How do you retrieve deleted phone numbers on an iPhone?

Having your contacts and phone numbers deleted from your iPhone can be very frustrating. Often, these numbers are deleted by accident or without realizing that they can’t be easily retrieved. The good news is that with the right tools and techniques, it is possible to recover deleted contacts and phone numbers on your iPhone.

Can you retrieve deleted contacts on iPhone?

Yes, it is possible to retrieve deleted contacts on an iPhone. When you delete contacts on your iPhone, they are not immediately erased from the device. Instead, they are moved to a ‘Recently Deleted’ folder where they are stored temporarily before being permanently deleted after 30 days. As long as you act within this 30 day window, you can recover deleted contacts.

How to recover deleted contacts on iPhone

There are a few different ways to retrieve deleted contacts on an iPhone:

Check the Recently Deleted folder

The easiest way to retrieve deleted contacts is to check the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder on your iPhone. To access this folder:

  1. Open the Contacts app
  2. Tap on Groups at the top left
  3. Scroll down and tap on Recently Deleted

This will show you a list of any contacts that have been recently deleted. To restore a contact, simply tap on it and then tap Recover at the bottom. This will move the contact back to your main contacts list.

Use iCloud sync

If you had iCloud backup enabled, your deleted contacts may still be stored in iCloud. To restore from an iCloud backup:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
  2. Tap on Contacts and toggle on Contacts to enable iCloud sync
  3. Open Contacts app and refresh – restored contacts should download

Restore from iTunes or Finder backup

If you routinely backup your iPhone to iTunes or Finder on your computer, you may be able to restore deleted contacts from a previous backup. Connect your iPhone to your computer and restore from the backup containing the deleted contacts.

Use third party software

If the above methods don’t work, there are third party software tools available to retrieve deleted iPhone contacts. Some examples include:

  • Fonelab iPhone Data Recovery
  • iMyFone iPhone Data Recovery
  • Tenorshare iPhone Data Recovery

These tools can scan your iPhone and recover deleted contacts even if you have no backup available. Just download the software to your computer, connect your iPhone, and scan for recoverable data.

Can you recover individual deleted phone numbers?

Yes, it is possible to recover individual deleted phone numbers from your iPhone, even if you’ve deleted the entire contact.

Check call history

If you’ve called or been called by the number recently, it may still be available in your call history. To access call history:

  1. Open Phone app
  2. Tap Recents at the bottom
  3. Scroll through call history to see if the number is there
  4. Tap the blue “i” icon to access contact details and recover number

Check messages history

Similarly, if you’ve exchanged texts or iMessages with the number, it may be stored in your messages history. You can access messages and recover the number from there.

Use call logs backup

iPhone backs up your call history and messages to iCloud. So you may be able to find the deleted number by restoring from an iCloud backup or iTunes/Finder backup containing your call logs.

Scan with data recovery software

As mentioned above, advanced third party data recovery tools like Fonelab, iMyFone, and Tenorshare can scan the contents of your iPhone and extract the deleted phone number even if you have no backup.

Tips for retrieving deleted iPhone contacts

Follow these tips to improve your chances of recovering deleted contacts and numbers on an iPhone:

  • Act quickly – your chances are better within the 30 day temporary deleted files window
  • Avoid overriding the data – don’t save new contacts/numbers where deleted ones were
  • Backup regularly – this gives you a way to restore deleted data
  • Consider paid software – advanced data recovery tools offer the most flexibility

How to avoid deleting contacts in the future

Once you’ve recovered your lost contacts, follow these tips to avoid accidentally losing them again in the future:

  • Be careful when swiping to delete – it’s easy to accidentally delete contacts
  • Disable swipe to delete – go to Settings > Contacts > Swipe to Delete to turn this off
  • Back up your contacts – using iCloud or iTunes/Finder backup provides a safety net
  • Check Recently Deleted folder – this gives you 30 days to undo any accidental deletions


Retrieving deleted contacts and phone numbers is possible if you act quickly and use the right techniques. First check the Recently Deleted folder on your iPhone and see if you can recover them from there. You can also restore from an iCloud or iTunes/Finder backup containing the deleted data. As a last resort, advanced third party software tools may be able to retrieve deleted phone numbers even without a backup. With some effort, you should be able to get back lost contacts and numbers on your iPhone.