How to Erase Your iPhone Before Sale or Trade

Are you planning to get a new iPhone tomorrow? Have an old iPhone that you’re selling or trading in? Make sure to protect your personal information by wiping your old iPhone before giving it up.

There are two primary ways to wipe the phone. First, use iTunes:

iTunes RestoreUse iTunes to restore your iPhone to factory settings.

  1. Plug the phone into a computer running iTunes and wait for it to appear in the “Devices” section of the iTunes sidebar.
  2. Select the iPhone from the sidebar and then make sure you’re on the “Summary” tab.
  3. Under “Version” choose “Restore.” You’ll receive a pop-up dialog informing you that this step will erase your phone and reset it to factory settings. Click “Restore” to continue.
  4. iTunes will now download the latest firmware for the iPhone, which may take several minutes depending on your connection speed. Once downloaded, iTunes will automatically begin the restore process during which your phone will reboot twice. After the process is completed, the phone will appear in iTunes as a new device and ask you for a device name. Before entering any information, disconnect the phone. It has now been wiped of your personal information and is ready for sale or trade-in.

The second step won’t update your firmware but is helpful if you don’t have a computer with iTunes available.

iPhone Reset

No computer needed: use the Reset function to erase and reset the iPhone.

  1. Unlock the iPhone and go to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. In the Reset menu choose the second option “Erase all Content and Settings.”
  3. Enter your passcode (if you have one) and you’ll be informed that this step will delete all content on the phone and reset all settings. Confirm your choice by pressing “Erase iPhone” twice. The phone will process for a moment and then reboot.
  4. Upon reboot, the phone will be erased and ready for connection to iTunes. Just as above, don’t enter any information at this point; merely shut the phone off and prep it for sale or trade.

The one advantage of iPhones is that they retain a good amount of value due to the initial subsidy and the frequent release timeframes. By ensuring you erase your personal information, you can reap the reward of a high sale or trade-in price and put the money towards a new phone each year.