How To Wipe an iPhone: 6 Steps to Sell Your Phone

Learn how to erase your iPhone to sell it, and keep your private data safe. Don't forget to back up your data!

This article will tell you how to clear your iPhone to sell it. Whether you want to sell your iPhone or trade it in for a newer model, you will need to learn how to do a factory reset on your iPhone. It is crucial to erase your iPhone so that no one can access your private information. It will also make your life easier if you can restore your iPhone’s data on your new phone. Learn what to do before selling your iPhone.

Related: How to Factory Reset Your iPhone: Erase Your iPhone & Restore Factory Settings

6 Steps to Sell Your iPhone

1. Back Up Your iPhone

Before you learn how to clear your iPhone, it is crucial to know how to back up all your data. But what does backing up your iPhone do? It saves your data and phone settings and can let you skip a lot of frustrating setup steps when you get your new iPhone. The easiest way to back up your data is using iCloud directly on your iPhone. However, you can also back up your iPhone using your Mac.

How to Back Up Your iPhone on iCloud

To back up your iPhone to iCloud:

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings on iPhone.
     
  2. Select your name at the top.

    Tap on your name in your iPhone Settings to backup
     
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Tap iCloud to open Settings and backup iPhone
     
  4. Scroll down and tap on iCloud Backup.

    Tap iCloud backup to back up your iPhone
     
  5. Toggle to turn iCloud Backup on.

    Toggle to turn iCloud Backup on
     
  6. Tap Back Up Now.

    Tap back up phone to back up your iPhone

When the toggle is on, iCloud automatically backs up your information. You will need to have enough storage on your iCloud to be able to back up your data. If you do not have space, you will get this message when you tap on Back Up Now.

If you do not have enough iCloud storage, you will a message.

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How to Back Up Your iPhone on Your Mac Using Finder

You can also back up your iPhone on your Mac. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, you can back up your iPhone on iTunes. On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, you can do this using Finder:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB or USB-C cable. You can connect the devices using Wi-Fi too, but this can slow down the backup process.
  2. Open Finder; your phone should show up in the sidebar.

    Open Finder, your phone should show up sidebar.
     
  3. If this is the first time you are plugging in your phone, click Trust in the Finder. Your phone will also ask you if you trust the computer. Tap Trust and confirm with your passcode that you trust the computer.

    Confirm if you trust your Mac
     
  4. In your Mac finder, under Backups, click the Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac circle.

    Click the circle that says Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac
     
  5. Click Back Up Now.

    Click Back Up Now to back up the computer.
     
  6. A pop-up will ask if you want to encrypt the backup. You can tap Don't Encrypt if you don't want to do this.

    You can tap Don't Encrypt if you don't want to set a password for the backup.

An encrypted backup will require a password to access the file to keep your data extra safe.

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2. Sign Out of iCloud

It is important to sign out of iCloud on your iPhone before you sell it. That way, the new owner won’t have access to all your data, including your other devices' location. It is best to sign out of your iCloud on your iPhone before you sell it. However, if you forget, you can also sign out of iCloud remotely from any device.

How to Sign Out of iCloud Locally

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings on iPhone.
     
  2. Tap on your name at the top of the screen.

    Tap on your name in your iPhone Settings to backup
     
  3. Scroll down and tap Sign Out.

    Scroll down in Settings and tap Sign Out.
     
  4. You will be prompted to enter your password.

    You will be prompted to enter your password.
     
  5. Tap Turn Off.

    Tap Turn Off to clear your iPhone

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How to Sign Out of iCloud Remotely

You don't have to remove everything from iCloud if you sell your phone before signing out. If you've already parted ways with your iPhone, it's not too late to sign out of iCloud remotely. These steps will also teach you how to wipe your iPhone clean.

  1. Go to icloud.com/find. You can use someone else's device to do this.
  2. Sign in to your iCloud account. You may get a security code sent to another device to verify your login.

    Log into iCloud to erase a device remotely
     
  3. Select the device.

    Tap the device that you want to erase on iCloud
     
  4. Tap Erase iPhone.

    Click erase iPhone to wipe the iPhone remotely
     
  5. Once it’s been erased, tap Remove from Account.

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3. How to Unlock Your iPhone for Use with Other Carriers

Unlocking your iPhone generally allows you to sell your device for a higher price. This is because an unlocked iPhone can be used with carriers other than the carrier you used when owning the device.

For instance, if you had a contract with Verizon, but you've fulfilled your contract and paid off the iPhone, then you can ask Verizon to unlock your device. That way, when you sell your device, the person who buys it can use Sprint, T-Mobile, or any other carrier they choose.

Therefore, if you've fulfilled your contract, ask your carrier to unlock your iPhone. To get it unlocked, call your carrier or fill out a form on your carrier's website.

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4. How Clear Your iPhone: Reset Your iPhone to Factory Settings

How do you wipe an iPhone clean before selling it? Before you hand your old iPhone over to someone else, you need to erase all those selfies and personal texts. Resetting your iPhone to factory settings means that all of your data will be erased and the phone will power up as though it’s just come out of the box. Here's how to clear your iPhone.

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings on iPhone.
     
  2. Select General.

    Tap General to reset your iPhone to factory settings
     
  3. Scroll all the way down and tap Reset.

    Scroll all the way down and tap Reset.
     
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

    Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
     
  5. If you have any data uploading to iCloud, you will be prompted to Finish Uploading Then Erase. You can opt to Erase Now, but may lose any data that hasn't finished uploading.

    If you have any data uploading to iCloud, you will be prompted to Finish Uploading Then Erase.
     
  6. Enter your passcode to confirm.

    Enter your passcode to reset your iPhone to factory settings

Now you know how to reset your phone and you are now ready to sell it!

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5. Where to Sell Your iPhone

You may be wondering, "Where do I actually sell my iPhone?" There are multiple ways to do this. Consider these options with relevant information:

  • Websites to check out include SwappaGlyde, and Gazelle, which are all resale sites specifically for smartphones and other electronics.
  • You can sell it locally, which may allow you to fetch the highest price if your device is like new. Craigslist is a good option when selling locally, so long as you're careful of scams and accept cash only. You might, instead, try posting the iPhone for sale in your local Facebook sell/trade/buy group.
  • If you plan to spend more money at Apple, you can trade-in your old device at an Apple store and get store credit. 
  • You can also turn in your old iPhone to Apple's Reuse and Recycling program for credit, which is an excellent option if your iPhone is partially damaged.
  • Or you can choose to sell your iPhone using a more general online website such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Amazon, which is another way to get the most money for your old iPhone.

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6. How to Set Up a New iPhone

Congratulations on the upgrade! Now you’re ready to set up your new iPhone using that beautiful backup we made at the beginning of the article. Restoring from a backup will cause all your settings, data, and purchased content to appear on your new iPhone automatically. You can restore your iPhone from iCloud or use the backup on your Mac using Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, you can restore your iPhone using iTunes. If you decide you prefer to start from scratch, you can also set up your iPhone as new.

How to Restore iPhone from iCloud Backup

You can backup from iCloud using these steps:

  1. Turn the device on. A setup assistant will appear that asks your language and country, if you'd like to enable Location Services, and which Wi-Fi network to connect to.
  2. A new screen will appear that says Apps & Data. From the three options, select Restore from iCloud Backup.
  3. Tap Next, and enter your Apple ID and password. Here's how to reset your Apple ID if you forgot your password if you forgot it.
  4. You'll then see a list of your recent backups. Choose the most recent one, and tap Restore.
  5. As you restore your backup, you'll need to enter passwords for your Apple ID, email, and other accounts.

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How to Restore Your iPhone from a Backup Using Finder

You can also back up your iPhone on your Mac. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, you can restore your iPhone from iTunes. On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, you can do this using Finder.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB or USB-C cable. You can connect the devices using WiFi too, but this can slow down the backup process.
  2. Open Finder; your phone should show up in the sidebar. If this is the first time you are plugging in your phone, click Trust in the Finder.

    Open Finder, your phone should show up sidebar.
     
  3. Under the General tab, click Restore Backup.

    Under the General tab on your Mac, click Restore Backup.
     
  4. Choose the backup you want to restore on the device from the Backup pop-up menu, then click Restore. If your encrypted the backup, you will have to enter the password to restore your files and settings.

Once the sync is complete, you can unplug your new iPhone. It’s restored and ready to go!

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Before you sell your iPhone and buy a new one, you should back up your iPhone to save yourself the hassle when you set up your new phone. It is essential to keep your data safe by learning how to wipe an iPhone. Once you erase your iPhone, you should also log out of iCloud. Once you have a new phone, you can follow the instructions above to learn how to restore your iPhone data on a new device.

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.