Top 4 Things You Need to Do Before Selling Your iPhone

If you’re planning to buy the new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, you'll need to prepare your old iPhone and maybe even get ready to sell it. From backing up your data to restoring that data to the new iPhone, there’s quite a few steps in between to ensure a smooth transition. If you’re planning on selling your old iPhone, it’s also important to clear all your information off of the device and unlock it, which will allow you to fetch the highest price possible. So before you sell that old iPhone of yours, read this first. We’re going to cover everything from backing up your iPhone’s data to resetting your device to factory settings. Here’s the top four things you need to do before selling your iPhone.

Related: Selecting the Right Carrier for Your iPhone 7

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Table of Contents:

How to Back Up Your iPhone’s Data

How to Sign Out of iCloud (Local & Remote)

How to Unlock Your iPhone for Use with other Carriers

How to Erase Your iPhone to Factory Settings

Selling Your Old iPhone & Setting Up Your New iPhone

1. How to Back Up iPhone

Before you set up your new iPhone or erase what’s on your old iPhone, you’ll want to back up iPhone, rather the data on your iPhone, to a trusted computer or to iCloud. When it comes to selling your old iPhone, I recommend making both an iTunes backup and an iCloud backup.  This backup is the one that will transfer everything from your old device to the new one, which is why it’s so important you know how to back up iPhone.

The easiest way to back up your data to the cloud is via your phone's Settings app. To back up your iPhone to iCloud:

  • From Settings, tap iCloud and scroll down until you see Backup.
  • Select Backup and turn iCloud Backup on.
  • When this is on, iCloud automatically backs up your information. When you set up your new iPhone, the backed up data (photos, library, documents, settings, etc.) will easily transfer.

To back up your iPhone to iTunes:

  • Plug your iPhone in via the USB port and look for the icon of your phone to appear in the upper left menu. Clicking the icon shows you the specifics of your phone.
  • From the Summary page, find the section labeled Backups. Select the circle labeled This computer.
  • Then select Backup now and a file will be saved to your computer.

It’s much faster to create an iTunes backup on your computer than it is to upload all your info to the cloud. However, it can often be more convenient to restore your iPhone from the cloud. 

2. How to Sign Out of iCloud (Local & Remote)

Another thing you need to do before selling your old device, that is often overlooked, is signing out of iCloud on your iPhone. If you remember to do this before you sell your iPhone, that’s great. But if you forgot, it’s not a big deal—we’ll cover how to erase your device from iCloud remotely too. To sign out of iCloud on your iPhone:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap iCloud.
  • Tap Sign Out. Confirm that you’d like to Sign Out.

  • Tap Delete from My iPhone and enter your password to wipe your iCloud data from the phone.

To remotely sign out of iCloud on iPhone:

  • Go to icloud.com/find.
  • Sign in to your iCloud account.
  • Click All Devices and select your old iPhone.
  • Click Erase iPhone. Once it’s been erased, click Remove from Account.

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 choose to 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.

4. How to Erase Your iPhone to Factory Settings

Before you hand your old iPhone over to someone else, you need to erase everything. This is known as resetting your iPhone to factory settings. Once you’ve done this, the iPhone will power up as though it’s just come out of the box. Resetting your iPhone to factory settings is important for two reasons: your own privacy and readying the iPhone for the person you sell or give it to.

To erase your iPhone to factory settings:

  • Open Settings.
  • Select General.
  • Scroll all the way down and tap Reset.
  • Tap Erase All Content and Settings and enter your passcode.

You’re ready to sell your phone.

Selling Your Old iPhone & Setting Up Your New iPhone

Out with the Old: Selling Your Old iPhone

Now that you’ve done the top four things you need to do before selling your iPhone, it’s time to pass it on to the next person. There are multiple ways to sell your old iPhone and no clear best place to sell that iPhone. Here’s our list of options with relevant information:

  • Websites to check out include Swappa, Glyde, and Gazelle, which are all resale sites specifically for smart phones and other electronics.  
  • You can sell it locally, which may allow you to fetch the highest price if your device is like-new. When selling locally, Craigslist is a good option 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.
  • You can turn in your old iPhone to Apple's Reuse and Recycling program for credit, which is a great option if your iPhone is partially damaged.
  • Or you can choose to sell your iPhone using a more general online website such as can eBay or Amazon, which is another way to get the most money for your old iPhone. Our guide to buying a new iPhone has all the specifics of selling your iPhone on eBay.

In with the New: Setting Up Your 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 automatically appear on your new iPhone. If you decide you’d rather start from scratch, you can also set up your iPhone as new.

How to Restore your iPhone from Backup (iCloud or iTunes)

Restore iPhone from iCloud Backup

  • 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.
  • A new screen will appear that says Apps & Data. From the three options, select Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • Tap Next, and enter your Apple ID and password. (Here's how to reset your Apple ID if you forgot your password)
  • You’ll then see a list of your recent backups.Choose the most recent, and tap Restore.
  • As you restore your backup, you’ll need to enter passwords for your Apple ID, email, and other accounts.

Restore iPhone from iTunes Backup

  • Plug your new iPhone into your computer using the USB-to-Lightning cable. If iTunes doesn’t automatically pop-up, open iTunes. Your new iPhone may ask for the device passcode or whether or not your trust this computer; tap Trust This Computer.
  • Tap the icon of your device found in the top left of the page. This will open the device summary on iTunes.
  • Select Restore Backup.

  • A box with a list of the locally stored backups will appear. From the drop down menu, select the most recent backup you made from your old iPhone.
  • Click Restore.
  • If your backup was encrypted, you’ll have to enter that password as well.
  • Keep your device connected to your computer as it restores. Your iPhone will power off and back on; let it sync with your computer.

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

 

Top Image Credit: Viktoria Roy / Shutterstock.com

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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.