You may have heard people talking about their International Mobile Equipment Identity several times by now. But, usually, most people refer to it bites a more popular abbreviation, IMEI. You may have heard of this abbreviation many times in movies and TV series when authorities want to identify a person’s phone and track their activity. However, this may not be true just in movies. This identity number could be used for surveillance in real life. So, the question is, do you really need to hide your phone’s IMEI number?
To provide you an answer to this very difficult question, we have to explain what exactly this number means, what can the right people do with it and how it can be discovered.
After supplying you with all this information, you can then decide whether it is a waste of time to hide this number or whether it is actually a good idea.
What is IMEI?
Before you look for the reasoning why you should hide this very special and secretive number, it is very important for us to understand what it really means.
Like I mentioned previously, it is an abbreviation of International Mobile Equipment Identity. Basically, this is an identification number for devices that can connect to telecommunication networks. These are the networkers that were used to make phone calls, send SMS messages and even connect to the Internet.
Some devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S20, iPhone 11, OnePlus 8, Galaxy S10e, and several others come with a dual Sim slot. In other words, you can put two same cards in it. In these types of devices, there will be IMEI numbers.
Why does this number exist?
With all of this information, you can figure out that every device has this kind of identification ID. But, the question is: Why does such a device need an ID?
Well, the original purpose is to identify mobile phones that have been stolen or compromised in some way.
To put it simply, if a person steals your mobile phone and changes the Sim card, the device will be completely useless if you report the IMEI code. Once you reported, this phone will be unable to connect to any mainstream network available. The phone becomes unusable for phone calls, SMS messages, or connecting to the Internet through mobile data.
If your phone has been lost or stolen and you want to do an IMEI number check or you want to add it to the blacklist, you can click here and see exactly what you need to do.
How to check IMEI
If you ever want to high this identification, block it from the network or track it, you will first need to understand how to find it.
In the past, the easiest way to find that information was by opening up the back cover, removing the battery, and there it was, the phone’s IMEI on a sticker, right behind the battery.
However, a lot of things have changed since then and most phones do not have a back cover. The bank does not open which means you cannot check under the battery.
But, what you can do is open up the dial pad, type *#06# and a new window will open up, telling you the phone’s IMEI.
For some reason, this does not work on every smartphone, but fortunately, there is another alternative, but only if you are on Android.
Open Settings, scroll to the bottom of the list, and look for About Phone. In here, you should be able to the IMEI.
Can it be tracked?
Now comes the scariest question on this topic. Can the government or anyone else use this information to easily track your phone, your activities and gather information?
Well, the simpler answer is yes. It is possible for government entities to use this information to track your location.
However, this rarely happens mostly because the government needs the warrant to justify such private tracking. They do not have this identification number and they would need to ask your carrier for it. But, the carrier is legally bound not to share this kind of information thus the need for a warrant.
But, keep in mind that the authorities are not the only people that could track your location. If an expert or some kind of hacker gets a hold of your special number, they might be able to trace you with the right equipment.
Is it possible to change it?
So, since it is possible to track a person’s phone number with this identification number, it is normal to feel a bit paranoid. Why should anyone have such power over you?
Because of this, people have been looking for ways to change the IMEI of their phone numbers. Over the years, there have been multiple reports that it is definitely possible to change the IMEI. Whether these methods are legitimate and safe to do, we cannot know.
We do know that there is a spoofing app floating around the Internet. But, the entire purpose of that app is to try and trick other applications. You will not exactly protect yourself from tracking or anything like that.
Another method is to try and flashes a special zip file on your device, but that requires a lot of expertise. Your device would also have to be rooted which is quite difficult to achieve if you do not have any experience with that.
There are several other methods available, but none of them are recommended because they could make your device completely unusable. Also, there is some information floating regarding changing IMEI that is illegal. So, if you don’t want to get yourself into any legal trouble, I suggest you forget about it.
After reading through this entire article what you need to understand is the fact that there really is no need to try and hide your IMEI number. Yes, people could use this idea against you, but you have to remember that hackers and governments have much more reliable ways of tracking people. IMEI is their last option.