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Smartphones & gadgets

Upgrading your iPhone? 5 steps to take with your old phone before you sell it or give it away

There are lots of reasons you might want to sell your old phone. Perhaps you’ve upgraded early and still have a newer model phone worth a bit of money. Are you looking to switch from Android to iPhone? Tap or click here for a list of Androids you can trade-in.

Sometimes we forget that our old phones are worth anything, and suddenly you have a drawer of phones collecting dust that you don’t know what to do with. Whatever the reason, if you have a phone lying around you, it may be worth some money.

But before you go to sell your phone, there are a few things you should consider first. Here are five steps to take first before you turn in that phone for good.

1. Backup your device first

Our phones contain our entire lives in one place. Pictures, contacts and other important personal information are all stored on that one piece of technology. Losing it can be devastating. Prevent any lost data by backing up your device before you go to sell it. Here’s how:

On iPhone

  • Open Settings
  • Tap iCloud
  • Select iCloud Backup
  • Turn on iCloud Backup
  • Press Back Up Now

On Samsung

  • Go to Settings
  • Select your name
  • Choose Back up data
  • Choose the data you’d like to back up
  • Select Back up
  • Tap Done when it’s finished syncing

On Google Pixel

  • Open the Settings app
  • Choose System
  • Select Backup
  • Turn on backup service

If you choose to back up your device to the cloud, it might cost a monthly fee to cover extra storage space from the provided free amount. You’re better off using a backup service that you can trust. We recommend our sponsor, IDrive.

IDrive lets you back up all of your devices, whether you have a Mac, PC, Android, iPad or iPhone, and you can conveniently manage your backups through a single online account.

Get 90% off 5TB of cloud backup at when you use promo code, Kim, at checkout.

2. Factory reset your device

Backing up your data is essential, but you don’t want the new user of your device to have your data either. You’ll want to factory reset your phone to ensure all your personal stuff stays, well, personal.

On iPhone

  • Open Settings
  • Select General
  • Tap Reset
  • Select Erase All Content and Settings
  • Wait for your device to erase

On Samsung

  • Open Settings
  • Choose Factory data reset
  • Select Factory data reset again
  • Swipe and tap reset
  • Tap Delete all
  • Your phone will now reset

On Google Pixel

  • Open Settings
  • Choose System
  • Select Advanced
  • Tap Reset Options
  • Click Erase everything
  • Choose restart

3. Protect your personal information

Along with factory resetting your phone, your iCloud or GoogleDrive stays linked unless you manually unlink it. This is another pesky way for people to get your personal info.

Remove personal info from iPhone

  • If you’ve paired an Apple Watch with your iPhone, unpair your Apple Watch.
  • Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store. 
    • If you’re using iOS 10.3 or later, tap Settings > [your name]. Scroll down and tap Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
    • If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password. Then go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.
  • Go back to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If you’ve turned on Find My [device], you might need to enter your Apple ID and password. Forgot your Apple ID or your Apple ID password?
  • If asked for your device passcode or Restrictions passcode, enter it. Then tap Erase [device].
  • If you’re switching to a non-Apple phone, deregister iMessage.
  • Contact your network provider for help transferring service to a new owner. If you aren’t using a SIM card with your device, you can contact them to get help transferring service to the new owner.
  • Remove your old device from your list of trusted devices.

Unlink Google Drive

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap Users & accounts
  • Tap the account you’d like to remove
  • Tap Remove account
  • To confirm, tap Remove account

4. Clean your device

You wouldn’t buy a dirty device, so you shouldn’t sell one dirty either. It can be hard to clean your phone correctly without damaging it. You can pay for a service to do it for you, but that can be pricey.

For tips on how to clean your phone correctly before you sell it, tap or click here. Don’t forget to remove your Sim card and any external microSD cards.

5. Check the value of your device

Finally, before you sell your device, double-check you’re getting the best value for your device. You can check Apple’s current trade-in value program or reputable sites like Decluttr to make sure you are getting the best price.

If you like the phone you have, but haven’t figured out how to use it yet, here are 15 tech tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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