Whether you’re trading in your old iPhone for a discount on a new one, selling it, giving it away, or recycling it, you’ll want to wipe all your data first. Not only do you want to prevent personal information from falling into the wrong hands, but let’s face it: nobody wants a phone with your old selfies on it.
After you’ve transferred all your data to a new phone (or, if you’re not getting a new phone, backed up your data), here’s how to erase your iPhone:
Get rid of a few recognizable features
- Disable “Find My iPhone” by going to “Settings” > “Find My” > “Find My Phone” and disable “Find My Phone” and “Find My Network”.
- Unpair all devices from your phone, including your Apple Watch.
- Disable iMessages (just in case).
Sign out of your Apple ID
- Select “Settings” > [your name] top button > “Log out” (bottom of page).
- Enter your Apple ID password.
- You will be asked if you want to keep a copy of your data on this iPhone. Assuming you’ve backed up everything and are about to wipe your phone, you don’t need to enable anything.
- Tap “Sign Out” in the top right corner, then tap “Are you sure?” popup window.
Get ready to erase it
- Remove the SIM card from the phone.
- Go to “Settings” > “General” > “Transfer or Reset iPhone” and select “Erase All Content and Settings”.
Update September 15, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: This article was originally published on April 13, 2020 and has been updated to add more information and take into account operating system changes.