2 Quick & Easy Ways To Check If Your Phone Is Blacklisted

Phones are blacklisted for a number of reasons.  No matter the reason, the result is the same – you’re left with a phone that can’t be used on a network because it’s been blacklisted. It might still look great and be in fantastic condition, but what good is a phone that can’t make a call or send a message?

How to tell if your phone is blacklisted? Find out your IMEI number first by either dialing *#06# on your phone or going to the Settings>General>About for iPhone(Settings>About Phone>Status for Android).Call your carrier and ask them to check your phone’s IMEI. There are also free websites that can scan your IMEI online.

That’s why it’s extremely disadvantageous to have a blacklisted phone. Fortunately, there are also ways to identify these phones if one does land in your lap. 

How Can You Tell If a Phone is Blacklisted? 

There are a few reasons why your phone is blacklisted. It might have been reported as lost or stolen, and the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) or ESN (Equipment Serial Number) got blacklisted as a result of that. It might also be the carrier that decided to blacklist the phone because the customer was not paying his bills on time. 

There are a number of ways to check if the phone that you are using is blacklisted or not.

  • You can call your carrier and ask. When you call, you’ll want to tell them why you think the phone might be blacklisted, such as any issues you’ve had connecting with the cellular service. They’ll ask you for your IMEI or ESN, so be sure to have that on hand when you make the call.

How to find your IMEI? Under the settings menu, you should be able to read your IMEI on both Android and iPhone devices. If you are using an iPhone, go through ‘Settings’ to ‘General.’. From there, go to ‘About,’ and you should be able to see your IMEI as part of the information listed there. For Android users, go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘About Phone.’. Your IMEI information will be under ‘Status.’

  • Use the scanning website. There are fee websites online where you simply need to insert your IMEI number and they will run a check for you to see if the phone is cleen.

In both cases, you’ll be able to see whether or not your phone has been blacklisted. There are also online websites where you can enter your IMEI or ESN to check if they have been blacklisted as well.

How Do You Find Out Which Carrier Blacklisted Your Phone? 

There are a few ways to check which carrier blacklisted your phone.

  • The most inefficient but simplest way is to call each carrier in your area and ask if they’ve done so. 

Again, you’re going to need your IMEI or ESN on hand so that they can verify which phone you’re asking about.

  • You can also check which company blacklisted your phone by changing the SIM card.

Blacklisting means that the phone has been denied access to a cellular network; change the SIM card, and you change the network. By a simple process of elimination, you’ll be able to figure out which network blacklisted your phone. 

Can A Blacklisted Phone Be Used? 

A blacklisted phone can be used, but unfortunately, it won’t be very useful as a phone. 

After being reported lost or stolen, blacklisted phones are no longer able to access and utilize phone company networks. This means functionality like making calls and texting may be blocked.

Aside from these, however, it’s still very much a phone that can be used. Even without the connection to a cellular network, smartphones have functions like the ability to connect to a WiFi network or play media that’s been preloaded, like music or video files. 

Can A Blacklisted Phone Be Used On Another Carrier? 

Yes, a blacklisted phone can be used on another carrier. 

All phone carriers will be able to see if your phone’s IMEI or ESN has been blacklisted on another carrier. However, since phone carriers may have different blacklists, you may be able to switch to another carrier and continue using your phone. 

Something to keep in mind if you plan to switch carriers is the network type, for example, GSM or CDMA. If you are on a phone that is on one network, you will not be able to switch to a carrier on a different network.

Another option that you should consider is paying the carrier that has blocked your phone to unblock it. This can be a quick and easy fix if the reason for being blacklisted is relatively innocent, like forgetting to pay the monthly bill.

Can a Blacklisted Phone Be Used in Another Country?

By and large, there does not seem to be widespread sharing of blacklists internationally. This means that a blacklisted phone in the USA could be used overseas.

Although this may be the case, that does not mean international companies could not also look up your IMEI or ESN and find out that your phone has been blacklisted by your company. Depending on their degree of interest, it might result in having to explain, at least in brief, how your phone got blacklisted. 

Related Post:

Fast-Action Guide: 6 Steps To Unlock A Blacklisted Phone

What Is A Blacklisted Phone? Can You Still Buy/Sell It?

Can A Blacklisted Phone Be Used On WiFi?

Since WiFi does not require the use of a cellular network, blacklisted phones can be used on Wifi. 

Although it’s unable to connect with the cellular network of the phone carrier to which it was originally contracted, the phone still has the physical components to receive a Wifi signal. 

In fact, with all the limitations on a blacklisted phone, you might find that one of the only things that you can still do is connect to the internet on Wifi. It might not be how you imagined using your new phone, but it might be better than the device ending up being no more than a paper.


Knowledge is power, and hopefully knowing more about how to identify a blacklisted phone will help avoid purchasing one in the future. 

A word to the wise – purchasing your phones through legitimate vendors should always be the first course of action. In the event that there’s a deal that’s just too good to pass up, ask for paperwork, and don’t be too shy about checking the phone’s IMEI on the spot, before completing the deal. After all, you’re the one who’s going to be left holding the bag in the end, and a bad phone to boot.

I’ve been working with technology in one way or the other all my life. After graduating from university, I worked as a sales consultant for Verizon for a few years. Now I am a technical support engineer by day and write articles on my own blog here in my spare time to help others if they have any issues with their devices.