iOS 6 Lost Contacts

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 | Business | by

iOS 6I started seeing some people visiting my site asking about iOS 6 lost contacts issues.

You should check out our extensive post on lost contacts in iOS 5.  All the same approaches still apply in iOS 6 (if you let me know if it helped, I’ll mark iOS 6 next to entries that help iOS 6 users).

UPDATE: The TamTam Solution to iOS Lost Contacts

A comment by “TamTam” on this page has proven very helpful for a number of people, follow these steps:

  1. Connect iPhone to iTunes
  2. Go to iPhone Summary
  3. Switch from “Back up iCloud” to “Back up to Computer
  4. Go to info tab, at the bottom (in advanced settings) “Replace info on this iPhone
  5. Click on Contacts
  6. Sync!

Thanks TamTam!

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84 Comments to iOS 6 Lost Contacts

Greg
September 19, 2012

My friend just took the upgrade to iOS 6 and lost all of her contacts… at least it appears. What the hell is Apple thinking? Sheesh.

seangw
September 19, 2012

I don’t know why this is still an issue. I think it’s because they are counting on everyone following directions exactly (which is tough given how many ways there are to backup contacts).

My iPad froze when installing iOS 6. After restarting it (press home and Power buttons together a few seconds) it resumed the installation and finished just fine.

BenG
September 20, 2012

Same thing happened to me… I lost 1052 contacts…. HELP

Greg Malone
September 20, 2012

The problem for my friend was that she innocently had not set up iCloud nor had she backed up to iTunes. Though I am technical and know the difference, she is not. The result is that many people like her, probably in the millions, don’t really understand how iCloud and back up to iTunes works. of course, the biggest crime is that Apple might ignore the possibility that people have not backed up and create an update that has the possibility of causing a user to lose all of their local data. That’s unconscionable.

Leslie
September 20, 2012

Me too Greg, very sad. Maybe I should backup to a good old fashioned address book, the real kind with pages and paper.

Donna
September 20, 2012

I, too, just upgraded my iPhone 4 to ios 6, and lost all my contacts. The “favorites” phone numbers are still in my phone, but their names, pictures, etc. have vanished. I do not use the Cloud, but I do back up to iTunes. Tried restoring my contacts using iTunes, but that didn’t appear to work. Alas…

Connor
September 20, 2012

Yup. Lost almost all of my contacts. I have from A to C. Realy really really pissed of.

Randi
September 20, 2012

Donna- same thing happened to me. Lost most of my contacts when I updated to IOS 6. Tried to sync again, recover from backup. Nothing is working. Please let me know if someone finds a solution. Thanks!

Stephanie
September 20, 2012

I also lost all my contacts upgrading to iOS 6, but I found a solution. I plugged my phone into my computer and opened iTunes. Then I turned off iCloud on my phone. Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup -> iCloud Backup – slide to off. My contacts were restored! I think this happened because I have more than 5GB of information to back up on my phone and iCloud only provides 5GB free. My theory is that my contacts were not synced to iCloud b/c I had gone over my “free” amount (5GB). I hope this works for others. Good luck!

Kevin
September 20, 2012

Happened here as well. Appears common. Quite PO’d.

Joe
September 20, 2012

I had also lost all my contacts after upgrading to ios6. I finally got them back by connecting my phone to my MAC then bring up Itunes. I made sure my phone was showing up on devices then I clicked on it then I clicked on Sync at bottom left of page. I allowed the sync to complete. Then I right clicked on the phone icon and selected backup. I fortunately had one backup from Feb ’12. I clicked on that and BINGO my contacts from Feb came back. I am sure I am missing some recent contacts but at least I got the majority of them back. One thing that did happen is that I lost some of my recently acquired Apps but I can always go back and get them as I need them. Hope this helps.

DeAnna
September 21, 2012

I thought the same thing happened to me and almost had a heart attack. But I went into iCloud and turned off contacts and they reappeared. Whew.

Stephen
September 21, 2012

Ive lost all my Contacts Im using A Pc Can I get them back ……. Yes or No

cindy trampel
September 21, 2012

I just went onto settings on my phone went to icloud and turned off contacts all my contacts reapperred

Seda
September 21, 2012

Just go to iCloud and turn it OFF. i got all my contacts back

roxy
September 21, 2012

thank you stephanie i managed to het my trewasered photos back but it would appear iv lost my contacts forever very bad time thanks then apple u tits

roxy
September 21, 2012

damm fat fingers small buttons lol

TamTam
September 21, 2012

This happened to me! Grrr! I tried ALL the above suggestions and none worked so I just kept fiddling around with settings etc and found a solution that worked for me:
Connect iphone to itunes, go to iphone summary and switch from ‘back up icloud’ to ‘back up to computer’, then go to info tab and right down at the bottom of this page is advanced settings ‘to replace info on this iphone’, click on contacts and then sync!
Hope it works for you as it did for me! Good luck!

Lookingaga
September 21, 2012

I had the multiple contacts issue with iPhone 4, upgraded to the iOS 6.0 on Wednesday and am now missing 225 +/- contacts out of 800 contacts on iPhone and Outlook. iCloud is turned off and I have not updated on iTunes in a long time. Can I get those missing contacts back somehow? There does not seem to be a rhyme or reason to which contacts were deleted. I removed and re-added the Exchange acct from my iPhone but the contacts didn’t come back that were missing.

slala
September 21, 2012

went from 4s to ios6 – my problem is im running on a 2009 macbook with an older version of itunes. My phone wont sync with this version and when i go to download the new version im unable to because im not running a newer operating system (for two reasons, i dont want to pay for it, and i know it will slow down my already slow computer). Cant sync with itunes. Lost all my contacts. Apple 1 – me 0.

Kyle
September 21, 2012

Thank you soo much TAMTAM. I got it. Whew
I though I lost it all.

Rosy
September 21, 2012

I lost ALL my contacts with the new iOS6 update that i did today ! I had 300+ contacts !! I never backed up my iphone 4s with icloud nor did i back it up with itunes ! Im seriously having an attack because i had numbers there from really important people/clients that don’t live in this continent! Please ! Somebody HELP me !

DD
September 21, 2012

Tried what Stephanie suggested and got my contacts back – thank you!

Paige
September 22, 2012

I lost all contacts as well. When I turn off contacts in iCloud, it asks me what I want to do with previously synced iCloud contacts on my iPhone. Do I keep or delete? I just don’t want to mess this up.

Caity
September 22, 2012

I did what TamTam suggested and it worked for me…
“Connect iphone to itunes, go to iphone summary and switch from ‘back up icloud’ to ‘back up to computer’, then go to info tab and right down at the bottom of this page is advanced settings ‘to replace info on this iphone’, click on contacts and then sync!”
I think the difference is whether or not you had iCloud before. I did not, and no one, including Apple, made it apparent that backing up to it during the update was a bad idea.

KEN
September 22, 2012

Hey Tam Tam
I had losy all of my contacts on the ios6 upgrade and with your advice ,
BOOM ! Back to great, all contacts returned. Thanks so much !!!

Jeffrey Liu
September 22, 2012

My mo got really pissed

Chris
September 22, 2012

Hey guys lost all my contact information. Seemed to fix after going to iCloud and agreeing to the new terms of service, even though i dont use iCloud for my contacts. Hopefully that helps some of you out.

Patrick
September 23, 2012

Backed up my phone before I installed the new iOS, after the new iOS was installed I had no contacts and no SMS messages but had everything else, ran from backup and bam still gone. Tried everything on the list for the iOS 5 mis-hap, still have nothing. I’ve tried googling, I cannot get them back. Any ideas? There are numbers I’ll never be able to get back (a friend who passed away’s parents number, old colleagues). I’m desperate not to lose these. Any ideas?

redheadangel
September 23, 2012

Thank you TamTam SO much you are a life saver. STUPID icloud, won’t be trying that again!

Mich
September 23, 2012

Please help! I have never used iCloud before upgrade to ios6 and I lost all my Contacts. Tried ‘Import SIM Contacts’ and there were only 5 contacts, out of a 100+ that I had before. I tried the suggestion on clicking ‘back up to computer’ then going to Info tab then Advanced but problem is, I cannot click anything on the Advanced. Why is that?

tony
September 23, 2012

Same thing. Seems like an epidemic! Upgraded to IOS 6 and contacts went “see ya”……there has to be a simple solution without doing further destruction to the phones contents. Hopefully some iphone genius has the cure. I’ll sit and wait….thanks.

libbly
September 23, 2012

thank you Tam Tam, i was extremely concerned, but followed yr itunes sync solution. now im unsure tho whether to turn contacts back on in icloud, whether merging will cause probs. at least have contacts back, even if i never understand i cloud or apples strange directions.

Tim
September 23, 2012

Arggghhh – I’ve tried everything on this list but nothing works. My contacts have been deleted from my outlook account.

This is more than frustrating.

Carolyn
September 23, 2012

I tried all of the options suggested here but without success. Disturbingly the backup in AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync on my PC was also post the upgrade. So … I retrieved a copy of an earlier version of my MobileSync file contents from my external HDD. Deleted the current (bad) file, replaced it with the one from the HDD, restarted iTunes, connected the iPhone, let it resync then did a “restore from backup”. This has thankfully restored my contacts albeit as at 30th June when the HDD backup was taken. So relieved – 380 contacts reinstated.

Barbara
September 23, 2012

I just went into “settings”, clicked on icloud, turned “contacts” off. They then asked me if I wanted to merge contacts with ipad and I clicked yes. All the contacts came back!

Gayle
September 23, 2012

Lost all contacts after the upgrade. I had to turn off ICloud and sync to itunes. Got all back except unfortunately lost the last 5 months of contacts since my last sync. Very important numbers. Apple needs to find a fix for this.

Amy
September 23, 2012

I had this as well, I connected my phone, clicked on the info tab on iTunes then checked the box Sync contacts with (outlook) and it brought them back!
good luck!

Sakura
September 23, 2012

Pls help!! Lost contacs! After os6… Help!,,

Kim
September 23, 2012

I like a lot if you, had the same issues with my contacts after upgrading to ios 6. I didn’t lose all of them though. I had done a backup a couple days before the upgrade so was able to restore the contacts. Now the issue is that today those same contacts have disappeared once again. Anyone else having this happen??

Bri
September 23, 2012

I had to do a factory reset on my computer recently and so I don’t have a back up to itunes for my contacts. Apple better be able to restore my contacts because I need them for work and school and life!!! This is bull! Unfortunately nothing that people have mentioned work for me

Richard
September 23, 2012

I also “lost” all my contacts after the ios6 upgrade, got them all back thanks to TamTam’s answer on this page. Thanks TamTam, thanks Sean. I must say that it is inconceivable and borderline negligent that Apple didn’t foresee this issue. Good luck everyone. Don’t get mad, get a lawyer.

Nimo
September 23, 2012

Yeah same thing with my update, all my contacts from the last 6 months disappeared, I was able to use my verizon contact backup to get about 30 of them back but I’m still missing about 50 numbers! sooo pissed! I called verizon tech support and tried a bunch of defferent things but nothing worked. THEY REALLY NEED TO FIX HOW THEY UPDATE PHONES AND GIVER PROPER WARNING TO THE FACT THAT IF YOU PUSH ONE WRONG BUTTON YOU’LL LOSE YOUR CONTACTS!

Kay
September 23, 2012

I did not notice that I lost my contacts (300+) until I just recieved a text. I was putting new music on my phone after the update, and had synced after that, now all my contacts are gone. I attempted the suggestions noted but no luck. :(

I sync regularly with a backup to computer, have never used iCloud. How would I select the backup this morning rather than this afternoon, or is each back up written over the last. I’m SO rotted. :(

Jari
September 23, 2012

I lost all my contacts as well. I hadn’t been syncing them to iCloud, so tamTam’s solution didn’t work for me.
This worked for me:
On the phone -> Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Contacts section -> Import SIM contacts

That restored my phone book.

Anita Miller
September 24, 2012

lost contacts too; could not restore from backup
Tried all fixes, spent 6 hours;disconnect from iCloud
Finally, unplugged all peripherals from iPad including printer; go to Apple sign menu, check for software updates again;restart; open iTunes;plug in iPhone, sync for ten thousandth time, restart phone, finally my contacts are back.Whew!

P Andy
September 24, 2012

I have the same problem – lost hundreds of contacts. Can’t believe how negligent this is of Apple not to anticipate and warn.
I selected iCloud during the backup because so many people say it’s better than backing up on your computer. I had never use iCloud before.
Following various advice above, I have retrieved some of my contacts, but not all. It seems to have replaced from an old backup rather than the most recent (which was just today) – oh well, I guess losing 10s of contacts is better than 100s. If anyone has any ideas how to get the rest though …..
Also, should I use iCloud and risk losing them all again?

Richard
September 24, 2012

Happened to me as well. I did a “Restore Settings” and got ‘em back. What a pain in the neck! Good luck to you all – it took me hours to figure this out. Apple should do a better job of explaining this to people.

:)
September 24, 2012

TamTam – thank you so much!!!!! Nothing of the advise above worked and just when I was trying to not brake down completely because of losing all the important phone numbers your advise worked like a miracle! Thank you so much! :)

:-)
September 24, 2012

TamTam – you have saved a marriage – a million thanks for your clear and effective advice. If you are not an educator, you should be.

[...] fix (also restoring iTunes from local computer)A comment by “TamTam” on a similar page, iOS 6 Lost Contacts, has proven very helpful for a number of people, follow these steps:Connect iPhone to iTunesGo [...]

J shek
September 24, 2012

Happened to me tooo! Fortunately I backed up my phone b4 upgrading , and I recovered my contacts in Itunes following your instruction .(replace info on this iphone)
Thank you!

Will Lassen
September 24, 2012

I had the same problem and I am a small business owner and this
Is gonna cost me money. I hope somebody sues apple. This is ridiculous.

Mich
September 25, 2012

I think these are all suggestions IF you made a backup on iTunes or iCloud before upgrade to ios6. But what if you did not make any backup, like me? I lost all my Contacts. I did Options #0, 2, 3, 7 (from ios5 blog)….but to no avail! I don’t want to try the Restore option because I fear it would lose all data. Please help!

Niall
September 25, 2012

I too lost my contacts following ios6. Eventually restored some via SIM backUp (Settings/Mail,Contacts,Calendat/Contacts – Import SIM Contacts) Really annoyed with Apple-The upgrade seemed like a recommendation – But no warning that contacts from phone would be lost. STEVE would be MAD..

S. Levy
September 25, 2012

It worked! Thanks so much!!

Julie
September 25, 2012

Lost all my contacts after upgrading to ios6, have tried everything suggested on here and nothing works, help!

Ed
September 25, 2012

So Dumb!! i can believe Apple would not make some sort of of operating system that would save original Contacts, pics,Apps…i feel the pain from others who lost all Info..what a Diss appointment…

Karlo G
September 26, 2012

Nothing works, im gonna freak out ..

Mary
September 26, 2012

I had my icloud on.. I had plenty of extra space on my icloud, therefore it was messing with my contacts faster than I could stop it. Lost the contacts in the iphone and ipad, and also they went away in my yahoo mail as well. I did a backup before I updated, and it was there, but it seems to have also disappeared now since I’ve restored several times to other dates. I really want my contacts back. I emailed yahoo to see if they had a backup but nothing has been restored yet.

Pua
September 26, 2012

HELP!! My contacts were all lost when I upgraded to iOS 6 – lost hundreds of contacts. I am lost … please help!

Bruce
September 29, 2012

This has happened to me repeatedly. The only way that I’ve found is to keep frequent backups of the Address Book file (AddressBook-v22.abcddb) using Time Machine and restore my Address Book when my Contacts are inexplicably wiped out. By restoring your Address Book file from a backup, then you can use the functionality in iTunes to replace your Contacts in your iPhone. Hope this helps others.

Lisa
September 29, 2012

Tam Tam’s solution for lost contacts after upgrading to 6.0 worked!!!!

Thanks for posting TT

Rick
September 29, 2012

CAUTION!!
I just updated my I-Phone 4s to the new operating system, and it removed all of my Contacts!
YES THAT IS NAMES, PHONE NUMBERS, ADDRESSES, E-MAIL ADDERESSES – ALL GONE!
I called Verizon and Apple, and they said it was my fault and there is nothing they can do.
I did not solicit this update – it appeared on my phone and asked if I wanted the update!!
They said it had something to do with when I set my phone up (which I didn’t – Verizon did), I must have chosen to have my I-cloud turned “off”.
I don’t even know what an I-cloud is.
Please be very careful if you get this offer on your I-phone, you may lose all of your contacts – and then be told it’s your fault!
I will be writing a very power letter to Apple and Verizon to express my complete and utter dis-pleasure with them both!
PLEASE BE WARNED!!

Nicole
September 30, 2012

Thanks so much for starting this thread. Solution 7 from the prior extensive post worked perfectly for me. I now have all my contacts back, phew!

Jess
October 1, 2012

THANK YOU TAM TAM <3

Erling Refsum
October 1, 2012

Upgraded to IOS6 and promptly lost all my contact details.
This is just unbelievable! How did Apple let this happen. Pure negligence.

Tess
October 8, 2012

So. I too updated and lost contacts. Have tried these suggestions, nothing worked. I’m not so disappointed with the contacts as I am with a voice recording that has been deleted. It was of my mother singing and I recorded in the voice memos, but it is no longer there. I am heartbroken:(…. She passed away aug 31. Please HELP!

Sam
October 9, 2012

Lost my contacts after install IOS 6
-Sync your Iphone as normal
After I tray everithig I did the following steps on my Iphone 4
-settings
-icluod
-TURN ON contacts
That’s it, all contats appears magically back into your phone
That was a easy fix wathsoever…..
GOOD LUCK!!!!!

karl
October 10, 2012

Alternative solution:

The contacts are not actually gone, they’ve just gone invisible to the UI. (Do you still get text messages where the sender is a name [formerly] known to your contacts? If so, they’re not gone — not really.)

Install MyContactsBackup (MCBackup) from the app store. Run MCBackup. It will magically discover your contacts that appear not to be present at all. Complete MCBackup by emailing the result somewhere. Now you have the message in Sent for the mailbox in question. Go there, open the message, observe presence of *.vcf attachment. Tap attachment, it opens, phone offers “Add all N contacts.” Do so; when it offers to merge or create new, you can try merge, but it probably won’t have any effect. Do it again, this time say create new, *poof* all your contacts are back…and probably doubled, apparently because the old instances really were still there (MCBackup finds them, after all) and this process re-ignites their presence, and you just had to create new instances of them all.

Apple, now and then, you truly suck.

Maria
October 28, 2012

Marry me please :-D. You just saved my life… I almost had a panic attack. Your solution worked perfectly :-).

Kieran
October 31, 2012

I am ruined, I have lost 4,500 contacts. WHY WHY WHY??? As if life is not hard enough at the moment. I have never used icloud and never backed up and tonight I decide to go to os6…. why was I so stupid? This will cost me my business. Is there anyone I can pay to help me?

MarkT
November 6, 2012

Unconscionable. How in the world could a company be so callous, so careless, and so utterly disrespectful of its customers’ data. Without a proper backup, I’m totally screwed. Upgrading to a new version of the OS should NEVER create this type of problem. This is a class action lawsuit just waiting to happen. All it needs is a lawyer to file it. And I hope I’m on the jury.

Nikki
November 8, 2012

Karl – THIS WORKED PERFECTLY – if you don’t count the duplicates – is there an app to get rid of dups?

Another problem is – I’VE LOST AL OST ALL TEXT MESSAGES! Is there an app to solve this problem? On an apple care site there were many many people with the same problem. I trusted Apple with my data and I’m very disappointed :0(

Marco
November 8, 2012

SOLUTION which worked for me:
1. Go to settings in your iPhone
2. chose iCloud
3. Put the “Switch” for Contacts on off
4. Confirm delete all contacts from iPhone
5. Switch it on again
6. and as a miracle all my contacts popped up again

This is really the very first time, Apple has an error, I hope they are not coming any closer to Windows…….

Nikki
November 9, 2012

Marco – thank you for responding – the lost contact was very easily resolved through MCBackup app download…
BUT MY BIG PROBLEM NOW IS MISSING SMS TEXT MSGs! They have randomly DISAPPEARED :0(
IS THERE A SOLUTION FOR MISSING AND LOST SMS TEXTS AFTER UPGRADE?

Laurie
November 16, 2012

Wow this worked great! Thanks so much. Now if Apple could provide the same directions whenever they change os and type them in all caps with a big warning notice in size 24 point bold red font, then all those non techno savvy folks like myself could live happily ever after. I guess I won’t need a double scotch on the rocks after all!!!

Tania
December 10, 2012

help, lost all my contacts after upgrade and never backedup, any way i can get my contacts back which i really need!!

Eug
January 31, 2013

Apple is asking for it! Last update screw up the maps..and now i lost all my contacts!!!

Jaime
February 4, 2013

I upgraded to ios 6 last night & realized this morning all my contacts were MIA – other than those from FB.
I don’t normally use my iTunes account so I have never backed up .. is there another option or am I S.O.L

David
February 6, 2013

I’ve just updated to IOS 6 which my iphone pops update and say hey it’s an update. After I installed the new IOS all my contacts are gone and it will cost me MONEY eventually.
What the f is Apple thinking?? How can you delete my contact from MY PHONE without giving me a warning or at least make a backup for it.
I’ve been using cell phone since the early 90s. I’ve never experienced anything like this in 20 years of me using cell phone.
I was thinking about getting the new Iphone 5 but now NO AND NEVER. I’ll never buy any Iphone anymore. This company doesn’t know what they’re doing really. An update which automatically deleted all your contacts??? WTH
THIS IS A CELL PHONE FOR GOD SAKEN!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THE CONTACT IS TO EVERYONE??
I guess you don’t give a s do you?
I’m sure more people won’t buy your stupid iphone in the future.

Herbert
February 15, 2013

Jari your the man….. I follow what you say to import contact from SIM and it works like a diamond hehehehehehe. Thanks…..

Billy
February 21, 2013

I went to bed last night woke this morning all my contacts gone and have been replaced by random contacts with random numbers !
Am i being hacked ?
Have i messed up i cloud?
Really baffled, has happened 3 times before randomly lossing contacts
WTF?

Brad
March 4, 2013

Does anyone know if there is any Class Action Lawsuits pending or being processed against Apple for this gross injustice? ( deleting everyone’s info upon completion of updating to IOS5 and 6 as instructed to do when one turns on their phone ) . Even though Apple automatically puts a message on your phone that you should upgrade , they don’t tell you to back-up anything first. This is costing millions of Apple product users to lose time and money. Any lawsuits out there that anyone knows of?

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