What Is A Bad ESN And How To Fix It On A Phone?




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Are you having trouble activating your phone? It could be due to a bad ESN.

A bad ESN is an Electronic Serial Number that has been reported lost or stolen, and it can prevent you from using your device. In this article, we’ll explain what a bad ESN is and how to check for one on your phone.

We’ll also discuss how to fix a bad ESN so you can get back up and running with your device.


Key Takeaways

  • A bad ESN is when the electronic serial number of a phone is reported lost or stolen, which can prevent phone activation.
  • Fixing a bad ESN may involve resetting the device, performing a factory reset, or contacting customer service to clear up the reason for blocking.
  • Some carriers allow for ESN reset or replacement, and ESN change kits can be purchased to fix bad ESN issues.
  • Checking with the carrier before purchasing a used phone and ensuring correct settings after updating is crucial in preventing and fixing bad ESN.

What is a Bad ESN?

What is a Bad ESN

You’ve probably heard of ESN activation, but what is a bad ESN?

A bad ESN is a phone’s Electronic Serial Number that has been blocked due to being reported stolen, lost, or associated with fraud. This means the phone can no longer be activated by most major phone carriers in the United States.

Unfortunately, if you purchase a used phone and it turns out to have a bad ESN, your money will be wasted as the device will not be able to connect to any network.

A bad ESN cannot usually be fixed unless you’re able to find out why it was blocked in the first place and clear up whatever issue caused it. If you know the previous owner of the device, they may be able to provide information about why it was initially blocked.

You can then follow up with their provider and attempt to get them to unblock it. If that fails, you may still be able to restore service on another carrier by getting an unlock code for your device or switching networks entirely.

In some cases, it might even be possible for someone with technical knowledge and access to special software tools or services like IMEI cleaning services (which remove traces of its history from databases) to try their luck at fixing a bad ESN themselves. However, this is not recommended as there is no guarantee that such methods will work and could even result in further damage being done if done incorrectly.

How to Check Your Phone for a Bad ESN?

Checking your device for a faulty signal can be like navigating a minefield – one wrong move and you could be in trouble. To check whether your phone has a bad ESN, you need to do the following:

1Activate the SIM card from your carrier. This will verify that it is compatible with the network. If not, then you may need to consider swapping out the SIM card for a new one.
2Check if the device can make calls or send text messages. If not, then this could indicate an issue with the ESN of your phone.
3Contact customer service and provide them with information about your device including make, model and IMEI number. They will be able to tell you whether there is an issue with the ESN of your phone and provide advice on how to fix it.
4Try resetting your device by holding down both volume buttons until it powers off completely. After restarting, see if this has resolved any issues associated with a bad ESN on your phone. You may also need to factory reset or perform a carrier swap depending on what customer service advises you to do.

If none of these steps resolves any potential issues with a bad ESN on your phone, then you should contact customer service again for further assistance as they may have additional solutions available to help get things back up and running correctly again.

It’s important to remember that if none of these steps work, then the best course of action may be replacing your current device as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage or disruption from occurring due to its potentially faulty signal status.

Here’s another post that you need to check out: How To Bypass A Bad ESN On A Phone?

How to Fix a Bad ESN?

How to Fix a Bad ESN

If your device is having trouble staying connected, don’t despair – there are steps you can take to get it back up and running in no time!

A bad ESN (electronic serial number) on a phone is typically caused by the previous user not properly canceling their contract with the carrier. To fix this issue, the first step is to check with your carrier to see if they can reset or replace the current ESN. If that doesn’t work, some carriers will allow you to purchase an ESN change kit. This kit will contain instructions and a new ESN number that you can use to update your device’s settings.

When preventing a bad ESN in the future, make sure to check with your carrier prior to purchasing any used phones. This ensures that the seller has officially canceled their contract with the carrier before selling it on to you. Make sure you also double-check any paperwork associated with the phone when it arrives so that all of its information matches up correctly.

The last step in fixing a bad ESN is making sure all of your settings match up correctly after updating them, as any misalignments could cause connection issues again down the line. So make sure everything looks correct and test out your connection once everything is set up correctly – then enjoy using your newly fixed phone!


You’ve learned what a bad ESN is and how to check your phone for one. You may have even encountered one yourself.

If you believe you have a bad ESN, don’t worry – it’s possible to fix! For example, if you purchased a used phone from an online retailer and received one with a bad ESN, the seller should be able to provide you with the correct information needed in order to get your device working again.

With this knowledge, you can now confidently purchase used phones without fear of them being incompatible due to having a bad ESN.

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