If an iPhone is blacklisted, what will really happen to it? Why did it happen in the first place?
In today’s world, it’s impossible to see anyone without a smartphone in their hands. Your friend has a smartphone, your brother/sister has a smartphone and probably even your grandma has a smartphone!
Due to the extreme popularity of having such devices, they become a prime target by thieves and muggers.
In the past, once a phone is stolen, the thief can simply sell it to someone else and the new owner can use it right away without any issue. Nowadays, this has become a bit of a challenge, well, not really a bit.
Smartphone developers and network service providers have been working together on creating solutions to prevent people from using smartphones which were reported stolen or missing. This is done by blocking the smartphone’s IMEI – a unique device identifier which is made up by strings of digits. Other popular terms used in this industry are blacklisting, blocking or barring.
If you’re new to using iPhones, you can check your 15-digit IMEI number under Settings, General, About. Well, since this is not really a post about IMEI, I shall write more on this next time.
In the States, it was not until last year when telecommunication companies started blacklisting smartphones. Once a device is blacklisted by a service provider, it can never be used on that network. For instance, there are plenty of AT&T iPhones out there which have been reported missing or stolen will have issues activating normally.
Carriers in some countries have started sharing one huge database of all registered smartphones used there. A smartphone is pretty much disabled in that country once it’s blacklisted.
One of the worst effects from this issue is wastage. It takes a lot of resources to make these phones but at the end of the day, they are not able to serve their purpose – iPhones become iPods because you can’t really use them as phones. Most of you would call it a ‘Glorified iPod touch.’
There are still possible solutions available to extend the life of these ill-fated phones. They all deserve a second or even a third chance, and we always do that by fixing broken iPhones which are usually thrown away or not properly recycled in many developed or developing countries.
Currently, we can do the following IMEI related services to save blacklisted devices:
- Clean bad ESN (IMEI/MEID) for Verizon and Sprint devices
- Clean barred/blocked/blacklisted IMEIs for some UK networks (still in Beta but works great)
- Replace baseband chips for iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 to make the IMEI valid for use again
- Facilitate swapping of logic boards from iPhone users between 2 countries
Many countries have yet to fully implement IMEI blacklisting so there are still markets for these smartphones. The whole world sharing one common database for blacklisted devices? Nah, I don’t think that would happen soon.
We can’t always provide the solutions so it’s best to prevent this from happening. Take good care of your smartphones and always be careful and vigilant. If you’re looking into getting a used smartphone, I’d suggest that you read this first.
How to Remove Blacklisted iPhone on TIM, OI, Claro or Vivo Brazil
Can an AT&T iPhone which was Reported Stolen or Missing be Unlocked?
5 Tips on Buying Used iPhone Online on eBay or Craigslist to Avoid Scam
T-Mobile USA has Started IMEI Blocking Stolen iPhones and Other Devices
AT&T to Begin Blocking/Blacklisting Stolen or Missing iPhone’s IMEI
How to Check if Your IMEI is Blacklisted or Not?
6 Things You Can Do with an iPhone that Has Bad ESN or Blacklisted IMEI