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What To Do Before Selling Your Old iPhone

Things to Do Before Selling your iPhone


After years of usage, your iPhone has begun to look a bit dull now. So, you’ve decided to sell it out and upgrade to an all-new smartphone. But before selling your old iPhone, you must do certain things like securely backing up your data and wiping out all the existing content as well as settings.

It’s done to ensure nothing is left on your device, and your entire data is secure. Follow along as we walk you through the 12 most important dos!

12 Things You Must Do Before Selling Your Old iPhone

#1. Backup to iTunes

You know iCloud backups are fine and dandy, but there’s a cap. Also, having a real, accessible backup on your local system can go a long way just in case things go wrong with an iCloud backup. That is why I always recommend an iTunes backup.

Simply fire iTunes on your computer. Then, connect your iPhone to your computer → Select your device. Then, click on Back Up Now.

Restore iPhone from iTunes Backup

Note: If you wish to save your Health and Activity data from your iOS device and Apple Watch, make sure to encrypt your backup. To do so, check the box called Encrypt [device] backup and then enter a memorable password.

After the backup process is completed, you can check out the date and time under the Latest Backup section.

#2. Backup to iCloud

While iTunes backups are safe, iCloud backups are helpful when you want an easy way to set up the new iPhone. When you try to restore from an iTunes backup, you need to be connected to the computer with the backup files. With iCloud, you can be anywhere (with Wi-Fi connectivity, of course).

Backing up to iCloud is easy too.

  • Open Settings app on your device
  • Now, tap on your profile icon.
  • Next, tap on iCloud.
  • Next up, tap on iCloud Backup.
  • Ensure that iCloud Backup switch is ON. Now, hit the Back Up Now. Then, wait for some time until your device has been successfully backed up

Backup iPhone to iCloud Before Selling

Depending on your network speed and the things you’re backing up, it may take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour to backup. Good news is that you let it run in the background and carry on with your work.

An important thing to remember is that you can pick what data gets backed up to iCloud. This is extremely useful.

#3. Export Contacts to and from iCloud

Whether you are switching to a new iPhone or heading to the Android world, it’s always better to secure the address book. And what better to way to back up all the contacts than using iCloud sync. Besides, you can also export your contacts as vCard.

Open Settings app → tap on your profile → iCloud → now, ensure that the switch for Contacts is turned ON.

Backup Contacts using iCloud sync on iPhone

To export your contacts as vCard, head over to → sign in using your Apple ID and passwords → Click on Contacts icon → Click on the tiny cog icon at the bottom left corner and choose Export vCard.

Click on Export vCard in iCloud

How to Erase iPhone Data Before Selling

#4. Delete Photos

I’ll repeat it. A general reset will clear all your photos but it’s always safer to individually delete them. That way, you are clearing out traces (better than what a general reset will do).

Clearing out photos includes clearing out albums. Unfortunately, since the iPhone/iOS doesn’t come with an option to delete app photos at once, you will have to [resort to a little trick to delete them in bulk][0].

#5. Delete Apps

Once you’re done deleting photos (which is one of the most personal stuff you would have on your old iPhone), you can start clearing out the apps.

Why delete apps when a reset clears them out? Just an extra precaution. Deleting apps will delete most cache associated with these apps. It will also delete any traces of login/personal information that the apps might have stored on your iPhone. (I’m thinking of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

#6. Sign Out Of iCloud, iMessage, and Facetime

Another important thing you must do is sign out of iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime.

Open Settings app → Your profile → Tap on Sign Out → Enter your Apple ID password and hit Turn OFF in the popup.

Sign Out Of iCloud on iPhone

Head over to Settings → Messages → Send & Receive → tap on your Apple ID → tap on Sign Out.

Sign out of iMessage on iPhone

Open Settings → FaceTime → hit Apple ID → tap on Sign Out.

Sign out of FaceTime on iPhone

#7. Sign out of the iTunes/App Store

This is just a routine procedure.

  • Open Settings
  • Scroll down and tap on iTunes & App Store
  • Tap on your Apple ID
  • Now tap on Sign Out

Sign out from iTunes and App Store on iPhone

#8. Disable All Passcodes/Screen Time Passcode

A general reset (erase all contents and settings) usually resets everything including passcodes but just to be sure, you might want to disable Screen Time Passcode, if you’ve set it.

To disable it, all you need to do is head over to Settings → Screen Time → Tap on Change Screen Time Passcode → Tap on Turn Off Screen Time Passcode → Enter the passcode to confirm.

Disable Screen Time Passcode on iPhone

#9. Safari, Mail, Calendars, Reminders

When you delete your iCloud account, most of the items in Safari, Reminders, Calendars, etc. are gone. Ditto for Mail accounts too. But there could be history leftovers, page caches, reading list items that you might want to delete on the old iPhone. You should do that now.

Since these are stock apps, you can’t delete them (and there’s no point in doing that either). So, you delete whatever data’s leftover.

iOS offers you the easy way to get rid of all the Safari history and website data. Get it done to ensure entire browsing data is eliminated.

#10. General Reset (Erase All Content/Settings)

By this point, your iPhone already looks like it’s been reset. But remember: you still have Wi-fi passwords stored, possibly some APN profiles stored, personal information like the iPhone’s name, etc. We’re going to clear them out.

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on General
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap on Reset
  • Tap on Erase All Content and Settings
  • Confirm and your iPhone will reset, power off and reboot

Tap on Erase All Content and Settings Under General in Reset on iPhone


#11. Unpair Your iPhone from Apple Watch

This is really essential. And you must get it done before you trade-in or give away your device.

The data of your Apple Watch is automatically backed up at the time of unpairing. So, you shouldn’t worry about it. To get it done, head over to this post.

#12. Deregister iMessage

Especially when switching to a non-Apple device, you need to deregister iMessage. Else, you might not get SMS/MMS messages on your device. To do so, check out this hands-on guide.

There you go!

Wrapping Up…

So, these are some of the essential things you must do before giving away your device to anyone (or for that matter selling it away). Of course, it’s a bit time-consuming. However, it’s better to go through the grind in order to safeguard the data.

Don’t miss out on these posts as well:

So, which device are you planning to switch to?

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