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iPhone Contacts Disappeared? 5 Ways to Recover Deleted Contacts on iPhone

DoubtUser Concern

“I installed iOS 16 on my iPhone 12 and all my contacts are gone. How do I recover them back?”

We rely too much on contacts to keep in touch with our family, friends, colleagues and clients. So it is really troublesome when accidentally deleted or lost these important contacts from iPhone for various reasons, like upgrading to iOS 15, factory reset, jailbreak, device broken or stolen, etc.

Have your iPhone contacts disppeared or missing? Nowadays, there is no need to feel frustating any more. Keep reading as we summarize 5 practical ways on how to recover deleted contacts from iPhone with ease.

Way 1. Restore Contacts via iPhone Message App

Few people know that deleted contacts can be returned via Messages App on iPhone. Through this way, you can find the contacts that you frequently keep in touch with.

  1. Open up the Messages App on your iPhone and click to create a new message.
  2. Type the name of the contact that you deleted on the "To" field.
  3. The contact name and the phone number will pop up automatically. Then you can tap the "i" icon to save the contact.

save contacts via message app

Way 2. Restore iPhone Contacts from iCloud

Unlike the Recently Deleted folder for photos, there is no built-in function that allows you to recover contacts from iPhone. Luckily, if you have enabled iCloud Sync before iPhone contacts disappeared, you can easily retrieve them from iCloud.

2.1 Merge Your iCloud Contacts to iPhone

The easiest method you can try is to merge your contacts from iCloud to your iPhone. Follow these steps:

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud, find "Contacts" and disable it. Ignore this if it is already turned off.
  • From the pop-up message, select the "Keep on My iPhone" option.
  • Then enable Contacts again and choose "Merge" on the pop-up, your contacts will be merged with iCloud.
  • After the merging process, your deleted contacts will be back to your iPhone.

merge icloud contacts to iphone

2.2 Restore Contacts from iCloud.com

With iCloud.com, you can restore your missing contacts from an earlier version. Here's how to do it:

  • Go to iCloud.com in any web browser and sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  • Click on your name then the "Account Settings", and scroll down to the "Advanced" section.
  • Click on "Restore Contacts". Choose an archive of contacts and click "Restore".

restore contacts from icloud

Please note that when you restore contacts from an earlier version, the existing contacts on your iPhone will be repaced. If you made changes recently, you might lose some new contacts.

2.3 Export iCloud Contacts to iPhone

Except for restoring contacts from an earlier version, you can also export iCloud contacts to computer. Below are the steps:

  • Go to iCloud.com and click on "Contacts", then click the Settings button on the bottom-left corner.
  • Choose the contacts you want to recover or click "Select All", then click "Export vCard".
  • Find the .vcf file on your computer and email it to your iPhone.

export icloud contacts to iphone

Way 3. Restore iPhone Contacts through Gmail

if you have synced iPhone contacts with Gmail before, you can restore them easily even without a computer. Here's what you need to do:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings and click "Accounts & Passwords".
  2. Click on "Add Account" and select "Google", then sigh in with your Gmail account and password.
  3. Now enable "Contacts" and choose "Keep On My iPhone", then click "Save".

When the sync process is complete, open the Contacts app on your iPhone and the deleted contacts will back to the list.

Way 4. Recover Deleted Contacts on iPhone without Backup

If your iPhone contacts is disppeared or missing and you don't make a backup, never fret, FoneGeek iPhone Data Recovery can help users recover deleted or lost contacts directly from iPhone without bakcup.

Not only contacts, other types of iPhone data, such as text messages, iMessages, photos, videos, WhatsApp chats, KiK history, Viber chat history, notes, voice memos, Safari history, etc. are also supported to be retrieved with the program.

It works well on iPhone 14, iPhone 13, iPhone 12, iPhone 11, etc. running on iOS 16/15. In addition, this program even offers free trial version that allows users to preview all recoverable files before recovery. It is really worth to try.

Steps to Recover Deleted Contacts on iPhone without Backup


Step 1: Download and install FoneGeek iPhone Contact Recovery on your computer. Launch it and choose "Recover from iOS Device" mode and you will be prompted to connect device to computer.

connect iphone

Step 2: When iPhone is connected with this program, choose "Contacts" and then "Scan" to begin scanning. The scanning process will last for a moment and it mainly depends on the data size of your iPhone.

start scan iphone

Step 3: After the scan, all the deleted and undeleted contacts will be displayed. You have the chance to preview these files in detail, then click "Recover" to save the selected contacts in any folder on your computer.

preview photos ios

Way 5. Recover Deleted Contacts from iPhone Backup

If you have made a backup of your iPhone with iTunes or iCloud before you deleted the contacts, then you can get back your lost contacts by restoring iPhone from the backup.

Keep in mind that the restoring process will erase all the existing data on your iPhone. What's worse, you are not allowed to preview the files stored in the backup before the restore.

Restore Contacts from iTunes Backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB cable and launch iTunes.
  2. Click on the device icon and click on "Restore Backup" on the Backups menu.
  3. Choose an iTunes backup file from the list and click on "Restore"to complete the process.

restore contacts from itunes backup

Restore Contacts from iCloud Backup:

  1. Head to Settings > General > Reset and click on "Erase All Content and Settings".
  2. Follow the set-up instructions and on the "Apps & Data" screen, select "Restore from iCloud Backup".
  3. Sign in to your iCloud account and choose the backup you want to restore.

restore contacts from icloud backup

Since directly restoring from iTunes/iCloud backup will overwrite your iPhone and cause new data loss, we strongly recommend you try FoneGeek iPhone Data Recovery. This tool supports to extract and recover deleted contacts from iTunes/iCloud backup without restoring your device. Why not download it and have a free try?

Edwin J. Parke

As a professional writer who is interested in technology, Edwin J. Parke has helped thousands of users by offering various tips to solve their problems.

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