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How to recover deleted iPhone contacts

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Losing contacts on your iPhone can be a disaster. Whether it’s a lead for a great new job, a potential romantic partner, or an old friend that you’ve been meaning to call, if you open the Contacts app and see blank spaces it’s never a good thing. All is not lost, though, and it still might be possible to retrieve those all-important numbers via backups or specialist software.

In this article we show how to get back deleted contacts on iOS.

Restore Contacts using iCloud

One of the easiest ways to recover lost contacts is through iCloud, providing of course that you use the service. To see what it has to offer, take a look at our How to set up iCloud feature.

Rather than restoring an entire backup, which would delete all the information you’d accrued since the point at which the contact was removed, Apple offers the ability to install contacts, calendars, reminders, or Safari bookmarks via iCloud.com.

To do this, go to iCloud.com from the browser on your Mac or PC and log into your account. When you see the page full of icons appear, click on Settings.

How to retrieve deleted contacts ios

Now scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll see a section entitled Advanced. In here there’s the option to Restore Contacts. Click on that.

How to restore deleted contacts ios

A list of the available archives will now be displayed in a popup box. They are marked by date, so choose the one that will contain the deleted contact and then click Restore.

How to retrieve deleted contacts iphone

You’ll be asked to confirm your decision. Do so by clicking Restore once more.

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Now iCloud will replace your existing contacts with the ones in the archive. Due to the shared nature of the iCloud service, this means that your missing item should magically reappear when you launch the Contacts app on your iPhone.

Restore contacts using iCloud or iTunes backup

Should you find that there are no available archives on iCloud.com, you can opt to install one of your iCloud or iTunes backups instead.

If you’ve yet to set up a regular routine then take a look at our How to back up an iPhone or iPad guide.

Restoring from iCloud is a more drastic measure, as it will delete any information on your iPhone that has been added since the date of the backup. We advise making a new backup before beginning the process, just in case you want to return to the later version.

In fact, you could always restore the older backup, make a note of the contact, then reinstall the newer one. It’s a bit of a faff, but should mean you lose nothing.

For a step-by-step guide to doing this, read our How to restore an iPhone or iPad from backup guide.

Use a third-party data retrieval app

If iCloud or iTunes hasn’t worked, there is another route. Third-party data retrieval apps can scan your device’s drive to see if data has truly been deleted, then in some cases restore them.

They usually require a PC or Mac, to which you’ll attach the iPhone, and cost money. In some cases, quite a lot of money. But, if you’re desperate to get hold of those numbers then it might be well worth the investment.

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Take a look at our Best data recovery apps for iPhone guide for more information on the ones that are currently our favourites.

Hopefully those methods have helped you find those elusive contacts. Should you have a similar issue with SMS, check out our How to recover deleted text messages on iPhone article.



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