Get Your Phone Ready to Sell: iPhone

Music, memories and money. Your entire life is right there on your iPhone, easily accessible with just a few swipes. With three simple steps, we'll help you transfer your valuable information and memories, erase data and get that old phone ready to sell.

Download a printable PDF of this guide.

Think of all the music you've collected on your phone over the years. All those thousands of pictures and videos, your favorite games, the apps you can't live without, not to mention your contacts and emails. You've got a lot of data on your phone. Let's talk about relocating it, so it's ready and waiting to be transferred to your new phone.

Backing up

Backing up your iPhone makes it possible to transfer your old data to your new phone

Before you start: Make sure to save and close your files before copying them from your phone to your computer

First, decide which backup method is right for you: iTunes or iCloud.

  • If you have lots of photos or videos on your camera roll (1 GB or more), then iTunes is your best option
  • If you rarely (or never) connect your phone to a Mac or PC, iCloud is the way to go

Good to know: iCloud backs up information about the music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books you've purchased but not the purchased content itself. iCloud also backs up your photos and videos, unless you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iOS device (iOS 8.1 or later).

If you turn on iCloud Photo Library, your photos and videos are already stored in iCloud, so they aren't included in your iCloud backup.

Backing up in iTunes

  • Connect your iPhone to a Mac or PC
    (keep in mind you can only back up your iPhone on one computer)
  • Open iTunes on your computer
  • Select File > Devices > Back Up

How to back up music on your iPhone with iTunes.

Backing up with iCloud

  • Select Settings > iCloud > Back Up, then turn on iCloud Backup.
  • Your phone will now automatically back up your data when the phone is plugged in, connected to WiFi and the screen is locked.

Want to back up data manually?

  • Select Settings > iCloud > Backup > Backup Now
How to back up photos on your iPhone using iCloud

Don't forget to sign out

This is a BIGGIE. Make sure to sign out of iCloud after you back up your data. If you don't sign out, all that data you just backed up? Poof, it'll be gone. But that won't happen, because here's what you're going to do once you've backed up your data using iCloud:

  • Select Settings > iCloud > Sign Out

If your phone has iOS 7 or a later version, choose Delete Account. If you delete all of your data manually without signing out of iCloud, it will delete the content from iCloud, as well. And that would be a major bummer.

How to sign out of iCloud to sell your iPhone.

Now that you've completed the important step of backing up your data, it's time to disconnect your phone and make sure your account is paid off.

Make the call

Call your carrier and disconnect service to your old iPhone. Before you do, make sure:

  • No time is left on your contract
  • No fees will be charged if you cancel your account
  • All bills have been paid

You're in the final stretch of getting your old iPhone ready to sell. You've backed up all the data you want to keep and called your carrier to disconnect your old phone. The last step is wiping the slate clean by resetting your old phone.

Ready. Set. Reset.

Access the Reset menu

  • Select Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
  • If you have a password you will be asked to enter it at this time
  • A warning box will appear with the option to Erase iPhone in red – tap this

Good to know: When Erase All Content and Settings is performed, your Find My iPhone locator will be disabled.

How to disable Find My iPhone during your iPhone reset to factory settings.

Ensure the phone was restored

The restoration process may take a few minutes. Once it's complete, check to make sure the phone has been reset to the original factory settings. Turn it off, and then back on. If you've successfully reset the phone, you'll see the iOS Setup Assistant that says “hello” at startup

Lightning bolt charging icon

Charge your phone

To ensure the fastest experience and best price, be sure your device is charged before visiting an ecoATM® kiosk!


Your phone is now clean as a whistle (data-wise, anyway). You've taken the important steps to make sure your information stays with you, and all your photos, videos, apps and music are backed up and ready to be transferred to your new phone. Now you can sell that old phone with confidence.

Like the idea of making instant cash on your old phone? Go to an ecoATM® kiosk, where you can recycle it for cash on the spot. Charge your phone and find an ecoATM® kiosk location near you.

Last Updated August 31, 2015

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