My iPhone Contacts are Gone! Help!

Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: Data Recovery, iTunes, iPhone | View Comments

We've been hearing more reports that iPhone (iPad, and iPod Touch) users suddenly find all of their contacts are missing from their iPhone, with no clues about how the contacts vanished. If your iPhone contacts are gone, we have a few different solutions to help you recover them.

  • One thing to check first is if your contacts are stored on iCloud. They may be there if your contacts were removed as part of turning off iCloud contact syncing. Go to in your web browser and view your iCloud contacts. If the contacts are on iCloud, turn on iCloud contact syncing on your iPhone from the Settings app > your name > iCloud > Contacts on/off switch. The contacts should merge in to whatever contacts exist on your iPhone now.

  • If you know your contacts are stored through another provider like Gmail or Exchange, you'll want to log into that account on your computer and verify that the contacts are still there (much like iCloud, but for that provider.) If the contacts are still present in your account, go to the Settings app > Accounts & Passwords > your account, and then make sure the Contacts option is turned on there.

  • If you have a recent backup, you can restore your iPhone to the backup, and the contacts will be restored to whatever state they were in when the backup is made. Note that all of your data will roll back to the state it was in when the backup was made. All photos, text messages, contacts, notes, EVERYTHING will be restored from the backup and all new data from after the backup will be lost.

  • If you have a recent backup, but don't want to time warp your iPhone to the state of the last backup, you can use Decipher Backup Browser to read the contacts from your backup and export them into a file to send to your iPhone.

Download Decipher Backup Browser

To use Decipher Backup Browser to recover contacts from an iPhone backup:

  1. Download and install the free trial of Decipher Backup Browser.

  2. Decipher Backup Browser will read your existing backups automatically and then present you with a list of backups it found. Click on the backup you want to look for contacts in. (Enter the backup password if your backup is encrypted.)

  3. Click on Contacts in the center column of Decipher Backup Browser. Your contacts should appear in the right-hand column!

  4. After registering Decipher Backup Browser, you can click Save in the upper-left corner to save the contacts as a VCF (vcard) file. Email that file to yourself.

  5. Open the email on your iPhone and click on the vcard file attachment. Select to Add All to merge your contacts from the VCF file into your iPhone Contacts.

Recover iPhone contacts and put them back onto your iPhone using Decipher Backup Browser



ysnk September 9, 2018

I have a similar problem. I restored from the backup cleaned by Decipher, it worked great. Contacts got transferred. But in a few minutes they all gone! I checked the and its empty. I guess empty list somehow syncs and overrides the contact. How can i prevent this? Thank you!

Kelly HW

Kelly HW September 9, 2018

Hi Ysnk,

Can you send us an email via our contact form? Be sure to mention my name (Kelly) so it gets routed to me ASAP. It sounds like the backup restored the contacts but then yes, the iCloud syncing determined that those contacts were deleted "after" the state of the contacts the backup had in it. We'll help you get the contacts exported from the backup and back onto your iPhone via email.