Transferring An iPhone or iPad To A New User: What You Need To Know

Transferring An iPhone or iPad To A New User: What You Need To Know

Whether you are giving a new employee an old employee’s iPhone or iPad, or simply giving your own device to someone else, to ensure a smooth transition there are a few things you need to consider before giving away the device.

To make the transition as quick and simple as possible, check out our tips below!


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Prepping The Device For The Transfer


Before anything else, the device should be backed up to ensure that any content that the owner wants to keep is available to be transferred onto a new device.

Of course, if the device is corporate owned (and there is no data on the device that needs to be saved) you can most likely skip this step.

The device can be backed up using either iCloud or iTunes.


iCloud Backup:

While you can set iCloud to automatically back up data on the device, you can perform a manual back up by following these steps:

  1. Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup
  2. Turn on iCloud Backup if it’s off.
  3. Tap Back Up Now.

iTunes Backup:

  1. Ensure the computer has the latest version of iTunes
  2. Connect the device to the computer.
  3. Choose File > Devices > Back Up.

Syncing the device with a computer via iTunes also backs up the content and settings on the device.

To check whether the backup was successful, open iTunes Preferences and select the Devices tab. Along with the name of the device, you should see the date and time iTunes created the backup.

Removing the Device From the Old Owner’s Account


The next step in the transfer is to remove the device from the previous owner’s Apple ID. This is essential to do before giving the device to the new owner, particularly if the device is running iOS 7.

Activation Lock is included in iOS 7 as part of the Find My iPhone/iPad feature. It is designed to prevent anyone but the owner from using the device, requiring the owner’s Apple ID and password whenever someone tries to:

  • Turn off Find My iPhone on the device
  • Erase the device
  • Reactivate and use the device

When Find My iPhone/iPad is enabled on a device running iOS 7, the Apple ID is securely stored on Apple’s activation servers and linked to the device. From that point on, the password of the associated Apple ID will be required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone, erase the device, or reactivate and use the device.

While it’s certainly a great idea to use this feature, when changing owner’s of a device the new owner will not be able to set up and use the device if the Activation lock feature has not been disabled by the previous owner.

How To Remove The Old Owner’s Account From The Device

Changing Owner iPhone iPad - Erase all content

Before giving the device to the new owner, it is always a good idea to completely erase the device. Using the device’s Erase All Content And Settings feature will also disable Activation Lock and removed the device from the Old Owner’s Apple ID.

*Please note, this will erase all data on the device.

Go to Settings > General > Reset, then tap Erase All Content and Settings.

  • This will completely erase the device and turn off iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, Game Center, and other services.
  • If the device is running on iOS 7 and has Find My iPhone enabled, the owner’s Apple ID and password will be required. After this is provided, the device will be erased and removed from the associated account so that the next owner can activate it.

If you do not have access to device itself, you can check whether the old owner has deactivated Activation Lock with the Check Activation Lock Status online tool provided by Apple. You will need the device’s IMEI number, which once entered into the tool will tell you whether or not the device is Activation Locked.

What If Activation Lock was Not Disabled and the Old Owner No Longer Has The Phone?

If Activation Lock was not disabled prior to changing owners of the device, the new owner will not be able to use the device until this is done.

If the old owner cannot physically access the phone, they can remotely remove the device from their Apple ID account.

  1. The old owner will need to sign into their iCloud account.
  2. They will need to select the device and click Erase, which will remotely wipe the device.
  3. Once the device has been erased, they need to click Remove From Account.

Changing Owners iPhone iPad

Once this has been completed, the device can be set up with the new owner’s details by turning the device off by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button on the device and then restarting the device.

Setting Up The New Owner

Before the new owner can set up the device, there are a few things to consider:

Transferring Contacts/ Data

Before anything else, the new user will need to ensure they have backed up any contacts or data they want to bring across to the new device.

See our guides on how to transfer content from an older iPhone to an iPhone 5S or 5C here or how to transfer content from an Android device to an Apple device here.


Service Number To Be Used With The New Device

New Owner is Using The Same Service Number As The Previous Owner.

If the mobile number is also being transferred to the new user, nothing needs to be done on the carrier’s end, unless you want to update the username.

New Owner Requires New Number or Their Number To be Transferred To the New Device

If the owner requires a new number, the service provider will be able to provision that for the user.

If the new owner wants to transfer their existing service number to this new device, the service will need to be activated on a new SIM (unless the SIM they are currently using is compatible with the new device. Check out our guide on SIM sizes for different devices here to see if it will be compatible).

Setting Up The New Owner Cont…


Setting Up The Device

Once the new user has backed up all of their content from their old device and the service number to be used with this device has been set up, they are ready to start the setup of the device.

The Setup Assistant will guide the new owner through the setup process as soon as the device is turned on.

When the user reaches the “Set up your device” section of the Setup Assistant, if the new owner has an existing Apple ID they can use an iCloud or iTunes backup of their old device to set up the new device. They can also elect to skip this step if they do not have an existing Apple ID or if corporate policy prohibits personal data on corporate devices.

Changing Owners iPhone iPad - Restoring iPhone from iCloud backup

Restoring From iCloud Backup

  1. On the “Set up your device” screen, tap Restore from a Backup, then sign in to iCloud.
  2. Proceed to “Choose backup,” then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud.
  3. The device will restart and will begin downloading any purchased music, movies, TV shows, apps, books, Camera Roll, and other content.

To check if the information on your device is fully restored, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.

Restoring From iTunes

  1. Connect the device to the computer that has the backup.
  2. Make sure this computer has the latest version of iTunes.
  3. Choose File > Devices > Restore from Back up.
    If using iTunes 10.7 or earlier, right-click the device from the list and choose Restore from Backup.

And It’s Done!

All that is left now is for the new user to get used to their new device!

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