Selling Your iPad, Getting the iPad 2 – Some Tips to Smooth the Transition

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Now that we know the new iPad 2 is available next week, many iPad users are looking at selling their current iPad in order to help with buying the new one. I know I’m one of them. I’ll be looking to sell my 64GB 3G model, to recoup some of the money I’ll spend getting the iPad 2.

One of our splendid readers – Jake – emailed me this morning to ask about how to smooth the transition and he had a few questions on how best to handle the process of moving up from the original iPad to the iPad 2. Thanks for the email Jake! It’s a great topic.

Hit the break for some quick tips to help you through the iPad to iPad 2 process ..

Preparing to Sell Your Original iPad

— The first thing you’re going to want to do before selling your current iPad is make sure you have all the data contained on it backed up, saved or synced sufficiently so that you do not lose any important (or just sentimental) data. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, and they’ll be unique to your case in terms of what apps and services you use, and what type of content you have loaded on your iPad. Some basic principles worth following are:

— Use iTunes backup to backup your iPad. These can be unreliable at times, but it’s better to have one than not.

— Make sure you sync your iPad to your PC prior to selling it. And check that you are syncing everything you need / want – photos and videos, calendar, apps, music, podcasts etc.

— If you have apps that store critical data locally on your iPad – and don’t have options to sync it to online services like Dropbox or similar – you may want to look at third party disk mode products that allow you to transfer files directly from iPad to PC (apps like Phone Disk or similar)

— If you’re very fond of how your home screens and apps are organized, you may want to take screenshots of each of them – to use as a guide when setting up your new iPad.

— If you have purchased items (e.g. music, apps) on your iPad that is not yet synced to your PC, you should get prompted to transfer those purchases to the PC when you plug your iPad in via USB.

iPad transfer purchases to PC

— If you don’t see that prompt, you can right-click on your iPad where it shows in the left-hand pane of iTunes, and choose the link to transfer purchases. Once you do, you should see individual items being transferred in the status bar.


— If you have a 3G iPad and a current data plan, you are going to want to cancel the data plan – to ensure the buyer of your iPad doesn’t get a free ride on your data plan, and also that you don’t have problems setting up a data plan for your new iPad 2. You can do this on the iPad itself, again via the Settings app:

Settings > Cellular Data > View Account > login > Add Data or Change Plan > Cancel data plan


— Once you have backed up your iPad, transferred any purchases made on it to your PC, and feel confident that all your important data is backed up or synced, you should now set about wiping all that data from the iPad – so that it is clean and free of personal data when you sell it. You can start on this by doing a full device reset – you do this in the Settings app:

Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.

— After the reset, I would suggest you also do a full Restore via iTunes. Restore

— It should be noted that a reset and restore do not provide a ‘forensic’ level of data wiping. If your old iPad ends up in the hands of a very knowledgeable hacker or law enforcement official with the right tools, it’s likely that some personal data could be recovered.

— If you have not already updated to the latest version of the iPad operating system (currently iOS 4.2, soon to be 4.3 when the new iPad is released), you should do that via iTunes as well. Buyers will expect to see the latest OS software on your iPad.

— If you want to check on the status of your iPad warranty (all of them are less than a year old and still covered) and AppleCare cover, you can go to the Apple support site and enter your device serial number, under the Self Service > Check Your Service and Support Coverage section:


— The screen you get after entering your serial number will show your warranty and AppleCare status. You can screenshot that screen as proof for a potential buyer.

— There is no need to transfer iTunes accounts when you switch iPads. Doing a restore on your current one will clear any account information along with everything else – and when you get your new iPad you just setup your Apple ID for that new device.

Selling Your Original iPad

— Again, there are of course several ways to go about this. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend, acquaintance, or work colleague who will buy your iPad, that’s probably the easiest way to go.

— There are sites and companies that focus on buying used gadgets. They generally will be helpful on things like giving you an immediate online purchase offer, once you provide some info on the age and condition of your device, and making shipping painless and perhaps covering it. Gazelle is just one such site, there are plenty of others around if you do some searching.

— If you go the Craigslist or eBay route, the obvious advice is to ‘Be careful out there’.

When the iPad 2 comes out I’ll probably do a post with some setup tips. In the meantime, I hope this post has been helpful for some of you who are planning to sell your current iPad and buy a new iPad 2.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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13 thoughts on “Selling Your iPad, Getting the iPad 2 – Some Tips to Smooth the Transition”

  1. thanks i will selling mine through criaglist and hopefully ill get a good offer. just asking: why should i delete and reset all settings, shouldn’t doing a restore be enough?

    1. A restore is generally enough for this level of data wipe – I just like the idea of a bit of doubling up on this.

  2. Good info, but I’m unlimited.. no way in heck I’m cancelling my data plan. I’m assuming I can pull the sim and just contact AT&T when I get the new one and get the current plan ported over. Any drawbacks to this?

    1. I’d say speak to AT&T to be sure on this subject, but I sold a 3G iPad to a work colleague a while back and I had not canceled the unlimited plan prior to giving it to him and it turned out to be a nightmare getting it worked out. I don’t recall all the details, but I think the gist was that the data plan is tied uniquely to that physical device and you are not allowed to have an active data plan on more than one iPad at a time, ever. So if you go to setup a plan on iPad 2 and still have one actively associated with the original iPad you won’t be able to.

      The unlimited data plan for iPads is not going anywhere – it was setup from the beginning so that you can cancel today, start it up again next month, cancel in May, restart in June, and so on – so I’m not sure why canceling would cause you any issues.

      1. The AT&T iPad unlimited data plan is gone. The only way to get it is to be grandfathered in by having it already. As soon as you cancel, the best you can do is 2GB for $25.

        1. Yeah, but that’s been the case since around June of last year. And 2GB has proved to be well more than enough for a lot of users.

  3. My advice on selling an iPad (or any Apple product): Learn to live without it! I also try to sell my device a day or two before any event where we strongly suspect it’s replacement is to be announced. So my iPad left already to it’s new owner, and I’ll have a week and a half without one. So glad I bought that MacBook Air a few months ago!

    This maximizes your value, and as you saw, with an immediate $100 drop in price for new leftover stock, this was a smart move. I got $500 for a $700 iPad, which is to say iPad 2 costs me all of $200!

    1. Yeah, if you’re willing to be without your device for a short period, that’s a good strategy.

  4. I’m upgrading from my original iPad to an iPad 2. I’ve been told that when I connect my new iPad 2, I can use the backup from my original iPad to transfer everything to my iPad 2 to give it the same look and feel and to avoid having to reload, rearrange apps, and reload all my PDFs and epubs. Any confirmation this can be done?

    1. It can be done, yes – but my preference (and that of a lot of veteran users) is to start fresh with a new device. This avoids any chance of carrying over any legacy issues that may have been present on your current device.

  5. When I do a back up to save info does that mean I have to load everything on to my laptop first or will it back up to my iTunes account only? I don’t want to backup to my laptop, don’t think it can handle the movies.

    1. When you do a backup via iTunes it is backing up to your PC.

      When iCloud is released then you’ll have some backup options that go straight to the cloud, but that’s not here just yet. Hopefully just a few weeks away.

  6. Ok so I am selling my iPad 1 and want to take my movies, apps, etc. Selling to a good friend who wants me to keep my movies so don’t want to reset to original. Can I back up one movie at a time, transfer it then remove from my pc?

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