If you have an AT&T iPhone that’s already blacklisted, you should know that you won’t be able to use it on T-Mobile because both companies are sharing the same blacklist database.
Smartphones revolutionized on how we live, work and play. They become an absolute necessity for most people no matter where they are on this planet. As the demand increases, smartphones are now one of the primary targets for thieves. If an iPhone is stolen or gone missing, the owner can report it to their service provider or carrier and the device can be disabled simply by blacklisting the IMEI. I wrote a post a few months ago specifically about What Ever Happens to IMEI Blacklisted iPhones or Other Popular Smartphones?
AT&T started their IMEI blacklist database in July 2012 while T-Mobile did it just about 3 months after that. In order to prevent missing devices to be used on another network, AT&T and T-Mobile started sharing the blacklist database.
A few months before this initiative, if an AT&T iPhone was blacklisted, it’s still possible to use it on T-Mobile. Of course this doesn’t deter thefts or such therefore this is one of the primary reasons why sharing a blacklist database was the way to go.
IMEI blacklisting is usually localized to the country’s service providers. For example, if an iPhone is blacklisted in USA, it can still be used in Australia because the service providers in both countries don’t share the same database. This is why we offer logic board swap for our customers.
When the first generation iPhone was launched, there’s a method to change or spoof the IMEI using ZiPhone. The exploit was patched by Apple a long time ago so it is no longer possible. IMEI spoofing is illegal in many countries especially European countries. It was possible to do it on older mobile phones, but there’s no way to do it on the iPhone without physically replacing the baseband chips on the logic board.
If you have an T-Mobile device, here are two simple ways on how you can check if the IMEI is blacklisted.
How to Check if a T-Mobile iPhone or Device is Blacklisted (US-Based Customers)
Method 1: The easiest method would be going to your nearest T-Mobile store and speak to a customer service representative. They have access to T-Mobile’s IMEI blacklist database and they should be able to check it right away.
Method 2: Another method is to purchase a prepaid T-Mobile SIM card. During the process of activating the SIM card, the IVR (interactive voice response) system will ask for your device’s IMEI. If the IMEI is not blacklisted (or clean), it will let you proceed with activation. However, if the IMEI is blacklisted you won’t be able to proceed and it will tell you that the IMEI is blocked. You can use this method of checking over and over again until the SIM card is activated.
Currently there is no real practical solution if you got yourself a blacklisted iPhone. However, the most ideal solution for now is to clean/clear the IMEI from blacklist. Our team is able to clear the blacklist for the following network:
- Verizon USA (very popular)
- Sprint USA
- T-Mobile/Orange/EE UK (hot!)
- All Brazilian network except Vivo
Unfortunately there will always be people buying devices with blacklisted IMEI. If you plan to buy a used iPhone or any device at all, please be sure to read my blog post on 5 Tips on Buying Used iPhone Online on eBay or Craigslist to Avoid Scam or do an IMEI blacklist check.
Related Post: What can you do to track your stolen or missing iPhone