What Is A Blacklisted iPhone? (Plus How You Can Fix It)

If you're reading this, you might be wondering what a blacklisted iPhone is and what it means for you. You might have heard the term being used but are unsure of its implications. Well, in this article, we'll explain what a blacklisted iPhone is, why it happens, and what you can do about it.

What Does Blacklisted Mean?

In the context of iPhones, a blacklisted iPhone is a device that has been reported as lost, stolen, or barred by the original owner or carrier. When an iPhone is blacklisted, it becomes unusable on the carrier's network, and it can't be activated or used with any SIM card.

Blacklisted iPhones are added to a database called the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) blacklist. This list is maintained by the GSMA, a global association of mobile network operators. The blacklist is used to prevent stolen or lost devices from being used on any carrier's network - you can't send a text, make a phone call, or access data on any blacklisted phone in the United States or Canada.

Why Would An iPhone Get Blacklisted?

There are several reasons why an iPhone could be blacklisted. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Reported as Lost or Stolen

If an iPhone is lost or stolen, the owner can report it to the carrier or to law enforcement. The carrier can then blacklist the device, making it unusable on any network. This is done to prevent thieves from using or reselling stolen iPhones. You can only imagine how horrible it would be to have a phone stolen, then quickly realize the thieves then called overseas, only to leave you with a large bill to dispute with Rogers or Bell. Spoiler alert - anything the phone is used for before being blacklisted, you'd be responsible for. 

Unpaid Bills

In Canada, carriers do not blacklist devices for non-payment much to the dismay of some customers with stolen devices. However for unlocked and refurbished / used iPhones that come across the border from the States, this is not the case. If the previous owner of the iPhone didn't pay their bills, and the device was sold by a Canadian retailer the carrier could still blacklist the device and make it unusable in Canada. The only way to get this fixed if this is the issue is to pay the entire bill with the US carrier, which can be quite a process.

How To Check If Your iPhone Is Blacklisted?

If you're unsure whether your iPhone is blacklisted, you can check its status using the IMEI number. The IMEI number is a unique identifier for your device that can be found in the Settings app, on the SIM tray for some devices, or by dialing *#06# on your iPhone.

To check the status of your iPhone, you can use an online IMEI checker service. These services are widely available and easy to use. Just enter your IMEI number, and the service will tell you whether your iPhone is blacklisted or not.

Not sure if your device is blacklisted? Feel free to message our live chat below and we'd love to help you out :)

Can You Remove A Blacklist Status From Your iPhone?

If your iPhone is blacklisted, you might be wondering if there's anything you can do to remove the status. The short answer is that it depends on the reason why the iPhone was blacklisted.

If your iPhone was blacklisted because it was reported as lost or stolen, you can try contacting the carrier or law enforcement and provide proof of ownership to have it removed from the blacklist. However, this process can be time-consuming and may not always be successful, especially if you don't have solid proof of ownership available.

If your iPhone was blacklisted because of unpaid bills in the United States you will need to pay off the outstanding balance with the relevant American cellular carrier to have it removed from the blacklist.

In some cases, iPhones can be blacklisted due to errors or mistakes made by the carrier or database provider. In these cases, you can contact the carrier or the database provider to have the issue resolved.

If an iPhone Is Blacklisted Can It Be Used?

So are you really kinda screwed if you have been sold a blacklisted iPhone? Well, if you intend to use it in Canada or the United States for any type of cellular activity that will definitely not be possible. 

It's important to note that Canada and the United States share their blacklists, but Mexico, Europe, Africa and Asia do not. So if you're going overseas a blacklisted phone in Canada will work on their cellular carriers. 

Buying a certified pre-owned refurbished iPhone in Canada from SimplyFixIT ensures you get a lifetime IMEI guarantee. This means it will never be suddenly blacklisted unless done so by yourself.


In conclusion, a blacklisted iPhone is a device that has been reported as lost, stolen, or barred by the original owner or carrier. It becomes unusable on any carrier's network in Canada and the United States and can't be activated or used with any SIM card. If you're unsure whether your iPhone is blacklisted, you can check its status using the IMEI number. If it is blacklisted, the reason for the blacklisting will determine whether it can be removed from the blacklist.

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