How do you retrieve deleted phone numbers on an iPhone?

Having the phone number of a contact readily available can be invaluable. However, we’ve all accidentally deleted a phone number before. Thankfully, there are a few different methods you can use to try to retrieve deleted phone numbers on an iPhone.

Checking Recently Deleted

One of the easiest ways to retrieve a recently deleted phone number on an iPhone is to check the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. When you delete a contact on an iPhone, the profile picture for that contact gets saved to the Recently Deleted album.

To access Recently Deleted:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down and select the Albums tab
  3. Scroll down and tap on Recently Deleted

This will show you all the recently deleted photos on your device, including any profile pictures of contacts you’ve removed. If you see the picture of the contact whose number you need, tap on it, then tap Recover. This will restore the profile picture to the Photos app.

Then, go back to your contacts, create a new contact, and use the restored profile photo to help you remember the missing phone number so you can add it back in.

Checking Call History

If you’ve recently called or received a call from the contact, their phone number may still be available in your call history.

To view call history on an iPhone:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap Recents in the bottom right
  3. Review your call history to see if the number you need is there
  4. Tap the blue arrow icon next to a number to add it back to your contacts

Keep in mind your call history only shows the last 200 phone numbers called or received. If you deleted the contact more than 200 calls ago, their number won’t show up here.

Checking iCloud Contacts

If you have iCloud Contacts enabled, your contacts sync across your Apple devices through your iCloud account. This means that if you deleted a contact only on your iPhone, it might still be available in iCloud.

To check your iCloud Contacts:

  1. Go to and login to your iCloud account
  2. Click on Contacts
  3. Look through your list of contacts to see if the deleted contact is still there
  4. If so, click the information (i) icon next to their name
  5. Click Add to My Card to add their info back to your contacts

This iCloud sync trick only works if you didn’t also delete the contact from your iCloud Contacts. But it’s worth checking just in case!

Using Contact Backup Services

If the contact isn’t in your Recently Deleted, Call History, or iCloud, your last resort may be to use a third-party contacts backup service. Services like iCloud Backup or iTunes Backup can potentially help you restore deleted contacts.

iCloud Backup

If you have iCloud backups enabled, you can restore your iPhone from a previous iCloud backup that contained the deleted contact.

To restore from an iCloud backup:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
  2. Tap Manage Storage > Backups
  3. Tap on a backup that’s dated before you deleted the contact
  4. Tap Restore and follow the prompts to restore your device

Once the restore is complete, your contacts, including the previously deleted one, will be back on your iPhone.

iTunes Backup

Similarly, you can restore your iPhone from an iTunes backup that still contains the contact. 

To restore from an iTunes backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to a computer that contains an iTunes backup
  2. Open iTunes and select your iPhone
  3. Click Summary > Restore Backup
  4. Select the appropriate backup and click Restore to restore contacts

If you don’t have iCloud Backup or iTunes Backup enabled, or don’t have a backup that contains the deleted contact, this method won’t work.

Using Contact Recovery Software

As a last resort, you may need to use third-party iOS data recovery software to attempt to retrieve deleted contacts. Programs like iMyFone D-Back or EaseUS MobiSaver can scan your iPhone and recover deleted data like contacts and text messages.

To use contact recovery software:

  1. Download and install the program on your computer
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer
  3. Open the program and scan your device for recoverable data
  4. Preview and select the contacts you want to recover
  5. Save the contacts back to your iPhone or export to your computer

Contact recovery software allows you to dig deeper and has a better chance of restoring contacts than iOS backups. However, there’s no guarantee it will find the deleted contact.

Preventing Deleted Contacts in the Future

To avoid having to retrieve deleted contacts, be proactive about backing up your iPhone.

You have a few options:

  • Enable iCloud Backup to backup your contacts to iCloud
  • Sync your contacts with services like Google Contacts or Microsoft Outlook
  • Connect to iTunes regularly to backup locally to your computer
  • Export your contact list to a CSV file on your computer as another backup

Contacts are hard to recreate from scratch, so be sure to backup your data so you have options for restoring deleted contacts in the future.


Here are some key points to remember about retrieving deleted contacts on an iPhone:

  • Check the Recently Deleted album in Photos for profile pictures
  • Look through your call history in the Phone app
  • View iCloud contacts at if you use iCloud Sync
  • Restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup that still has the contact
  • Use professional iOS data recovery software to scan for deleted contacts
  • Enable backups like iCloud and iTunes to avoid this issue in the future

While it takes some effort, there are usually ways to get back a recently deleted contact on your iPhone. With consistent backups enabled, you can have peace of mind knowing your contacts are safe.