Can you retrieve deleted contacts and messages?

Losing important contacts or messages can be frustrating. Whether you accidentally deleted something or it was lost due to a technical issue, you may be wondering if there is any way to get it back.

Can You Retrieve Deleted Contacts?

The short answer is maybe. Here are some quick facts on retrieving deleted contacts:

  • Deleted contacts may still be recoverable if you act quickly and don’t overwrite the phone’s memory
  • The best chance for recovering contacts is if you backed up your phone recently
  • There are some third-party apps that claim to find residual contact data, with varying degrees of success
  • If your contacts were synced with a web account, you may be able to restore the contacts from the cloud
  • Contacts stored on a SIM card are deleted when you delete them from your phone

The longer answer is that your ability to recover deleted contacts depends on where they were stored and what type of phone you have. Here are the main storage locations for contacts:

Device Memory

Your phone’s internal memory is the default storage location for contacts on most modern smartphones. Contacts saved to the device memory are editable and easy to access without an internet connection. However, they’re also easy to accidentally delete and harder to recover.

If you act very quickly after deletion, recovery software may be able to salvage deleted contacts before they get overwritten by new data. This is most effective within an hour or so. After that, your chances drop drastically.

SIM Card

Many basic and older phone models store contacts directly on the SIM card. These contacts are deleted permanently when you delete them from your phone.

Once SIM card contacts are deleted, they cannot be recovered. However, if you inserted your SIM card into a different phone before deleting the contacts, they may still be accessible from that device.

Cloud Backup

If your contacts were synced to a cloud account like iCloud, Google Contacts, or Microsoft Exchange, you have an excellent chance of recovering them by restoring from the cloud. This is one key advantage of letting apps back up your data.

To restore cloud contacts, log into the same account on your phone and make sure syncing is enabled. The contacts should automatically sync from the cloud backup within a few minutes.

Local Backup

Backups stored locally – like an iTunes or iCloud backup on your computer – can also be a valuable recovery asset. Restoring from a recent backup should bring back your deleted contacts.

One limitation is that local backups are only useful if you actually have a recent backup. If you haven’t backed up your phone in months, a local backup won’t help.

Contact Recovery Apps

Several third-party apps claim they can find residual data from deleted contacts and restore them to your phone. Examples include Dr.Fone, iMyFone, and EaseUS MobiSaver.

In some cases, these apps may be able to salvage deleted contacts if they used to be stored on your device’s memory. However, success depends heavily on the individual circumstances.

Pro Tip: For the best shot at contact recovery with one of these apps, avoid overwriting your phone’s memory by not saving anything new. Install the app and run the recovery process right away.

Can You Retrieve Deleted Text Messages?

Recovering deleted text messages follows similar principles to contact recovery:

  • Recently deleted texts may be salvageable from device memory using data recovery tools
  • Cloud backups offer your best chance if you backed up your texts
  • Local device backups can also restore lost message history
  • SIM card texts can’t be recovered once deleted

However, the window for recovering recently deleted texts is much smaller than contacts. This is because background processes are constantly overwriting device memory with new message data.

From Device Memory

Due to constant overwriting, your device memory usually only retains traces of deleted texts for an hour or two at most. Recovery apps may be able to salvage some texts during this window.

However, don’t get your hopes up too much. Much depends on how much messaging activity occurred after deletion and the recovery software’s capabilities.

From Cloud Backups

Backups from iCloud, Google, and similar cloud services provide the best chance for retrieving deleted texts if the messages were being backed up.

For iCloud users, keep in mind that Apple does not enable full iCloud Message backups by default. You have to enable the “Back Up Text Messages” option in iCloud settings. If you did this before deleting messages, then restoring from iCloud should retrieve them.

From Local Backups

As with contacts, locally stored backups are useful recovery tools – but only if the backups are reasonably current. Restoring from an iTunes or iCloud computer backup can retrieve deleted texts if your backup occurred after the messages were deleted.

From SIM Card

Text messages stored on a SIM card are permanently deleted when erased from your mobile phone. At present, there are no effective ways to recover deleted SIM card text messages.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

While you can sometimes retrieve deleted contacts and messages, your best bet is to avoid losing anything important in the first place. Here are some tips to prevent accidental data loss:

  • Back up your device regularly – both to the cloud and local storage
  • Double-check before deleting anything
  • Use a vault or archive for contacts/texts you want to keep indefinitely
  • Enable auto-save features like Google Photos for your text media
  • Consider turning on Airplane Mode when deleting data in bulk
  • Avoid storing contacts exclusively on your SIM card

The bottom line is retrieving deleted data is difficult and unreliable. Don’t count on being able to get it back. Instead, make prudent use of backups and archiving so you never have to try.

Third-Party Contact and Text Recovery Apps

If you’ve just deleted contacts or texts and have no backups, your last resort may be trying specialized recovery apps. Let’s look at what some of the top options claim they can do.

Dr. Fone – Recover (iOS)

Dr. Fone from Wondershare is one of the most established data recovery apps for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. It has various modules, including one specifically for recovering contacts and messages.

Key features include:

  • Scans device memory for residual data from deleted contacts and texts
  • Allows previewing recoverable data before restoring
  • Recovers up to 18 different file types related to messages
  • Claims high recovery rates for recently deleted data
  • Works directly on iOS devices or from iTunes/iCloud backups

Overall, Dr. Fone has a solid reputation particularly for contacts recovery. However, scanning and analysis take time – often over an hour for the deepest scans. SMS recovery effectiveness can vary widely based on specific situations.

iMyFone D-Back – iOS Data Recovery

Another long-time player in iOS recovery, iMyFone D-Back can restore deleted data like contacts, messages, WhatsApp history, photos, and more. Key features:

  • Flexible scan modes balance speed vs. data recovery effectiveness
  • Preview function lets you selectively choose what to restore
  • Advanced analytics on scan results give details on recoverability
  • Optionally back up data before recovery
  • Retrieve up to 14 types of lost iPhone and iPad data

iMyFone gets positive reviews for contacts recovery and offers the flexibility of variable scanning. SMS recovery can be more limited based on the iOS version and other factors.

EaseUS MobiSaver for iOS

MobiSaver is an iOS solution from prominent data recovery company EaseUS. Along with contacts and messages, it can restore notes, photos, call logs, WhatsApp data, and more.

Notable features of MobiSaver include:

  • Straightforward interface and process
  • filters and search tools for managing scan results
  • Option for a deep scan to uncover more deleted data
  • Preview function before restoring
  • Comprehensive support for various data types

MobiSaver provides a simple scanning process and good contacts recovery. SMS recovery results are again dependent on specific circumstances around deletion and overwrite.

Which recovery app should you choose?

While the overall process is similar, there are some notable differences between the top data recovery apps for iOS:

App Pros Cons
Dr. Fone
  • Very effective for contacts
  • Advanced SMS recovery capabilities
  • Recovers many iOS data types
  • Full scans can be slow
  • iOS support limited in free version
iMyFone D-Back
  • Flexible scanning options
  • Preview function
  • Data backup capability
  • SMS recovery can be limited
  • Pricing tiers somewhat complex
EaseUS MobiSaver
  • Straightforward interface
  • Broad data type support
  • Free trial available
  • iOS support requires paid tier
  • Lacks some advanced capabilities of rivals

Really, the best solution comes down to your specific situation and needs. All three apps are solid choices overall. We recommend researching the options in-depth and downloading any available free trials before committing to a purchase.

Can You Recover Deleted Call History?

Like text messages, your call history is a data type prone to accidental deletion. And also like texts, your options for getting it back are limited – but not impossible with the right approach.

Here are the main options for recovering deleted calls on an iPhone or Android phone:

  • Cloud backups – If call logs were synced to iCloud or Google, you can restore from an online backup
  • Local backups – A computer backup like from iTunes can also provide access to lost call history
  • Device memory – Data recovery apps may find residual call data for a short window after deletion, before it’s overwritten
  • SIM card – Call logs stored on a SIM are deleted permanently when erased from the phone

In most cases, your best shot will again be restoring from a cloud or local backup that occurred after the deletion. Data recovery apps provide more limited and unreliable results. SIM card call logs simply can’t be recovered.

One helpful tip specific to call history is to sync it up with cloud storage apps before any deletion happens. Apps like Backupify and iMessage Backup continuously store call data in the cloud automatically. That provides an additional restoration option if you ever lose your call logs.

Key Takeaways

Here are some key points to remember on recovering deleted mobile contacts, messages, and call history:

  • Cloud backups offer the most reliable method, if enabled before deletion
  • Local computer backups from iTunes or iCloud can also restore deleted data
  • Recovery apps have limited success extracting residual data from device memory shortly after deletion
  • There is no way to retrieve SIM card data like contacts and text messages after deletion
  • Enabling automatic sync to cloud storage adds an extra layer of data protection
  • Avoiding accidental deletion in the first place is better than trying to recover data


Losing contacts, text history, and other important phone data can certainly be a headache. But in many cases, the situation is recoverable with the help of backups and data recovery tools.

Just be aware that fast action is required, results are not guaranteed, and preventative measures like regular backups are still your best defense. With some vigilance about performing regular backups to both local and cloud storage, you can minimize ever needing to try recovering deleted mobile data.