Whether you’re looking to buy a new iPhone or you’ve got your eye on one of the best Android phones, you need to wipe your old phone before you can sell it or pass it on. Your old phone is likely packed with precious memories, so make sure you back up or transfer everything (especially photos) before you follow this guide to reset it.
There are various ways to trade in or sell your old iPhone or Android phone, but you must wipe it properly first. This isn’t just about late-night texts or embarrassing selfies falling into the wrong hands; failing to factory-reset it could land you in a world of pain. If you don’t properly log out and remove accounts, you may end up missing new incoming messages, and factory-reset protection on Android phones can lock buyers out even after the device has been wiped.
How to Factory-Reset Your iPhone
Before you do anything else, back up your iPhone. Next, it’s a good idea to unpair your Apple Watch if you have one. You can do this in the Watch app on your iPhone by going to the My Watch tab, Tap All Watches, and choose the info button next to the watch you want to unpair before tapping Unpair Apple Watch.
To avoid any missing messages if you plan to switch from iPhone to Android, dip into Settings > Messages, and toggle iMessage off. With that done, remove the SIM card from your iPhone.
Go to Settings and tap on your name, then iCloud, and scroll down to turn off Find My iPhone. Tap Apple ID at the top left to go back, and scroll down to the bottom to tap Sign Out. You will have to enter your password and tap Sign Out again.
Now you’re ready to wipe the iPhone. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll be asked to confirm, and it may take a few minutes to complete the process.
How to Factory-Reset Your Android Phone
Start by backing up your Android phone, then remove any MicroSD cards and your SIM card.
Android has an anti-theft measure called Factory Reset Protection (FRP). It means that, even after you wipe an Android phone, you need the last Google account login to set it up again. You’ll need to disable FRP properly. Go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock, and set it to None.
The next step is to remove your Google account, but we recommend removing all of your accounts at the same time. You can do this in Settings by tapping Accounts. Select each one in turn and tap Remove Account.
Now you can wipe the Android phone, but this process is slightly different depending on who made your phone. On a Google Pixel, for example, go to Settings > System > Advanced, and choose Reset Options, then Delete All Data (factory reset). On a Samsung Galaxy S21, go to Settings > General Management > Reset, and choose Factory Data Reset before scrolling to the bottom and tapping Reset and Delete All.
That’s it. Your device is ready for the next phase of its life. Here are a few ideas on what to do with your old phone. You can even try setting it up as a security camera!
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