Blacklisted iPhone 12: Ways to Fix, Activate or Unlock (2021 Guide)

(Last Updated On: December 31, 2020)

It’s that time of the year again, despite the COVID-19 outbreak that’s happening all around the world, Apple launched a new iPhone 12 with updated design and specs.


The new model is set to excite Apple fans and many have already upgraded to the latest model. It’s not that hard to get this brand new or used, but buyers need to be aware of the risk of buying a blacklisted iPhone 12.

What is a Blacklisted iPhone 12?

This article is written for generic audience who may be new to this concept therefore we will explain in details on what blacklisted iPhone 12 means.

Each iPhone 12 is manufactured with a unique identification number called IMEI, which is short for International Mobile Equipment Identity. This makes every iPhone 12 unique.

The number can be found on the box or under the iPhone 12 settings. It has 15-digit in total and begins with the number 3xx.

The IMEI is also known as MED, MEID or ESN in the United States. This is done to secure all devices that are being used on the mobile network.

When an iPhone 12 is blacklisted, the IMEI is recorded on a blacklist database by the carrier or mobile service provider.

On the other hand, Apple could also blacklist the IMEI for multiple reasons.

Once the iPhone 12 has been blacklisted, the status will be shared across all different network such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.

An iPhone 12 can be blacklisted or blocked due to:

  • Non-payment or unpaid bills
  • Reported lost or stolen
  • Fraud
  • Insurance claims
  • Other undisclosed reasons

There may be other possible reasons too which may not always be disclosed by the carrier.

An iPhone 12 that is blacklisted will not work on any network unless the blacklist is removed.

A blacklisted iPhone 12 can still be used but most other features will not work. You may be able to use it as an internet browsing device.

iPhone 12 GSMA Blacklist Status

Another important point to note is that GSMA, a global authority of mobile phone will also have the ability to blacklist an iPhone.

Once it is blacklisted, it will be much harder because the database is shared across different carriers from different countries. There are checks available for this type of status.

How to Activate a Blacklisted iPhone 12

One of the major issues with a blacklisted iPhone 12 is that there’s also a possibility that the device has not been activated.

Apple built a security feature called iCloud Activation which only allows legitimate activation of the iPhone by the original owner or rightful user.

Normally, blacklisted iPhone 12 cannot be activated without the correct information. However, there are services available which can remove the activation lock.

Basic Checklist Before Buying an iPhone 12

Before buying an iPhone 12, here’s a list of things you need to do or check:

  1. Check blacklist status
  2. Verify the owner if legitimate
  3. Get the contact details
  4. Activate the iPhone first or ask seller to deactivate iCloud lock
  5. Check if iPhone is unlocked or not
  6. Ask seller to sign an agreement
  7. When buying online, check feedback
  8. If the transaction is at a public place, be sure there’s security camera

Trade-in Blacklisted iPhone 12 with Apple

When one is unsure about the blacklist status, normally trading-in the iPhone 12 is one of the things being considered.

Apple gives a fairly reasonable price for trade-in, which you can get up to $1,000 for iPhone 12 according to their website.

While you can send it to Apple, they will not give any credit for the trade-in program if the iPhone 12 is blacklisted. It will be sent for recycling or dismantling.

Selling a Blacklisted iPhone 12

In order to minimize loss, normally people will consider selling the iPhone 12 to another person.

Of course, the resale value will drop significantly once the status is blacklisted.

Another possible way is to dismantle the iPhone 12 and sell it as spare parts.

Each component such as the screen has good selling price. Websites such as has great tutorials on how to dismantle an iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 Unlocking or Unblacklist Service

You might be willing to consider unlocking the blacklisted iPhone 12 because there is a possibility that it is not blacklisted by other carriers yet or it can be used in another country. Currently, there is no way to unlock a blacklisted iPhone for free.

On a stolen iPhone 12, the following message will be given by the carrier when an unlock request if performed.

Looks like this device is lost or stolen so we can’t unlock it. If you
think this is a mistake call 800.331.0500 or 611 from your mobile phone for

AT&T iPhone Blacklist Removal

Once a very popular service offered by some sellers but it is now more challenging to have access by them.

Currently, the only possible option is to get it unlocked instead of removing the blacklist although the service by some sellers may be available again without prior notice.

If you’re looking for T-Mobile or other carriers, please get in touch with us.

Summary of Blacklisted iPhone 12

It’s definitely not easy to deal with a blacklisted iPhone 12 especially after spending large amount of money on it.

Everything written above works best as a guideline on how to minimize loss.

The surest way is to get it unlocked which you can find the remove service on our online Store.

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