Good news these days can be rare but if you’re like me, you’ve been doing your happy dance ever since Apple announced the release of new iPhones in the fall of 2018.

If you’re like most Apple fans, you can hardly wait to get your hands on the new iPhone and other gadgets Apple announced.

It’s such an exciting time!

And once you have a new phone, you’ll be able to give your older iPhone to someone (a friend or family member) or sell it for profit.

Cashing in on your old iPhones

One of the great things about having an iPhone is that older models generally retain a lot of value, (especially if you were lucky enough to still have all the original packaging).  It’s the best way to sell it for the highest possible sum.

So, once you get a new iPhone, you’ll need to decide what to do with your older Apple device.

If you’re already set on selling or giving it away—especially on the open market to a stranger—you need to delete all important data from your iPhone and make sure you’re not leaving anything important on it.

How to wipe your phone clean.

When you give away your device, all of your data, account passwords and other sensitive information go along with it. Even if you’re simply passing it on to a good friend or family member, why risk any security concerns?  (After all, what if they were to resell it down the road?)

So, here’s a helpful checklist for you to run through before you hand off your old iPhone to anybody.

  • Unpair your iPhone. If you’ve paired your iPhone with other devices like an Apple Watch, quickly unpair it.
  • Back up your iPhone with iTunes or iCloud. This is the first basic step. A full backup will ensure that everything you have can be restored to your new device.
    1. Backup to iTunes: Open iTunes on your computer > Connect your iPhone > In iTunes (on PC/Mac), click on your device’s name > Summary tab > Backups > click on Back up Now. Important Tip: Make sure “Encrypt iPhone backup” is disabled to erase 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.
    2. Backup to iCloud: On your iPhone, open the Settingsapp > 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
  • Turn Off Find My iPhone. If you ever turned on iCloud or Find My iPhone, it’s likely that Activation Lock has been enabled on your phone. This is a powerful anti-theft feature that requires the original Apple ID used to activate the phone in order to activate it for a new user.  If you sell your iPhone without turning the feature off, it’s going to prevent the buyer from ever using the phone.
  • Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store. This will ensure that content like your contacts, calendars, documents, photos, and any other information on the iCloud servers and your iCloud-connected devices (like your iPad or laptop) won’t also get deleted once you start deleting stuff from your iPhone.
  • Remove photos from Camera Roll. Connect the device to your computer >open Image Capture or iPhoto >Select all photos > click Import All. In iPhoto, choose to “delete photos from your iPhone” after importing. In Image Capture, if the “Delete Items After Downloading” option no longer appears, turn off “Photos” in iCloud on your Mac and iPhone, then restart both devices.
  • Delete Apps. A general reset should clear this out but it’s an extra precaution to make sure cached data and any traces of login/personal information associated with these apps (Facebook Instagram, etc) that might have been stored on your iPhone will also be deleted.
  • Delete iCloud Accounts, Sign Out of iMessage and Facetime
    1. Turn iMessage off > Settings app > Messages > iMessage > switch to off.
    2. Turn FaceTime off > Settings app > FaceTime > switch to off.
    3. Disable your iCloud account > Settings app > iCloud > tap “Sign Out.”
    4. Log out of Apple ID > Settings app >App and iTunes Stores > tap Apple ID and sign out.
  • Restore Factory Settings. Open the Settings app > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Confirm and your iPhone will reset, power off and reboot. Important Tip: If your phone accidentally runs out of battery during the “restore to factory settings” step, use iTunes to erase data. Connect the device to your computer, then restore the backup. Go to Settings app > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings again.
  • Unregister Your Device. Email apple.com and if you’re switching to a non-Apple phone, deregister iMessage.
  • Call your Carrier. Ask them to disassociate the device from your account as well, to help in transferring service to the new owner.

If you follow all the above steps, you’re ready to sell or pass down your iPhone to a friend or loved one, or you can try selling your device to any number of places—even Apple itself.

Now, if this is the first time you’ve heard of this, you already have your new iPhone and you’re saying, “That’s great, but I don’t have my iPhone anymore,” don’t worry.

There’s still a way to protect your data.

You can erase your device remotely.

If you set up Find My iPhone, sign into icloud.com/#find > click on All Devices > select the phone/device you want to erase > click Erase (you’ll need to enter your Apple ID password) > click Remove from Account.

If any of the above steps is no longer an option, you can change your Apple ID password. It won’t remove personal information that’s stored on your old device, but it prevents the new owner from deleting your information from iCloud.

Share these tips with others.

If you have friends and family who are planning to get a new iPhone, pass this news along.

Better yet, share it with the even if they’re not getting a new iPhone…for now.

Because sooner or later, they’ll want to get a new phone and they’ll at least know there’s something they need to do before letting go of their phone—protecting their data.

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Chris Parker

Chief Marketing Technologist at CGP Holdings, Inc.
Founder and Chief Marketing Technologist of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com, the leading IP address lookup site. Chris has 15+ years of experience building and managing high traffic web sites. Web developer, programmer, IT Guy.
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