How to Erase Your Old iPhone or iPad Before Selling It or Trading It In

by

If you got a new iPhone or iPad for Christmas, you may have an old one that you're ready to sell or trade in to get a bit of extra cash. You'll want to make sure to adequately erase everything on it to get it ready for its next owner.

There are only a few steps to follow so it take you just a few minutes to clean up an old iOS device. Here's what to do:

Unpair Your Apple Watch

If you're selling your iPhone and have an Apple Watch linked to it, you're going to want to unpair it first.

  1. Make sure your iPhone and Apple Watch are close to each other.
  2. Open up the Apple Watch app on the iPhone.
  3. Choose the "My Watch" tab.
  4. Select the Apple Watch you want to unpair and tap the "i" button.
  5. Tap "Unpair Apple Watch." unpairapplewatch
  6. Tap a second time to confirm.
  7. You'll need to enter your Apple ID password to turn off Activation Lock.

Turn Off Find My iPhone

Most trade-in sites won't accept your old iPhone or iPad if Find My iPhone isn't disabled, and if you sell an iOS device with the feature still turned on, the new owner won't be able to use it, creating a huge hassle for both of you.

Find My iPhone needs to be turned off because it's tied to Activation Lock. A phone that's linked to your iCloud account through Find My iPhone can't be used by anyone who doesn't have your Apple ID and password.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your name to open your account settings.
  3. Tap "iCloud."
  4. Scroll down to "Find My iPhone." findmyiphoneoff
  5. Tap it.
  6. Tap the toggle to turn it off.

To turn off Find My iPhone, you'll need to enter your Apple ID password as an extra security measure, which is designed to keep someone who has your unlocked iPhone from turning the feature off.

After Find My iPhone is off, it's time to erase everything on your iPhone. Before you do this, make sure you have an iCloud backup and that there's nothing stored on your device that you're going to miss.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose "General."
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the menu.
  4. Select "Reset."eraseiphonepart1
  5. Choose "Erase all Content and Settings."
  6. You'll need to enter your device passcode if you have one set.
  7. Tap Erase iPhone, then tap it again to confirm. eraseiphonepart2
  8. If you didn't already turn off Find My iPhone, it will be turned off at this juncture and your device will be removed from your iCloud account.

Your iPhone will switch over to an Apple loading screen as the erasing process starts. It will take a few minutes for the device to be fully erased, but once it's done and boots up again, your old iPhone or iPad is clean, unassociated with your Apple ID, and ready to be sold.

Top Rated Comments

jonnysods Avatar
40 months ago
I would login to your Apple ID and make sure to remove the device as sometimes they stay in your My Devices list.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UnusedLoginID Avatar
40 months ago
The “Turning off Find My iPhone” step is not necessary if you’re erasing the phone completely - which you should do anyway - because it will log you out from all your iCloud/iTunes accounts when you erase (it will ask you to enter your AppleID).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Will.O.Bie Avatar
40 months ago
Thank you for these helpful tips.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
40 months ago
What we really need is this article for Android. As lots of users will be changing to iPhone and coming here for the first time etc
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Knightcastle Avatar
40 months ago

How do you unpair AirPods? Just delete in Bluetooth?

Yes
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
40 months ago

So, this article is not needed!?

For those who aren't sure or new to it all, like instructions for many things out there.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
iPhone OIS Feature2

Sensor-Shift Camera Stabilization Rumored to Expand to Entire iPhone 13 Lineup

Wednesday January 20, 2021 7:46 am PST by
The entire iPhone 13 lineup will feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, compared to only the iPhone 12 Pro Max among current models, according to a brief story preview shared today by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. "Apple's next-generation iPhones slated for launch in the second half of 2021 will all come with sensor-shift stabilization technology, according to industry...