I’ve seen a huge spike in traffic on my site searching for iOS lost contacts. We now have 6 different solutions to restore your contacts.
Thought I’d post something specifically regarding iOS 5, and some solutions that are out there. Personally I had no problems upgrading, and think losing contacts may just be because the initial “sync” hasn’t gone through yet (remember an iOS upgrade resets your phone to base iOS 5, then imports your information after).
Please post a comment if something works for you (and maybe which iPhone you have, and your carrier). I’ve found comments extremely useful in determining what does and doesn’t work.
Solution #0 – My Fix Without Trying It
Sorry to throw this in, but I feel the contacts disappearing is just because your phone isn’t done syncing:
- Connect your iPhone to iTunes
- Click on your iPhone in the left panel under devices
- Click “Sync” in the lower right corner.
Please give your phone a chance to restore. Remember, a new OS means a fresh install, and restoring a backup. If you interrupt that (as I did) you may not have all your apps, settings, songs, etc.
Solution #1 – The Text Message Fix
This seems to be the most popular solution if you can see your contacts in your text messaging:
- Open a recent Text Message
- Tap the top of the screen (scrolls to the top of the message)
- Tap “Contact”
- Edit the contact in some way (add an email, new fake phone number or something, you can delete later
- Hit the “Back” button
You should have your contacts back. Please delete the “edit the contact in some way” if you don’t want it.
Solution #2 – The iCloud Fix
This is probably related to problems with iCloud:
- Go to “Settings”
- Click on “iCloud” (it’s in the app section if you scroll down)
- Turn off your settings
- Turn them back on
Again, this probably triggers a “re-sync” with iCloud to force contacts back
Solution #3 – The Import from SIM Fix
This fix relies on you storing contacts in your SIM card most likely:
- Go to “Settings”
- Click on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
- Click “Import SIM Contacts”
I wouldn’t rely on this as it may vary based on carrier.
Solution #4 – Reset Your iPhone (Thanks Josh — see comments)
This fix was submitted by a commenter, and it worked for him (basically the same as everything … reset and force a sync):
- Make sure you are connected to iTunes and online
- Turn off your iPhone
- Turn it on again
- iPhone should sync automatically (this could take time, don’t interrupt it!)
Hope it works!
Solution #5 – Restore Your iPhone
This fix submitted by Chris (thanks!) in the comments, and seems to work for a few people:
- Plug iPhone into Computer
- Launch iTunes
- After it’s done syncing, right click on iPhone (under devices in the left) and click on “Restore from Backup”
- Choose one (it may not be the most recent, some folks have bad backups just before the upgrade)
- Let the iPhone restore completely
- DO NOT CONNECT TO iCLOUD
Solution #6 – Use Windows address book
This solution was submitted by a visitor a few minutes ago (for you, who knows how long ago). You can read about it on the new post:
Keep the feedback coming! You’ll lose anything you’ve done since that backup, but you should have your information back.
Solution #7 – Sync Address Contacts fix (aka MikeW / Kate Wilson Fix)
Submitted by 2 visitors, this seems to have been working recently.
- Reconnect to iTunes
- Go to Info screen
- Go to Advanced and click “Contacts” under “Replace information on this iPhone”
- If the option is grayed out, you can check “Sync Address Contacts” at the top
Solution #8 – The “TamTam” fix (also restoring iTunes from local computer)
- Connect iPhone to iTunes
- Go to iPhone Summary
- Switch from “Back up iCloud” to “Back up to Computer“
- Go to info tab, at the bottom (in advanced settings) “Replace info on this iPhone“
- Click on Contacts