Losing important contacts on your iPhone can be frustrating. Whether you accidentally deleted contacts or they were lost due to a system crash, there are several methods you can use to try to retrieve deleted contacts on your iPhone.
In this article, we’ll explore the options for recovering deleted contacts on an iPhone. We’ll cover retrieving contacts from a backup, using iPhone data recovery software, accessing deleted contacts still stored on your iPhone, and manually re-adding lost contacts.
Check Recently Deleted Contacts
When you delete contacts on your iPhone, they are moved to the Recently Deleted album in the Contacts app. Contacts remain in this album for 30 days before being permanently deleted.
To access Recently Deleted contacts:
- Open the Contacts app
- Tap Groups at the top of the screen
- Scroll down and tap Recently Deleted to view deleted contacts
You can tap on any contact here to view details. To recover a recently deleted contact back to your contact list, simply tap the blue Recover button next to the contact name.
The Recently Deleted folder makes it easy to retrieve contacts deleted within the past 30 days. But what if it’s been over a month or contacts were lost due to a system crash or restore? For those cases, you may need to use one of the other recovery methods outlined below.
Restore from an iCloud Backup
If you have iCloud backups enabled, you may be able to restore deleted contacts from a previous iCloud backup. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when connected to WiFi and power.
Here’s how to retrieve deleted contacts using an iCloud backup:
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
- Tap Manage Storage > Backups
- Select the desired backup containing the deleted contacts
- Tap Restore to Device
This will overwrite your current iPhone data and restore everything from the iCloud backup, including the missing contacts. Make sure the backup you restore is recent enough to contain the deleted contacts.
- Free and easy if you already use iCloud Backup
- Allows restoring multiple deleted contacts
- Doesn’t require third-party software
- Overwrites all current data and settings on your iPhone
- Need iCloud backup from before contacts were deleted
- Backup limited to last 30 days for free iCloud accounts
Restore from iTunes or Finder Backup
If you backup your iPhone locally through iTunes (Windows) or Finder (Mac), you may be able to restore deleted contacts from that backup.
To restore contacts using a local backup:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer
- Open iTunes / Finder and select your iPhone
- Go to Summary (iTunes) or General (Finder) and click Restore Backup
- Select the backup containing the deleted contacts
This process is similar to restoring from iCloud but will retrieve contacts from a backup stored on your computer rather than iCloud. Make sure the local backup you use was made before the contacts were deleted.
- Allows restoring multiple contacts
- Doesn’t require iCloud backup
- Free if you already make local backups
- Overwrites all data/settings on your iPhone
- Need backup made before contacts were deleted
- Time consuming to restore entire backup
Use iPhone Data Recovery Software
iPhone data recovery software provides an alternative method to restore deleted contacts without restoring an entire backup. This software scans your iPhone and attempts to recover deleted files.
Here are some of the best iPhone data recovery apps:
To use iPhone data recovery software to restore contacts:
- Select software and download to computer
- Connect iPhone to computer and launch software
- Scan device for recoverable data
- Preview and select desired contacts to recover
- Save contacts back to iPhone or export to computer
These apps provide an easy way to retrieve deleted contacts without restoring your entire iPhone. The downside is most paid versions cost $50 or more.
- Recovers individual contacts
- Preserves current iPhone data
- Easy to use retrieval process
- Paid versions can be expensive
- Scanning takes time
- Doesn’t always recover everything
Manually Re-add Contacts
If all else fails, you may need to manually re-add the missing contacts back to your iPhone. This isn’t ideal, but is an option if you can’t restore contacts from a backup and don’t want to pay for data recovery software.
Ways to manually add contacts back:
- Re-add contact information if you know it
- Use call history to find lost numbers
- Check emails for names and contact info
- Search social media for contact details
- Ask contacts to re-share their information
While time consuming, manually re-adding contacts can be done for free. Make sure to regularly backup contacts in the future to avoid needing to do this again.
- Free method
- Only re-add contacts you need
- Time consuming process
- No guarantee you’ll find all contacts
- Lost details and attachments
Prevent Losing Contacts Again
No matter which method you use to recover deleted contacts, make sure to regularly backup your iPhone to avoid being in this situation again.
Here are some tips to prevent losing contacts:
- Enable iCloud or local backups and do them regularly
- Export important contacts to computer as vCard files
- Use a contacts manager app to sync contacts across devices
- Don’t delete contacts unless you’re certain
- Save contacts to your iPhone’s SIM card
Following these tips will help ensure you always have access to important contact information, even if something happens to your iPhone.
There are several methods to retrieve deleted contacts on your iPhone, with varying levels of ease and success. The best options are restoring from an iCloud or local iTunes/Finder backup or using iPhone data recovery software. Both of these options allow recovering multiple contacts without overwriting your iPhone.
Manually re-adding contacts is possible but time consuming. Viewing recently deleted contacts is the easiest option but only works within the first 30 days after deletion.
Prevent this problem in the future by regularly backing up your iPhone and contacts. With proper backups, you can feel confident you won’t lose important contact information again.