Filed Under: How to Unlock, iPhone

What Are Some Solutions For Handling a Blacklisted iPhone?


Written by Jason Lin

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Blacklisted iPhone

While many people around the world own iPhone handsets, most do not know what an IMEI number is or what a bad ESN stands for.

A device can be blacklisted for a lot of different reasons. If an iPhone has been reported as stolen or lost, most carriers will activate the device on their network for a small fee structure.

Let us dig deep into a blacklisted iPhone.

Part 1: Basic Information About ESN and IMEI Number

What Does the IMEI Number Signify?

ESN and IMEI Number

IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, is a 14-16-digit long number unique for every iPhone; it can be considered its identification number. Much like a Social Security Number, IMEI is only for phones.

An iPhone cannot be used with a different SIM card until you visit the place you purchased your iPhone device or the Apple Store. Additionally, the IMEI also serves as a security number.

What is ESN?

ESN, or Electronic Serial Number, is a unique number for each iPhone device. It works similarly to a CDMA device’s identification.

Several carriers work on this network in the US – US Cellular, Sprint, Verizon, etc. If you carry any of these carriers, the ESN number has already been attached to your phone.

If you are bothered by the bad ESN issue, here are the top solutions.

What Does a Bad ESN Signify?

A bad ESN of a blacklisted iPhone can mean a lot of things:

  • The person who sold you the iPhone or the real owner of the device has reported it as stolen or lost
  • The previous owner did not have a bill when they canceled the account but was still under a contract. The sooner the contract is canceled before the due date, the ‘early termination fee’ is created based on the period remaining of the contract and the amount that has not yet been paid.
  • The previous owner canceled the account without paying the bill or has an outstanding amount on the bill.
  • The previous owner switched the carriers
  • When you are trying to activate the device with another carrier, but it does not happen due to some unknown circumstances

What Do You Mean by Blacklisted IMEI?

A blacklisted IMEI is the same as a Bad ESN, except that a blacklisted IMEI is made for CDMA devices like Sprint or Verizon.

In short, the main reason that a blacklisted iPhone has a blacklisted IMEI is that the device cannot be activated on any other carrier, thereby avoiding stealing or selling the blacklisted iPhone.

Also, you can click to find out how to perform an iPhone IMEI check.

Part 2: How Do You Know if Your iPhone Has Been Blacklisted?

If you want to check if you have a blacklisted iPhone, you will need to retrieve the ESN number or IMEI to check whether the device is indeed blacklisted or not.

How Do You Find the ESN or IMEI Number?

  • When you purchase an iPhone, you will see the IMEI number or ESN around the barcode on the original box.
  • You can also find the ESN or IMEI in the About section of your iPhone. Simply go to Settings, then General, and you will find the About section here.
  • The SIM card tray of some iPhones has the ESN or IMEI numbers
  • In some iPhones, you will find the IMEI and ESN numbers engraved on the back side of the case
  • You can dial *#06# on your phone and get the ESN or IMEI.

How Do You Know if You Have a Blacklisted iPhone?

Several online tools can help you verify this. Most of them are recommended by experts to check the status of your blacklisted iPhone because they offer no fuss and are reliable and quick.

All you need to do is visit this page, enter your contact details and ESN or IMEI, and you will receive all the information you need.

Another way to check is to get in touch with the original carrier of the iPhone, which is quite easy. All you need to do is look for a logo, which you will find on the original box of the iPhone. Just look for any carrier like T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, etc.

Part 3: Best Way to Unlock Your Phone if You Have a Blacklisted iPhone or Bad ESN?

If you have a blacklisted iPhone or bad ESN, you can use IMEIDoctor, a reliable and fast IMEI-based unlocking app.

All the unlocking services for locked and/or blacklisted iPhones have a lifetime warranty and are permanent. You can get your money back if the iPhone cannot be unlocked.


What Are Some Advantages of Using IMEIDoctor?

Some major benefits offered by IMEIDoctor are:

  • Since the blacklisted iPhone will be unlocked via OTA (Over-The-Air), all you need to do is connect the device to a WiFi connection. IMEIDoctor is available for iOS 6 or higher, which iTunes can unlock.
  • All the features like Phone, Contacts, Wifi, 5G, 4G, 3G, FaceTime, and iMessenger will work well without limitations.
  • You can freely sync or restore iTunes and upgrade your iOS without worrying about the phone getting relocked.
  • The IMEI number of your iPhone will be marked as SIM-FREE from Apple’s activation database
  • The warranty on the unlocking process is valid for a lifetime; 100% money is refunded if the blacklisted iPhone cannot be unlocked for any reason.
  • IMEIDoctor offers unlocking services for the lowest price in the market. If it is any cheaper elsewhere, you can be sure that it might be a scam.

The official unlocks by IMEIDoctor will never get relocked because it will whitelist the IMEI from Apple’s official database. But there are a lot of different companies that make use of ‘hacking’ methods like jailbreaking to unlock your blacklisted iPhone.

The money is never refunded if the unlocking fails or your iPhone gets relocked.

The services offered by IMEIDoctor are 100% safe and legit. The IMEI-based unlocking method will support a wide range of Apple devices like iPhone 6 (Plus), iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 8 (Plus), iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS (Max), iPhone 11, iPhone 12 (Pro Max), iPhone 13 (Pro Max), iPhone 14 (Pro Max).

What is iPhone Unlocking? Is It Considered Ethical to Unlock iPhone Devices?

When you unlock a blacklisted iPhone, you are disconnecting your device from the exclusivity offered by your carrier. The iPhone is one of the best-selling and most used premium smartphones today. Additionally, its Average Selling Price has remained almost the same over the years. This is where carriers stepped in.

When you purchase an iPhone with a carrier, you are paying a small amount of money to the carrier monthly for its services. Additionally, subscribers are better for a carrier than pay-as-you-go customers because the income is quite predictable and has much more attractive margins with a PAYG model.

Many people want to know whether it is ethical to unlock a blacklisted iPhone. This depends on the situation. If you are visiting another country and do not want to end up paying massive bills after returning, this reason does not sound unethical.

However, if you try to unlock your iPhone to avoid paying the carrier their due, it is considered unethical; additionally, this might also be illegal as you are not paying the monthly bill and closing it before the end of the contract period.

The ethical aspect also depends on how the blacklisted iPhone is being unlocked. You will see three different types of methods that can be used to unlock your iPhone device – two of them can potentially destroy your devices and are considered quite a risk.

However, one method by which you can safely unlock any Android or Apple device that is locked to a carrier – IMEIDoctor.

Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions

A: There is no way of saying this since this information remains anonymous to carriers.

A: For this, you will need to check the ESN or IMEI

A: Yes, this can be done. You must carry at least one valid identity card at the carrier’s retail store.

A: There is no relation between ESN and hardware damage. If you drop and crack your screen, the ESN status will not change.


From the above, you know everything about blacklisted iPhones, bad ESN, and IMEI. You can also check their statuses by contacting your carrier or using the handy IMEIDoctor.

If you have any more questions regarding this problem, please comment; we will be happy to hear and help you out.


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