The best way to wipe an iPhone clean before selling it

So, the new iPhone has piqued your interest, and you’re eager to upgrade to the latest model as soon as possible. However, what are your options for disposing of an outdated device? There are many choices. You may donate it, trade it in with your service provider, sell it, or recycle it.

Whatever choice you make, you cannot just turn it off, remove the SIM card, and hope for the best. Most likely, your iPhone includes critical private data that you need to delete. You do not want to accidentally give out your personal information. Leaving personal information on an outdated device may put you at risk of security and privacy breaches.

So how can you effectively wipe an iPhone clean without risking leaving behind data? Is it sufficient to just erase the data and pass the phone on to the next owner?

When you delete a file from your iPhone or iPad, it is not permanently deleted. A deletion merely relocates the file or folder to the Deleted Files folder on your computer. As you will soon discover, permanent data erasure extends beyond standard file delete instructions.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to safely erase your data from your iPhone before selling or discarding it. The four critical procedures outlined below will help you safely erase your data and prevent data recurrence. We’ll go through each stage in detail.

Here’s how to thoroughly clean an iPhone before selling it:

  1. Initial stages (deregister iMessage and unpair Apple Watch).
  2. Make a complete backup of your data.
  3. Deactivate your accounts, Find My iPhone, and SIM card.
  4. Conduct a factory reset.

Preliminary procedures

Before we begin, two critical preparatory tasks must be completed: Deregister iMessage and, if you have one, unpair your Apple Watch.

Deregister iMessage: If you are intending to move to a non-Apple phone, you must deregister iMessage beforehand; otherwise, you may have difficulties receiving SMS/MMS messages on your new device. iMessage may be deregistered on your iPhone or online.

To disable iMessage on your iPhone, ensure that your SIM card is still inserted and that you are connected to your service provider’s network, then go to Settings >> Messages >> and disable iMessage. If you no longer have access to your iPhone, you may deactivate iMessage through Apple’s website.

Detach your Apple Watch from your iPhone: If you have an Apple Watch connected to your iPhone, you must disconnect it. You don’t want your watch to remain linked to the iPhone that you’re selling. When you disconnect your Apple Watch from your iPhone, your iPhone automatically makes a backup of your Apple Watch and then wipes all data and restores it to factory defaults. You may restore your Apple Watch from the backup when your new iPhone arrives. If you unpair your Apple Watch while it is out of range on your iPhone, the backup may not include the most recent data.

Here’s how to unpair your Apple Watch:

  1. When you unpair your Apple Watch and iPhone, keep them close together.
  2. On your iPhone, launch the Apple Watch application.
  3. To access the My Watch section, go to the My Watch tab and tap your watch at the top of the page.
  4. To unpair an Apple Watch, touch the information button next to the watch you want to unpair, and then tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  5. When asked, enter your Apple ID password and touch again to confirm.

If you are unable to unpair your Apple Watch due to the loss of your iPhone, you may still delete all the information and settings by navigating to Settings >> General >> Reset >> Delete All Content and Preferences.

Make a backup of your data

The critical importance of backing up your phone before erasing it cannot be overstated. If you regularly backup your iPhone data, you can be certain that a copy of your personal information will be available for use whenever the replacement phone comes. There are two backup options: online to iCloud or your PC through iTunes.

Apart from data already saved in iCloud or Google Drive, Apple Pay and Face ID information and settings, iCloud backups contain almost all data and settings on your device. If you choose iCloud backup, make sure the iCloud Backup option is enabled on your device. You may use iCloud to back up your device by following the instructions below:

  1. Go to Settings >> [Your Name] >> iCloud >> iCloud Backup, and turn it on.
  2. Then connect your device to a Wi-Fi network 
  3. Go to Settings >> [Your Name] >> iCloud >> iCloud Backup >> Back Up Now, and tap on it.
  4. Ensure your Wi-Fi connection remains intact until the process is complete 
  5. You can check if the backup is completed by going to Settings >> [Your Name] >> iCloud >> iCloud Backup. Under Back Up Now, you’ll see the date and time of your last backup

Another method is to use iTunes to create a backup on your local computer. Backing up your local computer saves nearly all of the data and settings on your iPhone. To create a backup on your PC, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC and, if iTunes does not open immediately, start it.
  2. Select the phone icon or your model from the Devices list on iTunes.
  3. While still on the “Summary” page, click Backup Now and then choose This machine under Backups.

All of your pictures, movies, music, documents, text messages, and app data, among other things, will be preserved on your computer and will be restored when you switch to your new device.

Deactivate your accounts, Find My iPhone, and SIM card

Before you completely wipe your iPhone clean, there are a few additional items you need to delete or turn off. To begin, sign out of your iTunes, iCloud, and App Store accounts using your Apple ID. You don’t want your Apple ID account to remain associated with the device you’re attempting to delete. To sign out, follow the steps below:

  • If you’re using iOS 10.3 or later on your iPhone, go to Settings >> [Your Name] >> Exit. When asked, enter your Apple ID password and then select Turn Off.
  • If your iPhone is running iOS 10.2 or an older version of the operating system, the procedure is somewhat different. To sign out of the iCloud, go to Settings >> iCloud >> Sign Out >> Press Sign Out once again to confirm, then tap Delete from My [Device] and, when asked, provide your Apple ID password. Then choose Settings >> iTunes & App Store >> Apple ID >> Sign Out from the drop-down menu.

Second, you must deactivate “Find My iPhone” manually; otherwise, whoever ends up with the handset will be unable to reactivate it; only you will be able to do so. “Find My iPhone” now doubles as an Activation Lock in iOS 7. To disable “Find My iPhone,” go to Settings >> [Your Name] >> iCloud >> Find My iPhone and toggle off the feature.

One last step before doing a factory reset: removing your SIM card, if you have one. The SIM card is not removed during the reset procedure. Indeed, identical reset procedures are used on all iPhones, regardless of whether they utilize a SIM card or are built for CDMA networks. As a result, even without a SIM card inserted, the iOS software, including the reset procedure, continues to function properly. At this point, we recommend that you remove your SIM card to avoid inadvertently passing it on to the next individual.

Depending on the type of your iPhone, the SIM card slot may be either on the side or on the top. The iPhone 4’s slot is located on the right side of the device. It is located on top of all the other models. Before removing the SIM card, ensure that the phone is turned off.

Reset the factory settings

Finally, it’s time to do an iPhone factory reset. As the name suggests, a factory reset removes all data from your phone and restores it to its pre-purchase state. It is comparable to the idea of formatting a computer hard disk, which deletes any references to your data, thus erasing the computer’s ability to locate the data.

However, is the erasing complete? To be sure, iOS is a little stricter than Android when it comes to security and user data protection since all user data is encrypted by default. Apple claims that, by default, all data on an iOS device is secured using AES-256 encryption. Your device also stores the keys needed to encrypt and decrypt your data. When you do a factory reset or choose “Erase All Content and Settings,” the device destroys the keys, making all user data on the device cryptographically unavailable to anybody. This guarantees that none of your personal information is disclosed to a third party.

While third-party iPhone wiping software may promise to provide more secure data deletion, Apple generally disapproves of such programs and has frequently shut them down, claiming that they are unneeded and maintaining that the current encryption is essentially impenetrable.

In order to reset your iPhone, go to Settings >> General >> Reset >> Erase All Content and Settings. As required, enter your passcode or Apple ID password. It will take several minutes for your phone to process. Once the reset procedure is complete and the phone restarts with all the information and settings completely wiped, you’ll be prompted to either set up your iPhone as new or restore it from a backup. That is all! You may now switch off the computer and repackage it for the new owner.

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