I just upgraded to the iPhone 5 and plan on selling my old iPhone 4. However, I want to make sure I don't keep any personal information (photos, emails, contacts) on the device. Since both iPhones are synced with iCloud, I'm not sure that I am safe to just start deleting stuff without those same changes being synced to the new device. What is the appropriate way to clean up the old iPhone to be ready to sell?

  • 2
    It is also a good idea to physically clean your phone. I mean, remove scratches, fingerprints, etc. Scratch free phones sell for much higher prices.
    – duci9y
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


Apple has documented the steps required in a support article.

If you have Find My Phone enabled, disable this otherwise the buyer will be contacting you to get your account to activate the phone. This can be achieved by switching the Find My iPhone option in Settings > iCloud.

Then en Settings > General > Reset and choose Erase All Content and Settings.

This will wipe all personal data off the device (including all apps) and when it restarts it will be at the beginning of the wizard to set up a new device.

This will not effect any other devices linked to the same iCloud account, it purely clears the current device.

This process is necessary as Apple added an Activation Lock in iOS 7. Details can be found here and the support article is located here.


I didn't test it but I guess the easiest way would be to loose the connection to iCloud and then just reset it completely.

But I don't know if this is enough to clean it completely or if it would still be possible to regain the information through any kind of tools.

  • I couldn't figure out how to disconnect it from iCloud.
    – Andrew
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 13:08
  • Settings => iCloud => Delete account (at the bottom) I don't know whether these are the actual names as my interface is a German one. But it should be something like that. Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 6:46
  • Yes, but wouldn't that delete your iCloud account and all of its data? I'm still using that iCloud account on the other device.
    – Andrew
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 14:17

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