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Selling or trading in your iPhone? Make sure you wipe or reset it first. Here’s how – CNET

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Getting rid of your old iPhone? Make sure you reset it properly. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Whether it’s an iPhone 12, you’re getting ready for the iPhone 13, or you have your eye on one of the amazing Android phones available right now, getting a new phone is exciting. But after the excitement wears off, you’re left with a decision about what to do with your old phone. If it’s still in working order, you have several options that range from trading it in to save some cashselling it to a random stranger, or repurposing it. However, before you hand it over to someone else or drop it off at FedEx, there’s still some work you’ll need to do. 

Before you can even begin to think about giving your phone to someone else, you need to take some time to wipe and reset it to factory settings. Doing so will ensure that nobody has access to the treasure trove of personal information we all keep on our phones. Below, I’ll walk you through steps you need to take before resetting your phone, and I’ll show you the reset process.

Stop! You need to back up your iPhone before doing anything else

Before you reset your iPhone, create a backup that you can use to set up your new iPhone, or return to if you’re missing contacts or photos on your new phone. You can back up your iPhone by connecting it to your Mac and following these steps, or use iTunes on a PC to back it up. 

Alternatively, you can use iCloud to back up your phone by going to Settings > tap on your name at the top of the page > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now. This backup method can take a while, depending on how long it’s been since you’ve backed up your phone, but it’s dead simple. 

Just make sure to keep your phone connected to a Wi-Fi network and on a charger to prevent the backup from draining the battery. 

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Back up your iPhone before doing anything else. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

After the backup is complete, here are a few more things you should do:

  • Sign out of all apps and services. It’s time-consuming but worth the effort to go through each app and service you’re signed into and log out.
  • Remove any email, contacts or calendar accounts from your device in Settings > Mail/Contacts/Calendar > Accounts
  • If you haven’t already, remove your SIM card. If your new phone came with a new SIM card, destroy your old one and throw it away. If you’ve been using an eSIM, make sure you remove or deactivate it
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Resetting your iPhone only takes a few taps. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

All right, now you can reset your iPhone

With your phone backed up and all of your accounts removed, factory reset it by opening the Settings app. Then tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings and confirm your decision. You’ll be asked to enter your phone’s PIN code, followed by your Apple ID password to turn off Apple’s Find My service.

After entering your password, the screen will go dark and the Apple logo along with a progress bar will show up. A few minutes later, you’ll be greeted with a screen with “Hello” in different languages flashing on it, indicating the reset was a success. 

With your phone now wiped and ready for a new owner, you can send it on its way with peace of mind that your information is no longer on your phone. 

As for your new phone, here are 15 settings you should change right away, along with some hidden features in iOS 14 that are worth checking out. Still trying to figure out what to do with your old phone? Give these ideas some thought.