How long does it take to restore deleted contacts on iPhone?

Restoring deleted contacts on an iPhone can take varying amounts of time depending on the method used. There are a few quick ways to try restoring recently deleted contacts from a backup or iCloud before resorting to more time-consuming options like data recovery software.

Quick Summary

Here is a quick overview of how long it generally takes to restore deleted contacts using different methods:

  • From recently deleted on iPhone – Instant
  • From latest iCloud backup – Minutes to hours
  • From iTunes backup – Minutes to hours
  • With data recovery software – Hours to days

Read on for more details on each method and steps for restoring deleted contacts on iPhone.

Check Recently Deleted on iPhone

If you have just noticed some contacts missing from your iPhone, the quickest way to try to restore them is to check the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app.

Contacts deleted within the past 30 days are stored in the Recently Deleted album before being permanently erased. To access it:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down and select the Albums tab
  3. Tap Recently Deleted to view deleted photos and contacts
  4. Tap Select at the top right to enter selection mode
  5. Tap to select the contacts you want to recover
  6. Tap Recover to restore the selected contacts back to your contacts list

If you catch the deletions right away, checking Recent Deletions can restore contacts in seconds.

Restore from Latest iCloud Backup

If your missing contacts no longer appear in Recently Deleted, the next fast option is to restore from your latest iCloud backup.

As long as you have iCloud Backup enabled in your iPhone Settings, iCloud automatically saves a backup of your contacts and other data periodically when connected to power, WiFi and under the storage limit.

To restore from your latest iCloud backup:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
  2. Tap Manage Storage > Backups
  3. Select the most recent backup
  4. Tap Restore to Device

Your iPhone will be restored to the state of the latest backup, including any contacts that were deleted since the last backup. This process can take minutes to hours depending on the size of your backup and internet connection speed.

Restore from iTunes Backup

If you sync your iPhone with iTunes on a computer, you can also restore from an iTunes backup as another fast option.

Connect your iPhone to your computer, open iTunes and follow these steps:

  1. In iTunes, click Summary on the left
  2. Click Restore Backup
  3. Select the backup you want to restore
  4. Click Restore to initiate

As with an iCloud restore, restoring from an iTunes backup can take minutes to hours depending on backup size, computer speed and internet connection.

Use Data Recovery Software

If you no longer have a backup with the missing contacts, your last option is to use third-party iOS data recovery software.

Recovery software can scan your iPhone and attempt to recover deleted data even without a backup. However, this is a much slower process that can take hours to days to complete.

Some top data recovery apps include:

  • Fonelab
  • iMyFone D-Back
  • EaseUS MobiSaver
  • Tenorshare UltData

For the best chance of recovery, follow these general steps:

  1. Download and install the data recovery app on a computer
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer and select recovery mode in the app
  3. The app will scan your device and list recoverable files
  4. Preview and select the recoverable contacts you want to restore
  5. Specify a destination folder to save the contacts to on your computer

Expect the scanning and data recovery process to take at least several hours.

Prevent Deleted Contacts in the Future

To avoid having to restore deleted contacts, be sure to regularly back up your iPhone and enable deleted contact recovery.

You can enable recently deleted contacts recovery by going to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Photos and toggling on Recently Deleted Recovery.

Also, consider backing up your contacts separately using iCloud or a tool like iExplorer so you have multiple backup sources to restore from.

With regular backups and recovery options enabled, you will have peace of mind if contacts ever get accidentally deleted from your iPhone.

Key Points

  • Check Recently Deleted on the iPhone to instantly restore contacts deleted within the past 30 days.
  • Restore your entire iPhone from the latest iCloud or iTunes backup to get back missing contacts.
  • Use data recovery software like Fonelab or EaseUS for deleted contacts without a backup, but expect the process to take hours.
  • Enable recently deleted recovery and regularly back up your iPhone to prevent having to restore contacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I quickly restore just deleted contacts on iPhone?

Go to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app on your iPhone. Select any contacts deleted within the past 30 days and tap Recover to restore them.

Can I restore contacts after deleting them permanently?

If you have a backup from before the contacts were deleted, you can restore from that backup. Otherwise, try third-party data recovery software to scan and extract contacts that were permanently erased.

How long does an iCloud restore take to get back deleted contacts?

An iCloud restore can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on your backup size, internet speed, and number of apps and media files needing to be downloaded again.

What’s the maximum time I can recover deleted contacts on iPhone?

Using the Recently Deleted album, you can recover contacts for up to 30 days after deletion. With data recovery software, contacts can potentially be recovered months or years later, but the success rate decreases over time.

Can I select particular contacts to restore from a backup?

Unfortunately no – when restoring from an iCloud or iTunes backup, it will completely overwrite your current contacts list and other data. You cannot selectively choose only certain contacts to restore.


Restoring recently deleted contacts on an iPhone is quick and easy using Recently Deleted or iCloud/iTunes backups. For permanently deleted contacts without a backup, prepare for data recovery software to take hours. Be diligent about regular iPhone backups to prevent having to go through any restore process. Enabling recently deleted recovery also provides a safety net for contacts deleted within the past 30 days.