AT&T to Begin Blocking/Blacklisting Stolen or Missing iPhone’s IMEI from July 10

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The iPhone – one of the most sought after smartphones in the market, you won’t be surprised how many go missing or reported stolen everyday – and AT&T is doing something about this, other carriers may soon follow suit.

UPDATE #2: Get a step closer to find out who has your missing or stolen iPhone

UPDATE #1: 6 Things You Can Do with an iPhone that Has Bad ESN or Blacklisted IMEI


Based on theĀ  report by The Verge yesterday, AT&T will start blocking missing or stolen phones from their network beginning July 10. This is done by blacklisting the phone’s IMEI. Technically this is not something new, as it is already being practiced in many European countries, Japan, Australia and some South American countries.

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

Related Article: Free IMEI Checker to Identify which Network Your iPhone is Locked to

When a phone’s IMEI is blacklisted, it won’t connect to the network. Some European carriers still allow data, but the phone won’t be able to send/receive calls or text messages. It’s good as an iPod touch, so to speak.

The bad news is that if you’ve bought a used iPhone and you don’t know anything about its history, chances are that you won’t be able to use it on AT&T’s network anymore if the iPhone was reported stolen before. It’s highly recommended that you check the IMEI first before buying any used iPhone.

While currently there’s still no announcement by other US carriers to initiate the same restriction, potentially carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint may co-operate with the FCC to build a common missing/stolen phone database. By then, once an iPhone is reported stolen, it’s good as an iPod touch because you won’t be able to use the iPhone on any network.

We’ve received countless emails from customers asking if there’s a way to unblock their phones because they bought them online (some were quite cheap) and found out they were not able to use them because they were blacklisted by their mobile service providers.

According to the report on The Verge, only the original owner registered to the phone can request to unblock the phone. Other possible solutions would be swapping the logic board either with us or from another iPhone user from another country or replace the chips which are programmed with different IMEI.

Remember about a few months ago when all of us contacted AT&T to request for a free unlock? You submitted your iPhone’s IMEI to them and many requests were rejected. That’s probably because of your iPhone’s “history”. By now, AT&T should already have records of what happened to stolen or missing iPhones – and who the new owners are. Scary isn’t it?

Do you think your iPhone was reported missing or stolen before? We now offer an IMEI barred/blocked/blacklisted check. If you have an AT&T iPhone, you can now officially unlock it no matter what the status is (reported missing, has past due balances etc.)

Related Post: How to Clean/Clear Verizon iPhone, iPad or Android with Bad/Blacklisted ESN (MEID)

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Is there a way of contacting AT&T for a free unlock now? I tried through Help & Support on their site, but now they require to login or register with your AT&T number, and I don't have any, just an IMEI.

  2. Actually this is something that should have been done before, cause there are so many stollen phones out there that are either being used by thieves or people that have been dupped into buying one. It may not stop crooks 100%, many but many will think twice before stealing something they know they won't be able to use or pass on to somebody else. So YES it is a very good idea. Although I've heard about something like this before but it has just been talk,talk,talk, and no action. We'll see what happens.

  3. Doesnt AT&T have an IMEI checker on their official site? Here in Japan, softbank has their official website wherein you input the imei number and you`ll know if the unit is fully paid (circle mark), still under payment (triangle mark) or blocked (x mark) on their network.
    I`ve bought a couple of iPhones in yahoo auction and they always specify the imei no. of the unit so the bidder can check the status of the phone.

  4. They only way to use it by another carrier is to unlock it. That is pretty much useless if it is blacklisted because the original carrier is the only one that can allow unlock. Its pretty much a paper weight at that point.

  5. If a phone is unlocked by USA ATT and I buy it from the original owner, can the original owner call ATT later and claim it was stolen or lost?

    Basically do carriers block IMEI or phones even if they are unlocked?

  6. Being a victim of iPhone theft I hope whoever ends up with my phone NEVER can use it for anything more than a paperweight! The People that buy these phones from these thieves are the reason they are still worth stealing. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to unlock these phones!! You're thieves too. I hope Karma bites all of you !!!!

  7. I think imei blocking is stupid, what happens to the original owner when they claim fraud for claiming there phone was lost or stolen, and then whoever bought it is out all that money. that's just bs.

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