I recently had my phone stolen (Galaxy S8) and have done the following:
- Wiped it remotely
- Reported the theft to network operator, who have allegedly blocked the IMEI
I have tried searching for details on what actually holds this IMEI number, to see whether thieves are changing it, and have found conflicting bits of information:
- IMEI number and firmware version are directly encoded in the baseband chip (the only chip due to which you are able to get network). If you even dare to replace the baseband chip, there would be no network, no IMEI number, the firmware number will be visible, and the battery will start to drain faster. (Battery backup would drop to 20–30%.)
- this jolly video of someone using an aptly named "Best Smart Tools" software to literally type in the new IMEI after clicking on a few buttons.
I am sure this depends on the manufacturer, but what is the state of affairs with the two giants - Samsung and Apple? Is IMEI actually hard-coded into a chip of some sort, or is it changeable without replacing a single bit of hardware?