How to Recover Lost or Deleted Contacts on iPhone

Keep reading to find out how to recover and restore deleted contacts on iPhone

Compatibility: iOS 13 – 6 | iPhone SE / 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max / XS, XS Max / XR / X / 8, 8 Plus / iPhone 7, 7 Plus / 6s, 6s Plus / 6, 6 Plus / 5C, 5s / 5 / 4s / 4 / 3GS / 3, iPad, iPod Touch

Losing a contact’s details, or even worse, your entire iPhone contacts list can be very stressful. Common causes of lost iPhone contacts include accidentally deleting a contact, deleting a contact thinking you will not need their details anymore, and then realising that you do, or even a failed device upgrade or sync. Trying to re-enter all of your iPhone contacts manually after suffering data loss is not always possible and if you have a large number of contacts, this increases the risk of incorrectly entering numbers, but most importantly, it could take you a very long time!

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having lost or deleted your iPhone contacts, then help is available to you. There are several ways that you can recover your contacts, depending upon whether you have a backup file available.

Method 1: How to Recover and Restore Contacts from iPhone without a backup

This recovery method is best for users who do not have an iTunes or iCloud backup. Even if you do not have a backup file, you can use software like Enigma Recovery to extract your lost or deleted contacts from your device. The program can also be used to recover other important iPhone data like Text Messages and Call History. This is because when you delete a file from your iPhone, it is not immediately deleted, but instead made available to be overwritten. Enigma Recovery can extract this data and present it in an easily readable format. The software can also be paired with our free Restore iOS app, to restore the recovered contacts to your iPhone.

Step 1 – Launch Enigma Recovery

Download Enigma Recovery from this site, follow the on-screen install instructions and launch it on your Mac or Windows computer.

Download and open Enigma Recovery

Step 2 – Connect your iPhone

Connect your iPhone to your computer with a USB cable. If you have not connected your device to this computer before, you may see an alert asking you to trust the computer with your device. Tap ‘Trust’ if you are happy to continue.

Connect phone to software

Step 3 – Scan iPhone for Contacts

Once the software has recognised your device, you will be able to select the data you want to recover. Select ‘Contacts’ and click ‘Start scan’. The length of the scan will depend on the amount of data stored on your device and the number of data types you choose to include in the scan. Make sure that your device remains connected to your Mac or Windows computer throughout the scan.

Scan iphone for contacts

Step 4 – View deleted contacts

Once the scan is completed, click on the Contacts tab to view your retrieved contacts. If you are using the free trial, you will see a limited selection of your contacts. Upgrade to the full version of Enigma Recovery to view all your recovered data.

view deleted contacts

Step 5 – Restore Contacts to iPhone

You can restore your recovered contacts to your iPhone by using our Restore iOS app, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store. Once the app is on your phone, make sure your device is still connected to the computer, click ‘Export & Restore’ in the software and then click ‘Restore’. Select the contacts that you want to restore – you can choose to restore either all the recovered data or manually select specific contacts. Wait whilst the software transfers the data back to the Restore app on your iPhone. Once the transfer is complete, open the Restore app on your iPhone, and re-save the restored contacts listed in the app back to the native Contacts app on your phone so your data is back where it should be.

restore contacts back to iphone

Step 6 – Export Contacts

In addition to restoring your contacts to your iPhone, you can also export your recovered data to your computer using the Enigma Recovery software. Available formats for export include VCF, which you can use to share and backup your contacts.

save and export contacts

Enigma Recovery® Recover deleted iPhone data

Recover deleted contacts using your PC/Mac

Method 2: How to Restore iPhone Contacts from iCloud

If you have set up your iPhone contacts to sync with iCloud, then you may be able to restore your deleted contacts directly from iCloud to your device. This method only works if you had your device set up in this way before you deleted the contacts that you want to recover. If you do not have an iCloud backup, you can recover from an iTunes backup or directly from your device instead. This method can, however, cause additional issues, as it will carry out a full overwrite and restore the contacts stored in iCloud, which means that you will lose any contact information that you have added to your device since your last backup. To regain your lost contacts from iCloud, follow these steps:

  1. Visit iCloud.com

    Log in to iCloud. If you have 2fa turned on, you may need to enter a code sent to your iPhone or one of your other trusted devices, to access your account.

  2. Step 2 – Navigate to Settings

    Click on the Settings icon, then click on ‘Advanced’.

  3. Step 3 – Restore Contacts

    Click ‘Restore Contacts’ and then click ‘Restore’ next to the iCloud backup file that has the contacts you would like to restore. Wait whilst the contacts from iCloud are restored to your device.

If you want to avoid losing more recent contacts, you can also use the ‘Share Contact’ option under Contacts in iCloud to email yourself a VCF copy of your data and import these to your device. If you do not have an iCloud backup file, or you do not know which iCloud backup includes your contact data, you can recover from iTunes or use Enigma Recovery instead, to view and extract your iCloud backup in an easily manageable format.

Method 3: How to Restore iPhone Contacts from iTunes

If you have never synced your device with iCloud, but you have an iTunes (or Finder) backup with the contacts that you want to recover, you can carry out a full device restore from iTunes. Please note that this method will overwrite all of the data on your device, and replace it with the data in the backup file, so any data that you have added to your iPhone since your last backup to iTunes (or Finder) will be lost. To avoid this issue, skip to our final tutorial to use Enigma Recovery software to extract deleted contacts from your backup file instead.

  1. Step 1 – Connect your iPhone

    Connect your iPhone to your computer.

  2. Step 2 – Open iTunes

    If iTunes (or Finder) does not open automatically when your device is connected, launch it manually.

  3. Step 3 – Navigate to device screen

    Click on the device icon in the top bar of the iTunes window (or the ‘General’ tab in Finder) – your device information should now be visible on the screen.

  4. Step 4 – Restore Backup

    On the device screen, you will see the last available backup for your device. Click ‘Restore Backup’ and wait whilst your device is restored to your selected backup. Make sure to keep your device connected throughout the restore process to avoid any potential data transfer issues.

Method 4: How to Restore Contacts from an iTunes or Finder backup without overwriting existing data

If you want to recover your contacts from an iTunes or Finder backup file, but you do not want to overwrite any data, then you can use Enigma Recovery software to find and extract your contacts. This option is also very helpful to users whose device has been lost or stolen, as it enables you to still have access to your contacts.

Step 1 – Open Enigma Recovery

Download and install Enigma Recovery on your Windows computer or Mac. The free trial will allow you to preview contacts that can be recovered..

Download and open Enigma Recovery

Step 2 – Select Recover from iTunes

Select ‘Recover from my iTunes’ and select a backup file, depending which file has the deleted contacts data that you need to recover.

Connect phone to software

Step 3 – Start the scan

Select the backup you would like to extract files from > ‘Next’ > ‘Contacts’ > ‘Start Scan’. This will retrieve all contacts data from the selected backup.

Scan iphone for contacts

Step 4 – Preview your recovered contacts

Once the scan is complete, click onto the ‘Contacts’ tab to preview the extracted data. You will need to upgrade to the full version of Enigma Recovery to see all recovered contacts.

view deleted contacts

Step 5 – Restore Deleted Contacts

To restore recovered contacts to your iPhone or iPad, you will need to download our free Restore app. Connect the device to your computer with a USB cable, go to ‘Export & Restore’ > ‘Restore’ in the full version of Enigma Recovery, then select the data you would like to transfer. Once complete, open the Restore app to transfer your files to the Contacts app. You should then have all those precious details back in the right place!

restore contacts back to iphone

Step 6 – Save contacts to your computer

If you have the full version of Enigma Recovery, you will also be able to save recovered contacts to your computer as a VCF file, which is helpful for sharing and backing up. Simply go to ‘Export & Restore’ > ‘Export to desktop’ > select location through ‘Browse’ > ‘Export’.

save and export contacts

FAQs

What information will be included about my deleted contacts with Enigma Recovery?

Enigma Recovery software will recover the details that you had stored about the contacts in your device, including Name and Phone number(s).

Can I transfer existing Contacts to my computer?

With Enigma Recovery software, you can view existing/non-deleted contacts from your iPhone in the software dashboard, and then export them to your Windows or Mac computer, in a number of formats, including VCF, Excel and PDF.

How many data items can I preview in Enigma Recovery’s free trial?

During the free trial of the software, you will be shown 5 deleted and 20 existing data items – upgrade your license to the full version of the software to view all deleted and existing data from your iOS device. .

We hope these tutorials have helped you recover your deleted calls from your iPhone. Let us know in the comments below or visit our Support section for further assistance.

About

Shaazia has been part of the Enigma Marketing Team since 2013 when we sold our first software license. She writes blogs and 'How to' articles for the website, and is passionate about helping users recover and manage their data.

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