The iPhone 6 is set to be announced on September 9th with a subsequent release on 19th (speculated). Irrespective of the critiques, iPhones will sell like hot pancakes and people with old iPhones will upgrade to the new one.

If you’re passing down your old iPhone or selling your iPhone, you’ve got to make sure your data is safe. To do this, you have to back up the data to iTunes and/or iCloud and erase all traces of it from your old iPhone. This is easy to accomplish through a general reset but if you’re cautious about data, here’s 10 things you must do before selling your old iPhone.

What To Do Before Selling Old iPhone

10 Things You Must Do Before Selling Your Old iPhone

#1. Backup to iTunes

You know iCloud backups are fine and dandy but there’s 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.

  • Open iTunes on your computer
  • Connect your iPhone
  • In iTunes (on PC/Mac), click on your device’s name from the top-left. (If the Summary tab shows up, you don’t have to do this)
  • Under the Summary tab, and under Backups, click on Back up Now.
  • Make sure “Encrypt iPhone backup” is disabled.

Backup iPhone to iTunes Before Selling It

(disabling Encrypt iPhone backup erases saved passcodes from the backup. This way, when you restore the backup to a new iPhone, you won’t have to enter the passcode to get started. This is helpful as a precautionary step in case you forget the old passcode when setting up the new iPhone)

#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.

  • On your iPhone, open the Settings app
  • Tap on iCloud
  • Scroll down and tap on Storage & Backup
  • Make sure the switch for iCloud Backup is enabled
  • Next up, tap on Back Up Now.

Backup iPhone to iCloud Before Selling It

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.

To select what apps/data get backed up:

  • Go to Settings -> iCloud and scroll down
  • Tap on Storage & Backup
  • Tap on Manage Storage
  • Under Backups label, tap on the name of your iPhone

Manage iCloud Storage on iPhone and iPad

  • Now, under Backup Options, you can turn on/off the switch for the apps you want to backup to iCloud.

Choosing Apps to Backup on iCloud

#3. Export Contacts to and from iCloud

Yes, when you backup to iTunes/iCloud, all your contacts are backed up safely. However, in my limited experience, I’ve faced enough contact-book-mishaps on the iPhone that I’d be very careful with this one.

If you use iCloud to sync your contacts, you can easily export all your contacts as .vcf. Despite having your contacts saved in iTunes/iCloud backups, having a real vCard file containing your contacts is enormously helpful.

To save contacts to iCloud:

  • Open Settings -> iCloud
  • Enable the Contacts switch.

Export Contacts to and from iCloud

To export contacts from iCloud:

  • On your Mac/PC browser, go to iCloud.com.
  • Sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Click on Contacts
  • Bottom-left of the screen, you should see a cog wheel. Click on it.
  • From the options, click on Export vCard.

Export Contacts from 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. Delete iCloud Accounts, Sign Out of iMessage and Facetime

Signing out of your Apple ID account will disable all iCloud-related features on your iPhone. By doing this, you will also be disabling, temporarily, FaceTime and iMessage (although it’s recommended that you check them separately).

To do this on your iPhone:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on iCloud
  • Scroll down and tap on Delete Account
  • Confirm by tapping on Delete

Delete iCloud Accounts, Sign Out of iMessage and Facetime on iPhone

To sign out of iMessage / FaceTime

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Messages (for iMessage) / Tap on FaceTime
  • Under Messages, turn off the switch for iMessage

Sign out of iMessage and FaceTime from iPhone and iPad

  • Under FaceTime, turn off the switch for FaceTime

Turn off Switch for FaceTime on iPhone and iPad

Also delete all accounts:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Tap on each account you’ve added and tap Delete Account

This will remove all email, calendar and iCloud accounts you’ve got on your iPhone.

#7. Sign out of 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 of iTunes and App Store on iPhone

#8. Disable All Passcodes / Restriction Codes

A general reset (erase all contents and settings) usually resets everything including passcodes but just to be sure, you might want to disable all restrictions too, if you’ve set them. To disable restrictions, all you need to do is head over to Settings -> General -> Restrictions and Disable Restrictions (enter the restriction passcode).

#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 left over.

For Safari, you can check out how to delete all history, cache here and here’s how to delete reading list items (if there are any; thin chances as you’d have removed your iCloud account already).

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

By this point, you 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.

Erase All Content and Setting on iPhone and iPadExtras

If you’re still paranoid, you can setup the old iPhone as new after the general reset and sniff around for any traces of data. You won’t find any.

And you can then sell your iPhone / pass it down.

  • Innreously

    Before selling your iPhone, don’t forget to erase data from your iphone, simple deletion will not far enough to delete them completely, Safewiper iOS Data Eraser application could permanently smash the data, highly recommend!

    You can Google Safewiper and try it.

  • El Sánchez

    LOOL simple, just backup what you need and restore iphone for new user :)

    • Mind Games

      he only share the step by step tutorial, idiot!