Protect Your iPhone FI

How To Secure Your iPhone Before Upgrading Or Selling

Have you decided to upgrade, sell, or give your iPhone to a friend? If so, follow these steps to secure your iPhone data, so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. This post covers everything you must do before saying goodbye to your iPhone. These steps will also work on your iPad.

Backup Your Device to secure your iPhone data

Most importantly, back up your iPhone! The data on your device is essential, especially if you want to transfer the data to another device. To Backup go to:

  • Settings
  • Tap Your Name at the top
  • Select iCloud
  • Tap iCloud Backup

Be sure the toggle switch next to Back up This iPhone is on, and tap on choose Back Up Now.

Create a Temporary Backup if Needed

If you have insufficient free iCloud space, you can create a temporary iCloud backup for 21 days and restore it to your new device. To complete your temporary Backup go to the:

  • Settings app
  • Tap General
  • Select Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Tap Get Started

Follow the instructions to create your temporary Backup. Apple will send you back to the Settings area if you have the available backup space. Be sure to transfer your data within 21 days, and once that’s complete, you’ll need to either purchase storage from Apple or remove items from your iPhone.

If You Don’t Use iCloud Photos Turn Off

You can skip this next step if you use iCloud Photos, but if you don’t and have already turned off Photo Library in iCloud Backup, you’ll need to make sure you use a service like Google Photos to store your pictures and video. To check and verify your Photo Backup go to:

  • Settings
  • Your Name at the top
  • Tap iCloud
  • Select Photos

Be sure Sync this iPhone is toggled on and tap Manage storage to see the amount of storage you use.

If you’re using an Apple Watch, be sure you’ve unpaired it from the iPhone you are selling, turned it into the cellular carrier, or giving to a friend.

Turn off FindMy to secure your iPhone data

Next, turn off the FindMy app. If you don’t turn it off and erase your iPhone, the individual who receives it can’t use it. To Turn off FindMy go to:

  • Settings
  • Tap Your Name at the top
  • Select FindMy
  • Tap FindMy iPhone

Toggle off all the switches on this page.

iMessage and FaceTime

Let’s also turn off iMessage and FaceTime

Go to:

  • Settings
  • Messages
  • Toggle of iMessage 

Head back to the main Settings page and tap FaceTime. Toggle off this switch too.

Sign out of iCloud and Apple ID to secure your iPhone data

The next important step is to sign out of iCloud and Apple ID. Go to:

  • Settings
  • Tap Your Name at the top
  • Go to the bottom of the page and tap Sign Out.


When the message pops up and asks if you want to keep a copy of your contacts, Keychain, and other data, keep them turned off as you don’t need them on the iPhone or device you’re ditching.

Take screenshots of all of your pages and Home Screen layout. If you’re doing the standard restore, everything should come intact. But if you decide to set up your iPhone as new, which many people do to get a clean start. The screenshots of your Home Screen will help you set up the iPhone how you like. You’ll need to save those screenshots to another device using AirDrop or save them to Google Drive.

Erase Your Device

We need to erase the device to ensure no data remains on your iPhone or iPad. Be sure you have followed the previous steps and now go to:

  • Settings
  • General
  • Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Erase All Content and Settings

Follow the on-screen message and tap Continue; you may be asked during the erasure to save your cellular eSim if you’re remaining with your cellular provider.

Remove Device from Your Account to secure your iPhone data

Once you’ve completed this process, remove this iPhone from your list of trusted devices. If you have one, you can do this from another device, like your iPad. Go to:

  • Settings
  • Tap Your Name at the top
  • Scroll down to see a list of all your devices.
  • Select the device you want to remove
  • Tap Remove from Account
  • Confirm the removal by tapping Remove.

If you don’t have another device go to:

  • Sign in using your Apple ID and Password that you used on your Old iPhone
  • Tap Devices on left
  • If the old iPhone appears on the list, select and click Remove from Account.


Your iPhone keeps your most personal information, like your address and photos of your kids or grandkids. So you must erase the data on your old device. Hopefully, you found this video helpful in keeping your personal information safe as you’re getting ready to give away your most personal device.

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Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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