Last updated: Jul. 4, 2017
For Apple iPhone users, Contacts is one of the most used apps.
It's like the connection hub for many of us, and you are probably used to saving dozens of names and phone numbers and addresses in digital formats. Whenever you want, just pull out a person's contact info (or use Siri to do so) to make a phone call or send a message.
But have you ever accidentally deleted some important contacts, or you lost your iPhone, or it becomes water damaged, leaving you no access to those valuable contacts.
The good thing is, it may be still possible to get back your lost contact list, with the help of a good iPhone data recovery software, or via iCloud or iTunes backups.
Today, we're going to show you four different iPhone contacts recovery approaches. Each method has its pros and cons, so use your instinct to judge which one(s) that best fit your situation. Don't forget to let us know how it goes.
Please note: these techniques work with all iPhone models including iPhone 4/5/5S and latest iPhone 7, 7 plus, 6, 6 plus, 6s as long as they run on iOS (including iOS 10).
1. Check your iPad or Mac immediately
This usually works if you accidentally deleted one or two important contacts, and you want them back quickly.
Why check your iPad or Mac machine? Well, chances are if you hold an iPhone, you probably use an iPad or a Mac computer as well. Perhaps you've enabled Apple ID in each of these digital devices, which means critical data such as contacts, notes, calendar & reminders, etc. are synced automatically across all devices.
When you remove a few contacts on your iPhone, they are probably still sitting on your iPad or Mac. So what should you do? Go ahead and turn on your iPad or Mac and check out the Contacts app.
Note: in case you've enabled auto sync, it's best to turn off Wi-Fi or Internet connection.
2. Restore lost iPhone Contacts from iCloud
If you have enabled Contacts sync in iCloud, it's even easier to restore any lost contacts.
Note: this method works not only for accidental deletion, but applies to contacts oddly disappearing as well.
Just log into iCloud.com, input your Apple ID. On the main screen (see image above), click on "Contacts" and you should see all your current list.
Alternatively, you can navigate on your iPhone to get them back in just a few taps.
- On your iPhone main screen, go to Settings > iCloud.
- See the Contacts option? If it's off, turn it on. If it's on, turn it off and back on again to trigger a re-download.
- You'll see a popup window hinting your contacts will be merged with iCloud, hit Merge to continue.
- Wait for a few minutes; you should see your deleted or lost contacts back to your iPhone.
3. Recover deleted Contacts via iTunes backup
If you use iTunes (on your PC or Mac) to sync up iPhone data, you may have backed up your device in iTunes before your contacts get deleted or missing. Your previous iTunes backups may include your contacts. To restore them back to your iPhone, follow these steps:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer with iTunes installed.
- Launch iTunes, move to the Devices tab, right click on your iPhone and click the option "Restore from Backup…".
- Wait until it's complete, then check your iPhone Contacts to see if your lost ones are back alive.
4. Use iPhone Contacts Recovery Software
If all the above techniques fail to restore your iPhone contacts, your last resort would be to try a third-party data recovery program — more specifically, iPhone data recovery software (see our reviews) that is capable of retrieving lost contacts from an iOS device.
I recommend Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for iOS - because it's available for both Windows and macOS, and it has three different recovery modes and support scanning a variety of file formats including iPhone contacts. Here's how its main interface looks:
The Stellar Phoenix program also works even if your iPhone is lost, damaged or broken; Just try the Extract mode to scan local iTunes or iCloud backup files and extract content from them.
Alright, these are all the ways we've known so far for rescuing erased or lost iPhone contacts. If you get to know another good technique or app, let us know in the comments.
Also, we'd like to remind you (once again) that data backups are significant for mobile devices like iPhones, a device that we tend to save so many precious files (especially pictures and videos) we can't afford to lose. iCloud is always the most convenient backup solution. iTunes also works great though it requires some manual efforts.
Chris is a computer geek for a decade. He loved talking to computers via codes, and now he finds it more interesting communicating with the real people. He now writes everything related to computer issues and loves helping people solve problems.