How to prepare your phone for trade-in

Get your phone ready for trade-in with these steps
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How to prepare your phone for trade-in

Before you trade-in your old phone, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android phone, there’s some things you need to do to make sure none of your personal information gets handed over too. These steps will help you get everything cleared out and ready to go.

Trade-in an iPhone

The first thing you need to do is make sure your iPhone is backed up to iCloud so you don’t lose any personal information, pictures, contacts or messages that you want to keep.

Back up your iPhone

Your iPhone should back up automatically, as long as the option is turned on, but here’s how to check and make sure:

iPhone settings menu

  1. Open the iPhone’s Settings.
  2. Tap your Apple ID to view your personal settings.
  3. Tap iCloud to see the iCloud settings menu.

iCloud settings menu

  1. Once you're in iCloud settings, you can see how much iCloud storage is already being used. Scroll down to the bottom of the menu to see more options.
  2. Tap iCloud Backup to make sure it's turned on, and to start a manual backup.
  3. On this final page, you can see the date of the last backup your iPhone made. Press Back Up Now to start a new one. A progress bar will appear, showing you how far through you are.

Unpair your Apple Watch

Next, if you have an Apple watch paired with your iPhone, you’ll need to remove it. Here’s how:

Apple Watch settings

  1. From your Home screen, find and open the Watch app, then tap on the name of your watch at the top.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the General menu and tap Reset.
  3. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  4. Tap Erase Now.

Remove Find my iPhone

Before you can go ahead and factory reset your iPhone, you need to remove Find my iPhone because it links your Apple ID to the device. If your phone won’t turn on, don’t worry, we can still turn it off. Here’s how to remove it:

If your iPhone still works

If you can still use your old iPhone, you can it off in the settings:

Find my iPhone settings

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap your name at the top of the Settings menu.
  3. Tap iCloud > Find My iPhone.
  4. If the switch is on (green), tap to turn it off.
  5. Type your Apple ID password then tap Turn off.

If your iPhone isn’t working

If your iPhone won’t turn on or you can’t use the screen, you can use the iCloud website to turn it off:

Find my iPhone iCloud settings

  1. Make sure the iPhone is turned off.
  2. On a computer, go to iCloud and log in with your Apple ID and password.
  3. Click Find my iPhone.
  4. Click All Devices, then click your iPhone's name (it should show as 'Offline').
  5. Click Remove from Account.
  6. Click Remove on the pop-up window to finish.

Factory reset your iPhone

A factory reset will wipe all the data from your iPhone, deleting anything that wasn’t on the phone when it was brand new. Make sure your iPhone is backed up before completing this step!

If your iPhone still works

iPhone factory reset settings

  1. From your Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down tap General.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings to wipe all your personal data from your iPhone.

Confirm iPhone factory reset

  1. Tap Back Up Then Erase to save your data to iCloud, or tap Erase Now if you’ve already backed up.
  2. To confirm the iPhone reset, you'll be asked to enter your passcode. Type in your PIN or password to restore to factory settings.

If your iPhone isn’t working

If you can’t get to the settings menu on the iPhone, you can reset it through iCloud. First, connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB charging cable. Open iTunes with your phone connected, then soft reset the phone. If you’re not sure how, these are the instructions. It has to be done quite quickly, so we recommend reading through what you have to do first, then giving it a try:

  • iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus - Press and release the Volume Up button, then the Volume Down button. Then immediately press and hold the Power button until you see the recovery mode screen. All three buttons should be pressed within a few seconds of each other.
  • iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus - Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. Hold them down until you see recovery mode.
  • iPhone 6s and earlier - Press and hold the Home and the Power buttons at the same time. Hold them down until you see recovery mode.

Recovery mode in iTunes

When you’ve successfully got into recovery mode, you’ll get a message on iTunes asking you to ‘Restore’ or ‘Update’ your iPhone. Choose Restore to factory reset the phone, then wait until the software downloads.

That’s it, your iPhone is now ready for trade-in.

Trade-in an Android phone

The first thing to do is make sure your phone is backed up, so you don’t delete any pictures, videos, contacts or messages that you want to keep. Due to the number of different phones running Android, the wording you see on your version might vary slightly from the steps.

Back up your Android phone

Most Android phones will back up automatically to Google, but here’s how you can check:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Choose Back up and Reset.
  3. Tick the box or tap the switch next to ‘Backup my data’.

Photos and videos are backed up separately through the Google Photos app:

  1. Open the Google Photos app.
  2. Tap the three lines in the top-left, then choose Settings.
  3. Tap Backup & sync.
  4. Make sure the switch next to ‘Backup & sync’ is on.

Remove your Google account

Before you can factory reset your phone, you’ll need to remove your Google account from it, otherwise it won’t reset properly. Here’s how:

Google account settings

  1. Go to Settings on the phone.
  2. Tap Accounts or Accounts & sync.
  3. Tap your Google account.
  4. Tap the Google address line.
  5. Tap the Menu icon (three dots) at the top, then Remove account.

Factory reset your Android phone

Once everything is safely backed up and your Google account has been removed, you’re ready to factory reset your phone:

Factory reset Android settings

  1. Open the Settings.
  2. Tap Backup & reset (you might need to choose System or something similar first).
  3. Tap Factory data reset.
  4. Tap Reset Device or Reset Phone.
  5. Confirm you want to reset by pressing Erase everything.

That should be all you need to do to wipe your phone ready for trade in. Time to turn it into cash!

With our phone and tablet Trade-in service, you can sell your unwanted old devices for cash, even if they’re damaged or not working. Plus, it’s really quick and easy. Find out more about Trade-in.

Got any questions about this article? Would you like to know more about trading in your phone at Carphone Warehouse? Post your questions in the comments below.

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