PLEASE help me switch iPhones & providers, & give old iPhone to friend
September 24, 2014 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Normally I’d solve this by myself, but a severe bout of depression is making it impossible for me to think clearly. I’m so overwhelmed I’m barely keeping myself from bursting into tears at work. I’m basically asking AskMe to proofread my plan, point out vital information I’m missing, and let me know if there’s anything else I haven’t considered. Please keep your responses simple--providing links to websites with directions is fine, so long as you're sure that those instructions are RIGHT. Details inside.

What I have:
An iPhone 5 on Verizon Wireless in Chicago, with a contract that expires in January 2015.

What I want to buy:
An iPhone 6 and a T-Mobile contract in Chicago, which means cancelling Verizon early and paying the fee.

What I want to do with the iPhone 5:
Set it up so that I can give it to a friend of mine, who will be opening a T-Mobile account.

  1. Can my friend use my iPhone 5 on T-Mobile? The phone does not say Verizon on it anywhere, but I am getting different answers from different Google queries.
  3. How do I make sure that I have backed up my iPhone 5 properly, so that I can load everything onto my iPhone 6 with minimal fuss?
  5. What do I have to do to clear out the iPhone 5 so that nothing of mine remains on it (including access to my iTunes store account), and it’s ready for her to take to T-Mobile and set up?
  7. How do I deactivate my iPhone 5 from my Apple account, and how do I activate my iPhone 6 when I buy it?
  9. Do I buy my iPhone 6 from Apple or from T-Mobile?
  11. How do I make sure that my Verizon account is cancelled and that they will not continue to bill me after I pay the cancellation fee?
Thank you all in advance.
posted by tzikeh to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have an iPhone 5 and use T-Mobile so that shouldn't be an issue. I'd buy the new iPhone from Apple - since T-Mobile doesn't subsidize the cost of the phone, it won't make a difference in terms of price. When you buy your iPhone 6, I would ask at the Apple Store that they load everything on to your new phone and clear out the old phone. Save all of your records related to closing your Verizon account so that if they charge you again, you can refer to those documents.
posted by kat518 at 9:59 AM on September 24, 2014

Best answer: 1) Yes, the Verizon iPhone 5 is factory unlocked and will work with a T-Mobile SIM card.
2) iTunes can do a full backup of the phone.
3) Reset everything via the phone's Settings menu.
4) Either on the phone or on iTunes, as part of the initial setup you will be asked to login to your Apple account.
5) Either one, the experience is roughly the same I believe. Apple might spend more time walking you through the process of migrating any data.
6) If you port your number to T-Mobile as part of the signup process, it will automatically cancel your Verizon account.
posted by dcjd at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2014

Additionally, your friend will just need to bring your old phone to T-Mobile and they will hook him up with the T-Mobile nano SIM card he needs to use the phone with them.
posted by dcjd at 10:06 AM on September 24, 2014

1. Yes!
2. Either make sure it's all backed up on iCloud or get Apple to switch everything over for you.
3. Factory reset the phone after you're all done moving everything over.
4. You can log into your Apple account and deauthorize your old phone and when you get your new phone you just log it into your Apple account.
5. Doesn't really matter.
6. When I switched from Verizon to T-mobile, I ported my number, and T-mo cancelled my Verizon account as part of the porting process.
You'll also be happy to know that T-Mobile will pay your early termination fee!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:12 AM on September 24, 2014

Response by poster: Wow, you guys are GREAT! Thank you all!

rabbitrabbit, alas, T-Mobile will not pay my termination fee because I am not giving them my old phone. :(
posted by tzikeh at 10:20 AM on September 24, 2014

tzikeh: If you have any old phone lying around, you can actually give T-Mobile that one and qualify for the ETF payoff. You could even buy a crappy prepaid phone and use that one to give to T-Mobile. Check with the T-Mobile store for details.
posted by dcjd at 10:26 AM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

2. Either make sure it's all backed up on iCloud or get Apple to switch everything over for you.
3. Factory reset the phone after you're all done moving everything over.

it is important, between steps 2 and 3 here, to disable Find my Phone in the Settings. Else when the new setup process is being undertaken it'll demand the login. That's somewhere between annoying and a deal breaker, depending on the recipient. Most of the trade-in programs are being very strident that you must do this before sending it to them to receive the credit.

If you're having a bad time of it right now maybe you don't want to goof with this stuff, but you should look to see what sort of promotional deal T-Mo is offering on trade-ins. Verizon gave me $200 for an old iPhone 4, a full $100 more than it's really worth. T-Mo's estimate page similarly said $201 when I checked it there. I can find any number of them on Craigslist locally for $100.
posted by phearlez at 10:54 AM on September 24, 2014

Response by poster: Phearlez - I'm not trading in my iPhone. :)
posted by tzikeh at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2014

No, but you don't want your buddy to be dead in the water at step 3 of getting it set up for herself. You'll be able to then go to and remove it or give her your password but it's easier for all involved to turn it off before you do a 'reset all settings' prior to selling it to her.
posted by phearlez at 12:40 PM on September 24, 2014

Response by poster: I was referring to the second part of your comment -- the promotions on trade-ins.
posted by tzikeh at 2:36 PM on September 24, 2014

Oh, I guess I wasn't clear - I meant that with T-Mo and others offering over-priced $200 trade-ins on things as old as an iPhone 4 model you could buy one for $100 and get $200 (and your ETF) in exchange. You can do better than their offer on a 5 but for some reason they're inflating the trade-in offer for the 4 models.

I'm not sure it's worth the risk in many cases - I'm waffling on it myself - but if you were already going to buy something to use as a trade-in to get them to do the ETF covering, as suggested by others above, you might consider spending $100 to get $200.
posted by phearlez at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2014

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