Lost your contacts after an iOS Update or deleted them accidentally from your device? The good news is that you can indeed restore contacts from an earlier iCloud backup!
Several users have reported that all or some of their contacts disappeared after iOS update. If you consistently encounter this issue, try the following steps to resolve your issue. Here is how to recover lost contacts on an iPhone.
- Restore Your Contacts With iCloud
- Import Contacts from a SIM
- Import Email Account Contacts to Your iPhone
- Sync Your Contacts With iCloud Contacts
- What About Restoring Contacts With iTunes?
Restore Your Contacts With iCloud
You can restore your contacts from an earlier version if you automatically archive your contacts using iCloud. iCloud stores your contact information.
You can only sync your contact info via iCloud if you previously enabled iCloud Sync with Contacts before losing your contacts
To check if you sync and backup your contacts with iCloud, go to Settings > Apple ID Profile> iCloud > Contacts and verify it’s toggled ON.
How To Restore iCloud Contacts
- First, log into iCloud’s website with your account
- Enter the code if you enabled Two-Factor Authentication for your Apple ID
- Once logged in, verify that your contacts are there on iCloud by tapping the contacts icon
- Navigate and tap the Settings App
- Scroll down to the Advanced Section
- Select Restore Contacts
- Look through the dates of available archives
- Choose the date to restore and press the Restore Button
- Wait until iCloud completes the Contacts restore. Once done, check your device, and then close the iCloud website
Import Contacts from a SIM
- If you are storing contacts in your SIM card or a previously used SIM card, then you may try this option
- Insert the SIM card from your previous phone into your iPhone–check the fit!
- Settings > Contacts> Import SIM Contacts
- Wait for the import to finish
- If you used a previously used SIM card, remove that SIM card and replace it with your iPhone SIM card
- Open the Contacts App and verify that all your contacts imported correctly
Import Email Account Contacts to Your iPhone
- Add all your contacts from your different email account easily via Settings > Passwords & Accounts
- Tap on an account
- Toggle ON Contacts (and anything else you want to sync)
- Do this for every email account that you want to share contacts with your iPhone
Sync Your Contacts With iCloud Contacts
Now that all your contacts are on your iPhone, it’s important to sync them with your iCloud Contacts, so all of the contact information you store on different devices uploads to iCloud.
Another benefit to iCloud managing your contacts is that any changes that you make on one device, automatically update on all your other devices, including Macs and iCloud for Windows!
If you don’t turn on iCloud Contacts, all that contact information won’t back up to iCloud and won’t sync between devices.
On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Go to Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud
- Toggle on Contacts
- If asked to Merge or Cancel, tap Merge
- All your device’s contacts information uploads to iCloud
- Go to Settings > Contacts
- Scroll to Default Account and verify this says iCloud. If not, tap it and change it to iCloud
- Now, going forward, any new contact you add also goes directly into your iCloud account
- Finally, refresh your contact groups
- Open the Contacts app
- Tap Groups in the upper-left corner
- Swipe down on the list to refresh your groups
On your Mac
- Ho to the Apple menu > System Preferences >iCloud
- Check the box next to Contacts
What About Restoring Contacts With iTunes?
You can restore your contacts using iTunes; however, iTunes does not allow you to restore JUST your contacts. Instead, you need to restore your entire device that includes the contacts you’ve lost.
That means iTunes restores your device to a backup made before those contacts went missing. So if you took more photos, sent additional texts, or any downloaded apps and other content, those will not transfer over.
So, we don’t recommend going this route unless necessary!
To Restore Your iPhone via iTunes
- Turn off Find My iPhone from iCloud via Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud > Find My iPhone
- Connect your iPhone to a computer using a USB cable and launch iTunes
- Tap on your device and click Summary, then click Restore Backup
- Choose the iTunes backup that contains your missing contacts
- Tap Restore to get those contacts back
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.