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So, all or some contacts from your iPhone are gone without a trace. Was it something you did? We’re not judging. We’re not interested in the “Why”, only in the “How to restore contacts on iPhone without redoubling the mess“.

Choose where to start:

🧡 How to restore contacts on iPhone without iTunes

Retrieve deleted contacts only, no other data on your iPhone will be changed. You will need to log in to your Apple ID.

💛 Restore deleted contacts to computer

Automatically search for contact backups on PC and in iCloud. Find deleted contacts, extract them to PC, then import to iPhone.

💚 Restore contacts from iCloud

Download contacts from iCloud to your device. All data types (contacts, photos, messages, settings) will be overwritten.

💜 Restore deleted contacts to iPhone with iTunes

Restore contacts from iTunes to your device. All data types (contacts, photos, messages, settings) will be overwritten.

How to restore contacts on iPhone

When it comes to iOS restore, iTunes doesn’t know mercy differentiate between types of data. It can only restore your device as a single piece. However, CopyTrans Shelbee knows the difference! It allows you to restore contacts only, so that other types of data (photos, messages, settings) are left intact.

CopyTrans Shelbee interface

With CopyTrans Shelbee, you can:

✔ Restore contacts to iPhone without touching other data;
✔ Back up & restore iOS devices;
✔ Restore iOS apps which were removed from the App Store*;
✔ Restore from an encrypted backup.

* If you backed up your device before the app was removed.

So, here is how to restore contacts on iPhone:

  1. Download and install CopyTrans Shelbee:

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

    If you need help installing CopyTrans Contacts, please refer to the installation guide.

  2. Run CopyTrans Shelbee and connect your iPhone. Select “Custom restore”. CopyTrans Shelbee main menu

  3. Click on the green pencil icon: you will see a list of all iTunes backup available. Select the backup with your contacts. Click on the pencil and choose the backup you wish to restore

  4. If your backup is encrypted, you will be asked for a backup password: enter it and click Next. What password?

    Enter the iPhone backup password in CopyTrans Shelbee

  5. Choose “Contacts” and click “Next”.

    ➕ The device contacts will be replaced with those from the backup.

    How to recover deleted contacts to iPhone

  6. CopyTrans Shelbee will ask you to choose where you want to save the backup of your device in case something goes wrong during Custom restore. Select the destination and click “Start”.

    Back up your data with CopyTrans Shelbee

  7. Wait until the restore process finishes.

    ➖ If the restore fails, see the troubleshooting steps for when a backup is corrupt.

    Restore in progress

  8. Finished! Your device will now restart.
    How to restore contacts on iPhone – result

Restore deleted contacts to computer

Here, you’ll learn how to recover deleted contacts using an iPhone backup. If you have no idea about backups, we got you covered – CopyTrans Backup extractor will automatically search your PC and iCloud and find all the backups.

Use this method in case:

📌 You don’t know anything about backups or if you have any;

📌 You want to merge old and new contacts on your iPhone;

📌 You want to recover contacts without the actual device.

CopyTrans Backup Extractor interface

With CopyTrans Backup Extractor, you can:

✔ find iPhone backups on your PC, wherever they are;
✔ find iPhone backups in iCloud;
✔ recover contacts, notes, calendars and voice memos;
✔ extract photos from iPhone backups;
✔ restore messages and chats to computer.

* After you’ve restored iPhone contacts to your PC, you can import contacts to iPhone using CopyTrans Contacts.

So, PART ONE: retrieving deleted contacts from a backup.

  1. Download and install CopyTrans Backup Extractor:

    Get CopyTrans Backup Extractor

    If you need help installing the program, please refer to the installation guide.

  2. Run the program and log in to iCloud if you want to find more backups. Once ready, click on “Find Backups”.

    We care about your online safety: your credentials go directly to Apple through a secure SSL connection.

    Find iPhone backups with CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  3. Wait for the backup hunt to be complete. You will see a list of all available backups: choose the latest backup which contains deleted iPhone messages.

    ➕ If you are restoring from iTunes backup, you may be asked for a backup password. What password?

    ➕ iCloud backups will be marked with a cloud icon (☁️) and they are never password-protected.

    Enter the iPhone backup password in CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  4. Here, you need to select components to extract. Choose Contacts and press Next. You will be prompted to select the destination folder.
  5. How to retrieve deleted contacts to computer with CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  6. Done! Choose “Go to folder” to open the directory with your Contacts.

    How to restore deleted contacts — result

How to get deleted contacts back on iPhone

OK, you’ve extracted contacts to computer with CopyTrans Backup Extractor. Now it’s time for PART TWO (optional): restoring deleted contacts to iPhone.

For this, you will need CopyTrans Contacts, which will import iPhone contact files to device, where you can merge them with existing contacts. You can choose which contacts to import.

  1. Download and install CopyTrans Contacts from the following page:

    Download CopyTrans Contacts

    If you need help installing CopyTrans Contacts, please refer to the installation guide.

  2. Run CopyTrans Contacts and connect your iPhone. You will see a loading icon: the program is retrieving all your contacts, messages, calendars and notes. Wait until the loading is completely finished, only then proceed to Step 3.

    ➕ If your iPhone is encrypted, you may be asked for an iPhone backup password. What password?

    The loading icon in CopyTrans Contacts

  3. Click on “Import contacts”.

    Import selected button in CopyTrans Contacts

  4. A new window will open. Click on “From a file”.

    Select source of contacts in CopyTrans Contacts

  5. Navigate to the folder on your PC containing your contacts, select all the contacts you want to import.

    ➕ To select several files, hold down Ctrl while clicking on each individual contact.
    ➕ To select all contacts at once, press Ctrl+A.

    Find deleted contacts from iphone on PC and import them back

  6. That’s it! Now you know every step of how to restore contacts on iPhone.

    How to get deleted contacts back on iPhone – result

Restore contacts from iCloud

If your contacts were synced to iCloud, search for them at icloud.com.

Facts about iCloud contacts:

    📌 As you turn on iCloud contacts on any iOS device, your contacts are uploaded to iCloud. All the changes you make are also pushed to your other devices;

    📌 As you turn off iCloud contacts on any iOS device, your contacts won’t be deleted from iCloud, they just won’t update automatically.

    ☹ When you restore contacts from iCloud, the current contact set on iPhone will be replaced. Use CopyTrans Backup Extractor and CopyTrans Contacts if you want to merge 2 sets of contacts.

Here is how to get contacts from iCloud:

  1. Go to iCloud.com.
  2. Log in with your Apple ID and enter your password.
  3. enter your Apple ID and a password

  4. Go to “Settings”.
  5. go to settings

  6. Scroll down until you see the section with Advanced settings. Then click on “Restore Contacts”.
  7. scroll down to advanced settings

  8. You will see a list of previously created archives, sorted by date. Choose the archive you need and click on “Restore”.
  9. choose an archive and click on restore button

    😱 “I don’t see any archived contacts!

    Don’t worry. If your contacts weren’t synced to iCloud, they must be in your iCloud backup. With iPhone, it’s always one or the other.

    Find and unpack iCloud backups to your PC and you’ll be fine!

  10. Click on “Restore” again.
  11. click on Restore button

  12. Wait a little bit…
  13. wait a little bit

    That’s it!

    How to restore contacts from iCloud – result

Restore deleted contacts to iPhone with iTunes

Restoring contacts from an Tunes backup will restore contacts, but also everything else – so your most recent photos, messages and notes may disappear.

💡 Don’t lose one trying to save the other! Restore contacts only with CopyTrans Shelbee or get full control over importing contacts using CopyTrans Backup Extractor plus CopyTrans Contacts.

    But just in case, here is how to recover contacts on iPhone using iTunes:

  1. Run iTunes and connect your iPhone.

  2. Wait until the iPhone is recognized by iTunes; then click on the iPhone icon. Open iTunes

  3. In the “Summary” screen, click on “Restore Backup…”. Restore via iTunes

  4. Disable the “Find my iPhone” feature if necessary. To help you, here is our guide on how to turn off Find my iPhone.Disable find my iPhone if asked to

  5. If there is more than one backup entry, select the one with the contacts you need and click on “Restore”. How to recover deleted contacts on iPhone using iTunes backup

  6. After the restore is complete, you will have your iPhone contacts recovered from the backup you choose.

  7. iTunes restore in progress

Now you know how to restore contacts on iPhone in 4 ways. In the future, do not forget to back up your iPhone at least once in a while!

Avatar for carina
By carina

Carina is part of team CopyTrans since 2008 and is always happy to share her passion for web marketing, graphic design & social media. With coffee running through her veins, she enthusiastically dives each day into the depths of the Internet searching for new cool stuff to be shared with you and her team.