In this era of advanced technology, everything we use from our cell phones to the sim card in them has an identity number. Those identity numbers hold important information about that piece of technology in our hands. For instance, our electronic machines have a serial number that can be scanned to know the properties and the exclusivity of the device. Whereas, in the telecommunication sector, IMEI numbers, IMSI, and ICCID code of the Sim cards are being used to deliver the information about the locations, network carriers, and device models.

What is An ICCID code? 

Have you ever wondered what those tiny numbers on the back of your sim card represent?

sim number
ICCID code

Those numbers represent the ICCID code of your sim card, which carries all the information related to the sim card you own. ICCID code stands for Integrated Circuit Card Identification and it is an exclusive number assigned to every sim card and that number has valuable data in a coded form. The code is typically made up of 19-20 digits or numbers, printed on the back of the sim card or you can see it on the sim packaging when you buy a new sim. An ICCID code proves to be a unique identifier of your sim card as it includes info about the home network, country, and the identification number of your sim card. Many people like to call the ICCID code as the sim card number which is correct in every way as the code has all the data about a sim card. 

The ICCID code has a lot of importance in the modern web of networks because it lets the operators know your preferences of the network and your location when you put a sim card in your phone. The MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) with the help of the ICCID code sort out which subscriber needs to be joined to which network. The process in such a way that when you buy a new sim card and install it on your mobile device, your device sends a message to the MNOs carrying the identification number from the ICCID code. The MNOs make sure that the identification number is unique, meaning the sim card is not being used by anybody else. After the exclusivity of the ICCID code has been assured to the network operators, only then you will be able to operate your network using the new sim card. 

Apart from the code, a sim card has many other codes as well that help in the identification of the sim. The common belief that the codes and IMEI numbers are just some technical terminologies only tech experts have to deal with, is not entirely true. Because understanding how the ICCID code works for a device and knowing how to break down the code helps you a lot, in case you are facing any network issues and glitches. 

Breaking Down the ICCID code  into Smaller Portions 

Just like the barcodes and serial numbers provide valuable data after being scanned, the large array of digits in the code tells a unique story for every sim card. The 20 digits number seems complex until we break it down into small pieces and decode it. The ICCID code for every sim card starts with the number 89 that is an encryption number used to represent the telecommunication sector. There are different kinds of cards, such as credit, debit, governmental identity, and educational cards. The purpose of these first two digits is to differentiate the sim cards from other kinds of cards people use.

After 89, there are two or four digits that identify the country of the sim card, for example, the code is 1 for the sim cards in the USA. The country code for every country was determined by the International Telecommunication Union. After the country code, there are four to five digits that decode into the mobile network number of the device. This is the code that the MNOs get, based on which they decide the home network of the sim card in your cell phone. Each network provider has a different network identification code, but the code for the same network sim cards will be identical. The last part of the digits on the ICCID code is never the same for any sim card, in the entire world. That part is exclusive to each sim card and that is what gives each card its individual identity in the global network of communication. The ICCID number is always divided into the following four kinds of codes no matter where you are in the world. 

How Do I Find My ICCID code? 

What many people don’t know is that they can still know the ICCID code of their sim card even if they have lost that large plastic card packaging. Similarly, you don’t have to take out your sim jacket only to see those tiny numbers on your sim card every time and then put the sim back into your phone. There is another way that is much easier and takes less than a minute; it is by using your cell phone settings. So if you need the code at any time for whatever reason, you can find it using your cell phone, whether it’s an iPhone or an android.

How do I find my iPhone ICCID code? 

For all the IOS users out there, here is the simple procedure of locating the ICCID code  of your sim card:

  • On your IOS device, go to the Settings option, and scroll down to General, and tap on it.
  • On the top of the General category, you will see About, open that option. 
  • From the information about the IOS device, scroll down to the option which says ICCID and note down the code.

How Do I Find ICCID code on An Android Phone?

To find the ICCID code  of your sim card using an Android phone, follow these simple steps: 

  • From the Settings of your Android device, go to the About Device or About Phone option. It can be in a subcategory, so you can find it easily using the search tab of the Settings. 
  • From About, tap on the Status option, and scroll down until you find the ICCID code for your sim. 
  • If you don’t find your ICCID code using this method, try installing one of the many apps from the Playstore that help you find your sim’s ICCID code. 

Significance of the ICCID code  

No matter how complex it looks, the significance of an ICCID code can not be ignored, especially in situations where we find ourselves in complicated network problems. Here are some of the factors that make the ICCID code  highly significant for us: 

Activation and Deactivation of Sim Cards

When you buy a new sim card to move to a new network or due to any reason, it is useless in your mobile device until you activate that sim. For the activation of your sim cards, the franchise needs to know the ICCID code on your sim packaging, as the ICCID code represents the identity of your sim network. A similar process is followed for the deactivation of your sim after your sim card or the phone gets lost. The person in the deactivation center will ask you to provide the ICCID code of your sim card to begin the deactivation process for your sim.

Data Roaming 


The data roaming allows you to access the internet, text messages, and call services using your mobile network even when you are out of your carrier network’s borders, for instance in another country. For the data roaming option, the ICCID code of your sim card is highly significant. Before you move to a new country, you must contact your service provider to let them know that you are turning on the data roaming option on your device. When you do this, your ICCID code automatically joins with a partner network in the other country and you can easily access everything without having to get a new sim card.

Network Feedback and Support

The ICCID code of your sim cards holds another significance, that is fairly common in your daily lives; client support services. When you call your network carrier to complain about a network glitch or to subscribe to an offer, they act on your request within minutes, with you on the call. They can locate a problem in your network and activate or deactivate a package on your sim, using the ICCID code of your sim card. As the ICCID code for every person using a mobile phone is different they can easily identify the caller and resolve the issues on spot.

Identification Of Sim Cards in Dual Sim Phones 

Having a dual sim phone can be a blessing if you have to deal with a lot of people on daily basis, such as the people in local businesses. But at times it becomes frustrating to differentiate between the two sim cards, especially when both cards are from the same carrier. The ICCID code proves helpful in locating the two different sim cards on your cell phone and switching between them from time to time.

What Can You Do with ICCID code? 

Knowing the ICCID code of your sim card has its significance for a smooth network experience but in practical life, there is not much you can do with an ICCID code. That code will help you only when you need to activate your sim as you install a new one on your device. Another thing you can do with your ICCID code is to save it for the time you need to block your sim. So, we can say that there is not much we can do with an ICCID code but the Mobile Network Operators have a lot to do with this code. They obtain all the network information of your carrier using this code.

Can Someone Use Your ICCID code?  

Even if someone knows the ICCID code of your sim, they cannot benefit from it unless they have your sim card in their phone as well. The ICCID code for all the sim cards around the world is different, so no one can use an ICCID code without the sim. 

Should I share my ICCID code? 

You should share your ICCID code only with your network carrier specialists in case you are facing any issues. You can also share it with the people in charge of activating and deactivating your sim cards. Although there is no harm in someone knowing your ICCID code, you should not be sharing it with everyone like you do with your mobile number.

Is ICCID code the Same as IMEI? 

There are different kinds of identifier codes besides the ICCID, that are used by the MNOs to locate and identify the network and hardware information of your device. Two such codes include the IMSI and IMEI, which are exclusive to every device and subscriber of the network. All of these network codes are different from each other and neither of them is identical, for example, the ICCID code is not the same as the IMEI code. 

What Is The Difference Between ICCID, IMSI, And IMEI Numbers?

The ICCID, IMSI, and the IMEI codes are different in many ways, we have listed their differences here: 

ICCID code  

As we know, the ICCID means the Integrated Circuit Card ID, which is an exclusive number assigned to every sim card in the world. The ICCID code has a great significance in making our communication easier as they help connect our devices to the carrier networks. Another important aspect of the ICCID code is its role in the data roaming services offered by your carrier, whenever you move to a new country. 


IMSI which is the International Mobile Subscriber Identity of a sim card represents a certain carrier subscription of your sim. Every network consumer has a different IIMSI, that identifies which network they have. Many people think that if the IMSI shows the identification number of a user, then it may be similar to the ICCID code but that is not the case. The IMSI is used to identify which network services can be accessed by your sim card registration. Whenever you put a sim card in a new device, it builds the connection with a specific network using the IMSI of the sim. The IMSI number is not the same as your mobile number and it allows the network operators to know which network you can access within a specific area boundary. 

Unlike ICCID code which has 20 digits, the IMSI code has 15 digits, which are divided into three parts. In the IMSI, the Mobile Country Code is represented by the first three characters of the code. It provides the information of the home country of the user. The next two or three letters are for the Mobile Network Code. That code tells the operators which network is activated on the sim. The last portion of the digits on the IMSI code is distinct for every sim card, no user in the world shares those last digits in their IMSI code.

IMEI Code 

Like the IMSI code, the IMEI is also a 15 digit, code that stands for Mobile Station Equipment Identity. The IMEI number is to distinguish a phone device from other phones in the world, whereas the ICCID code identifies a sim card from other sims in the world. You can typically see the IMEI number printed on the packaging of the phone, or near the battery component inside of the phone. When you have a dual sim phone, your phone will show two different IMEI numbers. IMEI is very important for the smooth communication of our network. Since the IMEI code, contains the location information of your network and device, it is an easy target for the hackers involved in the data theft.

What Happens If You Lose Your Sim Card? 

SIM card
ICCID code

A sim card is the most treasured component of a cell phone, as it contains all of your personal and business contacts, call logs and text message history. With an ICCID code, the sim card can also be associated with your bank accounts, so it is vital to keep it protected. Losing your sim or your sim card getting stolen means anyone can install it on their phone and imitate you. The person who has the hold of your sim can do anything with it. There are numerous risk factors connected with losing your sim, such as: 

Banking Information in Danger

With the help of the ICCID code, almost everyone has associated their banking details with their phone numbers, which indirectly means with their sim cards. So if your sim card is in the hands of thieves, that means there is a greater threat to your banking details. Hackers use the ICCID code of the sim cards to contact the service providers and extract as much banking information as possible. In 2021, where every piece of technology we use is connected, it has become easier for robs and hackers to attain any info they make up their minds for.

Fraudulent Charges

If your sim has been stolen or lost, you may have to pay an extra amount for the phone bill to your carrier without even realizing it. Because there is a possibility that the person who stole your sim is using it for making his/her phone calls and text messages. In such cases, you are responsible for paying the phone bill until you realize that your sim has been lost or stolen. The network providers usually compensate your fraudulent charges by reversing that amount but that only happens after you contact them and provide proof that your sim has been stolen.

Criminal Activities 

If your sim card gets lost and ends up with a criminal or terrorist group, you can end up in the worst position ever. The sim thieves often sell the stolen sim cards to the criminals who cannot contact their terrorist groups with their contact numbers, for the fear of being caught. Those people then carry out the completion of their heinous crimes using the sim card which is active on your ICCID code and national identity. Upon legal investigation, you can face real trouble and even end up in jail because the police will find the phone calls for the crimes being made from your sim. Therefore it is absolutely important to keep your sim cards well protected and report to the authorities as soon as you notice them missing.

What to Do After Losing Your Sim Card? 

When you are sure that your sim has been lost, you should ask as soon as possible to minimize the losses faced by you due to sim theft. Always report to your mobile network providers immediately after making sure that your sim has been missing for some time. Informing your service provider ensures that your sim is been blocked and no one can use it for any malicious activities on your name. Get a new sim card after you have reported your old sim card loss to carry out your normal communication. These are the steps you should take immediately after losing your sim: 

  • Contact Your Customer Support Providers

After you are certain that you can find your sim nowhere, and that it has been lost or stolen, there are two things you can do. The first is to visit the nearest network outlet for your sim company and request them to disable your sim card by telling them the ICCID code. The second thing you can do is much easier and effortless, which is calling your network helpline. No time should be wasted in contacting your service providers because they have 24/7 customer services. The agents at the customer support inform you about whether or not your sim has been active, before blocking your sim. Knowing the sim activity helps you stay aware of your sim being in the wrong hands. 

  • Register A New Sim Card for Your Phone

When your old sim has been blocked or disabled, you can register a new sim for your phone by going to a retail store of your network provider. You can also buy a new sim from another mobile network. Getting a sim from the same company has the advantage that you can get a new sim card on the same contact number you had before. This way you won’t have to ask your family, friends, and colleagues to save your new number on their phones.

  • Contact Authorities (if needed)

This step is not required if you have already blocked your sim and have moved on with a new one, but calling the authorities is wise if you are certain your sim has been stolen. You must contact the nearby police station or cybersecurity branch if you have an idea that your sim card may have been used in some wicked acts by the thieves. Doing this on time saves you from getting in legal trouble later on, for something you didn’t even do.

Sim Cards Security Risks and Protection

During the past few years, data thieves and hackers have focused their attention on sim hacking for obtaining the valuable personal information of people, and using sim cards to steal money from rich individuals. According to telecommunication experts, the sim card requires a high level of security, now more than ever. That is because hackers are using new and advanced ways to tamper with the sim cards of people and achieve access to their phones. These are the two common ways hackers can slash your sim cards: 

Sim Swapping 

It is an extremely advanced method of hacking, where the hackers use complicated engineering procedures to change your sim number to another sim card. The sim swapping normally involves tricking the sim card service providers to change the number to a new card. The hackers contact the employees of the carrier network by impersonating the user of the sim card and convince them to swap the sim card to a new one. If they succeed in tricking the service provider agents to swap their sim, they get access to the user’s phone, as they are asked to restart their phones after the sim has been swapped. 

During that process, the hackers act as the mobile service agents and instruct the victims of the sim swapping to restart their devices to solve a technical issue or to update the terms and conditions. The whole point of sim swapping is to remove steal your sim card without having to remove it from your mobile device. When the sim is swapped with their link, the hackers can attach that phone number and ICCID code to their phone and use it for different crimes.

Sim Jacker 

Tech experts have noticed another pattern of hacking activity on people’s sim cards, which involves attacking sim cards using a malware code. The hackers send a message to the mobile number of the victim and if he/she clicks on that message or opens a link attached in that message, their complete access goes to the hackers. Cyber terrorists can then spy on the calls, messages, and location information of the victim and use that data for any malicious act.

Ways To Keep Your Sim Card Safe

To keep your sim card safe from hackers and thieves, there are so many things you can do, such as: 

  • Put a Sim Lock 

Just like you put extra security for your phone and social accounts, you should also maintain an extra layer of security for your sim card and ICCID code. Putting a sim lock for your contact number means adding a pin code to your sim card. This way even if a person has your sim card he/she cannot access it without knowing your pin. Setting up a sim lock is very easy, for IOS devices, simply go to Settings, and scroll to the Cellular selection, from there you will see the Sim Pin option and it is done. Whereas for Android devices, you can find the Sim Card Lock option in the Security of your phone Settings. 

  • Avoid Opening Texts from Unknown Users

In many instances, the unknown and sketchy messages about winning a jackpot or a big lottery are from the sim hackers. Those messages can be malevolent and they give access to your ICCID code and device to hackers. And especially avoid opening links attached to unknown text messages because they contain spying codes and viruses. No matter how intimidating such messages sound, do not make the mistake of replying to them in general and particularly not replying with your contact info, like phone numbers or home address. By sharing your personal information with the hackers you are making their job easier.

What Does it Mean if the ICCID is Unknown? 

Your phone showing a notification saying ICCID is unknown can mean several things, from faulty hardware to unsupported devices. These are the common meanings associated with an unknown ICCID code : 

  • Defective Or Broken Sim Card: The unknown ICCID means that your sim is either broken, cracked, or bent from corners. The defective sim cards lose their ability to connect to your mobile device and operate normally. 
  • Sim Has Been Deactivated: If you are using a sim that has been in someone else’s possession for some time, they may have deactivated that sim. The deactivated sim cards show an unknown ICCID on your phones. 
  • Your Cell Phone Is Locked: The ICCID code is unknown because your cell phone device is either locked or has been blocked for use in your country. 
  • Sim Card Is Not Inserted Correctly: If you have inserted the sim card the wrong way, your phone settings will show that the ICCID is unknown. Your phone may also show this message when you take out the sim card from your phone.
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