For Apple iPhone users, Contacts is one of the most frequently used apps. It’s like the connection hub and you have probably saved dozens of names and phone numbers and addresses on your iPhone. When you want to make a call or send a message to someone, just pull up that person’s contact.
But have you ever accidentally deleted some important contacts, or you lost your iPhone or the device became water damaged, leaving all those valuable contacts inaccessible?
When that happens, panic often sets in. However, it’s still possible to get back your lost contact list. That’s why today we are going to show you different iPhone contacts recovery methods.
Let’s get started.
Method 1: Check Your iPad or Mac
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? Chances are if you have an iPhone, you probably use an iPad or a Mac computer as well.
Perhaps you’ve enabled iCloud in each of these digital devices, which means important 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. 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 on your iPad or Mac before checking.
Method 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 for accidental deletion as well as when your contacts oddly disappeared.
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.
Method 3: Recover Deleted iPhone 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.
Method 4: Use iPhone Contacts Recovery Software
If the above methods fail to restore your iPhone contacts, your last resort would be to try a third-party iPhone data recovery software that is capable of retrieving contacts from an iOS device.
I recommend Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone because it’s available for both Windows and macOS, and it has three different recovery modes and supports scanning a variety of file formats including iPhone contacts.
The Stellar software 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.
These are all the methods we know so far in terms of recovering deleted or lost iPhone contacts. If you happen to find another good technique or app, let us know in the comments.
One last thing, we’d like to remind you 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. Make sure to implement at least one backup strategy, just in case.
Chris is a lifelong tech enthusiast with a broad range of interests including coding, data analysis, traveling, and more. He used to work as a software programmer immersing himself in the world of codes, now he finds it more interesting talking to real people.