5 things to do before you sell your old iPhone

The build-up to a new iPhone is incredibly exciting. Whether you’re lucky enough to upgrade your device every year on release day or you hold onto your smartphone for a couple of years or longer, there’s no denying that opening that box for the first time and experimenting with Apple’s latest features is a pretty awesome experience.

Once you’ve got your box-fresh iPhone, the chances are that you’ll want to sell your old model. Below, we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks on what to do to ensure your data is safe and you get the most money for it.

Clean your iPhone

The first step is to clean your old iPhone to get it ready for sale. Nobody wants to buy a scuffed old device that’s covered in fingerprints and grease, so put in some effort before selling. Apple suggests the following strategy for more recent models with textured glass, but these cleaning tips are useful for virtually every smartphone.

  • Unplug all cables and turn off your iPhone.
  • Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth—for example, a lens cloth.
  • If material is still present, use a soft, lint-free cloth with warm soapy water.
  • Avoid getting moisture in openings.
  • Don’t use cleaning products or compressed air.

Remove your iCloud account

Next up, head into your Settings and sign out from iCloud. It’s impossible for someone else to use your iPhone if you don’t, as Apple will ask for the iCloud ID to unlock a device or change its settings. If you’ve also paired your Apple Watch to your iPhone, you’ll need to unpair it. Next, you should back up your device and then sign out of iCloud and the iTunes and App Stores by going to Settings > [your name]. Scroll down and tap Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off. The process will take a few minutes and remove content from your device.

Do a factory reset

Once you’ve turned off iCloud, go back into your Settings menu and erase all of your content and settings. Go to General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If you’ve got Find My turned on, you’ll need to re-enter your Apple ID, but this should have been turned off when you removed your iCloud account from your iPhone.

If you’re moving to an Android device, you’ll need to speak to your carrier to deregister iMessage access.

Shop around for the best price

Don’t assume that an Apple trade-in will give you the best price for your old device; unless Apple is running a specific promotion, you’ll likely find better offers elsewhere. Look at various Apple trade-in websites and stores to find the best offer for your smartphone in its current condition, and avoid selling in busy periods, like September when new iPhones are announced. Alternatively, sell your device to a friend or put it up for sale on eBay.

Consider recycling – or holding onto it

If you can’t get a good price for your iPhone, consider having it recycled so that the parts can be reused for future iPhones, or donate it to a charity that can ship your phone to someone in need. Alternatively, you might decide to hold onto your old device – original iPhones sell for thousands of dollars, and though a pristine iPhone SE might not be worth $1,000 today, it could prove to be a valuable asset in decades to come. Keep it in storage, and who knows!?

Do you have any other tips and tricks to add to this article? Let us know on social media and check back soon for more advice.

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About the Author

Everything Apple, every day. This post was written by an AppleMagazine newsroom writer.