How to Restore Contacts That Disappeared on iPhone

a woman checking her iPhone

Have you noticed that your contacts disappeared on your iPhone? 

Apple’s iOS is undoubtedly one of the most secure and smoothest mobile operating systems today. But it’s not without its flaws. One of the most common problems iOS users encounter is that their contacts disappeared on iPhone—out of the blue. 

There are several reasons behind missing iPhone contacts. It could be because your phone suddenly has an unstable network. Syncing errors on iCloud can be a culprit, too. Or, it’s probably a case of accidentally changing the group settings on Contacts. 

Whatever the reason, we have you covered. Today, we’ve listed several solutions that can help fix your issue. Here’s how to restore the contacts that disappeared on iPhone.

Let’s get started!

1. Check ‘On My iPhone’ Settings.

iOS allows you to choose a preferred default account for your contacts. That could be the reason your contacts suddenly disappeared on your phone. You’ve probably accidentally changed the default account from “On My iPhone” to “iCloud.”

Before you move on to more complex troubleshooting methods, check your Contacts settings. Be sure that you’ve selected “On My iPhone” as a default. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, navigate your way to the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down a bit to tap Contacts.
  3. Next, tap Default Account. Set it to “On My iPhone.”
contacts disappeared on iPhone


After that, check if you can now see the missing contacts again on your phone.

2. Check Group Settings on Contacts.

Another fix to try is to check the group settings on Contacts. Recent software updates have probably triggered some settings to change. If the “All iCloud” option is selected, that could be the reason you can’t see the contacts you have saved on your iPhone.

Here’s how to check and adjust Group settings on Contacts:

  1. First, open the Phone app.
  2. Choose the Contacts tab.
  3. Next, find Groups at the top-left corner of the screen. Tap it.
contacts disappeared on iPhone
  1. See if there’s a checkmark beside the All iCloud option. If yes, tap it to deselect it. Then, tap the Done button located at the top-right corner of the screen.

After that, open Contacts. You should see all the contacts you’ve saved on your iPhone. Otherwise, move on to our next potential solution for your contacts issue.

3. Sign out and Back into iCloud. 

Maybe, the issue is due to the Contacts app failing to sync with your iCloud. If you think that’s the case, you should try to sign out and then sign back into your iCloud account. More often than not, it restores contacts that disappeared on iPhone.

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Begin by opening Settings.
  2. Then, tap on your profile picture.
iCloud settings
  1. Scroll down a bit. Then, tap Sign Out.
  2. A “Keep a Copy of” section will appear. Turn on the toggle buttons for Contacts, Safari, and other options to ensure data remains on your device. (Note: This process will remove some photos, videos, and other files from your iPhone. But they will be on your iCloud. You can restore them anytime.)
  3. Next, hit Sign Out again to confirm the action.
  4. Restart your iPhone.
  5. Once your phone is back on, sign to your iCloud account again. Go to Settings and tap your profile picture to enter your Apple ID credentials.

After a while, go to the Contacts app. See if all saved contacts are there. 

4. Re-Enable iCloud for Contacts.

If signing out and back into iCloud didn’t work, you can try another iCloud-related trick. And that’s to disable and then re-enable iCloud for Contacts. It helps refresh the syncing between Contacts and iCloud, which could be the reason for the mishap. 

Here’s how to perform this troubleshooting method:

  1. Start by launching the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your profile. Then, select iCloud.
  3. Next, tap the green toggle button for Contacts to deactivate it. 
  4. A pop-up message about previously synced iCloud contacts will appear. Hit the Keep on My iPhone option.
  5. Restart your phone.
  6. Once the device is back on, navigate your way to Settings > Profile > iCloud.
  7. Then, tap the toggle button for Contacts. Make sure it’s green and active.
  8. A pop-up message will appear asking you about the existing local contacts on your iPhone. Tap Merge. Your contacts on iPhone and iCloud will merge. 
contacts disappeared on iPhone

Wait for a few minutes to allow the merge to happen. After a while, open the Contacts app. You should see the missing iPhone contacts appear on the list again. 

5. Reset Network Settings to Fix Disappeared Contacts.

Another culprit behind missing contacts on iPhone is an unstable network. So if the other solutions didn’t work, reset your iPhone’s network settings. It can help your device refresh its network connections and restore all the missing iPhone contacts.

Keep in mind that resetting network settings won’t remove any personal data from your phone. But note your Wi-Fi or VPN log-in credentials. You’ll need to enter those credentials again after resetting the network settings o your phone. 

Here’s how to reset network settings on iPhone:

  1. First, navigate your way to Settings.
  2. Tap General
  3. Select Reset. Then, tap Reset Network Settings.
reset network settings
  1. Enter your passcode when prompted.
  2. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm the action.
  3. Restart your phone to eliminate any garbage memory or random bugs.
  4. Then, connect to Wi-Fi or Cellular again. Enter your log-in credentials.

After that, browse through your contacts. Check if you’ve finally found success.

6. Check If Contacts Are Synced with Google Account.

For some users, the iCloud-related tricks didn’t work because their contacts are synced with their Google account instead. Do you think you have a similar situation? If yes, all you have to do is adjust the settings to get your contacts back to your phone.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, open Settings on your phone.
  2. Tap Contacts.
  3. Next, select Accounts. Select Gmail
  4. On the next screen, make sure the toggle button beside Contacts is on. 
contacts disappeared on iPhone

7. Re-Add Email to Restore Missing Contacts on iPhone.

If iCloud, network, and Contacts settings weren’t the problem, the culprit could be a deleted email account. You may have recently removed an email account you no longer use. Then, your contacts may have been imported into that deleted email. 

Luckily, the solution to this problem is simple. All you have to do is re-add the email. That way, you can restore the contacts that disappeared on your iPhone. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, launch Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Then, choose Contacts.
  3. Next, select Accounts. Tap Add Account.
add email
  1. Lastly, enter the log-in credentials for the email you want to re-add.

Check if you can now see all the contacts that disappeared on your iPhone.

8. Use a Third-Party Tool to Fix This Contacts Issue.

Are you still trying to restore contacts that disappeared on your iPhone? Try a third-party tool. Data recovery software tools for iOS allow you to recover data selectively. You can choose to restore only the contacts that have been missing on your device.

use Dr. Fone to restore missing contacts

Some of the most recommended recovery tools are Dr. Fone and Phone Rescue. Bear in mind that these tools come with a price. But you can download their free trial version first to see if they are the right tool to help fix your missing contacts issue.

9. Restore iPhone to Fix Contacts That Disappeared on iPhone.

If all else fails, it’s time to restore your iPhone. It’s a reliable troubleshooting method for recovering lost data on iPhones. But it should be your last resort. That’s because you’ll have to spend time reinstalling the apps you’ve added after the preferred backup date. 

Here’s how to restore your iPhone to fix the missing contacts issue:

  1. Start by plugging your iPhone into your Mac.
  2. Next, launch iTunes or Finder
  3. Then, choose your iPhone.
  4. Click Restore Backup. Then, select the preferred backup date or file. 
restore iPhone

This wraps up this article. We hope we’ve helped you in one way or another. For more iPhone-related issues, feel free to write a comment below. Our team will do our best to offer you more troubleshooting tips and help you use your iPhone efficiently again.

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