6 Things You Can Do with an iPhone that Has Bad ESN or Blacklisted IMEI

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The sweet deal you recently got when purchasing your iPhone turned out to be a nightmare. Don’t worry, one of these 6 tips may be able to help you get out from this mess.

UPDATED: June 6, 2017

The first thing you found out when you got your iPhone is that it’s not getting any signal from your carrier, or that probably happened a few days after your purchase.

Editor's note: learn more by reading our ebook on starting your own iPhone repair & unlock business

You’re pretty sure that there’s no hardware issue but after spending hours online looking for a solution or explanation, you finally found out that it’s been blacklisted by your network provider. Perhaps, you’re also checking if there’s any possible workaround to fix your blacklisted iPhone.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about ‘What Ever Happens to IMEI Blacklisted iPhones or Other Popular Smartphones?‘ This will help you understand more on why your iPhone got blacklisted in the first place.

It may feel that it’s the end of the world. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Someone out there had gone through what you’re feeling right now. Let’s get things straight and check out these helpful tips.

1. Ask for a refund from your seller

This may be a long shot, but if you bought it used on eBay, you can ask for a refund from the seller by following the refund procedures set by eBay. You will have to arrange to have it shipped back to the seller, once he or she confirms that the iPhone is in order, eBay will release the funds back to your account.

The case may be different if you got your blacklisted iPhone over on Craigslist or on the street. It may be difficult to get your money back because these types of sellers probably won’t entertain your calls at all. They may use a temporary email address and will no longer respond to your email.

2. Use it as a glorified iPod or games console

Since you can’t make calls with your iPhone, just use it as an iPod or install as many games as you can to keep you entertained for hours. You can also download movies and TV series on it which you can watch while on the subway or hanging out in the park. Aside from that, there’s really nothing much you can do with the iPhone, really.

Also read 13 Things You Can Do with a Blacklisted or Stolen iPhone

3. Get the ESN or IMEI Cleaned

There’s a bit of a good news if you have a blacklisted iPhone that’s locked to Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile (UK), Orange (UK) and EE (UK). It’s possible to remove them from blacklist (fix for blacklisted iPhone). Unfortunately, many other network are still not supported.

The services we provided are highly reliable and have helped many people to use their iPhone again. You might also want to know that these services are not limited for iPhone only, any device such as iPad or Android smartphone can only also be removed from network blacklist.

Click on the link below to learn more:

If the device – iPhone, iPad WiFi, Apple Watch (iWatch), iPod has iCloud lock on it, you can also remove it by one of the method below:

4. Swap the Logic Board

Since IMEI blacklist is usually localized to a country’s particular service provider, that means your iPhone’s IMEI is not blacklisted in other countries.

For instance, if you have a factory unlocked AT&T iPhone that’s blacklisted in the USA, if you travel to Australia it will work perfectly on any network there.

There isn’t a way to change the IMEI of an iPhone except by physically replacing the baseband and CPU chips; and this is only possible on iPhone 4 and earlier models. Attempting to change the chips on iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 will only cause damage to your iPhone.

This is the reason why swapping the logic board is quite a practical solution. We do provide this a service or if you can find someone who’s willing to swap with you, we can help facilitate this process. Click one of the links below to learn more:

5. Get it officially unlocked and sell it

There’s still a market for your blacklisted iPhone. If you live in the USA, you know that there are millions of foreigners coming to your country especially students.

When they finish their studies, mostly would return to their home countries. This is where your iPhone becomes valuable.

If you have an AT&T iPhone that’s already officially unlocked but blacklisted, you can sell it off to them. They always want to find good deals while they’re there and even though it’s blacklisted in the USA, it can still be used in other countries.

A lot of people get good deals when buying AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus online (and even the latest iPhone 7/7+), but they ended up buying blacklisted iPhones.

However, AT&TT-Mobile or Sprint iPhone 6/6+ that is blacklisted can still be unlocked. We wrote a complete guide on ‘The Only Price Comparison Chart to Know to Unlock iPhone by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile & Verizon‘ which you should read.

Please be sure to tell them the whole truth about the history of the phone to avoid any complication later. Remember that honesty is the best policy.

So do explain to your potential buyer that the iPhone is blacklisted in your current location but will work fine in his or her country. Don’t forget to checkout other network that we can officially unlock.

Related: Which iPhone carrier can be unlocked even if blacklisted?

6. Sell it as spare parts

If all fails, your last resort would be taking it apart and cannibalize it for parts. The screen, logic board, back casing, dock connector can all be sold separately.

It may help someone with a broken iPhone and one of the parts may help revive his or her iPhone again. It’s not the most ideal but you might doing other people a big favor while getting back some of your hard earned cash.

How much should you sell a blacklisted iPhone?

First of all, an unlocked iPhone usually has better value because it can be used outside of USA or whichever country where it’s blacklisted. Try to browse on eBay or any sites which sell used smartphones. That should give you a rough estimation on how it should be priced.

Some people were also wondering if jailbreaking the iPhone would fix the bad ESN? Unfortunately, it won’t because the IMEI is still blacklisted by carrier.

Updating the iOS for iPhone or flashing the firmware for Android devices will not make any difference since the bad IMEI or bad ESN will not be removed from carriers’ databases.

Consider yourself lucky if you bumped into this post while trying to find a used iPhone. The blog post I wrote about 5 Tips on Buying Used iPhone Online on eBay or Craigslist to Avoid Scam will help you prevent all these from happening.

Last but not least, most of the tips above are also applicable for current models such as iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and future models of iPhones e.g iPhone 8 etc. If you own smartphones from other brands such as Samsung, LG, HTC etc., the advise above can be applied.

Any other tips to add?

Recommended Services:

Unlock Blacklisted USA AT&T iPhone
Unlock Blacklisted USA T-Mobile iPhone
Unlock Blacklisted USA Sprint iPhone

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Comments & Discussion

  1. hi all,
    i have a blacklisted iPhone 6s from vodafone italy, do you think it works in france for example with a french phone company?

    let me know if you have any advise

  2. I bought a Iphone 6 in Canada, from a person, carrier Tellus. All of sudden the IMEI was blacklisted. I’m in Brazil now, and it was supposed to work in another country, isn’t it?

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