I was curious about the things that we need to do before selling your iPhone or even before giving it back to Apple (Apple has a program where they will refund you some money if you want to get a new iPhone).

Quick googling show: 6 Steps to Prepare an iPhone for Sale the Right Way .

I'm interested in all aspects. What to do in the iPhone itself, the associated Mac/iTunes and your account at Apple/iCloud.

  • I disagree with their first step: Back Up Twice. Choose whichever backup you prefer: local or remote. There is absolutely no need to back up to both locations and if you enabled iCloud Backups, you'll see that it will no longer backup locally. If you feel iCloud is unreliable, then backup via iTunes. It is absolutely unnecessary to have multiple backups and the suggestion breeds FUD. The rest of the steps are solid, though 4 and 5 are completely obvious and don't actually matter in the order of things. Instead of step 6, I would personally put the device into DFU mode and restore it. – user10355 Jan 20 '14 at 8:12
  • I strongly disagree with your recommendation not to back up twice, given multiple questions showing problems with either way of backing up and restoring afterwards. – Jaime Santa Cruz Jul 7 '15 at 15:16

Settings > General > Erase > Erase all content and settings

That will wipe it to factory


I would just restore it in iTunes. That would wipe it of all data and reset it back to factory settings.


Regarding step 6 in the article you linked:

There is a difference between destroying the encryption key and writing over the data on your iPhone with new data a la "Secure Empty Trash" in Mac OS X. As far as I was able to find (searching a lot on the net), iOS 2.0 + on original and 3G, data was actually securely erased by writing over it. iPhone 3GS and later simply drop the encryption key and make a new one when you "Erase" from within settings. This is a 256 bit (AES i think) key, so recreating it would be challenging, though not impossible (for someone with time/resources, i.e. government agency).

I recently listed an old iphone for sale. (In addition to unregistering it with all services, find phone, imessage, apple support, any other third party accounts you have connected to it, etc.): If/when it sells I plan to do the following:

  1. *Reset iPhone in Settings as detailed by MisterMike
  2. *sync with iTunes and have it "Automatically fill free space with music."
  3. repeat both above steps 1 & 2 at least twice more (arbitrary number, not sure if more times helps or makes no difference with the type of NAND memory in my hardware version, or any other).
  4. *Do a factory firmware restore on the iphone.
  5. repeat step 3
  6. repeat step 1
  7. repeat step 4
  8. congratulate myself on massive redundancy.

Note: if you just want to ensure the data is written over once, just do steps 1,2, and 4.


Before you sell your old iphone you need to make sure that your data is safe:

  1. Take A Backup of your iPhone
  2. Delete Apps
  3. Delete Photos
  4. Delete iCloud Accounts.
  5. Erase Contents from notes.

Clear everything from you iPhone erase settings, too.

Also have a look at 10 things to do Before you sell your old iPhone.

  • Missing the most important part, which is a factory reset. – Fake Name Sep 8 '14 at 10:47

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