If you're planning on trading in your old iPhone for a new one, there are some steps you'll want to take beforehand to ensure it's de-linked from your accessories and accounts and that everything on it is erased.

iphonexsxsmax
The procedures described below shouldn't take long to follow, and at the end of it you can rest assured that you have a clean ‌iPhone‌ reset to default factory settings and ready to trade in. Here's what to do.

Back Up Your iPhone

Before you reset, you should back up your device. You can back up your data to iCloud, but we'd advise you connect your ‌iPhone‌ up to a computer and perform an iTunes backup instead, just to be sure. You can find steps to back up your ‌iPhone‌ by clicking here.

Got an Apple Watch? Time to Unpair

If you're trading in your ‌iPhone‌ and have an Apple Watch linked to it, you're going to want to unpair it first. Here's how.

  1. Bring your ‌iPhone‌ and Apple Watch close to each other.
  2. Launch the stock Watch app on your ‌iPhone‌.
  3. Tap the My Watch tab.
  4. Select the Apple Watch you want to unpair, then tap the info button (the encircled "I") next to it on the next screen.
    apple watch

  5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  6. Tap again to confirm.
  7. Enter your Apple ID password when prompted to turn off Activation Lock.

Deactivate Services and Log Out Manually

Erasing your ‌iPhone‌ deactivates Find My ‌iPhone‌ and logs you out of all your ‌iCloud‌ and iTunes accounts automatically – in theory. Occasionally we've heard cases of erased iOS devices still being linked to ‌Find My‌ ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iCloud‌ accounts.

itunes icloud
Whatever the truth of these reports, you can always make doubly sure this won't happen by deactivating and unlinking these services yourself. To learn how to turn off ‌Find My‌ ‌iPhone‌, click here. To sign out of ‌iCloud‌ and the iTunes and App Stores, launch the Settings app on your ‌iPhone‌, tap on your name to open your account settings, tap Sign Out at the bottom, then enter your ‌Apple ID‌ password and tap Turn Off.

How to Factory Reset Your iPhone

Now that you've backed up your ‌iPhone‌ and manually deactivated services and accounts, it's time to perform a factory reset of the device. These steps will guide you through the process.

  1. Unlock your ‌iPhone‌ or iPad and launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
    how to factory reset your iphone

  5. Tap in your passcode if requested.
  6. Enter your ‌Apple ID‌ password to erase the ‌iPhone‌ and remove it from your account.
  7. Tap Erase.

Allow the reset process to continue – it shouldn't take any longer than a couple of minutes. Once it's completed, you'll see the iOS welcome screen on your ‌iPhone‌. That's your green light to trade it in.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11

Top Rated Comments

landski Avatar
19 months ago
Importantly, this guide does not mention to move your Authenticator apps (Google, Microsoft) over to the new phone before resetting the old one.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MisterSavage Avatar
19 months ago
Remind me. Do I erase and deactivate my old phone before turning on the new phone?
I don't do that. What if the new phone was defective?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TeamMojo Avatar
19 months ago
You should also remove your SIM before trading in just to be sure.

Don’t forget to have your Apple ID password handy outside of your phone. if you use a password app like LastPass, your app won’t be live on the new phone for a bit while you do the setup and it can be a real hassle if your phone is also your Authenticator and you have 2FA turned on but can’t get to your new phone because it needs your Apple ID password.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BreuerEditor Avatar
19 months ago
Importantly, this guide does not mention to move your Authenticator apps (Google, Microsoft) over to the new phone before resetting the old one.
This is super important so good call! Every iPhone I've upgraded to (with the exception of the XS) I've forgotten to transfer them and I have to go hunting around proving it's me so I can reset it. I wish there was an easier way...

https://www.lifewire.com/switch-google-authenticator-to-new-phone-4582397
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gsmornot Avatar
19 months ago
I thought the only way to truly erase a device was to shred it.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DotCom2 Avatar
19 months ago
Remind me. Do I erase and deactivate my old phone before turning on the new phone?
I NEVER erase my old phone until my new phone is completely setup and working fine. Also,I go through all the settings on the new phone and compare to my old phone to make sure I have it all setup the same way.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...