How to find your iPhone’s IMEI number when it is stolen

First of all: I’m very sorry. If you visit this page, it means you either lost your iPhone, or it got stolen. Unfortunately, a family member had his iPhone stolen on a Sunday. Even though the thief was caught on camera and the police was involved, there is often not much you can do.
Things to do immediately after your iPhone got stolen
If your iPhone got stolen, there are a number of things you should immediately do in order for your data to be safe and for the device to be next to unusable by the thief(s) or the person they sell it to. This includes:

  • blocking your phone number / SIM card (via your network operator)
  • checking the ‘Find my iPhone’ status; leaving a message (in case it got lost and you hope a good soul would return it) or erase it from a distance
  • calling the police and make sure there is a report of the stolen device (its model/type, colour, any physical characteristics (broken screen), capacity)and also making the device a dead brick by reporting the IMEI number to the operator to block it so it can no longer access any network. This means the device is still, in a way, usable, but the user will no longer be able to make calls, sent or receive text messages or make use of the mobile internet (3G, 4G, 5G). Please continue to read to learn more about IMEI

Find the IMEI number of your stolen iPhone

While the IMEI number on an iPhone is quite easy to find (Settings > General > About > IMEI) when you have the unlocked device in your hand, when your iPhone just got lost/stolen, you can’t access this information any more. And it is also unlikely that you will have written down this number prior to the device being lost/stolen.

How to find the IMEI number on your iPhone is possible via multiple ways. I will list all the possible ways I know to get back that IMEI number that is so precious to hand over to the police and report to your mobile network provider to get your lost/stolen device blocked.

The retail packaging of your iPhone


The original iPhone package in which you bought your iPhone contains the IMEI number that is unique to the device. It should be on the outside of the box, at the back bottom. It should be near the serial number of the device.

Your receipt when you purchased the device

If you lost or have thrown away the packaging of your iPhone, there is still the receipt your received. Try to find it back, because it will contain the IMEI number of that device.

A tip I want to add is: please also search your e-mail for the word ‘IMEI’. When buying an iPhone via the online Apple Store (and likely other stores as well), the receipt will be sent by e-mail to you. Within the PDF document, the IMEI number is added somewhere as well.
If you received the iPhone as a gift from someone, it is worth going to that person and try to get that receipt.

Find IMEI via iTunes backup

If you have connected your iPhone to your computer (either MacOS or Windows) and you have iTunes installed, it is likely that your computer has taken an automatic back-up of your device to the computer’s local hard drive. If this is the case: fantastic. By making that back-up, the IMEI code was also copied from your iPhone to your computer with all of your other data.
To get back that IMEI on iTunes from an iPhone backup, go to iTunes > Settings > Backups. Then, you hover your mouse over one of the back-ups of the lost/stolen device and it should show the IMEI number.

Retrieve IMEI via AppleID website

Another method is to find that IMEI via the AppleID website. If you used iTunes, Apple Pay, Apple Music, iCloud, .. it is almost certain your device has been registered to your iPhone device.
Here are the steps to follow:

If you lost or have thrown away the packaging of your iPhone, there is still the receipt your received. Try to find it back, because it will contain the IMEI number of that device.
A tip I want to add is: please also search your e-mail for the word ‘IMEI’. When buying an iPhone via the online Apple Store (and likely other stores as well), the receipt will be sent by e-mail to you. Within the PDF document, the IMEI number is added somewhere as well.
If you received the iPhone as a gift from someone, it is worth going to that person and try to get that receipt.

Find IMEI via iTunes backup

If you have connected your iPhone to your computer (either MacOS or Windows) and you have iTunes installed, it is likely that your computer has taken an automatic back-up of your device to the computer’s local hard drive. If this is the case: fantastic. By making that back-up, the IMEI code was also copied from your iPhone to your computer with all of your other data.
To get back that IMEI on iTunes from an iPhone backup, go to iTunes > Settings > Backups. Then, you hover your mouse over one of the back-ups of the lost/stolen device and it should show the IMEI number.

Retrieve IMEI via AppleID website

Another method is to find that IMEI via the AppleID website. If you used iTunes, Apple Pay, Apple Music, iCloud, .. it is almost certain your device has been registered to your iPhone device.
Here are the steps to follow:

1.       Visit the AppleID website, by going to https://appleid.apple.com

2.       Login with your Apple/iTunes ID (if you don’t know these details, you should ask to have your password reset – you will receive a new message on your e-mail address via which you can create a new passphrase)

3.       Once logged in, select Devices from the menu options

4.       You will now see a list of all of your iOS devices that are linked to that Apple ID

5.       Select the iOS device that is stolen/lost and the IMEI will be shown on the details page of that device

Best of luck!

Did you have your iPhone stolen or was it lost? What was your experience with dealing with it? If you have questions, or suggestions for other readers, please share it below and let’s try to help each other.

 

Author Bio

Thank you for your interest in my blog! On this miniblog, I write mostly short (technical) blog posts that might interest other people. Read more about me or feel free to contact me.

 

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