How do I restore my iPhone 6 contacts without backup?

Losing contacts on your iPhone 6 can be frustrating, especially if you don’t have a recent backup. The good news is that even without a backup, there are a few different ways to try and restore your lost contacts.

Check iCloud

If you had iCloud Contact syncing enabled on your iPhone 6, your contacts may have automatically synced to iCloud. To check:

  1. Go to and login with your Apple ID
  2. Click on Contacts to view your iCloud contacts
  3. If your contacts are there, you can enable iCloud Contact syncing again on your iPhone to restore them

Enabling iCloud Contact sync will overwrite any contacts currently on your iPhone, so be cautious if you want to preserve contacts added after the loss.

Try iPhone Contacts Backup Extractors

Even without an official iPhone backup, some data including contacts may still be extracted from your iPhone. Software like iMyFone D-Back and iSkysoft iMyFone D-Back can scan your iPhone and extract existing contacts to save them to your computer or export to an app like Outlook.

To use one of these contact backup extractor tools:

  1. Download and install the software on a computer your iPhone can connect to via USB
  2. Connect your iPhone and select the Contact Backup recovery option
  3. The software will scan and extract any recoverable contacts to save as a file on your computer
  4. You can then import this contact file back into your iPhone or into another app

This won’t recover deleted contacts, but can find contacts still residing on the iPhone outside of your main contacts list.

Try iPhone Data Recovery Software

Similar to contact backup extractors, full iPhone data recovery software can also search your iPhone for recoverable contacts. Software like FoneDog iOS Data Recovery performs a deep scan of the entire iPhone looking for any recoverable data.

To use iPhone data recovery software:

  1. Download and install the software on a computer your iPhone can connect to
  2. Connect your iPhone and select the Recover iOS Data option
  3. The software will scan your iPhone and list any recoverable contacts
  4. You can then save the recovered contacts directly back to your iPhone

This type of deep scan can be effective at finding contacts lingering in your iPhone outside of your contact lists. However, it cannot recover contacts that have been deleted from the device.

Extract from iCloud Backup

If you don’t have a full device backup, but you did have occasional iCloud backups enabled, you may be able to recover contacts from your iCloud account.

To check for iCloud backups:

  1. Go to and login with your Apple ID
  2. Click on Manage Storage > Backups to view available backups
  3. If backups are listed, you can use software to extract contacts from the backup

Software like iMazing, AnyTrans, and iBackup Viewer can download and open iCloud backups to selectively extract just your contacts. This won’t give you a full iPhone restore, but can recover your contacts.

Import SIM Card Contacts

If you stored any contacts on your iPhone’s SIM card, removing and inserting the SIM into another phone can import those SIM contacts.

To try this method:

  1. Eject the SIM card from your iPhone
  2. Insert the SIM into another phone like an Android or older iPhone
  3. If any contacts show up, save them to the other phone
  4. Transfer those contacts back to your iPhone or to a computer

Unfortunately SIM card contacts are limited, so you may only get back a few contacts with this method.

Recover from iTunes or Finder

If you ever connected your iPhone to iTunes on a computer and had Sync Contacts enabled, iTunes may have a local contacts file stored.

To check for an iTunes contacts backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer you used with iTunes
  2. Open iTunes and go to your device’s summary page
  3. Check for a contacts backup listed under Latest Backup
  4. If a backup is listed, restore contacts from this backup

This will overwrite your iPhone’s current contacts, but will restore all iTunes-synced contacts.

Restore from Email Services

If you used email services like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook on your iPhone, you may be able to restore contacts by syncing with those services again.

To sync email contacts:

  1. Go to the Settings app > Passwords & Accounts
  2. Tap the email account that contains contacts you want to restore
  3. Enable Contacts syncing for that account

This will add the account’s contacts back to your iPhone. Be aware duplicates may occur if you still have some contacts saved locally.

Manually Add Back Contacts

If all else fails, you may need to manually re-add contacts on your iPhone. To get started:

  1. Create a new contact in your iPhone with the name and number of the contact you want to restore.
  2. For each contact you add, tap the Add Field button to fill in any other info like email, address, birthday, notes, etc.

While tedious, slowly adding back your most important contacts can be better than having no contacts at all. Focus on your most-called contacts and frequent contacts first.

Prevent Future Contact Loss

To avoid going through this again, be sure to regularly backup your iPhone contacts:

  • Enable iCloud Contact syncing in Settings
  • Sync contacts to iTunes whenever you connect your iPhone
  • Use a third-party backup tool like iMazing for periodic backups

Backing up ensures you always have a contacts copy you can restore from if needed. You can also export all contacts to a CSV file on your computer as an extra backup.


Recovering lost iPhone contacts without a backup can be tricky, but is possible in some cases. Checking iCloud, attempting contact extraction software, restoring from iTunes or email services, and manually adding back contacts are all worth trying.

Above all, enabling regular contact backups to iCloud or iTunes will help you avoid this situation and ensure you always have a contacts copy to restore from.