Every Android device has a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. You might need this number when dealing with your carrier or device manufacturer. There are a couple of ways to find this—here are both.

What is An IMEI?

IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. In other words, it’s a unique identifier for your exact phone. Every mobile phone out there today has one, and every single one is unique. Just like people—no two are the same. Doesn’t that make your phone’s IMEI feel special?

IMEI numbers are 14-16 digits long, with the majority consisting of 14 digits and a final verifying digit. IMEIs are used by carriers and manufacturers alike for tracking purposes. For example, if you send your phone in for repair, this is how you’ll know that you’re getting your phone back (and not some other phone).

IMEIs are broken down using an 11-222222-333333-4 format, where the first and second sections define the make and model, and the third is specific to that particular handset. The fourth, as stated above, verifies that the IMEI complies with the allocation and approval guidelines.

Now that we have that bit of history out of the way, here’s how to find yours.

The Simplest Way: Type *#06# Into the Dialer

Since there is a slew of different manufacturers with a variety of different skins out there, the IMEI may be hard to find in the settings menu. So the easiest thing to do is fire up the dialer and type the following:

*#06#

As soon as the final # is entered, the IMEI information should pop up. Could it be any easier?

The More Complicated Way: Check Your Device’s Settings Menu

If you’re a glutton for punishment (or just can’t remember the code for the dialer and don’t feel like looking up this most-excellent post), then you can also find this info in your phone’s Settings menu.

But here’s where that gets tricky: depending on the make, model, and Android version, the IMEI info might be hiding in different spots.

On a stock Pixel, for example, you’ll find it in Settings > About Phone. Scroll down, and you’ll see it.

On Samsung Galaxy devices, you’ll also find it in Settings > About Phone, but it’s in the top section.

On OnePlus handsets, it’s in Settings > About Phone > Status.

One Final Note: Should You Keep Your IMEI Private?

You may have noticed that I blurred out the unique identifying section of all the screenshots above. While the IMEI isn’t something that should be treated as ultra-private, it is something that you shouldn’t broadcast.

Like anything else that uniquely identifies the item in question—a serial number, the VIN of a car, etc.—it’s something that can be used for unintended reasons. For example, a clean IMEI can be spoofed and used to make a stolen device appear legitimate. And that’s just one example.

So, it should probably go without saying, but don’t hand your IMEI to anyone unless there’s a good reason for them to have it. If you’re not sure why they want it, ask. If the reason sounds sketchy, be doubtful.

But there is a situation when you should share your device’s IMEI: when you’re selling it. This will let the potential buyer do the proper research on the phone and confirm it’s both clean and compatible with their carrier.

So there you go.

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is How-To Geek's Senior Editor. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 posts and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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