How to Restore Deleted Contacts on iPhone

If you accidentally deleted or lost one or more contacts on your iPhone, it is possible to restore them. The main methods to restore a contact are using iCloud, Gmail, a computer, or third-party software.

Using iCloud

This method will only work if you’ve turned on iCloud backup (you can learn how to do that here). You don’t need to backup your entire phone. If you have iCloud turned on, your deleted contacts can be recovered.

Note: You must follow these steps on a computer browser as the mobile version of icloud.com won’t include these advanced settings.

  1. Go to iCloud.com and log in.

    Signing In with Apple ID on iCloud
    Sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click your name in the top-right corner and select Account Settings in the drop-down menu.

    User's Apple ID on iCloud.com
    Click Account Settings.
  3. Scroll down and under the “Advanced” section and select Restore Contacts.

    Advanced Settings of iCloud Where Users Can Restore Contacts
    Click Restore Contacts.
  4. Choose the backup from the period you still had the contacts, and click Restore. Restoring contacts from a backup will replace them with your current contacts. Therefore, make sure your existing contacts are backed up before you do this.

    Contacts Backup Restoration in the Advanced Settings of iCloud
    Click Restore.
  5. A pop-up will warn you that the restored contacts will replace your current contacts. If you didn’t create a backup of your current contacts before starting this process, click Cancel and do that first. If you already have a backup, you can go ahead and click Restore.

    Confirmation Window for Deleted Contacts Restoration on iCloud
    Click Restore.
  6. Once the restoration process finishes, you’ll get a pop-up saying your contacts will appear on all of your devices. Click OK to complete the process.

    Restoring Contacts on the iPhone via iCloud
    Click OK.

Using Gmail

If you accidentally deleted a contact but had it backed up on your Gmail account, you can restore it using Gmail. This method will sync your Gmail accounts to your iPhone, restoring the contacts you accidentally deleted. Note that you must have already created a backup of your contacts on Gmail for this method to work. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Settings App on the iPhone
    Tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Mail.

    Mail Settings in the Settings App
    Tap Mail.
  3. Tap Accounts.

    Accounts Settings Where a New Email Account Can be Created
    Tap Accounts.
  4. Tap your Gmail account that you’ve backed up your contacts to.

    Gmail Account Where Users Can Restore Google Accounts
    Tap your Gmail account.
  5. To sync your Gmail contacts to your iPhone, tap the Contacts toggle. When the toggle is enabled, the color of the button changes to green. Your Gmail contacts will now be available in the Phone app of your iPhone, and if you accidentally deleted Gmail contacts, you’ll automatically get them back.

    Syncing Google Contacts on the iPhone
    Tap the Contacts button.

Using a Mac or PC

If your device has a backup that was created before you deleted contacts on your iPhone, you can restore your device to retrieve your deleted contacts with your MacBook or PC.

  • On Mac with macOS Mojave and earlier, or on a Windows computer, use iTunes. Download it from here.
  • On Mac with macOS Catalina and above, you can use the native Finder app.

I will use the Finder app.

Note: This method will delete your existing data and restore your device’s settings to an older backup. Proceed with caution.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the charger cable (USB to lightning cable) and click the Finder icon in the Dock.

    Finder Icon in the Dock on MacBook
    Click the Finder icon in the Dock.
  2. Click on your device in the sidebar under the “Locations” menu.

    iPhone Connected to MacBook Pro
    Find your device under Locations.
  3. Click on Restore iPhone.

    Restore iPhone to Retrieve Deleted Contacts
    Click Restore iPhone.
  4. Choose the backup from a date you still had your contacts, and click Restore.

    Restoring iPhone from a Backup on Mac
    Click Restore.

Using third-party software

If you didn’t have iCloud turned on and never created a backup of your phone, you could use third-party software to try to recover your contacts. Here are two popular third-party tools that many use to restore deleted contacts. Remember that these are paid tools, as are the majority of recovery software, and are not guaranteed to work.

iMyFone

Recover Deleted Contacts with iMyFone
Use iMyFone D-Back to recover your deleted contacts. (Source: imyfone.com)

iMyFone is a data recovery software that lets you restore contacts, messages, photos, and videos.

Tenorshare

Restore Deleted Contacts with Tenorshare
Use Tenorshare to retrieve your deleted contacts. (Source: tenorshare.com)

Tenorshare is a data recovery software that lets you preview and restore your deleted data.

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