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How To Clean Your Old iPhone When You Upgrade

4 min read

iphone-security-stock-100625441-largeThe iPhone 7 has been announced and will ship out soon. Millions will upgrade and most will be switching out an older model for the new one. As the smartphones, phablets are starting to become the primary computing and access device for people they are full of personal information, payment information, photos, music, and other thing you do not want anyone to get access to. How do you make sure that the phones you are trading in to the carriers, Apple or private sold to strangers are clean of your data. The process is extremely important and vital to keep your identity information safe.

This post specifically focuses on the iPhone and will reference the iPhone 6 but the iOS menu options don’t differ from model to model as long as you kept up to date with the updates.

Here are the steps to prepare your old phone for your new iPhone 7 –

  • Backup, backup, backup – Backing up your phone should be a regular routine. You phone is a highly mobile device and very prone to damage, loss and theft which means if you do not backup regularly if the phone is gone, so is your data that cannot be easily replaced.
    • Backup to iTunes. If you have a computer, use iTunes and create a local backup of your phone. This is a must. iTunes will create a full backup of your configuration, settings, apps, photos, everything. When you get your new phone plug it into iTunes and restore from the backup of your old phone. It’s that simple.
      • When plugged in goto File > Devices > Backup.
      • Using iCloud, on the phone goto Settings > General > iCloud > Backup > Back Up Now 
    • Also, I have written before on how to backup your photos through Google Photos, it’s free and I would not recommend using iCloud for this as photos are space hogs and Google Photos is free. You can also use Amazon Photos for this for a fee.
  • Get your new phone activated and restored second – Backup your old phone but do not wipe it until your new phone is activated, you can take phone calls on it, all your apps and photos are loaded, etc… You don’t want to erase your old phone to find out something didn’t backup. Your old phone will work just fine when the carrier activates the new one. After they switch the phone number your old phone basically becomes an iPod.
  • Erase and restore defaults on the old phone – When you are confident the new phone is the way you want it and all your data is safely backed up you need to wipe the old phone before you ship it off or transfer it to someone else.
    • First, backup if you haven’t. Just make sure.
    • Turn Off Find Your Phone – This must be done as a new owner won’t be able to activate it if you use this. Plus you want to turn it off to dis-associate it from you anyway.
    • Sign out of iMessage, iCloud, Email and anything else – This will kill the sessions on the services and prevent any known issues with iMessage when logged in multiple places.
    • Take Out the SIM Card – This little known chip has lots of information stored on it about you.  Take it out and destroy it. The new owner will get a new SIM card.
    • Wipe and Set The Phone Back To Factory Settings – Always do this step last and ALWAYS do this when transferring the phone to someone else. NEVER leave the SIM card in, new owners will get new SIM cards when they activate it with their carrier and NEVER hand it over without factory reset.
      • On the phone go to – Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content And Settings. This will erase all data, including the data that you cannot erase without doing this step, and make the phone as it was on the day it left the factory.

These steps above will ensure that new owners of your old phone will not be able to access and use your personal and identity information on your old phone.

Please note – If you sell your iPhone privately through Ebay, Criagslist, etc… you may come across buyers that will ask for help activating a new SIM with your help. Do not do this, sell the device without the SIM chip, any buyer is on their own to activate it. This is a potential risk for scams, fraud, and potential identity theft. Do the steps above and your information will be protected.

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