What should you do if you have a blacklisted iPhone?

While a great number of people around the world own iPhone handsets, most do not know what an IMEI number is or what does 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.

Also, click to know what to do if iPhone Has an Invalid Sim Card here.

Part 1: Basic information about ESN and IMEI number

What does the IMEI number signify?

IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, is a 14-16-digit long number which is unique for every iPhone; it can be considered as 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 from which 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 in a similar manner as a CDMA device’s identification. In the US, there are several carriers that work on this network – US Cellular, Sprint, Verizon, etc. This means that if you are carrying any one of these carriers, the ESN number has already been attached to your phone.

By the way, if you are bothered with the bad ESN issue, here are the top solutions for you.

What does a bad ESN signify?

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

  • 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 the account was canceled by them but was still under a contract. The sooner the contract is canceled before the due date, an ‘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 does not happen due to some unknown circumstances

What do you mean by blacklisted IMEI?

Basically, a blacklisted IMEI is the same thing 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 you will get the ESN or IMEI.

How do you know if you have a blacklisted iPhone?

There are several online tools that 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 online page, enter your contact details and ESN or IMEI and you will receive all the information that you need.

One other 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: The 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 DoctorUnlock.net, which is a reliable and fast IMEI-based unlocking app. All the unlocking services for locked and/or blacklisted iPhone have a lifetime warranty and are permanent. You can even get your money back if the iPhone cannot be unlocked.

What are some advantages of using DoctorUnlock.net?

Some major benefits offered by DoctorUnlock.net 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. DoctorUnlock.net is available for iOS6 or higher which iTunes can unlock.
  • All the features like Phone, Contacts, Wifi, 5G, 4G, 3G, FaceTime, and iMessenger will work well without any limitations.
  • You can freely sync or restore iTunes and upgrade your iOS without worry 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 back if the blacklisted iPhone cannot be unlocked for any reason, whatsoever.
  • DoctorUnlock offers unlocking services for the cheapest price in the market. Any cheaper elsewhere and you can be sure that it might be a scam.

The official unlocks by DoctorUnlock 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 the ‘hacking’ methods like jailbreaking to unlock your blacklisted iPhone. Additionally, the money is also never refunded if the unlocking fails or your iPhone gets relocked.

The services offered by DoctorUnlock are 100% safe and legit. The IMEI-based unlocking method will support a wide range of Apple devices like iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 (Plus), iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 8 (Plus), iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS (Max), iPhone 11.

What is iPhone Unlocking? Is it considered as ethical to unlock iPhone devices?

When you unlock a blacklisted iPhone, it means that you are disconnecting your device to the exclusivity offered by your carrier. It is true that the iPhone is one of the best-selling and most used premium smartphones in the market 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, it means that you are playing a small amount of money to the carrier on a monthly basis for its services. Apart from that, 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.

A lot of 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 coming back, this reason does not sound unethical at all. However, if you are trying to unlock your iPhone so as to avoid paying the carrier their due, it is categorized under 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, there is one method by which you can safely unlock any Android or Apple device that is locked to a carrier – DoctorUnlock.net.

Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if the iPhone has been reported as stolen or lost? And which one is it specifically?
A: There is no way of saying this exactly since this information remains anonymous to carriers.

Q: How do I check if the iPhone being sold to me has a bad ESN or if it is a stolen or lost gadget?
A: For this, you will need to check the ESN or IMEI

Q: If the owner of the blacklisted iPhone has reported the device as lost and another person found it, can the latter cancel it?
A: Yes, this can be done. You will have to carry along at least one valid identity card at the carrier’s retail store.

Q: Does ESN depend on the physical condition of the iPhone?
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 now know everything there is about blacklisted iPhone, bad ESN, and IMEI. You can also check their statuses easily now by contacting your carrier or using the handy DoctorUnlock.net. If you have any more questions regarding this problem, please leave us a comment; we will be more than happy to hear and help you out.

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