Before giving away your iPhone, make sure you follow these steps

How to erase your old iPhone to remove any personal information still on it

By Troy Blevins - Graham Media Group
Troy Blevins/Graham Media Group

Apple's iPhone XR is set to be released Oct. 26, completing the company's new lineup of phones for the fall and upcoming holiday season; the iPhone XS and XS Max were released in September. And there's nothing quite like opening a brand new smartphone, peeling away all that plastic and that smell you first experience opening a new device.

But what about your previous phone?

True, you could always put the old phone away and reuse it later on in life, as a backup phone if something does happen to your new phone or to hold onto for nostalgic reasons (anyone still have their flip phone?). Or turn it into an on-the-go device for storing all of your music.

However, if you've decided it's time to let go of the old phone, whether it's giving it away to a family member or friend, selling the phone or recycling it, there are some steps you should take before parting ways.

One of those steps below is wiping your phone clean, which will remove any personal information you may still have on it.

Although this tutorial is aimed at those using an Apple iPhone, it could also apply to those using another iOS device, such as an iPad or iPod touch. I should note that this tutorial is mostly for educational purposes and you should always be cautious whenever handling sensitive data. I would always research online and seek support from Apple or your cellular provider if you run into any trouble.

That said, I'll try to make this as easy as possible so you can get back to enjoying your new phone.

Deep breath... OK, let's begin!

1) Be mindful of anything connected to your old phone

If you didn't transfer everything over to your new iPhone, be mindful of anything that may be paired or connected to this phone, such as your Apple Watch. You'll want to unpair the Apple Watch and pair it with your new phone to continue using it and track any health data.

Take this time to also review any common sites you visit that may have required accessing this phone for two-factor authorization. Also consider any smart home products, such as any Alexa or Google Home devices, you may have also connected with your old iPhone. You'll want to ensure your new phone picks up where your old phone left off in terms of connecting to any services or sites you used previously with the old phone.

2) Backup, backup, backup...

If you haven't done so already, make sure that everything you need on your old phone is off it, including any important photos, videos, notes or phone numbers. If you transferred data from your old iPhone when setting up your new phone, chances are the data may already be on the new device. Some of this data may have already been backed up to iTunes or Apple's iCloud service. Take a moment to review that this data is on your new iPhone or backed up in some fashion.

Something I do often is make a physical backup and sync my phone with iTunes. This can be done either wirelessly or by manually plugging your phone into your computer via USB. I also manually import the photos via macOS's Preview app as a second precaution (you can do this via Preview's file menu option to "Import from" your phone). There's also Apple's Photos app if you'd prefer to use that.

3) Turn off Find My iPhone

If you turned on the Find My iPhone service, we'll need to make sure that feature is disabled before moving further. This feature is used in the event your phone goes missing, in which you can use iCloud.com to look for where the phone may be.

Even if you're not sure if this feature is on, let's check to make sure that it's off. On your old iPhone, go into the Settings app and tap on your name at the top. It could say "Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store" underneath your name. Next, scroll down to the name of your device and tap on it. It should have the name of the device below it, like "This iPhone 6 Plus."

You should see a Find My iPhone setting there above iCloud Backup. Tap on that and if it's enabled, turn off the Find My iPhone feature.

You can also disable this feature by going to the Settings app, tapping on your name and this time clicking on iCloud. There, you can see what apps are syncing with iCloud, including the Find My iPhone setting. That's where this feature can be disabled.

With this in mind, be sure to not lose it between now and whatever you do next with the phone!

4) Sign out of Apple ID, iCloud and the iTunes & App Store

We'll also want to make sure that your Apple ID account is no longer tied to this device. Once you've signed in already on your new phone, it's time to sign out on the old device.

Go back in the Settings app on your old iPhone and click on your name at the top. Just a quick reminder that it could say "Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store" underneath your name. Once there, scroll down to where it says "Sign Out." This will NOT delete any of your accounts, such as Apple ID or iCloud. You can always sign back in if you change your mind, but you'll need your Apple ID email address and password to do so.

You may have seen while on that screen your new iPhone and any other devices connected to your Apple ID account. With that in mind, let's go to your new phone and see what's now listed there. A quick reminder to go to the Settings app on your new iPhone, click on your name and scroll down to see any connected devices you may have. If you no longer see your old iPhone on this list, it's likely no longer connected with your Apple ID.

If your device has iOS 10.2 or earlier, in the Settings app, go to iCloud and then sign out there. Tap Sign Out again and then delete the device. You may be prompted to enter the password for your Apple ID. After this step, return to the Settings main screen and tap on iTunes & App Store, then "Apple ID" and finally, "Sign Out."

5) Erase your iPhone

If you're absolutely sure you're no longer wanting to use this iPhone for any other reason and are ready to either put it into storage or give it away, we have approached the final steps of erasing your iPhone.

If you are following this tutorial and switching from an iPhone or iOS device to a non-Apple phone, such as one powered by the Android operating system, click here to learn how deregister iMessage. This is an important step so you'll be able to continue sending and receiving text messages. Again, this step is only necessary if you're switching to a non-Apple device.

In the Settings app, select General and then Reset (near the bottom). You'll see a setting called "Erase All Content and Settings." Tap on that, and it will ask you a few times if you're sure about doing so. If prompted, enter your phone's passcode and/or Apple ID password.

The next time you turn on this phone, it should greet you and ask for information as if you were setting up the phone.

6) Remove SIM card, next steps and seeking additional help

If applicable, remove the SIM card from your old phone. Chances are, this is already removed and in your new phone, or deactivated, but this card can be removed from the phone using a paper clip to remove the SIM tray from the side of your old phone.

If you ran into any issues, such as if you forgot your passcode, click here to visit Apple's Support page, which includes some other ways of erasing your phone and how to contact Apple Support.

If you decided to move entirely to non-Apple devices, such as one running Android, as stated above, you'll want to make sure you deregister iMessage, but also be sure to remove your credit or debit cards associated with Apple Pay at iCloud.com, if necessary.

Click here to learn more about what to do before selling or giving away your iOS-powered device.

Now that the hard part is over, enjoy all the latest features on your new iPhone!

Graham Media Group 2018