Can I recover deleted contacts on iPhone without backup?

One of the most annoying things that can happen on an iPhone is accidentally deleting important contacts, only to realize you don’t have a recent backup. Losing contact information like phone numbers and email addresses can be frustrating. The good news is that even without a backup, there are several methods you can try to recover deleted contacts on your iPhone.

This article will go over various ways to attempt retrieving deleted contacts from your iPhone when you don’t have a backup. We’ll explore using the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder, iCloud syncing, third-party software, checking connected apps like email and social media, manual re-adding of contacts, and more. With some effort and luck, you may be able to get those lost iPhone contacts back.

Check Recently Deleted

iOS has a built-in Recently Deleted album that holds deleted contacts for 30 days before they are permanently erased. To access it:

  1. Open the Contacts app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap “Groups” at the top.
  3. Scroll down and tap “Recently Deleted.”
  4. You will see a list of any recently deleted contacts.
  5. Tap a contact to restore it, or tap “Recover All” to restore all recently deleted contacts.

This is the fastest and easiest way to recover deleted contacts on an iPhone, as long as you act within 30 days. After 30 days, the contacts are permanently deleted and can no longer be restored from Recently Deleted.

Use iCloud

Even if you don’t have an iTunes backup, it’s possible your contacts were backed up to iCloud. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone data including contacts on a regular basis as long as you have iCloud Backup enabled in your iPhone’s settings. To check if you have a contacts backup in iCloud:

1. Go to and login with your Apple ID.

2. Click on Contacts (or the app launcher icon and select Contacts).

3. Click on Manage Data.

4. You should see any available contacts backups listed by date. Click on Restore to restore your contacts from a backup.

Even if you don’t see a full contacts backup, it’s possible some contacts were synced to iCloud. You can check by scrolling through your contacts on to see if any contacts are still available.

Restoring from an iCloud backup will overwrite any contacts currently on your iPhone. Make sure to check for individual contacts you want to keep before restoring.

Try iPhone Data Recovery Software

One effective method for recovering deleted contacts from an iPhone without a backup is using third-party iPhone data recovery software like iMyFone D-Back. This type of software is designed to scan your iPhone and extract deleted data like contacts, messages, photos, and more.

iMyFone D-Back works by connecting your iPhone to your computer, then scanning the device to identify deleted contacts. It can recover contacts deleted from the Phone app, as well as contacts synced from services like iCloud, Exchange, and Gmail. The software allows you to preview recoverable contacts before choosing which ones to restore.

Overall, iPhone data recovery software provides an easy way to recover recently deleted contacts without needing a backup. Software like iMyFone D-Back is reliable, safe to use, and gives you the best chance of getting back lost contacts on an iPhone.

Check Email and Social Media

One way to potentially recover deleted contacts is by checking integrated contacts from email and social media accounts. Many services like Gmail, Outlook, and Facebook sync contacts from your iPhone. So even if a contact is deleted from your iPhone, a copy may still be saved in your online account.

For example, you can check your Gmail contacts list at to see if any missing contacts are still there. You can then export those Gmail contacts back to your iPhone.

Similarly, you can check your Facebook account’s contacts. Go to your Facebook settings and look under “Contacts” to view synced friends. If any are missing from your iPhone, you can sync to restore them. Refer to Facebook’s help documentation for detailed steps.

Review any other email or social media accounts connected to your iPhone for potential contact backups. Services like WhatsApp and LinkedIn may also have copies that can be synced back to your device. But act quickly before those services overwrite the deleted contacts.

Use Google Sync

If you had Google sync enabled on your iPhone, there is a chance you can restore deleted contacts by syncing with Google again. Google stores a copy of your contacts from the last sync. Sync Google Contacts on your iPhone as follows:

1. Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts on your iPhone.Google Support Thread

2. Tap on your Google account.

3. Make sure Contacts is switched on.

4. Tap ‘Account’ at the top.

5. Tap ‘Sync Now’ to sync your Google contacts.

This will restore any contacts that were deleted from your iPhone since the last sync. Keep in mind Google only stores 30 days of backup data, so contacts deleted longer ago cannot be recovered this way.

Manually Re-add Contacts

As a last resort, if you are unable to restore your lost contacts through backups, iCloud, or data recovery apps, you will need to manually re-add critical contacts that you don’t want to lose. This can be time-consuming, but is doable if you only need to recover a handful of contacts.

Start by checking your recent calls list and text messages on your iPhone. You may find the phone numbers of important contacts there that you can quickly add back. Also, check your email inbox as you may have emails from key contacts. For contacts associated with businesses, you can search for their phone number online to retrieve it.

If you synced your iPhone contacts with social media networks like Facebook, you can open those apps and search for your connections. Their contact details like phone number may still be available to add back.

Don’t forget to check any notebooks, paper organizers, or even holiday cards where you may have written down contact details. Though tedious, looking through these kinds of records can help you piece together your missing address book.

Moving forward, be sure to consistently back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes to avoid having to recreate contacts. You can also export your contacts to a CSV file on your computer periodically as another backup.

Back Up Regularly

Regularly backing up your iPhone contacts is the best way to avoid losing important information if you accidentally delete contacts. By enabling automatic backups, you can ensure your contacts are safely stored and easy to restore if needed.

The easiest way to back up your iPhone contacts is to use iCloud. Simply go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and turn on “Back Up to iCloud.” Your phone will now automatically back up your contacts (and other data) to iCloud on a regular basis 1.

You can also connect your iPhone to iTunes on a computer and enable automatic backups either to your computer or to iCloud. iTunes backups give you more control over backup frequency and content compared to iCloud 2.

No matter which backup method you choose, forming a regular backup habit avoids the hassle of trying to recover deleted contacts. Backups give you peace of mind that your data is protected.

Avoid Accidental Deletion

Accidentally deleting contacts can happen easily, especially when you are trying to mass delete a group of contacts. To avoid this, be very careful when selecting multiple contacts to delete and double check you are not selecting favorites or other contacts you want to keep.

It’s also a good idea to lock your contacts app with a passcode, fingerprint, or face ID. This will require biometric or passcode authentication before deleting contacts, helping prevent accidental taps and swipes from removing contacts you want to keep. You can enable this in Settings > Contacts > Toggle on ‘Lock Contacts’.

Also, avoid handing your unlocked phone to others, especially children, who may inadvertently delete contacts while scrolling through your address book out of curiosity. Keep your device locked when not in use.

Finally, set reminders to periodically back up your contacts to iCloud or iTunes. That way, if contacts are accidentally deleted, you’ll have a recent backup to restore from.


In summary, there are several options for recovering deleted contacts from an iPhone when you don’t have a backup. Checking the Recently Deleted folder, using iCloud, and iPhone data recovery software are potential solutions. You can also try linking accounts like email and social media to restore lost contacts. Regularly backing up your iPhone through iTunes or iCloud is highly recommended to avoid permanent data loss.

While recovering deleted contacts without a backup is sometimes possible, nothing beats the reliability of backups. Be sure to backup your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes on a regular basis to save copies of your data including contacts. This will allow you to easily restore any data that gets accidentally deleted.

In conclusion, leveraging backup services, linked accounts, and data recovery tools can potentially help you restore deleted contacts if you find yourself without a backup. But implementing regular device backups is essential for fully protecting your data and avoiding permanent loss.