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Contacts disappeared on iPhone. How to easily get them back?

Discovering your iPhone contacts missing can be disheartening, but there are a few straightforward steps you can take to resolve the issue with ease!

Jasmin Woods Updated on Dec 20, 2023 9:15 PM

This guide explains why your iPhone contacts disappeared and how to fix it.

Have you ever wondered why your contacts disappeared on your iPhone? It could be that some of your contacts go missing when you switch to a new iPhone 14/15, or your iPhone deleted contacts randomly after an update to iOS 17, or you accidentally removed them.

Losing contacts on iPhone suddenly can be frustrating in the midst of your daily routine. But, don't worry. This article will walk you through potential reasons and provide various fixes to troubleshoot the issue of missing iPhone contacts. Moreover, you'll discover several practical methods to recover disappeared iPhone contacts and retrieve your lost phone numbers or missing names.

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If the contacts on your iPhone have disappeared, or if you accidentally deleted contact info, try utilizing the iPhone Data Recovery software, which can perform a deep scan of the device's storage to find lost and deleted iPhone contacts, allowing for preview and selective recovery.

Why my contacts disappeared on iPhone?

The disappearance of iPhone contacts can be caused by several issues such as iOS update, iCloud syncing, device restart issue, unexpected deletion and other reasons.

  • iOS update glitches. Updating to the latest iOS 17/16 may cause glitches or errors that might lead to the loss of contacts on iPhone. It can be fixed when next iOS is released.
  • Syncing issues with iCloud. When experiencing problems with iCloud syncing, the contacts previously synced with iCloud may not appear properly.
  • Setting changes. Accidental changes to contact settings, such as turning off iCloud Contacts or other relevant options in associated email accounts, can result in iPhone contact missing.
  • Accidental deletion. iPhone contacts may disappear after accidental or permanent deletion.
  • Device jailbreak. Jailbreaking your iPhone is not necessarily a good idea, as this will lead to some unforeseen consequences, not just the iPhone deleting contacts.
  • Unstable internet connection. A poor or slow Wi-Fi or cellular network might be preventing contacts from syncing back to iPhone.

Restarting your iPhone sometimes might work to troubleshoot the missing iPhone contacts issue. Whether some or all contacts disappeared from your iPhone, there are several effective solutions to fix it and recover disappeared or deleted contacts.

Fix 1. Recover disappeared contacts on iPhone using iCloud

If you're using iCloud for Contacts before your iPhone contacts disappeared suddenly, try the following options to sync and download contacts from iCloud again.

1. Re-sync iPhone contacts from iCloud

Start by checking if the Contacts is enabled in iCloud. It's possible that your disappeared contacts on iPhone are just not displaying properly. You can resolve this by turning off iCloud Contacts and then turning it back on. Make sure that you're connected to a stable Wi-Fi or cellular network so that your iPhone can download contacts from iCloud again.

  • Open your iPhone Settings and tap [your name] > iCloud.
  • Turn off Contacts. When asked, tap Delete from My iPhone option to remove previously synced iCloud contacts on your iPhone. Don't worry, this will not erase contacts in iCloud.
  • Turn on the Contacts in iCloud again to re-sync all contacts back.

Give it a few minutes, and check whether the disappeared contacts are back to your iPhone's address book. If not, try the next options to troubleshoot the missing iOS contacts.

2. Re-download contacts from iCloud to iPhone

When you find your contacts missing on iPhone, go to icloud.com using a computer browser and sign in with your Apple ID and password. Click on Contacts app and make sure the disappeared iPhone contacts are there in iCloud Contacts. If your iPhone is not showing contacts, it's advised that you simply sign out of iCloud, and then sign back in.

  • In Settings app, tap [your name] at the top.
  • Scroll down and tap on Sign Out. Follow the prompts to accomplish the sign-out process.
  • Power off the device and then back on.
  • When it's on, sign back into your iCloud account.

It may take some time to download iCloud-synced contacts back to your iPhone. Once done, simply check the Contacts app on your iPhone.

Fix 2. Recover disappeared iPhone contacts without backup or iCloud

If the above options do not help, or the disappeared contacts are not synced with iCloud previously, or you've accidentally or permanently deleted the contacts on your iPhone, you might want to use a professional data recovery tool to find all lost contacts on your iPhone.

Fortunately, using iPhone Data Recovery software makes it effortless to scan your entire device and recover disappeared contacts from iPhone, without backup or iCloud. This intelligent tool can automatically scan and find deleted or lost data on an iPhone/iPad, supporting up to 19 types of files. Additionally, it enables you to preview individual contacts or files for selective recovery.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Simply connect your iPhone to computer, scan the device, and select some or all of contacts to retrieve. Most importantly, this recovery process fixes the contacts missing from iPhone issue without overwriting any existing data. Here's how.

Step 1. Run iPhone Data Recovery and connect your iPhone with computer a USB cable.

Step 2. Then click Start Scan button to find lost contacts on your iPhone. Wait for a short while until it finishes scanning all iPhone data.

Step 3. Locate Contacts option on the left side when it displays all scanning results. From all existing and missing contacts on your iPhone, you can click each contact card to preview name, phone number, email address, and other info.

Step 4. Select all or individual iPhone contacts to recover. Use the Restore to Device button to get disappeared contacts back to your iPhone directly, or click the Recover button and choose a location to save recovered iPhone contacts onto your computer as CSV or HTML files.

Fix 3. Restore lost contacts on iPhone from iTunes backup or iCloud backup

If you've made previous backups of your iPhone in iCloud, iTunes, or Finder, you can restore the missing contacts from an earlier version archived in those backups. But, it's important to note that restoring your iPhone from an iCloud or iTunes backup will replace the existing data on your device, which, unfortunately, results in the loss of any data added since the backup was created.

To prevent data loss and selectively restore only contacts instead of the entire backup, refer to the iPhone Data Recovery section in this post for guidance.

1. Restore missing contacts on iPhone from iCloud backup

If you've previously backed up your iPhone contacts to iCloud, check the created backups with dates under Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Backup. If there's one backup that includes the disappeared iPhone contacts, follow these recovery steps to get them back:

Note: When the iCloud Contacts is enabled, the iPhone contacts synced with iCloud will not be saved in an iCloud backup.

  • On iPhone, tap Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  • Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  • When prompts, select Continue to instantly restore your iPhone to factory settings.
  • Go through the setup process until you see Transfer Your Apps & Data screen.
  • Choose From iCloud Backup and sign into iCloud with Apple ID and passcode.
  • Select a backup that contains the disappeared iPhone contacts list.

After the setup is done, open Contacts app, and it should display the contacts you're looking for.

Alternatively, you can restore your missing contacts from an older version archived in iCloud.com. The backup archive you select will replace the contacts on all your devices, so be careful.

  • Sign in to icloud.com using your Apple ID and password.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and select Data Recovery.
  • Then pick Restore Contacts option.
  • Choose the Restore option next to the backup date before your iPhone contacts disappeared.
  • Confirm with Restore again.
  • Afterwards, the contacts stored in iCloud will be restored to your iPhone.

2. Restore lost iPhone contacts from iTunes backup

iTunes (or Finder in macOS Catalina 10.15 or later) can also back up your iPhone data during synchronization. There's a chance that one of the iTunes backups includes the missing contacts on your iPhone. To resolve it and recover lost contacts, you can restore the iTunes/Finder backup.

Note: Ensure that your iOS device isn't set to sync automatically with iTunes/Finder; otherwise, your latest iPhone backup will be overwritten.

  • Attach iPhone with the computer via a Lightning cable.
  • Click iPhone icon on the top-left corner of iTunes window.
  • Head to Summary tab and scroll down to Backups section.
  • Hit Restore Backup box.
  • In the dialog box, select any backup containing the missing contacts, then click on Restore.

TIP: For Finder users, select the device from Finder's left sidebar and move to General tab.

This will restore your iPhone with the old backup, overwriting anything that's not in the backup. But at least, any contacts disappeared from iPhone are presented in the address book.

3. Recover iPhone contacts from iTunes backup without overwrite

To avoid data overwriting, take a closer look inside the iTunes backups and use iPhone Data Recovery to selectively restore specific contacts. The software enables scanning and previewing of iTunes backup files, allowing recovery of individual contacts without impacting current data.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

  • Install and open iPhone Data Recovery on your Mac or PC.
  • From the main screen, select Restore from iTunes Backup File.
  • The software will automatically scan and list all existing iTunes backups stored in this computer.
  • Select the backup including the contacts disappeared from your iPhone, click Start.
  • When it shows all file types on the screen, click Contacts from left list.
  • Preview specific contacts and choose which one you want to recover.
  • Click Recover button.

TIP: If you have the iPhone connected, there's an additional option to recover deleted iPhone contacts to your device directly, with nothing erased.

Scan the iTunes backup and recover only selected contacts that are missing your iPhone.

Fix 4. Recover missing contacts on iPhone through Contacts settings

To solve the problem with contacts gone from iPhone, changing contact settings in your accounts can be helpful. If your iPhone deleted all contacts, it's possible that the disappeared contacts are associated with your Google, Outlook or other email accounts rather than the default iCloud. Reverting iPhone Contacts settings may recover the disappeared contacts to your iPhone.

  • Access Settings app > Contacts > Accounts on your iPhone.
  • Choose each account listed on the accounts screen.
  • Toggle on the Contacts option to sync account contacts with your iPhone.

When it's done, go back to the Contacts app on your iPhone to find the missing contacts:

1. Open Contacts app on your phone.

2. Choose the back arrow Lists button at the top-left corner, if you're not on contact list screen.

3. Tap Show All Contacts. The contacts from all sources will re-appear on the screen, including All iCloud, All iPhone and your other accounts.

Note: Deleting email accounts will remove all the associated contacts. To restore them, you can add email account again by Settings > Contacts > Accounts and re-add it.

Final thoughts

When iPhone deletes your contacts from the Contacts app, they could still be in syncing accounts like iCloud or Gmail, in your backup archives, or on the device's internal storage. The fixes above should get back the missing contacts successfully. If none of these solutions restore your disappeared contacts on your iPhone, reach out to Apple Support and await their guidance.

FAQ: Why did my iPhone delete all my contacts?

Disabling iCloud Contacts syncing will delete all contacts from your iPhone if they are stored in iCloud. Likewise, deleting your email accounts will remove all contacts linked to them. Also, iOS updates might lead to unknown data crashes sometimes.

FAQ: iPhone not showing my contacts. Why?

If some certain contacts are not appearing on your iPhone, it could be due to an iCloud syncing issue. Additionally, a weak Wi-Fi network connection on your iPhone may impact contact syncing. If all phone numbers and names are not showing up, check if the Contacts is enabled in iCloud settings. Alternatively, consider upgrading your iPhone to the latest iOS 16 or iOS 17.

FAQ: How can I get back my lost iPhone contacts?

Here are some quick solutions to fix the issue when iPhone contacts have disappeared:

  • Restart device.
  • Upgrade to newest iOS.
  • Turn off iCloud Contacts and turn it on once again.
  • Restore from an archived backup from iCloud, iTunes or iCloud.com.
  • Re-sync from email accounts.
  • Recover iPhone contacts using third-party data recovery software.
  • Set up the Contacts again.
  • And more...
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