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6 things to remember when trading in or selling your old iPhone

An iPhone 14 laying next to its retail box.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The upcoming release of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro series has many iPhone owners excited to upgrade their devices. With the new features and advancements that come with the latest models, it’s no wonder that people are looking forward to getting their hands on the latest technology. However, before you decide to sell or trade in your current iPhone, it’s important to take measures to ensure the safety of your data and device.

Selling or trading in a phone can be a daunting task. But with a few essential steps, you can make the process smoother and more secure.

Back up your iPhone

iPhone showing iCloud Backup Settings.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Moving to a new smartphone can be an exciting experience. You get to explore new features and enjoy the latest technology. However, taking a few crucial steps is essential to ensure a smooth transition before diving into the new device.

One of the most important steps is to back up all your essential data. Losing your precious photos, messages, contacts, or files can be devastating, and you don’t want to start fresh on your new device without your treasured memories. So, before you say goodbye to your old iPhone, take some time to back up your data. You can easily back up your iPhone data using a Mac, iCloud, or PC.

With iCloud, you can automatically back up your photos, videos, contacts, messages, and more — and access them from any device. You can also use iTunes to back up your entire device, including your apps and settings. By backing up your data, you can have peace of mind knowing that your memories are safe and easily transferable to your new device. So, take the time to back up your data and enjoy your new smartphone worry-free!

Physically clean your iPhone

Cleaning spray and towels

Before selling or trading in your old iPhone, ensuring it’s in good condition is essential. Start by giving it a thorough cleaning using a soft, lint-free cloth. Wipe down the phone display and its accessories, such as the charger and headphones, paying particular attention to any smudges or fingerprints on the screen. This enhances the phone’s appearance and ensures that the next owner receives a device that looks and feels like new.

Apart from cleaning, you should also check the phone for any damage or issues. Inspect the screen for scratches or cracks, test the camera, buttons, and speakers for responsiveness, and double-check that the phone functions correctly. This will ensure that the new owner has a pleasant experience with the device and that no hardware issues will affect their experience. And if you’re trading in your old iPhone to Apple or another company, you can rest easy knowing it’ll pass through all of the inspection checks without a problem.

Unpair your devices and accounts

A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 8.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Don’t forget to unpair any connected devices, such as smartwatches or Bluetooth headphones. This will ensure that the new owner won’t have any trouble connecting their devices — and that your personal information stays secure.

To unpair a Bluetooth device, go to the Bluetooth settings on your iPhone, find the connected device, and select Forget This Device. It’s a small, but essential step before parting ways with your iPhone. If you have an Apple Watch attached to your iPhone, that also needs to be unpaired.

Next, sign out of all your accounts. This includes iCloud, Apple Music, and any other apps or services you use. This step ensures that your personal information and data remain secure and inaccessible. It also prevents potential issues or complications when new owners try setting up their accounts on the smartphone.

Erase your iPhone

Reset iPhone in the iPhone Settings app
Digital Trends

To be sure that all your data is completely erased from your iPhone, resetting it to its factory settings is essential. This process will remove all your apps, settings, and files, leaving the device as if it were brand new.

To do this, go to the Settings app, select General, then scroll down to Transfer or Reset Phone. Choose Erase All Content and Settings and confirm your decision. Once completed, your iPhone will be ready for its new owner, with all your personal information safely wiped away.

Remove SIM cards any other accessories

A close up of the iPhone 7 sim card slot.
Digital Trends

Finally, removing the SIM card and any cases or screen protectors from your old iPhone is important. This ensures that the new owner can use their own card and that any accessories you’ve added won’t get in the way of their enjoyment of the phone.

When removing the SIM card, be sure to follow the instructions provided by Apple or your carrier to avoid damaging the device. Once the SIM card is removed, you can safely package the phone for sale.

In addition, it’s worth noting that your new iPhone 15 won’t come with a SIM card, so there’s no need to worry about removing it when you upgrade that device. Instead, all new iPhones have eSIMs. This means this is the last time you’ll need to perform this task when preparing your old phone for sale.

Sell or trade in your old iPhone

A close-up of the iPhone 14 Pro's camera module.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Once you have completed all the necessary steps to prepare your device for selling, it is time to find a buyer or explore trade-in options. There are various ways to sell your device, such as online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist, trade-in programs offered by Apple or other retailers, or directly selling it to someone you know.

If you decide to sell your device through an online marketplace, it is essential to research the market and compare prices to ensure that you get the best deal possible. Make sure to create an accurate and detailed description of your device, including its condition, features, and any accessories that come with it. It is also essential to include high-quality photos that showcase the device’s appearance.

If you choose to sell your device through a trade-in program, research the different programs available and compare the offers provided by various retailers. Some programs may offer more value for your device than others, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

Another option is to sell your device directly to someone you know, such as a friend or family member. This option can be beneficial as you can set your price and negotiate directly with the buyer. However, ensure that the buyer understands the device’s condition and that you transfer ownership properly to avoid future issues.

Whatever method you choose, transferring ownership properly is crucial to ensure a smooth transaction. Selling your old iPhone can be a great way to earn extra cash or save money on a newer device — and the process is made so much easier when you follow a few simple steps.

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Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
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