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5 Things You Need to Do Before Selling Your iPhone to Keep Your Data Safe and Protect Your Privacy

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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If you’re looking to change iPhones, whether for the latest model or just a newer one than what you have now, you might be wondering what you can do with your old device.

Sure, you can throw it in a drawer somewhere to collect dust, or you can sell it to another user for whom your phone might prove useful and even serve as an upgrade.

Of course, you would never want to sell it until you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that all personal information has been securely erased.

If you don’t know how to do so or are nervous about missing an important step, don’t worry.

This comprehensive guide will help you clear an iPhone before selling it to ensure that you are offering the device in a condition that is completely safe for you and convenient for the new owner.

1. Back Up Your iPhone

The first step in any iPhone clearing process is to back up your current data.

back up iPhone

While it will be removed from your device, you may need to transfer lots of important data points to another iPhone in the future.

By backing it up, you are assured not to lose it. Backing up your iPhone’s data to iCloud can be done via the following set of simple steps:

Assure that you are connected to WiFi and that you stay connected throughout the entire backup process

  1. Open Settings, then tap your name.
  2. Tap the iCloud option
  3. Select iCloud Backup
  4. Select Tap Back Up Now. This will show you the last time you backed up your iPhone

You may get an alert informing you of insufficient iCloud storage space, in which case you will need to purchase more. 

2. Sign Out of iCloud

Once you confirm a successful backup of data, you will no longer need access to your iCloud account on this iPhone.

Sign out of iCloud

You don’t want to stay logged into them in case the new user starts using the phone and it still has your login information saved.

Here’s how to sign out of your Apple.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your username.
  3. Scroll down and select Sign Out to log out of iCloud.
  4. Enter your password, then tap Turn Off.

3. Turn Off the Find My iPhone Feature

You’ll need to disable the useful “Find My Phone” feature on your iPhone since the new owner cannot activate it if the feature is still enabled on the iCloud account.

Turn off Find My iPhone

To disable “Find My iPhone,” follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name.
  3. Select Find My.
  4. Tap Find My iPhone.
  5. If the Find My iPhone toggle switch is grayed out, it means Stolen Device Protection might be enabled on your device. To turn off Find My iPhone, you’ll first need to disable Stolen Device Protection.

Also, ensure to unpair any devices on your phone and turn off iMessage.

To turn off iMessage, open Settings > Messages > iMessage >  toggle it off.

Turn off iMessage on iPhone

To unpair an Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the My Watch tab.
  3. In the top left corner, tap All Watches.
  4. Find your watch and tap the info button (i) next to it.
  5. Scroll down and select Unpair Apple Watch.
  6. If you have a cellular plan, you can choose to keep or remove the plan before continuing.
  7. Finally, enter your Apple ID password and tap Unpair to confirm.

4. Clear All Settings and Content From the iPhone

The next step is to clear the phone of all prior settings and contents, including pictures, apps, media, and personal data that were not on the device when you purchased it.

Erase all contents on iPhone

Essentially, you will be placing the device in its factory settings. Here’s how.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap the General tab.
  3. Select Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. Choose the Erase All Content and Settings.

iOS will show you the items that will be removed from your iPhone. Tap Continue and enter your Apple ID password when prompted to confirm the device’s reset

Before you take any of the above steps, triple-check that you have the latest information and content stored on the iCloud backup. Once the data is erased, it will be gone. 

The process of deleting all data from your iPhone can vary in how long it takes. It mostly depends on how much data you have on the device at the time.

It is important to patiently wait until the iPhone finishes erasing all content without interruption.

When the process is complete, the device will restart and be ready to be set up again to get it ready for resale.

5. Prepare Your iPhone For Sale

After the data has been erased, you can either set the device up as a brand new entity by following on-screen prompts to set the region, language, and other settings for the new owner or leave the iPhone on its initial setup screen. 

Depending on the model, your iPhone may use a SIM card that links to your cell provider. Make sure to remove it before transferring ownership or selling your device.

This is important to prevent unauthorized usage of your phone number and privacy. 


Reselling your iPhone makes s lot more sense than simply storing it forever or throwing it away.

However, the above steps are vital to ensure a smooth ownership transition that is convenient for the new user and safe for the seller.

With the above steps, you can securely reset the device’s settings, untether it from your cellular account, remove all your private information, and unlink it from your iCloud account.

Doing so will ensure a positive resale experience for both you and the device’s new owner.

Questions? Concerns? Please leave a comment below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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