One of the scariest things that can happen – when you try to change iPhones, sync contacts or sync to the cloud/backup – is losing contact details. I’ve found myself – very often – losing a few contacts once in a while when I try to sync, update or just restore my device.
Things have become relatively easy with iCloud but if you’re old school, you’ll find iTunes to be a good solution even today. As long as you’ve got a backup of your contacts somewhere, you can restore it on your iPhone and reclaim deleted contacts easily.
As such, there are three ways in which you can have your iPhone contacts backed up:
- iCloud: which is the most preferred and popular method today
- iTunes: an old method which still retains its flavor amongst some of us
- Manual Export: probably the most secure and hassle-free method. Something that I’ve used for quite sometime now. Happily.
How to Recover deleted iPhone contacts via iTunes backup:
Chances are, you backed up your device in iTunes the last time you plugged the device in. If this is the case, you’re in luck.
To restore a deleted contact on your iPhone, all you do is:
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to the PC/Mac
Step 2: Open iTunes
Step 3: Click on Devices tab
Step 4: Right-click on the iPhone that’s connected and click ‘Restore from Backup…’
Step 5: Note that this will effectively remove all old information on your iPhone and get the backup data on your iPhone. If you had backed up contacts too in your previous iTunes backup, those will be restored to the iPhone and you should mostly recover that deleted contact now.
iCloud Method to Restore lost iPhone Contacts Without iTunes:
Of course, with iCloud in town, not everyone is interested in iTunes backups these days. iCloud makes stuff easier to manage although you just need to be a bit careful.
If you have enabled iCloud Contacts sync, in all probability, the lost contact should be up on your iCloud account. To check if this is true:
- Login to https://www.icloud.com with your Apple ID and password
- Click on Contacts
- Search your contacts to check if the deleted/lost contact (from your iPhone) is still visible here
If yes, you can now recover that lost contact easily.
Step 1: Go to Settings -> iCloud on your iPhone
Step 2: Turn off Contacts (if it’s not turned off already)
Step 3: When the popup message comes up, press ‘Keep on My iPhone’
Step 4: Now, turn ON the contacts again and tap “Merge”; wait for a while
Step 5: After sometime, you should see the deleted contact back on your iPhone
Step 6: In case this doesn’t work, all you do is delete your iCloud account (but keep all data) and then re-add the iCloud account by logging in with your Apple ID and password
Step 7: Merge all data and wait for a while. After sometime, iCloud will have merged all contacts to your iPhone and the deleted one should be back!
Perhaps, the safest way to play this game is to sync your contact data to iCloud and make a .vcf copy routinely. To do this:
Step 1: Make sure all contact details on your iCloud account is up-to-date.
Step 2: Open https://www.icloud.com and login
Step 3: Click on Contacts
Step 4: Click on the clog (settings) icon on the bottom left and press ‘Export vCard…’
Step 5: Save this file on your hard-disk.
Do this thing once in a month or so and you’ll have a pretty solid backup of all your contacts. You can send this .vcf file as email and then open it on your iPhone to get them back on your Contacts (in case you lose them all).
Besides these, you can also use third-party software like Tenorshare & iStonSoft that will let you restore contacts anytime. Even the deleted or lost ones. You can check out our review of Tenorshare software here and the review of iStonSoft here.