How to Erase Your Old iPhone Before Trading It In

If you’re planning on trading in your old iPhone for a new one, there are some steps you’ll want to take beforehand to ensure it’s de-linked from your accessories and accounts and that everything on it is erased.

The procedures described below shouldn’t take long to follow, and at the end of it you can rest assured that you have a clean iPhone reset to default factory settings and ready to trade in. Here’s what to do.

Back Up Your iPhone

Before you reset, you should back up your device. You can back up your data to iCloud, but we’d advise you connect your iPhone up to a computer and perform an iTunes backup instead, just to be sure. You can find steps to back up your iPhone by clicking here.

Got an Apple Watch? Time to Unpair

If you’re trading in your iPhone and have an Apple Watch linked to it, you’re going to want to unpair it first. Here’s how.

  1. Bring your iPhone and Apple Watch close to each other.
  2. Launch the stock Watch app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap the My Watch tab.
  4. Select the Apple Watch you want to unpair, then tap the info button (the encircled “I”) next to it on the next screen.

    apple watch
  5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  6. Tap again to confirm.
  7. Enter your Apple ID password when prompted to turn off Activation Lock.

Deactivate Services and Log Out Manually

Erasing your iPhone deactivates Find My iPhone and logs you out of all your iCloud and iTunes accounts automatically – in theory. Occasionally we’ve heard cases of erased iOS devices still being linked to Find My iPhone or iCloud accounts.

Whatever the truth of these reports, you can always make doubly sure this won’t happen by deactivating and unlinking these services yourself. To learn how to turn off Find My iPhone, click here. To sign out of iCloud and the iTunes and App Stores, launch the Settings app on your iPhone, tap on your name to open your account settings, tap Sign Out at the bottom, then enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.

How to Factory Reset Your iPhone

Now that you’ve backed up your iPhone and manually deactivated services and accounts, it’s time to perform a factory reset of the device. These steps will guide you through the process.

  1. Unlock your iPhone or iPad and launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

  5. Tap in your passcode if requested.
  6. Enter your Apple ID password to erase the iPhone and remove it from your account.
  7. Tap Erase.

Allow the reset process to continue – it shouldn’t take any longer than a couple of minutes. Once it’s completed, you’ll see the iOS welcome screen on your iPhone. That’s your green light to trade it in.

This article, “How to Erase Your Old iPhone Before Trading It In” first appeared on

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