iPhone contacts disappeared? Try these 6 real fixes!

How to fix iPhone contacts disappeared

One of the most common problems that many users have come across is iPhone contacts being disappeared mysteriously! The problem seems to have been exacerbated after the iOS 16 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 16 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!

  1. Sign out of iCloud and sign back in
  2. Change group settings for contacts
  3. Turn off/on iCloud for contacts
  4. Make sure On My iPhone is selected as default
  5. Restore your iPhone with Finder/iTunes backup
  6. Try out trusted third-party data recovery software

1. Sign out of iCloud and sign back in

The first trick that you should try to force the missing contacts to appear again on your iOS device is sign out and sign back into your Apple ID. More often than not, it fixes this issue, so I hope that it gets the job done for you.

  1. Launch the Settings app and tap on your profile picture right at the top.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Sign Out.

    Open Settings App and Tap on Profile and Then Tap on Sign out on iPhone Side Note: If Find My iPhone is enabled on your device, a pop-up will appear asking you to enter your Apple ID to disable Find My iPhone. Do it.

    Enter Apple ID Password to Turn Off Find My iPhone
  3. Under “KEEP A COPY OF” section, turn on the toggles for Contacts, Keychain, Safari, and other options to ensure they remain on your device.

    Sticky Note:
    • All your optimized photos and videos will be removed from this iOS device
    • However, the original images and videos will remain available on other devices that are using iCloud Photos
    • All the documents and data which you have stored in iCloud Drive will also be wiped out
    • Do note that all of your Health data will remain on this device
  4. Now, tap on Sign Out.

    Enable Keep a Copy of Contacts, Keychain and Safari on iPhone
  5. Next, sign in to Apple ID again.

After a while, head into the Contacts app to see if you have found success.

2. Change group settings for contacts

Another hack you should try to resolve this problem is to change the contact group settings.

  1. Launch the Phone appContacts tab.
  2. Now, tap on Groups at the top left corner.

    Open Phone App and Tap on Contacts and Then Tap Group on iPhone
  3. Deselect the “All iCloud” option and tap on Done at the top right corner.

    Disable All iCloud Option and Tap on Done

Now, you should see all the contacts which you have saved on your iPhone. Check out the missing ones and add them to your address book. Once it’s done, head over to the Group settings and select the “All iCloud” option again.

3. Turn off/on iCloud for contacts

At times, all you need to do to fix this problem is toggle off/on the switch for Contacts syncing. And guess what, we are going to give it a try to see how it fares.

  1. Open Settings app on Your iPhone → ProfileiCloud.

    Open Settings and Tap on Profile and Select iCloud
  2. Now, Tap on switch for Contacts.
  3. Next, a pop-up will show up from the bottom of the screen saying, “What would you like to do with the previously synced iCloud contacts on your iPhone?” Select, Keep on My iPhone.

    Tap on Contacts and Select Keep on My Phone
    Sticky Note: You can also choose “Delete from the iPhone” to wipe out all the previously synced contacts and trust the iCloud to bring all the contacts back without any glitch. But I would recommend you to choose “Keep on My iPhone” just to play a bit safe. As iCloud does offer the option to merge the iCloud contacts with the ones that exist on the device, “Keep on My iPhone” appears to be a better option
  4. Next up, restart your device. (press and hold the side button and then swipe to power off. Then, press and hold the side button again to turn on the device.)
  5. Head over to Settingsyour avatariCloud and then tap on the switch for Contacts.

    Tap on Profile and Than Tap iCloud and Tap on Toggle Next to Contacts
  6. Now, select Merge in the pop-up to merge the contacts with the existing ones on your device.

    Tap on Merge to Merge All Contacts on iPhone

Wait for some time to allow the iCloud contacts to perfectly merge with the local ones. After that, open the Contacts app on your device. Check out if your missing iPhone contacts have finally appeared.

4. Make sure On My iPhone is selected as a default

iOS offers the option to choose a preferred account for contacts. So, make sure you have chosen “On My iPhone” as the default account in the Contacts settings.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone → Scroll down and tap on Contacts.
  2. Now, tap on Default Account and then make sure “On My iPhone” is selected.

5. Restore iPhone with Finder/iTunes backup

If none of the above tricks have sorted out the problem, it’s time to embrace the nuclear solution. With it, I mean go back to the drawing board and restore the iPhone from the previous backup. As it’s always been a reliable troubleshooter for recovering lost data, I’m pinning my hopes on it to get the job done.

  1. Connect the iPhone to your Mac or PC using a lightning cable and launch Finder (in macOS Catalina)/iTunes.
  2. Now, select your iPhone.
  3. Click on Restore Backup and choose the preferred backup.
Click on Restore Backup in iTunes

Once your device has successfully restored from a previous backup, go to the Contacts app to see if the missing ones have finally returned to their usual place.

6. 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 give a third-party data recovery tool a try. While the market is flooded with a ton of data recovery software packages, not all of them work efficiently.

The iPhone data recovery tools that I have tried and found quite handy are: FonePaw, PhoneRescue, iMyFone D-Back, and Dr. Fone. 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 that are missing on your device.

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

Video: iPhone Contacts Disappeared? 7 Ways to fix it!

Wrapping Up…

So, that’s how you can deal with the “Contacts disappeared from the iPhone” issue and bring back all the missing ones. As I have been on this train a few times, I can feel the agony. Thanks to these helpful solutions, it’s possible to retrieve the contacts.

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By the way, have got back all of your iPhone contacts that had gone hiding? Make sure to share your feedback and let us know which tricks worked for you.

Author Profile

A tech-aficionado whose superpower lies in blabbering interminably about new technologies. After 4+ years and 4500+ content pieces that helped diverse companies grow, I followed my passion and made iGeeks Media my home. When not gushing over technology, you will find me immersed in a fictional world, either reading or creating one.

  1. tip # 2 worked for me! Thank you SOOOO MUCH! This was a lifesaver! I have over 4,000+ contacts and when they all dissappear it’s MORE than a little disconcerting. I went into the phone app, selected “group contacts” and UN-checked the icloud (as suggested in step # 2 above). Then, all my contacts just “magically” showed back up? Don’t know why, but thank you again.

  2. A friend had the “disappearing contacts” problem after the latest update. We tried the first suggestion, log out of iCloud & log back in. Simply logging out of iCloud did the trick, didn’t even need to log back in. Thanks!

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