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2 fast and simple ways to recover lost contacts from iCloud

Roxana Penciu

by Roxana Penciu

How to quickly recover lost contacts from iCloud

Have you lost some of your iPhone’s contacts? Don’t worry, we’ll show you 2 easy ways for getting them back from iCloud in no time!

What you’ll find out:

  • 2 fast methods to get your lost contacts via iCloud
  • bonus: how to use your iCloud backup to recover contacts
  • top 4 reasons for losing iPhone contacts
  • how to avoid losing iPhone contacts


Here are the 2 fastest available options to recover your contacts from iCloud:

  1. Merge iCloud contacts (if the “Contacts” option has been turned “On”)
  2. Export contacts from iCloud (if the “Contacts” option has been turned “Off” but you previously synced your contacts to iCloud)

If none of these quick options won’t do the trick, please read how to recover deleted contacts from your iCloud backup or how to extract contacts from your iTunes backup.

1. Merge iCloud contacts

If you enabled iCloud contacts sync, there are good chances to have the lost contact on your iCloud account. You can check this: log into with your Apple ID, click on “Contacts” and then check if the lost contact is still there. If it is, you can recover that lost contact easily:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud
  2. Turn off “Contacts”
  3. Tap “Keep on My iPhone” when the popup message appears
  4. keep-contacts-iphone
  5. Turn on the “Contacts” again and choose “Merge”
  6. After a while, you should be able to see the deleted contact back on your iPhone

Keep in mind it may take a few minutes for all your contacts to be restored. If this method doesn't solve the problem, you can also try extracting the .vcf file as explained below or using the iPhone Backup Extractor.

Note: don’t lock your iPhone and plug it into a charger while Wi-Fi connected: this will sync iCloud with your iPhone and the contacts in the iCloud will also be erased.

2. Export contacts from iCloud

If the “Contacts” option has been turned “Off”, but you had previously synced your contacts to iCloud, you can export the deleted contacts from the iCloud to computer, and then import them from computer back to your iPhone.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Go to your iCloud account and make sure all contact details are updated
  2. Open and login
  3. Click on Contacts
  4. In "Settings", click on the cog icon on the bottom left and press "Export vCard..."
  5. export-contacts-icloud
  6. Save this file on your hard-disk
  7. Send an email with the .vcf file to yourself
  8. On your iPhone, open the email and tap on the attachment. Click on "Add Contacts" button. You will be asked if you’d like to create new contacts or merge them with what you already have in your list.

Still having issues? Use the iPhone Backup Extractor to restore contacts via iCloud backup

If none of the above two methods worked, the next best option is to use the iPhone Backup Extractor tool in order to recover your lost contacts from previous iCloud backups you’ve made (also available for iTunes backups).

Please note that having enabled iCloud backup and syncing iPhone contacts to iCloud is not the same thing.

Top 4 reasons for losing iPhone contacts

  1. Failed upgrading or downgrading iOS version: from example, from iOS 8 to iOS 9 and the opposite
  2. Having your iPhone jailbroken: whilst removing software restrictions imposed by iOS, you could also be losing important data
  3. iPhone reset: you should reset your iPhone back to factory settings only as a last resort, as this can also lead to potential data loss. If you choose to do this, make sure you backup your data before.
  4. You lost or broke your iPhone

How to avoid losing iPhone contacts

You’ll probably want to make sure this won’t happen to you again:

  • The best way to prevent losing contacts is to regularly backup your data. You can do this by using either iCloud or iTunes: while iCloud offers to store a backup of the iPhone data in Apple’s servers, iTunes will let you backup iPhone data directly to your PC
  • You can also export contact lists on a regular basis (.vcf file) and email them to yourself

We recommend using at least one of the 2 methods.

Do you have any stories to share on recovering contacts? Do let us know, we’d be happy to hear from you!

Roxana Penciu

by Roxana Penciu on , last updated

We've helped over 3,000,000 people recover their lost iPhone data. Let us help you too.

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