If you deleted a phone number from your contacts, there are a few ways you may be able to recover it:
- Check your call history – Deleted numbers may still show up there
- Use a contacts backup – Restore a backup from your cloud account or device internal storage
- Check messaging apps – The number may be stored in whatsapp, sms threads etc
- Contact your phone provider – They may have records of recently dialed numbers
- Try searching online – Sites like truecaller or social networks may have the info
With some effort, there’s a good chance of tracking down a recently lost phone number. But in future, make sure to back up contacts regularly to avoid this situation.
Checking Your Call History
One of the easiest ways to retrieve a deleted phone number is to check your call history or call logs. When you make or receive calls on your smartphone, the phone number is typically stored in your call logs, along with the date/time of the call and duration.
Even if you delete a contact, the call history and phone number may still be retained. So unless you routinely clear out your call logs, there’s a good chance you can find the number there.
To view call history on an iPhone:
- Open the Phone app
- Tap Recents at the bottom
- Scroll through your recent incoming and outgoing calls
- Open the Phone app
- Tap the Recents tab
- View call history and tap a number for more details
You can then copy the number out of your call log and paste it into a new contact.
- If you cleared your call history recently, the number may no longer be there
- For privacy reasons, call logs only go back so far (a few months typically)
- If you didn’t actually call or text the missing number, it won’t be in your logs
Still, for a number you’ve been in touch with recently, there’s a good chance your call history has the digits you need.
Restore From a Contacts Backup
Another way to recover deleted contacts is to restore your phone’s contacts using a backup. Most smartphones automatically backup your contacts to the cloud using services like iCloud or Google Contacts. There are also apps to do local backups to your computer.
Here’s how to restore contacts from a few common backup sources:
For iPhones, the easiest backup option is iCloud. To recover contacts:
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
- Tap Contacts to enable syncing if disabled
- Open the Contacts app and refresh – deleted contacts should download
If that doesn’t work, try restoring from a previous iCloud backup:
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups
- Tap the backup copy you want to restore from
- Tap Restore to download the backup and replace current data
Google Contacts Backup
For Android devices, Google Contacts can be a great backup source. To restore:
- Open the Contacts app on your phone
- Tap the Menu icon in the top left
- Go to Settings > Accounts
- Tap on your Google account
- Enable contacts syncing and tap Sync Now if prompted
This will overwrite your current contacts with the Google cloud backup.
Local Computer Backup
You can also backup contacts locally to a computer, using iTunes on iPhone or various apps on Android. Then restore contacts by syncing your phone:
- iPhone – Connect to computer, open iTunes, select device and click Restore Backup
- Android – Install backup app if needed, connect phone to PC, and restore contacts
Check Messaging Apps
If you communicated with the missing number via a messaging app, the contact may be retained in that app’s history even if deleted from your phone:
- WhatsApp – Open the chat, tap contact name at top, tap Add to Contacts
- SMS/Messages – Open the message thread, tap contact name, tap Add Contact
- Facebook Messenger – Open chat, tap contact name, tap Add to Contacts
Other messaging apps like Telegram, Signal, Teams etc may also have retained the number. Useful if you chatted frequently on those platforms.
Contact Your Phone Provider
For cell phone numbers, another option is to contact your phone provider. They keep records of calls made from your device for billing purposes.
So if you dialed or texted the number recently from your phone, your provider may be able to look it up.
- You may need to verify account ownership before they can share call details
- Only calls made from your phone will show up, not calls to your phone
- They may only keep a few months of records due to privacy regulations
But for longtime providers with a recent call, it’s worth contacting them to recover a mobile number. Landline providers typically don’t retain detailed records.
Search Online and Social Media
If the person belonged to your contacts, you may be able to track down their number via an online search or on social media platforms:
- Search on sites like Truecaller or Spy Dialer – they maintain databases of phone numbers linked to names
- Look them up on Facebook or LinkedIn to get their contact info
- Check Groups/Contacts on WhatsApp or Telegram to see if their number is visible
- Use Google search operators – search “John Doe phone number” with quotes
This method works better for people you know versus one-off callers. With some creative searching you can probably find the number again online.
Use a Contacts Management App
They also help clean up duplicates and have powerful search to quickly find entries. Paid versions retain deleted contacts for 30+ days.
Going forward, port your current contacts into one of these apps for easy cloud backup and recovery.
Prevent Deleted Contacts in Future
While recoverable in many cases, it’s still best to avoid losing contacts in the first place. Some tips:
- Backup your contacts regularly – to iCloud, Google, or a computer
- Sync contacts across multiple devices as a failsafe
- Use a contacts management app for cloud backup
- Export important contacts to a CSV file occasionally
- Double check before deleting contacts
With disciplined contacts hygiene, you shouldn’t have to deal with recovering lost numbers very often.
Losing contacts can be frustrating, but in most cases, deleted phone numbers can be retrieved with some time and effort. First check your call history, messaging apps, cloud backups and social networks. Contact your provider as a last resort.
Going forward, regularly maintain and backup your contacts to avoid this scenario. With the right system, you can save yourself the hassle.
|Call History||Open call logs on your phone, scroll to find number|
|Cloud Backup||Restore contacts from iCloud / Google / etc|
|Messaging Apps||Look for number in WhatsApp, SMS, Messenger, etc|
|Phone Provider||Contact provider to search for recently called numbers|
|Online Search||Search sites like Truecaller and social media|