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Grow Your Business Technology

Trading in Your Old iPhone? 4 Things to Do First

iPhone 6 Plus, business smartphones
Credit: Apple

Ready to trade in your iPhone? Whether you're waiting to see if the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are right for your business or you're just waiting for your new phone to arrive, there are some important steps you need to take before relinquishing your old device.

Apple sold a record-breaking 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units this launch weekend, but for small businesses, it may be wise to wait and see how these devices perform in real life before making the leap. And even if you're already one of the millions who preordered a unit, you won't be getting your phone anytime soon — due to the massive sales, the iPhone 6 Plus will be on back order for three to four weeks, and some iPhone 6 models will take seven to 10 business days before they arrive. Individual carriers may also have their own shipment timelines, resulting in even longer delays for delivery.

In the meantime, here's how you can prep your phone before you say goodbye. To keep your data safe and accessible — and to get the best deal on a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus — here are four things you need to do before trading in your old iPhone. [iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus: Which Is Better for Business?]

1. Back up your device

Imagine turning on your shiny new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, ready to restore all your files, contacts, calendars, client information, photos and other data from iCloud. But instead of the seamless process you were expecting, the device keeps crashing and you've wasted hours trying unsuccessfully to get everything back on your phone. Or worse, you've lost a ton of data because while you thought iCloud automatically synced and backed up everything, it had failed to save the latest or last few changes to your device. Avoid these horror stories by manually backing up your phone, both on iCloud and on iTunes or some other secondary source.

Three of the simplest ways to back up your iPhone are via iCloud, iTunes or third-party cloud storage services.

How to back up your device on iCloud:

Open Settings > Choose iCloud > Storage and Backup > Back Up Now

How to back up your device on iTunes:

Open iTunes and connect your iPhone. Choose File > Devices > Back up Now

How to back up your device to a third-party cloud storage solution:

Download a cloud storage app from the App Store. The most popular services are Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Google Drive. Unlike one-click backups provided by iCloud and iTunes, this method will take significantly more time, as it will likely require that you upload each file, photo or video one by one. Third-party cloud services also typically don't support backups of your contacts, notes, text messages and other iOS-based functionalities.

2. Erase all data

From important files to photos, notes and other data, you don't want sensitive business or client information in the wrong hands. After backing up your phone, the next thing you need to do is completely wipe its contents and reset it back to factory settings.

Here's how to wipe your phone clean before trading it in: Open the Settings app > select General > scroll all the way down and choose Reset > select "Erase all content and settings."

You'll be asked for your four-digit passcode and to confirm the reset. Wiping your phone will take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on your device and how much data you have stored.

3. Check carrier policies

Trading in your phone isn't as simple as walking in to a store and handing the sales rep your old phone for a new one, or placing an order online and mailing in your old device. In addition to account-specific trade-in requirements, each carrier has its own policies regarding phone conditions and how devices qualify for trade-ins. Before going to the store or placing an order online for an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, check each carrier's trade-in policies to make sure your current iPhone meets that carrier's requirements.

At the very minimum, phones must be in good, working condition. Major carriers have very specific requirements, however. For example, Verizon's Device Recycling Program requires that phones still have their batteries and are able to turn on and off. They must not have any water damage or visible corrosion, and the screen must properly function and be free of any cracks. Ports must also not have any damage, dents or missing pieces and accessories.

Running iOS 7 or higher? Carriers also ask that you deactivate Find My iPhone before you trade it in.

4. Shop around

As a small business, you need all the deals you can find. And because it's iPhone season, carriers everywhere are offering some sweet promotions. Our sister site, LAPTOP, breaks down which of the big four carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — is offering the best deal on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and how each carrier's program stacks up against the others.

Keep in mind that there is a catch: Many of the highly advertised sales you'll come across are for personal wireless accounts. When shopping for a trade-in program, ask carriers if your business also qualifies for the same deals, or if there are better promotions for small businesses. AT&T Small Business, for instance, is offering a $100 credit on your bill for new smartphone lines and up to $300 when you trade in an iPhone.

As a small business, you may also qualify for service deals, such as cash-back programs and discounts on bundled business services.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.