It makes sense to wonder why you wouldn't visit a service that's provided by Sprint. Unfortunately, Sprint doesn't offer an IMEI finder. To check an ESN on this website, simply type the IMEI into the blank field and click the "Check" button. After doing this, wait a moment to receive your results.


Obtaining an AT&T Phone's ESN


You can check the status of an AT&T phone by making a call to 1 (800) 331-0500 or by visiting the AT&T'S IMEI checker.


On this website, you'll need to select whether you're checking an IMEI for either a mobile phone or tablet. After making your selection, enter the IMEI number and select the "Check Device Compatibility" option. You'll then have to wait a few moments to find out this phone's ESN status.


Obtaining a T-Mobile Phone's ESN


To find the ESN of a phone on T-Mobile's network, call 1 (800) 937-8997 or visit T-Mobile's verify IMEI page.


While on this page, you'll need to enter the ESN of the phone you're checking and click the "Check Phone" button. After a few seconds, you should see your results.


Getting the ESN for an iPhone by Using Swappa


While this company doesn't dedicate a 1-800 number to help verify IMEIs, this is easy to do with Swappa's ESN checker. You can enter your phone's ESN into the "ESN/IMEI/MEID" field. After doing this, click the "Check ESN" button to find out your results.


In closing, a new mobile phone owner needs to have a device with a clean ESN. If you want to ensure you're dealing with clean mobile phones, it's imperative to do an ESN check on each device you're thinking of buying or selling.

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