How do I find archived contacts on iPhone?

Archived contacts on the iPhone are contacts that have been removed from your main contacts list and stored separately. Contacts may get archived automatically if you haven’t used them in a while, or you can manually archive contacts you no longer need regular access to but don’t want to delete entirely. Accessing archived contacts allows you to view, search, or restore these contacts if needed. Reasons you may need to access archived contacts include finding an old contact’s information, unarchiving a contact you want to use again, or permanently deleting unwanted contacts to clean up your archive.

Viewing Archived Contacts

Viewing the list of archived contacts on an iPhone is easy to do right from the Contacts app. Here are the steps:

1. Open the Contacts app on your iPhone.

2. Tap on the Groups button at the top left of the screen (it looks like two overlapping circles).

3. Scroll down and tap on the “Archived” group. This will display a list of all your archived contacts.

You can scroll through the list to view all your archived contacts. Tapping on a contact will display their archived contact details. The number in parentheses next to “Archived” shows how many archived contacts you have.

If you don’t see the Archived group, you likely don’t have any archived contacts. You can archive a contact by tapping Edit when viewing a contact, then tapping Archive.

Searching for an Archived Contact

To search for a specific archived contact on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Contacts app.
  2. Tap the Search field at the top of the screen.
  3. Type the name of the archived contact you want to find. As you type, results will appear below.
  4. Tap the name of the archived contact in the results to open their contact card.
  5. At the bottom of the card, tap “Unarchive” to restore the contact.

The Contacts app will search through both your regular contacts and archived ones to find matches. This allows you to easily find and unarchive specific contacts when needed.[1]

Unarchiving a Single Contact

To unarchive a single contact from the archived contacts list on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Contacts app and tap on the Groups button in the top left corner.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Archived.
  3. This will open the list of your archived contacts. Scroll through to find the contact you want to unarchive.
  4. Tap on the contact to open their contact card.
  5. Tap Unarchive in the upper right corner of the screen.
  6. The contact will be removed from the archived contacts list and restored to your main contacts.

Unarchiving a contact this way will move it back to your main contacts list on your iPhone. The contact remains archived in iCloud until you specifically unarchive it there as well. To fully restore an archived contact, make sure to unarchive it both on your device and in iCloud.

Source: Restore contacts stored in iCloud on

Unarchiving Multiple Contacts

To unarchive multiple contacts at once on an iPhone, follow these steps:

1. Open the Contacts app and tap on the “Groups” tab at the bottom.

2. Tap on the group labeled “Hidden Contacts”. This contains all your archived contacts.

3. Tap “Select” in the top right corner. This will allow you to select multiple contacts.

4. Tap on each contact you want to unarchive. A checkmark will appear next to selected contacts.

5. Once you have selected all the contacts you want to unarchive, tap “Unhide” in the bottom left corner.

This will unarchive all the selected contacts and move them back into your main contacts list. It allows you to quickly unarchive multiple contacts at once rather than having to do it one-by-one.

Permanently Deleting Archived Contacts

If you want to permanently delete contacts from your archived contacts list on your iPhone, here are the steps:

  1. Open the Contacts app and tap on the Groups tab at the bottom.
  2. Scroll down and tap on the Archived group.
  3. Tap Select at the top right corner.
  4. Select the contacts you want to delete by tapping on their names.
  5. Tap the Delete button at the bottom and confirm the deletion.

Once you delete contacts from the Archived group, they will be permanently removed from your iPhone and iCloud account (source). Unlike regular contacts which go to the Recently Deleted list for 30 days before being deleted, archived contacts are immediately and irreversibly deleted.

If you have iCloud Contacts enabled, deleting the archived contacts on your iPhone will also delete them from iCloud and all your other devices using the same iCloud account. So be certain before deleting any contacts!

Backing Up Archived Contacts

It’s important to back up your archived contacts in case you ever need to access them again or restore your device. Backups also protect you in the event your device is lost, damaged, or replaced.

There are a few ways to back up your archived contacts on an iPhone:

  • Using iCloud – iCloud automatically backs up your contacts, including archived ones, each time your device syncs with iCloud. As long as you have iCloud Backup enabled in your device settings, your archived contacts will be securely stored in iCloud.
  • Using iTunes – Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. Go to the device summary page, select “Back Up Now”, and iTunes will save a backup of your iPhone data, including archived contacts, to your computer.
  • Using third-party apps – Apps like iMazing allow you to back up your iPhone’s data and settings to your computer. The archived contacts will be included in this comprehensive backup.

Backing up regularly, especially before updating your iOS software, can prevent losing archived contacts if anything goes wrong. Storing backups in multiple places – iCloud and your computer – provides redundancy. Following best practices for contact backups takes just minutes but gives great peace of mind.

Archiving Contacts on Other Devices

While this article focuses on finding archived contacts on iPhone, the process of archiving contacts works similarly across Apple devices including Mac, iPad, and iPod Touch. On a Mac, you can archive contacts by going to Contacts > File > Archive Contact. On iPad and iPod Touch, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Archive Contacts. Archived contacts are removed from the All Contacts list but stored in a separate Archived list that can be accessed if needed later.

Archived contacts are synced across devices using iCloud, so archiving a contact on your iPhone will also archive it on your Mac, iPad, etc. Connected to the same iCloud account. This allows you to conveniently consolidate and manage contacts across devices. The key difference is that while contacts can be searched and unarchived on iPhone, the Mac Contacts app does not have a search function for archived contacts. However, there are workarounds like exporting the archived contacts as a file and searching in the file contents.

Archiving vs Deleting Contacts

When it comes to managing old or inactive contacts in your address book, you have two options – you can archive them or delete them permanently. Both options have their pros and cons that are worth considering.

Archiving contacts simply removes them from your main contacts list and stores them in a separate archived list. According to Organic Web, “Archiving a contact means that the contact no longer shows in your list (although you can view contacts through the Manage contacts menu item).” The main benefit of archiving is that you still have access to those contacts if you need to reference them or reinstate them in the future. It also helps reduce clutter in your main contacts app while still preserving the data. However, archived contacts will still take up storage space on your device.

On the other hand, permanently deleting contacts removes them entirely from your device. As Jatheon notes, this also frees up storage space since the contacts are no longer stored anywhere. The downside is that deletion is permanent – if you realize you need to access a deleted contact again, you won’t be able to retrieve them. The contact would have to be re-added from scratch.

Overall, archiving is generally preferable if you might need to access the contacts again in the future. But if you are sure certain contacts will never be needed again and you want to maximize storage, permanent deletion is a better option. Consider your specific needs and use case when deciding between archiving and deleting old contacts.


In summary, the key steps to manage archived contacts on iPhone are:

  • To view archived contacts, go to Settings > Contacts > Show All Contacts.
  • To search for a specific archived contact, go to Settings > Contacts > Show All Contacts and use the search bar.
  • To unarchive a single contact, swipe left on the contact and tap Unarchive.
  • To unarchive multiple contacts at once, go to Settings > Contacts > Show All Contacts, select the contacts you want to unarchive, tap the Share button, and choose Unarchive.
  • To permanently delete archived contacts, swipe left on a contact, tap Delete, then confirm the deletion.
  • To back up archived contacts, connect iPhone to iTunes on a computer and sync contacts or use iCloud backup.

Following these steps allows you to effectively organize, find, restore, or remove archived contacts on an iPhone. Proper contact management ensures you can access the information you need while decluttering your active contacts list.