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.

How to Recover Deleted iPhone Contacts

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 Bbackup:

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…’Restore iPhone Contacts from iPhoneStep #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.

How to Restore iPhone Contacts from iCloud 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 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.)

Contacts Settings on iPhoneStep #3. When the popup message comes up, press ‘Keep on My iPhone.’

Keep on My iPhoneStep #4. Now, turn ON the contacts again and tap “Merge”; wait for a while.Merge Contacts on iPhoneStep #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!

.vcf Export:

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 and login.

Step #3. Click on Contacts.

Step #4. Click on the clog (settings) icon on the bottom left and press ‘Export vCard…’

Export Contacts from iCloud as vCardStep #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).

Yet another way to recover deleted contacts is using Coolmuster, a data recovery software.

All-in-one Coolmuster can help recover everything from your iDevice. No matter how you lost iPhone files and what you’ve lost, you can get them back by those 2 iPhone Recovery modes. “Recover contacts from iTunes backup” and “recover contacts from iPhone directly “.

Here is the step by step guide:

Step #1.  Run the Coolmuster Data Recovery for iPhone iPad iPod and you’ll found all iTunes backup files have been detected and displayed in the main interface. Just select one and backup file and start to scan.Cool Muster iPhone Data RecoveryStep #2.  After the scanning, all found data will be showed on the left, including contacts, messages, camera roll, photos, etc. For lost contacts, you can choose “Contacts” and find those contacts you want back. Then click “Recover” to save them on your computer. Done!Recover Deleted Contact with CoolmusterFeatures of Coolmuster

  • Recover contacts, SMS, calendars, photos, notes, music, and more from iPhone, iPad and iPod within one click.
  • Automatically detect all iTunes backup files on computer.
  • Recover lost data due to iOS upgrade, factory reset, jailbreak, virus attack etc.
  • Regain lost data when your iPhone is inaccessible, stuck in Apple logo, black/white screen of death or when you forget the device password etc.
  • Support all iOS series product including iPhone 6/5/4, iPad and iPod.

Visit for more information.

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.

  • J.S_5s

    just because you have a copy of all your contacts in icloud, does not mean that if you accidentally delete a contact on your iphone you can recover it using icould. NO Sir that does not work, because if something happens to your contacts on your iphone the exact same thing happens to your contacts on your icloud, so you must have a saved file of all your contacts like that .vcf file somewhere safe that is not synced to your iphone. and update it every once in a while. This iphone business is not as user friendly as everyone says it is, if that was the case, there would not be millions of people searching the net on how to do things.

  • eveeve

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Losty

    you are amazing. simple. elegant. easy. thankyouuuu<3

  • Vxkvonnrr

    Good blog !

  • biajiaou

    I just had the same issue take place. Applications were crashing as soon as I opened them. So I restarted my iPhone, only to find my contacts deleted!
    Here’s what I did to restore contacts on iPhone, maybe you can get some useful ideas here:
    On my phone, went into SETTINGS and then iCloud. An error message came up and said that my password was incorrect so I tapped the button to correct it. And boom! My contacts were back!
    I don’t know how this password was incorrect in the first place, but now it’s correct!

  • F4b14n

    Chandra, you really helped me, I couldn’t restore my contacts from iCloud and using your suggestion they are back in my iPhone. Thank you very much.