Opinion: New phone? Get your old one ready to pass on


Does the act of removing the sim card from my old phone prevent anyone from accessing any of my personal information that might still be recoverable? — Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash

This week a reader writes: I recently bought a new Apple iPhone and removed the SIM card from my old iPhone.

Does the act of removing the sim card from my old phone prevent anyone from accessing any of my personal information that might still be recoverable? How is the safest way to dispose of an old iPhone? Great question. Let’s dive into what you need to do before passing on an old phone.

For iPhone users, once you’ve removed the SIM, which only holds the phone number, you still need to sign out of your iCloud account and reset the phone, which will wipe all your personal data and restore the operating system.

You’re going to need to know your Apple ID and password to proceed.

If you’ve got an Apple Watch, unpair it from the old phone.

Unregister any AirTags paired with the phone.

Back up your data using iCloud or connect it with a sync cable to your computer (if you have one).

In the iCloud settings, turn off Find My, which will turn off the Activation Lock (so someone else can use the phone).

Go back to the iCloud settings page, scroll down to the bottom, and sign out.

You’ll need to input your Apple ID password and perhaps your phone’s passcode for those last two steps.

Then go to Settings/General and scroll down to the bottom and select Transfer or Reset iPhone.

Then choose Erase All Content and Settings. Again, you’ll be asked for your Apple ID password.

When the iPhone reboots, it should show you the Hello page and be ready for the next user.

Android users

Samsung users should open Settings, then tap General Management.

Scroll down to Reset, tap it, then choose Factory Data Reset.

Then review the information and tap Reset. Be ready to enter your phone credentials and passcode. If you have a Samsung account, you’ll need to authenticate that account as well.

Different Android phones could have different ways to restore. Check with your manufacturer for specific instructions. – Tribune News Service

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