How to Prep Your Smartphone for Trade-In

by Social Media Specialist Social Media Specialist ‎04-20-2017 03:20 PM - edited ‎04-20-2017 03:28 PM (98,986 Views)

If you're looking to trade in your phone, or hand it down to a friend or family member, you probably don't want to hand over your data, pics, music or apps with it. Here are the steps you'll want to take before giving your phone to someone else.

Back Up Your Data

You may already have your phone set up to automatically sync to an online service like iCloud or your Google account. However, you can never be too careful with data, and it's a good idea to make a manual backup of the data on your phone as well. If you need help backing up the data from your mobile phone, check out our article Back Up Your Mobile Device.

Perform a Factory Reset

A factory reset will delete your personal data and any apps you've installed from your phone. It will also reset the phone back to its default state.


Before resetting your phone, it's a good idea to encrypt your data if you haven't already. To do this, follow the steps below.

  • Go to Settings
  • Select Security
  • Select Encrypt phone

Once the process is complete, complete the factory reset by following the steps below.

  • Go to Settings
  • Select Backup & Reset
  • Select Factory data reset


For iOS devices, follow the instructions below.

  • Go to Settings
  • Select General
  • Select Reset
  • From there, select Erase All Content and Settings

Windows Phone

The following procedure will reset your phone to its factory settings.

  • Go to the App list
  • Select Settings
  • Select About
  • Select Reset your phone
  • You'll then select Yes in answer to the warnings about data loss (you did back up your data, right?)

Disable the "Find My" feature on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have a feature that allows users to track and erase their devices remotely using iCloud called Find My (device type). You will want to turn that feature off before you give the device to another user or send it in for repair.

To turn off this feature:

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Select iCloud
  • Select Find My (device type) to disable it if enabled
  • Enter your Apple ID
  • Select Turn Off

Disable the Activation Lock on iOS7 Devices

Included in the release of iOS7 is a feature called Activation Lock, which prevents anyone from activating, completing the Setup Assistant or erasing the device without first unlocking the device using a linked Apple ID. If you are planning to give your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to someone or send it in for service, you will want to disable the Activation Lock first. This can be done either on the device itself or by accessing the Apple account it is linked to with a computer.

On the device

To turn off the Activation Lock using the device, you will need to reset it to its original factory settings. For instructions on how to do this, see the earlier section Perform a Factory Reset.

Using the Apple ID

The Activation Lock feature works by tracking the device through your Apple iCloud account. Removing it from your Find My list will disassociate it from your account and the Activation Lock will then be disabled.

  • On a computer, log on to the iCloud platform at using your Apple ID
  • Select Find My (device type)
  • From the All Devices menu, select the device you would like to remove
  • Select Erase (device type)
  • Confirm your desire to erase the device from your account
  • Enter your Apple ID password
  • Select Next until you get the Erase Started pop-up box
  • Select Remove from Account
  • Confirm your decision to remove the device from your Apple account by selecting Remove in the pop-up box

Once you've completed the steps outlined above, go back to Find My (device type) and make sure the device has been removed from the All Devices menu. If it is no longer on the list, the device is ready to be serviced or transferred to another person.

Change Account Passwords

For extra protection, change any important passwords you may have saved to your smartphone, like those for your Apple or Google account. The factory reset should remove any saved passwords along with your data, but we recommend this extra precaution.

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