May 30

What is a BAD IMEI Blocked or Blacklisted Phone? Will unlocking fix it?

questions or decision making concept

More often than not – we get the question “can you unlock my phone?”  from people with blocked or blacklisted phones.

Before answering that question, a few definitions.

Unlocking a Phone:  Phones in the USA are usually locked to carriers. AT&T phones can only be used on AT&T, Tmobile on Tmobile – unless you unlock them.  This allows you to use an AT&T phone with a Tmobile sim card and vice versa.  Although Bad IMEI phones can be unlocked, THIS DOES NOT FIX A BAD IMEI PHONE.

Blacklisted Phone - this is a phone which has been reported LOST OR STOLEN to the carrier.  The carrier will now Block the phone from being used on its towers, and it is essentially useless as a phone in the USA.

For example: You buy a tmobile phone from ebay, it works fine for 3 months and then stops.  You call tmobile, and they tell you the phone has been reported lost or stolen.  Its been BLACKLISTED.  As Tmobile shares their Blacklisted phone list with AT&T,  and AT&T shares their  list with Tmobile your phone will be Blocked from using their towers.  Since most sub carriers that use sim cards like straight talk, simple mobile, h20, Red Pocket, family mobile etc piggy back on either Tmobile or AT&T towers, you won’t be able to use any of these unless your BAD IMEI is remedied.

Blocked Phone – this is a phone which has an unpaid bill balance or, early termination fees were not paid on the contract .  This phone is barred from the carrier towers as well.   If it is an AT&T phone it cannot be used with AT&T, and more often than not even if it is unlocked,  you’ll be unable to use the phone on most carriers.

So Yes, Bad IMEI phones can be unlocked. We do it everyday. Once unlocked they can be used outside the usa without issue – but how much longer that will be the case is debatable.  Just remember, unlocking does not fix a bad IMEI or ESN situation.  


Thanks for reading!


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  1. Jairo

    I stop paying my iPhone 7 plus from this last year. What I do to unlock it and put it in boost

    1. admin

      probably best to pay your bill.

  2. Kerri

    I’ve got a T-Mobile galaxy J7 on an old plan. I have TMobile prepaid now. Just wondering if it’s possible to unblock that and use my sim. I’ve recently went to a wireless buybax and he was so happy to do that for the s6 edge+ that was on the same plan (cause he wanted to buy it for cheap). Double checking if hes correct that the same could not be done with the j7 before I go buy another.

    1. admin

      its possible to unlock the j7 – you will have to buy the app unlock for Tmobile. This is slightly more expensive than a regular code unlock. Good luck!

  3. Evelyn

    I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 from Craigslist and when I tried to have service added to it, they said the phone is blacklisted.

    It was previously a T-mobil phone, so I called them to try and have it unlocked. T-mobil claimes they need the account info to check into the phone, but obviously I don’t have that information. I even offered to pay off the remaining ballance at t-mobil, but they said they cannot provide any information without the original owner’s concent.

    I tried calling the person who sold me the phone, but she will not return my calls. I tried using the unlock app that is on the phone, but that didnt work. Is there anything we can do to get this phone off the blacklist so we can get service on it?

    1. admin

      Sadly, people are still selling stolen phones to others, or selling their own phones then reporting them stolen.
      Not everyone is committing fraud – but we encourage folks to shop at a carrier store or a multicarrier/ repair store. Those phones are really not likely to have those issues.
      For a solution to your problem email us directly – unlock@mobilelizard.com

  4. Logik

    I bought a phone on offer up. For TMobil carrier. I inserted my active SIM card and everything seemed legit. After 2 months the phone stopped working. I called TMobil they and told me that the previous owner had a balance on the phone. Can I pay to unlocked it and continue to use it.

    1. admin

      unlocking this phone will not allow you to continue using it on tmobile -

  5. Sherin

    I have a sprint blcklisted Samsung galaxy s5 edge +. Is it possible to make this phone work US or in other countries .

    1. admin

      Blacklisted sprint phones can not be used in the usa. If it is unlocked it can be used outside the usa.

  6. Meg

    Hi, I bought a note 5 from a friend, it’s either sprint or tmobile not sure. I believe its been blacklisted. Can you guys help me unvblacklist it so I can use it on boost mobile? Thank you.

    1. admin

      Hello – more specific information is needed as to the carrier and the situation with it.

  7. Mo

    Hello I won an auction on ebay for an iPhone 6 with att. It said that there was a bad imei on it and I’m worried, does it wreck the phone or not? And would I have to pay at att for it to get remedied? thanks!

    1. admin

      Any AT&T iphone with a bad imei (includes blacklisted or blocked for non payment) currently has no solution which will allow it to work in the usa.
      You cannot pay AT&T to remedy any outstanding bill as you are not the owner of contract with AT&T.
      Quite frequently bills are 100s of dollars – or the phone is not yet paid off which can amount to 100s of dollars as well.

  8. Nuna

    Hello I bought a google Verizon phone from someone I don’t know that was selling it and it was working for about a week then they blocked the phone no longer can use it reported lost or stolen… Is it possible to get it unblocked?

    1. admin

      AT the moment there is no solution for this.

  9. ruel

    i buy this galaxy s5 it’s a us cellular from a friend when i try to used it it not working keep saying connot connect to network on the imei number as removed from the phone by the network provider how can i get this phone to be used ?

    1. admin

      Hello You’ll have to take this phone into a store that specializes in flashing. Its possible they maybe able to assist

  10. Lanes

    I recently got an iPhone 6s+ and I brought it online. It said “THIS PHONE IS PRE-OWNED & HAS BEEN TESTED, CLEANED & FACTORY RESET. IT LOOKS & WORKS GREAT. NO DINGS, DENTS OR SCRATCHES. POWERS ON, NO ICLOUD LOCK BUT HAS BEEN NOTED AS BLACKLISTED. STILL WORKS.” If it has been noted as a black lost does that mean I can’t take it to sprint to get it turned on? It doesn’t come with a sim card I have to get one. But what do I do? Can I still get it activated with a SIM card with a different carrier or the same carrier ?

    1. admin

      Hello. A blacklisted sprint phone can be difficult to work with. Blacklisted means the phone has been reported lost or stolen and an insurance claim has been made. As far as the carrier is concerned this phone does not exist any longer on their network. Most blacklisted phones can be unlocked to work outside of the usa with a few exceptions, and some can be used in the usa. The sprint iPhone however, is not one of those. If it has been ‘blocked’ for non payment of bills it can be unlocked to use within the usa – however blacklisted – lost/stolen iphones on sprint will not work in the us once unlocked.

  11. Anahia

    I have a samsung galaxy note 4 for tmobile on a join plan and has been blocked for no payment, even tho ive paid my part, my friend hasnt paid theyre part and tmobile blocked the phones. Is there any way to unblock and add it to a seperate line for tmobile???

    1. admin

      This is possible – email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com for more information.

  12. Mohammad Jomes

    Hello i have bought a phone from somebody off of offer up Iphone SE I checked it on checkesnfree.com and they all checked out and i was excited then i checked for cricket and it said failed is it possible for me to still get the phone activated and working for metropcs?

    1. admin

      Hello checkesnfree and other free checkers, while they do offer information are not always 100% correct. Without knowing what carrier the phone originates from we are not able to assist. However if this is an att iphone that has been blocked or blacklisted for non payment it will not work in the usa again. Neither will a blacklisted sprint phone.

  13. Timothy Walker

    I have a us cellular Samsung galaxy s7 and my ex didn’t pay the bill with the money I gave her for the phone. It’s still under contract. Is there a way I can use it on Verizon?

    1. admin

      No. there is not.

  14. Rolf Angelbeck

    Dear Sirs,

    i buy a Iphone by Ebay, the carrier was AT&T and i use ENTEL in CHile,

    is possible to unlock this device? was stolen or lost message:

    This device isn’t eligible to be unlocked now because it’s been reported as lost or stolen.

    1. admin

      Hello –
      Yes it is possible to unlock the device for use on ENTEL. You will have to use a third party unlocker like mobilelizard to get this done. For more info email us directly – unlock@mobilelizard.com

  15. Tierra

    I bought a T Mobile phone that is blocked from non payment and cant get a hold of the original owner. Can i get it unlocked or unblocked to get it to work with Straight Talk?

    1. admin

      Hello, yes this is possible. As long as the phone does not have a payment or equipment installment plan (eip) on it.

  16. Jay

    T-mobile Sony Xperia z3 Imei blocked, any hope?

    1. admin

      sure email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com for more information.

  17. james

    I have a samsung note edge that is blacklisted from sprint can it be unlocked and used on a gsm carrier?

    1. admin

      Hello, yes your note edge can be unlocked, but it may not be able to be used on just any carrier. check around with local stores to see what options are available

  18. samson

    I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S6 with T Mobile off of craigslist just to find out it is blacklisted is there anyway i can unlock it and use it on metro pcs.

    1. admin

      yes there is – email us directly at unlock@mobilelizard.com

  19. Donna

    Hi, i bought a iphone 6 off ebay, only for the person who sold it to me o report it stolen after 6 months ” insurance scam” i have been told. The phone is now blacklisted by three network is there any way it can be unblocked ?

    1. admin

      hello. we would need to know which carrier it originated with.

  20. Daniel

    I bought an Iphone 6 and and is locked in Movistar Spain carrier and also blacklisted like stollen or loston Apple server .

    Can i get out from Apple blacklist ?

    1. admin

      Any iphone with an activation lock on it ie – asking for icloud login and password, is going to be extremely difficult and expensive to get unlocked. Its basically not worth it if you’re looking for a working device. You’re better off selling for parts.

  21. Daniel

    I bought an Iparrhone 6 and and is locked in Movistar Spain carrier and also blacklisted like stollen or loston Apple server .

    Can i get out from Apple blacklist ?

  22. neeraj sharma

    hi i brought a samsung galaxy s6 t mobil usa rooted but imei is bad can it be unlocked for international gsm use?

    1. admin

      Yes this phone can be unlocked for international gsm use.

  23. neeraj sharma

    hi i purchase a bad imei t mobil usa samsung galaxy s6 wanted to know can it be used to unlock gsm international use ourside usa???????if yes what will be the cost of unlocking it and also will 4g work on it and all updates? phone is also rooted

    1. admin

      Yes, as we pointed out the phone can be unlocked for gsm use internationally. 4g depends on the carrier you plan to use it on. Rooted phones generally don’t accept upgrades.

  24. Alan

    Hi, I recently bought a galaxy s5 and put my sim card in it and it said no sevice, I took it to tmobile and they told me it was blocked/locked. Is there a way I can unblocklocked/unlock it?

    1. admin

      Yes there is – email us directly for info. unlock@mobilelizard.com

  25. Louis

    I bought a note 5 in ebay with a carrier of tmobile i didnt know its blacklisted. If ever can i unlock it and use it in other country??

    1. admin

      Yes, you should be able to use it in another country once unlocked with the exception of mexico and canada.

  26. Arjun Bakshi

    Someone sold me an iPhone 6 from US. I want to use phone in India. They were previously using it on t mobile and got it unlocked from t mobile. Now I fear that it will be locked again. Is it possible to unlock it again ?

    1. admin

      There is no working unlock for the moment for blocked or blacklisted tmobile iphones.

  27. Sara

    i just purchased a sprint iPhone 6 with a bad imei.
    I plan to use this phone in Mexico. Is it possible?

    1. admin

      It may be possible. If it isn’t blacklisted on tmobile’s network it may work once unlocked.

  28. Mae

    I have a T-Mobile iPhone 6+ blocked for none payment can I unblock it and use it on another network.

    1. admin


  29. Bobby

    I bought iPhone 6 Plus online. Then when i receive it, i cant activate the phone. after i check, the phone has been blacklisted from T Mobile and only TMobile Sim card can be use. But i want to use the phone not in US, in other country and not TMobile. Can it be fix ?

    1. admin

      No it cannot be fixed

  30. Roger


    I bought a T-mobile Iphone 6s that has a blacklisted IMEI – I guess it was a stolen phone.

    Can I get it unlocked and use it outside USA?

    1. admin

      No there is no working unlock currently for the iphone 6 on tmobile that has a bad/blacklisted imei.

  31. juan

    Purchased note 4 sprint turns out to be blacklisted. Is there any way I can connect it to a carrier??

    1. admin

      Yes, there is. Email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com for more info

  32. marian

    I got a T-Mobile iPhone 6 plus on Craigslist (the most scammer place to buy electronics) and after 2 month phone was blocked and no service T-Mobile then told me that phone was blacklisted because was stolen or lost. So I was so sad because now I have a brand new iPhone 6 plus in the box here on my desk that I can use it. Please, please is it true that I can unlock it to use it in another country? HELP ME OUT!!!

    1. admin

      Hello there is NO FIX for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is no unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  33. Salomon

    Hello I bought an iPhone 6 and I didn’t know that it was black listed until one of my kids told me he checked the imei n it said it was reported lost/ stolen the carrier AT&T I really wanna use this phone is there any hope to fix imei ?

    1. admin

      You will not be able to use this phone in the USA again.

  34. Monica

    I had bought a verizon Samsung Galaxy s6 edge 32gb unlocked to use with straight talk come to find out it has been blacklisted? Is there no other carriers that don’t care about bad imei?

    1. admin

      Your phone is now locked and blocked. No, there aren’t any carriers that don’t care about bad imeis.

  35. Sunnyside

    I purchased a 6S iPhone a couple days ago. I was told the phone was reported stolen and IMEI blacklisted. Can I still used it with another carrier?

    1. admin

      Usually no iphone on a US carrier that has been reported blacklisted can be used in the usa. A few can be unlocked and used outside the usa.

  36. Shannon

    I have a TMobile phone that is blocked for non-payment can it be used on Cricket if unlocked?

    1. admin


  37. Jeanette

    I bought an iPhone 6 plus with tmobile off of a Facebook group it worked for 2 months and now it’s no longer working and shows up as blacklisted do I have any options?

    1. admin

      Hello, unfortunately there is no fix for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is also no longer a working unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  38. Gynise

    I got ah 5s i brought from ah friend but it blblacklisted can I still use it with simply mobile?

    1. admin


  39. John

    Can bkacklisted galaxy s5 work on go phone sim card

    1. admin

      without carrier information we cannot say

  40. Quito

    I Bought an Sprint iPhone 6 and noticed it’s blacklisted can you unlocked it? I would like to use it in Honduras. Thank you!

    1. admin

      Yes, it can be unlocked.

  41. Ali

    I have a iphone 6. Purchased from a guy off craigslist now after 3 week later the iphone’s imei is blocked. Supposedly T mobile tells me that the guy terminated the phone service without paying off the iphone, so they(tmobile) blocked it. Now can i get my phone unblocked?

    1. admin

      Hello, unfortunately there is no fix for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is also no longer a working unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  42. Deion

    I have a blacklisted iPhone 6 Plus T-mobile ! If I get it factory unlocked can I use it on sprint or Verzion ?

    1. admin

      Hello, unfortunately there is no fix for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is also no longer a working unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  43. Isai Reyes

    Good afternoon

    Buy an iPhone online, which I use with turbo SIM and decided to unlock and tell me they have safely report that at the moment can not be unlocked, the report was for outstanding bill, I’m in another country and use another operator

    You can unlock it?

    With best regards

    1. admin

      Hello, unfortunately there is no fix for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is also no longer a working unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  44. Yokesh Saravanan

    Hi. I have shipped a unlocked T Mobile USA Iphone 6 to India. But problem is it’s IMEI is blocked since it was reported as stolen. Can we still use the iphone 6 in India since it crossed the country and landed to India? Will the IMEI will be in blocked list even with Indian Network Carriers also?

    1. admin

      Hello, unfortunately there is no fix for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is also no longer a working unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  45. emilee

    I bought an iphone6 plus from ebay and tmobile says its been locked for an unpaid balance and only the account holder can take care of it. What can i do

    1. admin

      Hello, unfortunately there is no fix for blacklisted Tmobile iphones. There is also no longer a working unlock for blacklisted or bad imei tmobile iphones.

  46. Slim

    Purchased a T-Mobile galaxy 6 edge on eBay a month ago. And now my phone wont work . called T-Mobile and was told my phone was blocked. Can I still use phone with different carrier

    1. admin

      Yes you can use your galaxy 6 edge after its been blocked. email us for more info – unlock@mobilelizard.com

  47. sue

    Bought an iPhone 6 and noticed it’s blacklisted can you unlocked it because I want to use it in Africa.

    1. admin

      You will need to list carrier on your iphone before we can offer any advice

      1. travion B

        hi,i broke my note3 (tmobile) and im now trying to use my uncles lg phone…tmobile said its blocked because of payment. would you guys be able to help

        1. admin

          possibly – email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com

  48. apostle07

    Stuck my SIM card in a AT&T note 4 and I was blocked because it was reported stolen. Is this note 4 useless or can it be remedied ?

    1. admin

      Your blacklisted AT&T note4 can be fixed. You’ll have to email us unlock@mobilelizard.com for more information.

  49. Sam


    I brought two Samsung Galaxy S5 phones from Craigslist. one is Sprint and another one is T-Mobile but those are Bad IMEI, reported as lost or stolen, so how can i unlocked those phones. so i need to bring those phones to my country (Sri Lanka). that is why i brought it from the Craigslist. please let me know how to unlock those two phones..

    1. admin

      You can unlock them by paying to get it done.

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