How to restore lost or deleted contacts on iPhone and iPad

Find out how to restore lost or deleted contacts on iPhone or iPad, with or without a backup. Losing your contacts can be a very stressful time — it’s not always possible to get contact details back manually, and it can take a long time to re-enter all of your contact information into your phone! But by using one of these four methods, you can recover your contacts in no time.

If you have lost more than just your contacts, perhaps due to a stolen, broken or water-damaged device, don’t worry: our iPhone and iPad recovery software can help you get all your important data back.

Method 1: Restore contacts without a backup

If you don’t have a backup, hope is not lost! You can retrieve deleted contacts on iPhone or iPad without a backup by using Enigma Recovery. Our iOS recovery software extracts data from your device’s back-end database, helping you retrieve files that were seemingly lost forever. You can then view, export and restore the recovered contacts.

  1. Launch Enigma Recovery

Download Enigma Recovery from this site and launch the software on your desktop computer or laptop. You can use the free trial to preview recoverable contact data.

Download and open Enigma Recovery
  1. Connect iPhone to software

Connect your iPhone or iPad to the computer with a USB cable. An alert may pop up on your device during this process, asking if you trust the computer with your device. Tap ‘Trust’ if you are happy to continue.

Connect iphone to software
  1. Scan iPhone for Contacts

You will now be able to select a data type to scan the device for. Select ‘Contacts’ and move forward with the scan. The length of the scan will depend upon how much data is on your device.

Scan iphone for contacts
  1. View deleted contacts

Once the scan has finished, click onto the ‘Contacts’ tab to view retrieved contacts. You will need the full unlocked version of Enigma Recovery to view all recovered data.

View deleted contacts
  1. Restore contacts

To restore contacts to your iPhone or iPad, you will need to upgrade to the full version of Enigma Recovery and download the free Restore iOS app from the App Store. With your device still connected to your computer, click ‘Export & Restore’ > ‘Restore’ to transfer selected files to the Restore iOS app. You can then transfer the data from the Restore app to the native Contacts app, so all your data is back where it should be.

Restore contacts back to phone
  1. Export contacts

You can also export recovered files to your computer by going to ‘Export & Restore’ > ‘Export’.

Export contacts

Method 2: Restore contacts from iCloud

On iOS, there is an option to back up contacts to iCloud. If you had this feature enabled before your data was lost or deleted, you can restore it to your iPhone or iPad by following the instructions below. (If you don’t have an iCloud backup, you can try recovering contacts from iTunes or directly from your device.)

  1. Go to Settings on iCloud.com then ‘Advanced’ > ‘Restore Contacts’.
  2. Click ‘Restore’ next to the iCloud backup file that you would like to restore. Please note that this will overwrite existing data on all devices set up for iCloud Contacts, meaning you will lose any contacts created since the backup.
  3. If you want to avoid losing more recent contacts, you can use the ‘Share Contact’ option in the Contacts app to email yourself the data in VCF files, ready for importing after the iCloud restore. Alternatively, you can restore contacts without overwriting existing data using Enigma Recovery. This is also a better option if you’re not sure which iCloud backup file contains the contacts you need.

Method 3: Restore contacts from iTunes

iTunes backup files automatically include contacts data. So, if you backed up your iPhone or iPad to iTunes before your contacts were deleted, you can restore this historical file to get them back. This Apple page should help if you have any issues with the instructions below.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone or iPad using a USB cable. Follow any onscreen instructions on your device.
  2. Once it has been recognised, select your device in iTunes then click ‘Restore Backup’ next to the relevant file.
  3. Click ‘Restore’. This will wipe existing data on your device and replace it with the backup data, as well as restoring factory settings. (To avoid losing existing data and settings, see Method 4.)
  4. Once your iPhone or iPad has finished synchronising, you can disconnect it from your computer.
  5. Once your iPhone or iPad has finished synchronising, you can disconnect it from your computer.

Method 4: Restore contacts from iCloud or iTunes without overwriting existing data

Restoring contacts from an iCloud backup (Method 2) overwrites current contacts on your device, while an iTunes restore (Method 3) overwrites all existing data and settings. You can avoid this potential for further data loss by retrieving contacts from an iCloud or iTunes backup using Enigma Recovery. That way, you can rest easy knowing you haven’t lost any important files.

  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
  1. Recover from my iCloud or iTunes

Select ‘Recover from my iCloud’ or ‘Recover from my iTunes’ depending which has the backup files you need to access. You may need to log in securely.

Select itunes or icloud backup
  1. 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
  1. Preview your recovered contacts

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

View deleted contacts
  1. Restore deleted contacts to iPhone or iPad

To restore recovered contacts to your iPhone or iPad, you’ll 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 phone
  1. Save contacts data on your computer

If you have the full version of Enigma Recovery, you’ll 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’.

Export contacts

What’s next?

We hope that you’ve been able to successfully restore your lost or deleted contacts using one of these methods. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team using the details below.

To reduce the risk of data loss in the future, take a look at our advice on backing up your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. If you unlocked the full version of our software, rest assured that you can use it again anytime in the future to recover data from iCloud, iTunes or your iOS device.

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