How is mobile tracked using IMEI?

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Knowing your IMEI number can help to mount a quick response should your expensive Android or iOS device ever get stolen. However, as most of us are rather unprepared when it comes to loosing their phone, this guide will help you to find the IMEI number without actually having the device at hand. There are multiple ways of doing this and you should be able to find the IMEI of your iOS or Android phone with only a few steps.

What is an IMEI and Why do I need to know it?

Before getting started, let's clarify a few things about your IMEI number. Basically, your IMEI number (which stands for "International Mobile Equipment Identity") is a 15 digit code that is unique to every single broadband or mobile device. IMEIs are not just limited to phones. You can also find them printed on laptops and tablets that have wireless cards installed. One thing is common to all IMEI codes – they are built into the hardware of the device, and they are almost impossible to change. So why is it handy to know this number?

  1. Your mobile phone provider can block your phone based on the IMEI in case it gets stolen
  2. It might be used for warranty reasons
  3. If you're selling your phone, the buyer might need to IMEI in order to check with police if the phone is registered as stolen

How to find your IMEI without having the device

Finding out your IMEI is simple if you have your phone to hand, but problems can arise if your phone is absent. So, how do you find an IMEI number without an Android or iOS phone, tablet or laptop in your physical possession?

The easiest way to find your IMEI code is by returning to your original phone packaging. Most Android and iOS devices come with a sticker attached to the box which lists the IMEI number. Look hard for the code, as it won't be signposted by the packaging. If there is a 15 digit number on the sticker – that will be the one you need.

Unfortunately, not everyone retains the packaging of their phone. If you are the kind of person who throws away all of your packaging or documentation, this won't help much either, but the IMEI can also be found on the original contract you signed with your phone company. In some cases, it will also be present on monthly bills, though this is much less common.

Check Your Google Dashboard for an Android IMEI

If these simple measures don't work, Android users have another tool at their disposal. Here's how it works.

  1. Sign into your Google Account
  2. Open the Android Device Manager
  3. Your IMEI number should be displayed along with your registered Android device. With this information, the authorities should be able to track down your lost or stolen phone much more quickly and easily.

Find your iPhone IMEI using iTunes

If you've ever synced your iPhone with iTunes – the device data incl. the IMEI should be visible in the iTunes settings.

  1. Go to the iTunes > preferences tab if you are using a Mac, or to the edit > preferences tab on the PC version of iTunes.
  2. Now, click on the devices button. Next, go to the Summary tab
  3. Click on your phone number twice. Your IMEI should be visible after the second time.

Losing your smart phone can be a stressful experience, but don't panic. You can easily obtain a copy of the all-important IMEI code. After this has been passed to your phone company and the police, you may well be able to track down the device rapidly.

Mobile tracking using IMEI is done via location service and mobile data service. This technique uses GPS to locate your phone.

If location service is turned OFF after losing your phone then tracking by IMEI will be hard. In such scenario, you will only get the last known location device location based on IMEI.

There are different ways in which you can track mobile by IMEI. For instance, iPhone users can use iCloud.

Similarly, Android users can make use of Android Device Manager. Or else there are online tools like which can fetch the mobile device location by IMEI.

Your phone is always registered with the nearest tower when you are connected to network. In the registration, one info is your IMEI.

When you travel, your phone de-registers from one and registers with the next tower. Even if you change the sim card, the new registration will happen with another operator tower. Always an IMEI will be registered with the last used tower. This data can be used to find out how you are travelling and where your phone was live for the last time.

This registration data is logged (Historical information)for further use for 90 days as per the regulation from TRAI in India.

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First you need to go to the police station in your area and file a FIR that your mobile phone is stolen. Then take the copy of this FIR and the Check IMEI of your phone and contact the service provider of your phone. They will then help you track the mobile phone location.

As far as I know each cell phone registers to the closest network cell nearby.
During the registration process the phone sends to the cell its information. One component of this information is its IMEI.
And since the cell location, range and registered IMEI's are known, the tracking is easy.
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