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iPhone contacts disappeared? Try these 9 real fixes!

One of the most common problems many users have encountered is mysteriously disappearing iPhone contacts! The problem seems to have been exacerbated after the iOS 17 update. The contacts suddenly disappear, either some or all.

This is inconvenient, especially when you have to make an emergency call and find that the contact is missing. If you are looking for a way to fix the disappeared Phone contacts, follow our solutions below.

Why iPhone contacts disappeared after iOS update?

Well, there could be more than one reason why contacts go missing on an iOS device. It could be due to a buggy software update, ill-fated restore, or sluggish syncing owing to the poor internet connection. Having taken a close look at each possible scenario, we have offered possible solutions that can bring back the missing iPhone contacts. With that said, let’s follow along to cut the clutter!

How to fix iPhone contacts disappeared

Below are some practical solutions to help you recover your lost iPhone contacts.

1. Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone helps resolve minor software glitches and temporary issues that may affect contacts. It refreshes the device and its processes, potentially restoring the missing contacts. 

2. Turn off and on iCloud Contacts

This method forces iCloud to re-establish the connection and sync your contacts, resolving any syncing issues with iCloud. So, you can bring back any missing contacts that were not correctly synced.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone → Tap your name. 
  2. Select iCloud → Tap Show All

    tap your profile, tap iCloud, tap Show all in Settings
  3. Toggle off Contacts
  4. When prompted, select Keep on My iPhone.

    toggle off Contacts, tap keep on my iPhone in Settings
  5. Restart your iPhone. 
  6. Again, follow steps 1-3 and toggle on Contacts in iCloud. 
  7. Tap Merge to sync your local and iCloud Contacts.

    tap Merge in iCloud contact Settings

After that, open the Contacts app on your device. Check out if your missing iPhone contacts have finally appeared. If they haven’t, read our detailed guide on how to fix iCloud Contacts not syncing

3. Ensure you have selected the correct default account

You must choose the right default account to ensure all contacts saved on that account are visible. If you have selected another account as default, it’s possible that contacts are not being displayed, leading to the perception of missing contacts. 

  1. Go to Settings → Contacts.
  2. Select Default Account.
  3. Pick between iCloud or Gmail, depending on your needs.

    Tap contacts, tap Default account, select iCloud in Settings

Also, ensure you have enabled the right account which has your contacts saved. For that, go to Settings → Contacts → Accounts. Now, toggle on Contacts for the accounts you might have synced with previously.

4. Sign out and log in to iCloud

Signing out and logging back into your iCloud account can help resolve any authentication or connectivity issues between your iPhone and iCloud. It refreshes the iCloud connection and may restore any missing contacts that are not syncing. 

First, back up your iPhone and then sign out of iCloud on your iPhone. Afterward, go through your local Contacts and ensure it fixes missing contacts from the iPhone issue. Again, sign in to your Apple ID.

  1. Go to SettingsSign in to your iPhone.
  2. Enter your Apple ID email address and password.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in to your Apple ID.   

Ensure your iPhone is connected to a stable internet connection and wait for some time to let iCloud sync everything.

5. Select All Contacts in the Contacts app

I have saved a few of my contacts in Gmail and others in iCloud. If you have done the same, you must select All Contacts to regain your iPhone’s missing contacts. It ensures that none are filtered out due to specific group settings or filters. 

  1. Open Contacts → Tap the < icon
  2. Select All Contacts.

    tap Lists, tap All Contacts in contacts

Check if you can save all your saved contacts here!

6. Configure settings for the Contacts app

Correctly configuring contact account settings ensures that your contacts are displayed according to your preferences, and you can avoid losing contacts. Further, it also ensures that contacts sync is turned on for each account. 

  1. Go to Settings → Contacts
  2. Tap Accounts

    tap contacts, tap Accounts in Settings
  3. Select Gmail → Toggle on Contacts

    tap gmail, toggle on Contacts in Settings

Repeat these steps for each account so all contacts will be synced on your iPhone. 

7. Restore contacts from iCloud backup

Restoring your data from a previous iCloud backup that includes your contacts can be an effective way to recover missing contacts on your iPhone. It reverts your device to an earlier state where the contacts were present, potentially resolving any significant glitches.

Read our thorough guide on how to restore your iPhone from a backup to fix iPhone contacts that disappeared after deleting your email account or changing your SIM. 

8. Reset All Settings

Resetting all settings doesn’t directly restore contacts. However, when you reset all settings, your iPhone will erase all of your custom settings, but it will not erase your data, such as your contacts or apps.

This means that if your contacts are still hidden somewhere on your iPhone, they might be restored after the reset.

  1. Open the Settings app → Go to General
  2. Select Transfer or Reset iPhone
  3. Tap Reset → Select Reset All Settings

    Steps to reset all settings on iPhone
  4. Enter your passcode and follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

9. Try out trusted third-party data recovery software

No solution as yet? If the disappeared iPhone contacts haven’t returned to the contacts list yet, you should try a third-party data recovery tool. It’s ideal to recover disappeared iPhone Contacts without a backup.

When you accidentally delete the contacts, those are still on your iPhone but are hidden. Every saved file on iPhone has a path address to the file kept in the File Allocation Table of the SQL Database.

Therefore, deleting the contacts will erase the address to that file from the File Allocation Table rather than the actual file itself. You can recover them until fresh data is overwritten using data recovery software. While many data recovery software are available, not all work efficiently.

Some of the best iPhone data recovery tools are:

What makes these tools so efficient is the ability to recover data selectively. Therefore, you can check out all of your contacts and restore the ones missing on your device.

But remember, these tools are paid, so you will need to shell out some bucks to recover the data, as their freemium or trial versions are pretty limited.

Video: iPhone Contacts Disappeared? 9 Ways to Get Them Back (iOS 17)

Contact Apple Support

If none of the fixes worked for you, you may need to contact Apple Support for further assistance. They can review your account and help troubleshoot potential issues causing iPhone contacts to disappear.

Recover your lost Contacts on your iPhone!

Losing your iPhone contacts can be frustrating, but you can try to recover them with these troubleshooting methods. I suggest regularly backing up your iPhone and keeping it updated with the new iOS version to avoid such issues in the future.

If all else fails, consider contacting Apple Support for further assistance. By the way, have you got back all your iPhone contacts disappeared? Make sure to share your feedback and let us know which tricks worked for you.

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  • Ava

    Ava is a die-hard Apple aficionado and seasoned writer with a knack for breaking down complex tech concepts into easily digestible content. Having honed her writing and editing skills over 3 years at renowned media houses like TechBurner, Ava crafts informative and engaging articles including troubleshooting guides, product reviews, editorials at iGeeksBlog. When not typing, you can find her exploring the latest Apple releases or pondering the future of tech innovation.

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