For many people, their iPhone contacts are a lifeline. We all constantly use our contact lists for making calls, sending emails, and texting friends and family. It’s so easy to use a contact list that most people struggle to remember even familiar phone numbers and addresses that they used to memorize — even their own. While contact lists have an inherent organization, you can also organize it any way you want to make finding particular individuals for home or work easier to manage.

But what happens if a contact, or multiple contacts, are accidentally deleted or lost during the sync process, or when restoring from a backup? While that can be a scary situation, it’s easily rectified if you know how to recover lost contacts on an iPhone, and iCloud makes it easy. Here’s how to restore contacts on an iPhone from iCloud.

To avoid losing your data and contacts check out our guide on how to backup an iPhone and how to use iCloud.

Recovering contacts using iCloud on your iPhone

If you’ve lost or deleted a contact by mistake, there is no reason to panic. Contacts are set to sync with iCloud by default. You can go to settings and turn them off and on again to let them sync to your iPhone again.

Step 1: Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.

Step 2: Turn Contacts off and select Keep on My iPhone.

Step 3: Turn Contacts on and select Merge.

Wait a little while, and you should see the deleted contacts back on your iPhone.

Recovering contacts using iCloud.com

This is another trusted method for retrieving lost contact information — as well as other things like Reminders and Calendar events — and it comes directly from Apple. All you need is a computer, your Apple ID and password, and a bit of time.

Restore contacts iCloud
  1. Go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  2. Once signed in, click the Settings button.
  3. Scroll down to the Advanced section and click Restore Contacts.
  4. You will be shown a list of previously created archives. Find the date of an archive that should still have your contacts list intact and click Restore.
  5. Click Restore again to confirm and begin the restoration process. Once it’s done, you will receive an email at the address connected with your Apple ID.

Note that this action replaces the contacts currently on your iPhone, as opposed to just adding the ones that are missing. If you added new contacts prior to this process, they will be lost. Thankfully, your current contacts list will be archived before the restore is applied, so you can retrieve them by following the same steps.

To do so, follow the first three steps as described, but instead of choosing an archive from a previous date, pick the archive made the same day you performed your restoration. You can also do this if you accidentally restore your contacts using the wrong archive.

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