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Swipe and reset your iPhone to factory settings before trade-in or sale


Lost your old iPhone? Make sure to reset it correctly.

Patrick Holland / CNET

When it’s time to get rid of your phone, don’t just turn it off and put it back in the box. Whether you upgrade to the latest shiny new iPhone, trade it in to save some money, sell to a random stranger, or re-usethere is still some work to get your phone ready for its new home.

Before you even think about giving your phone to someone else, take a moment to wipe it and reset it to factory settings. Doing this will ensure that no one can access the wealth of personal information we all keep on our phones.

Stop! You need to backup your iPhone

Before resetting your iPhone, make a backup that you can return to if you miss contacts or photos on your new phone. You can back up your iPhone by putting it on your Mac and by following these stepsor use iTunes on a PC to back it up.

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

You must keep your iPhone connected to a Wi-Fi network and on a charger to prevent the backup from draining the battery.


Before doing anything else, back up your iPhone.

Angela Lang / CNET

Once the backup is complete, here are a few more things to do:

  • Log out of apps and services. Go through every app and service you are signed in to and log out.
  • Delete all email accounts from your device Settings > Passwords and accounts.
  • If you haven’t already done so, delete your SIM card. If your new phone came with a new SIM card, please destroy and discard your old one. If you used an e-SIM card, make sure to delete or deactivate it.

Resetting your iPhone takes just a few taps.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Okay, now you can reset your iPhone

Back up your phone and all your accounts have been deleted, do a factory reset by following these steps:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select General.

3. Scroll down and select Reset.

4. Select Erase all content and settings.

You must enter your phone PIN and Apple ID password to remove the phone from your account. In the past, you had to turn off Find My iPhone (is now called Find My) before you could reset your phone. However, now Apple will ask you for your Apple ID password during the reset process so it can turn off Find My for you.

After entering your password, the screen will go dark and the Apple logo and a progress bar will appear. A few minutes later you will be greeted with a screen where “Hello” flashes in different languages, indicating that the reset was successful.

Now that your phone is wiped and ready for a new owner, you can send it on the road with confidence.

As for your new phone, here are some settings you should change right away, together with some hidden features in iOS 13 worth checking out. Still trying to figure out what to do with your old phone? Consider these ideas.

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