Get your old iPad ready for sale in 5 easy steps

BY Jason

Published 3 Nov 2013


The iPad Air went on sale a few days back, and the Retina iPad mini will follow soon after. If you plan on selling your old iPad to buy one of the new ones, here are a few tips to to make sure all your personal data has been wiped off the device’s storage. You’ll be surprised how many people sell their iOS devices without doing anything to remove personal data.

Follow these simple steps to make sure that your personal data such emails, messages etc. cannot be accessed by a stranger.

Backup your iPad’s data:

Before you erase your iPad’s data, it is important that you first take a backup of your data, so that you can restore it to your new iPad.

You can backup to your local machine via iTunes or backup to Apple’s servers via iCloud, or do both to be double safe.

Backup using iTunes

  • Connect your iPad to the computer that you normally sync it with.
  • Open iTunes and select your iPad under Devices in the left-hand navigation pane
  • Right-click (or Control-click) the device and select Back Up

Note: If you’ve purchased some items on your iPad and haven’t transferred these purchases to your computer yet, right-click the iPad and choose “Transfer Purchases” to transfer the purchases prior to backup.

Back Up via iCloud:

iCloud automatically backs up most of the important data on your iPad (running on iOS 5 or higher) on a daily basis. But you can manually take a backup one last time before we show you how to delete your personal data.

  • Please ensure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Launch the Settings app
  • Navigate to iCloud -> Storage & Backup
  • Tap on Back Up Now

This can take several minutes depending on when your iPad was last backed up to iCloud.


Note that even if you have iCloud Backup enabled, you can still manually take a backup through iTunes to be double safe.

Turn off Find My iPad and Activation Lock

If you’re planning on selling an iPad running iOS 7, you’ll have to make sure that Activation Lock is turned off. Activation Lock is a new feature in iOS 7 that ties your iPad with your Apple ID so that if your device gets stolen, the thief has to know your login credentials to turn off Find My iPad or erase the iPad to factory state.

To turn off Activation Lock:

  • Navigate to Settings > iCloud
  • Scroll down to Find My iPad and turn it off

ipad find my ipad turn off

You can even disable Activation Lock remotely via iCloud’s web interface:

  • Go to and sign in to your account.
  • Open Find My iPhone
  • Click on the ”Devices” button to see a list of all your iOS devices
  • Click on the iPad you’ve sold or planning to sell, and tap on the cross icon next to it.

Erase all your iPad’s Data and Settings:

Now that you’ve taken a backup of your data, you can follow these steps to delete the data and settings from your iPad.

Note: It is advisable that your iPad has full charge or is connected to a power source before beginning this process.

  • Launch Settings app
  • Tap on ‘General’
  • Scroll down to the bottom and tap on ‘Reset’
  • Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings” option

ipad reset settings

  • If you’ve set a passcode, it will prompt you to enter the passcode
  • After entering the passcode, it will prompt you one last time if you want to delete data and settings from your iPad.
  • Tap on ‘Erase iPad’ button

During this process your iPad will display the Apple logo and a progress bar. The process may take few minutes to several hours based on the version of your iPad and the amount of data on your device.

If you’ve jailbroken your iPad then it is advisable to erase all your iPad’s data and settings by plugging it your computer and clicking on the “Restore” button.

To be on the safe side, before erasing your data, you can sign out and unlink your device from online services like Google, Dropbox, Pandora etc.

Unlink/Unregister your iPad:

It may be also be a good idea to unregister your iPad from Apple’s website so that it is no longer linked to your Apple ID.

  1. Go to:
  2. Log in if not already logged in.
  3. Click on “edit products”
  4. Click on the “x” to the right of the product.
  5. Click “Unregister”

Remove SIM/deactivate device

If you have a cellular iPad, before shipping or handing your iPad off to the new owner, make sure you remove your SIM if you’re on a GSM network or request deactivation of your device by contacting your carrier if you’re on a CDMA network.

That’s it! As you can see, it is very simple to prepare your iPad for resale. If you’re planning to sell your iPad, be sure to check out the best places to trade-in your iPad.

If you’ve any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.