By Tracey Dowdy
The almost-annual release of a new iPhone is one of the most significant events in tech, often setting trends and becoming the phone that other tech companies try to emulate. If you’re looking ahead to the release of the iPhone 12 later this year, or if being quarantined with an older phone has you in the market for an upgrade, there are a few steps to take with your current phone before you trade it in, sell it, or turn it in to be recycled. Wiping your phone and rolling it back to its factory settings ensures that no one has access to the personal information or photos stored on your phone.
The first step is to back up your phone. There’s nothing worse than following the steps to wipe your device and discovering you’ve lost your contacts, photos, or other relevant information. Back up your iPhone by connecting it to your MacBook or iMac and or use iTunes on a PC to back it up. CNET offers a full tutorial here.
The easiest way to back up your phone is through the cloud. Go to Settings > tap on your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now. Depending on how long it’s been since your last back up, it may take a while, but it’s by far the easiest method. Pro Tip- make sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and a charger to keep the backup from failing because of a drained battery.
The next steps are a little more tedious.
- Sign out of each app and service individually.
- Delete email accounts from your device in Settings > Passwords & Accounts.
- If you haven’t already, take out your SIM card. If your new phone comes with a new SIM card, destroy your old one and throw it away. If your phone has an eSIM, make sure you remove or deactivate it.
Return your phone to its factory settings by following these steps:
Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
Enter your phone’s PIN code along with your Apple ID password to delete the phone from your account. The screen will then go dark, and the Apple logo along with a progress bar will appear. As with a new iPhone, after it turns back on (it will take a few minutes), a screen with “Hello” in different languages will flash, indicating the reset is complete.
Your phone is now ready to be sold or recycled. Have fun with your new one!
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.