When selling an old iPhone, keeping your personal information safe is of the utmost importance — even more important than the value of your phone. You don’t want a stranger perusing through family photographs, and a nefarious buyer could wreak much more devastating financial havoc.
Thankfully, the steps necessary to keep your personal information secure are relatively simple. As long as you prepare your phone and sell to a reputable buyer, you shouldn’t have to worry about potential compromise of your photos, emails, files or financial data.
Prepare Your iPhone Step by Step
Preparing your iPhone will wipe the device of all personal information, and there are some additional steps you can take for extra protection. Simply follow each of these steps in order, some of which take less than a minute. (These steps also work for wiping iPads of all personal information.)
1. Remove Any External Storage
The iPhone is designed so that it’s difficult to use with external storage devices, such as micro SD cards that are more commonly put in Android devices. Nonetheless, you’ll want to remove any external storage that you might have connected to the iPhone.
While unlikely, such an obvious mistake as leaving a storage device physically connected would invalidate almost all of the other steps’ protections.
2. Backup Your Personal Data
Before preceding with actually protecting your personal information, first make sure all of the data is backed up. This won’t only keep your photos safe from unexpected disaster, but it’ll also ensure that all data is preserved if you make a mistake (like wiping the phone without backing up data).
3. Record Your IPhone’s Serial Number
Record your iPhone’s serial number somewhere that you’ll remember. Although this step should be superfluous, having the number on hand will be helpful if any issues arise.
4. Unpair All Devices
If you have any devices paired to the iPhone, unpair each one. This includes other phones, tablets, computers, televisions, smart speakers, smart thermostats and any other devices.
The chances that someone uses your iPhone to access data on other devices are low, but this step will entirely eliminate this risk.
5. Remove Services and Credentials
Make sure you sign out of all services, such as streaming and music platforms. Also, remove all usernames and passwords from your phone’s web browser. Remember to sign out of the App Store, iMessage and iCloud as well.
At the end of this step, there should be no more credentials for services, apps or websites on your phone. All accounts should be deactivated.
6. Uninstall Any Apps
As an added measure, uninstall any apps that are on your phone. Everything from chat and weather to productivity and work-related apps can be deleted if you added them.
Only apps that were originally installed on your phone should remain, and all data ought to be removed from them (from step 5).
7. Add Some Dummy Data
If you’d like to take an extra measure, create some dummy data on the phone. Save a few blank documents (including word processing and spreadsheet docs), and download a few stock photos.
This step shouldn’t be necessary, but it creates a meaningless surface of data if someone does manage to hack into the phone.
8. Wipe the iPhone
All iPhones have a built-in way to wipe data from them. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Confirm.
This step will also add encryption if the phone is running iOS 5 or later (which most phones are now). All newer iPhones set up a hardware encryption key when a passcode is set. Removing the passcode by wiping data eliminates your encryption key, which makes accessing any remaining data — of which there should be none — extremely difficult.
9. Remove Serial Number From Account
As a final step, remove the serial number of the iPhone from your Apple account. This can be done at appleid.apple.com.
Sell to a Well-Known Buyer
After all personal information is removed from your iPhone, sell to a well-known buyer. Selling to an established and reputable company will further ensure that your data isn’t compromised.
An unknown individual could have malignant intentions and still try to access your data. Even though they shouldn’t be able to, why risk the chance of someone trying? A company that has a good reputation for buying old iPhones won’t even make the attempt.
Sell Your Old iPhone to MLG Cash
At MLG Cash, we have a good reputation for buying old iPhones. We’ll take care of your phone properly, and we’ll confirm that all personal data is wiped from the device.
Additionally, our dropoff network further ensures that your iPhone doesn’t accidentally fall into the wrong hands by accident. After filling out a brief form online — in which we’ll tell you exactly what your phone can sell for — you can bring the device to one of the more than 5,000 UPS Store locations. Drop off your phone and receive confirmation that UPS has the device, and we’ll immediately send payment via PayPal, Walmart Cash Pickup, or MoneyGram.
We at MLG Cash have developed one of the most convenient ways to sell old iPhones. We’ve also made sure it’s one of the most secure methods of selling. To begin the process, fill out our form and see where the nearest UPS Store dropoff location is.