How To Recover Your Phone When You Have Lost Your IMEI

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Today’s article will be  little departure from our usual rooting and romming guides. We have often stressed on how important it is to follow the rules when flashing a ROM. However, mistakes do happen and sometimes people end up having bricked devices.

Now most soft bricks are easy to get out of especially if you have a backup. But what if there was something that you can’t get back via backup? Surprised? Yes, there is one such thing. It is called the EFS folder. And once you loose/misplace the data in that folder, you’re toast. But, as always, we’re here to help so this is how you get your IMEI back once you’ve lost your EFS folder.


If you’re reading this and you haven’t faced this problem yet, and you’re into flashing ROMs, then STOP right here. Boot into your custom recovery, take a backup if your EFS folder and put it in a safe place(I have 5 phones and 15 EFS backups, that’s how important this thing is).

Without a proper IMEI number you cannot make any phone calls or send texts or do anything that requires a cellular network.

How do you know that you have lost your EFS?

A few points:

  1. You boot into the ROM, and there is no signal
  2. You dial *#06# and there is a weird string of numbers that is not your IMEI or it is blank

Pre Requisites

  • Your phone must be rooted
  • Root explorer for copying files to and from EFS folder
  • Android SDK for the ADB tools or Terminal in your phone.

The IMEI is stored in “.nv_data” file in the ORIGINAL SHIPPED EFS folder too, so you just have to follow these simple steps :

Before we begin, this is a highly advanced procedure and should be attempted only by those root users who have had experience with phones. I repeat this NOT for noobs so don’t even try this for fun. This is more dangerous than most other tutorials so please proceed with caution.

Step 1

Make a copy of your EFS folder on your sdcard using root explorer and then backup to your computer [ to have another copy if you have to format the sd card sometime ]

Step 2

Delete the EFS folder (Make sure you have the BACKUP in a safe place as mentioned in STEP 1) from the root of your phone using root explorer.

Step 3

Do a Factory Reset. After that, navigate to the root directory of your phone.

Step 4

Go to EFS folder using root explorer; delete “nv_data.bin” and the “nv_data.bin.md5” files.

Step 5

Go to your backed up EFS folder on your sd card, copy the “IMEI” folder to the EFS folder at the root of your phone, then again go to the backed up EFS folder in your sd card and copy the ” .nv_data ” file to your EFS folder at the root of your phone using root explorer.

NOTE: the dot in first of nv_data is not a mistake, copy the “.nv_data” file.

Step 6

Make another copy of the “.nv_data” file in EFS folder in your phone, so you would have 2 copies of “.nv_data” in EFS folder.

Step 7

Rename one of “.nv_data” files to “nv_data.bin” and another one to “nv_data.bin.bak

Step 8

Open Command Prompt in your Windows PC (Terminal for all you Linux users) at the ADB tool path, or run Terminal at your phone enter these commands:

  • adb shell (use this command if you use ADB, if you’re using terminal, skip it )
  • su         ( When the option comes up allow the superuser to access the file system by clicking “grant” on the phone screen )
  • chown 1001:radio /efs/nv_data.bin

Step 9

Reset your phone…. after that you have your original IMEI. you can check your IMEI by dialling *#06#.


You have successfully recovered your phone from the jaws of death. If you questions or queries about the process leave a comment below, I’ll be happy to respond.

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  1. xavier says

    there is no file as “.nv_data” on my phone samaung galaxy s5 instead there is .nv_data.bak,.nv_data.bak.md5,nv_data.bin,nv_data.bin.md5 plz help

    • Amartya says

      I would need a bit more info to help you out. Do you have a backup of your EFS from before? How is your EFS folder now? Have you lost your IMEI?

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