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How To Prepare iPhone For Trade In

Although setting up Apple products is very straightforward, there are a few extra steps involved than simply placing your phone in the box that Apple delivers you and calling it a day. With one exception, you shouldn’t have to spend more than ten minutes (or so) preparing your trade-in phone for its final farewell.

How does that iPhone feel in your pocket? dated? Old-fashioned? Okay, but you still want to trade it in? People often start considering upgrading to a new iPhone and trading in their old one in September. Trading in your old iPhone is the least expensive option to obtain a good price on a new one, excluding financing or signing up through a carrier.

Reselling your iPhone is not as quick, simple, or secure as trading it in. These are the measures you should take in order to get the best price for your iPhone. You can receive less for your trade if there are dents, scratches, or other flaws, but you almost always get something in exchange.

How To Prepare iPhone For Trade In

When you buy your iPhone or Apple Watch, if you include a trade-in, you’ll get a kit that includes everything you need to return your old device to Apple. It is possible that the package containing your new gadget also contains a kit. If not, the kit will be mailed to you separately or delivered by a courier as soon as your new item ships or is picked up. A trade-in kit will be shipped to you or made available at a specified location if you live in the Asia-Pacific area.

Consumers in the Asia-Pacific area should only adhere to the instructions in the sections labeled “Before you return your [device]” and “Return your [device]” for their particular nation or area.

Before you return your iPhone,

  1. Back up your iPhone.
  2. Update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.
  3. You must remove your device from your Apple ID device list before you ship it.
  4. If you need to send in an iPhone that’s paired with an Apple Watch, unpair your Apple Watch. When you unpair, your iPhone will create a backup of your Apple Watch.
  5. Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage.
  6. Erase your iPhone.
  7. Turn off your iPhone.
  8. Remove the SIM card from your iPhone if it uses one, and keep it in a safe place.
  9. Remove all screen protectors and/or phone cases. If these items are included in the box, they will be recycled and cannot be returned to you.

Before you return your Apple Watch,

  1. Update your Apple Watch to the latest version of watch OS.
  2. Unpair and erase your Apple Watch. When you unpair, your iPhone will create a backup of your Apple Watch.
  3. For a cellular Apple Watch, remember to remove the active cellular plan. You may need to contact your carrier to cancel your cellular plan.
  4. Remove the band from your Apple Watch. If it is included in the box, it will be recycled and cannot be returned to you.

Unpair your Apple Watch from your phone

I’m going to presume that if you trade in your iPhone for an Apple Watch, you have another iPhone that you’ll use for pairing. After all, an iPhone is required for an Apple Watch.

The following stage, which involves copying your old iPhone to your new iPhone via the setup menu on the latter, should go smoothly, but I did run into a glitch when my new iPhone refused to recognize the Apple Watch that I had associated with my previous iPhone. Nevertheless, my Apple Watch rebooted itself and, inexplicably, was paired to my new iPhone around an hour after the process was finished.

I’m not sure whether that’s how the procedure was meant to go, but if you really must use your new iPhone with your old Watch right away, make sure you unpair it from your old iPhone by going to the Watch app, selecting All Watches from the menu in the upper-left corner, selecting the “i” icon, and then selecting Unpair Apple Watch.

Copy your old iPhone to your new iPhone

If you’re trading in your old iPhone model for a newer one and don’t want to start over on the new one, you can choose to transfer all of your settings, programs, and other data from your old iPhone to your new one. It takes around a minute to start this process through the setup windows on a new iPhone.

However, depending on how much you’re migrating over, it can take some time—anywhere from one to two hours, possibly—to transfer all of your data. Set up the transfer process and leave it running through the night before going to bed. With any luck, your new iPhone will have all of the functions of your old one.

Yes, and don’t forget to take the SIM card out of your old iPhone and put it into your new one (or any other new device you purchased).

Sign out of iCloud

This is a major one. After selecting your Apple ID and selecting Settings, scroll to the bottom and select Sign Out. This is the procedure for disassociating this device from your Apple ID. You’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID password in order to disable “Find My” if you’ve been using it to monitor your device in case of loss. Lastly, a last question about keeping a copy of your data on this phone will be posed to you. You’ll be resetting it soon anyway, so it makes no difference. Click “Sign Out” to proceed. The process of deleting your previous iPhone’s iCloud data should just take a few minutes.

Reset and erase your iPhone

Tap on Settings, tap on General, scroll to the bottom, and tap on Reset. Select the second-place option: Erase All Content and Settings. Enter your passcode or password one final time. Tap on the red “Erase iPhone” option. Say a final goodbye. Tap “Erase iPhone” one more time.

Double-check that your iPhone is gone for good

Go visit your Apple ID’s account management page and scroll down a bit until you see “Devices.” Your iPhone shouldn’t be on that list. If it is, click on it and select “Remove from Account.”

Turn off your old iPhone and send it back to Apple

This one’s self-explanatory, but make sure you power down your old iPhone. Then, open up the return box Apple sent you and follow its instructions to mail your iPhone back. Try not to think too much about the huge sacks of cash—in the form of a refund or an Apple balance—headed your way.

Inspect your phone

Once you’ve cleaned up your iPhone, it’s never a bad idea to take pictures of it before sending it in. Take note of the imperfections that you’re aware of, and keep them handy in case you hear reports indicating further damage. Things can get damaged in the mail, and this could very well impact how much you earn for your trade, so it never hurts to keep a log of photos.

Erase your phone

Before you trade in your iPhone, you’ll want to return it to factory default settings. Go into your iCloud settings and ensure that the Backup setting is switched on and that everything that you want to keep is backed up. This will allow you to restore all of your current information to a new iPhone. Alternatively, you can store a backup locally by manually initiating the process in iTunes on a macOS or Windows computer. Once you’ve made a copy of your iPhone, turn off Find My iPhone, which is located within the iCloud settings. If you have an Apple Watch paired to the iPhone you want to trade in, unpair it within the Apple Watch app. As an added measure of protection, sign out of your Apple ID before wiping the phone. After this, wipe your iPhone by entering the “General” settings option, followed by “Reset,” then “Erase all content and settings.”


Find the best offer

Apple has announced some nice incentives for those who want to trade in their old iPhones for new ones, as well as several retailers and carriers. With new iPhone 11 Pro phones now starting at $999, as much credit as you can get will help offset the cost. So if you’re thinking about upgrading, follow the guidelines above to help budget your new purchase this year.

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We don't buy stolen phones. All phones are sold by people who have the right to sell them.

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