For many people, their iPhone contacts are a lifeline. We all constantly use our contact lists for making calls, sending emails, and texting friends and family. It’s so easy to use a contact list that most people struggle to remember even familiar phone numbers and addresses that they used to memorize — even their own. While contact lists have an inherent organization, you can also organize it any way you want to make finding particular individuals for home or work easier to manage.
But what happens if a contact, or multiple contacts, are accidentally deleted or lost during the sync process, or when restoring from a backup? While that can be a scary situation, it’s easily rectified if you know how to recover lost contacts on an iPhone, and iCloud makes it easy. Here’s how to restore contacts on an iPhone from iCloud.
To avoid losing your data and contacts check out our guide on how to backup an iPhone and how to use iCloud.
Recovering contacts using iCloud on your iPhone
If you’ve lost or deleted a contact by mistake, there is no reason to panic. Contacts are set to sync with iCloud by default. You can go to settings and turn them off and on again to let them sync to your iPhone again.
Step 1: Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
Step 2: Turn Contacts off and select Keep on My iPhone.
Step 3: Turn Contacts on and select Merge.
Wait a little while, and you should see the deleted contacts back on your iPhone.
Recovering contacts using iCloud.com
This is another trusted method for retrieving lost contact information — as well as other things like Reminders and Calendar events — and it comes directly from Apple. All you need is a computer, your Apple ID and password, and a bit of time.
- Pull up iCloud.com and use your Apple ID and password to log in.
- When you’ve signed in, hit the Settings button.
- Go down to the Advanced section and select Restore Contacts.
- You’ll find a list of archives you’ve created in the past. Using their dates, locate an archive that should contain your full contacts list and hit Restore.
- Hit Restore once more to confirm and start the restoration. Afterward, you’ll get an email at the address linked to your Apple ID.
These steps will update and replace all of your contacts, rather than merely adding any that are missing. So, assuming you’ve added any new contacts since the last backup, you will lose those new contacts. The good news is that your iPhone will automatically backup your new contacts before it completes this restore, so you will be able to retrieve them after.
You can retrieve your new contacts by following the first three steps above. When you do, make sure you select the archive made on the same day you restored your phone. Of course, if you accidentally restore with the wrong archive, it’s not the end of the world. You can use the same process if you accidentally use an incorrect archive to restore your contacts.