How to Retrieve Deleted Contacts on iPhone Without Backup? A DIY Guide

In today’s fast-paced digital world, our smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives, helping us stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. The Contacts app on our iPhones holds vital information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and other essential details. Accidentally deleted contacts can be distressing, especially when you don’t have a backup to restore from. But fear not, as we’re here to guide you on how to retrieve deleted contacts on your iPhone without a backup.

Retrieve Deleted Contacts on iPhone

1. Enable iCloud Contacts Sync

The first step in safeguarding your contacts is to enable iCloud Contacts Sync. This feature automatically backs up your contacts to your iCloud account, ensuring that you have a recent backup in case of accidental deletions. To enable iCloud Contacts Sync:

  1. Open “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on your Apple ID at the top of the Settings menu.
  3. Select “iCloud” and toggle on the “Contacts” option.

2. Check the Recently Deleted Folder

Fortunately, Apple provides a safeguard for deleted contacts in the “Recently Deleted” folder. Contacts deleted within the last 30 days are stored here before being permanently removed. To check the Recently Deleted folder:

  1. On your iPhone, launch the “Contacts” app.
  2. On the screen, click “Groups” in the upper left corner.
  3. Scroll down and find “Recently Deleted” under the “ICLOUD” section.
  4. Here, you’ll find your deleted contacts – tap on “Recover All” to restore them.

3. Use a Third-Party Data Recovery Tool

If you’ve emptied the “Recently Deleted” folder or don’t have a backup, you can still retrieve deleted contacts using third-party data recovery tools. These tools scan your iPhone’s internal storage for traces of deleted contacts and help recover them. One such effective tool is “Dr.Fone – Data Recovery (iOS),” which offers a user-friendly interface and a high success rate in data retrieval.

To use “Dr.Fone – Data Recovery (iOS)” for contact recovery:

  1. Download and install the “Dr.Fone – Data Recovery (iOS)” software on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer using a lightning cable.
  3. Launch the “Dr.Fone” software and select “Data Recovery.”
  4. Choose the “Recover from iOS Device” option and click “Start Scan.”
  5. After the scan is complete, preview the deleted contacts and select the ones you want to recover.
  6. Click “Recover to Computer” to restore the selected contacts to your computer.

4. Reach Out to Apple Support

In certain situations where the built-in options and third-party tools don’t yield desired results, it’s best to seek professional assistance. Apple Support can help with more complex data recovery scenarios, especially if there’s a potential for data loss due to improper methods. Reach out to Apple Support through their website or visit an Apple Store near you to get expert guidance on retrieving your deleted contacts.

Preventative Measures

Accidents happen, but you can take steps to prevent future data loss:

  • Regular Backups: Make sure you have regular backups of your iPhone using iCloud or iTunes. This ensures you can restore your contacts and other data if any mishaps occur.
  • Double-Check Before Deleting: Before hitting that delete button, double-check if the contact is indeed the one you want to remove. A moment of caution can save you from unnecessary troubles.
  • Export Contacts: From time to time, export your contacts to a vCard file and store it securely on your computer. This extra layer of backup can be a lifesaver in case of emergencies.

Also Read: How to Find SSID on iPhone? A Comprehensive Guide


How do I import contacts to my iPhone without iCloud?

To import contacts to your iPhone without using iCloud, you have several alternative methods. Here are some options:

  1. Import from SIM card: If your contacts are stored on a SIM card from your previous phone, you can easily transfer them to your iPhone. Insert the SIM card into your iPhone, go to Settings > Contacts > Import SIM Contacts, and follow the on-screen instructions.
  2. Use iTunes: If you have your contacts stored on your computer in a compatible format (such as CSV or vCard), you can use iTunes to sync them to your iPhone. Connect your iPhone to your computer, open iTunes, select your device, navigate to the “Info” tab, and choose the option to sync contacts from your computer.
  3. Transfer via email or messaging apps: If you have your contacts saved as a file (CSV or vCard), you can send the file to your iPhone via email or messaging apps like WhatsApp. Once received on your iPhone, you can open the file and choose to import the contacts to your device.
  4. Use third-party apps: There are various third-party apps available on the App Store that allow you to import and manage contacts without using iCloud. Some apps even support direct transfer from other devices or services.
  5. Sync with Google Contacts: If you have a Google account, you can sync your contacts with Google Contacts. First, export your contacts to a vCard or CSV file from your previous device, then import them into Google Contacts on your computer. Finally, on your iPhone, go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Add Account, select Google, and enable Contacts syncing.

Remember that before attempting any method, it’s essential to back up your existing contacts on your iPhone to prevent accidental data loss. You can do this by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud, and turning on the toggle for “Contacts” to create a backup of your contacts on iCloud. This backup will ensure your data is safe if anything goes wrong during the import process.

Can permanently deleted contacts be recovered?

Once contacts are permanently deleted from your iPhone, they are challenging to recover through standard means. Deleted contacts may temporarily go to the “Recently Deleted” folder in iCloud, allowing recovery within 30 days. If you have already emptied this folder or lack a backup, direct recovery becomes unlikely.

However, potential recovery options include restoring from iCloud or iTunes backups made before deletion. Some third-party software might help recover deleted contacts, but success rates vary. Additionally, contacting your email provider may allow you to retrieve synced contacts.

Act promptly for better chances of recovery, as prolonged waiting increases the risk of data overwriting. To prevent future data loss, regularly back up your iPhone using iCloud or iTunes to ensure copies of your vital information.

How to retrieve deleted contacts on iPhone without a computer?

If you want to retrieve deleted contacts on your iPhone without using a computer, you can try the following method:

  1. Check “Recently Deleted”: Open the Contacts app on your iPhone and tap on “Groups” in the upper-left corner. Make sure the “All iCloud” or your primary contact account is selected. Now, scroll down to find the “Recently Deleted” folder. If your deleted contacts are still there, you can restore them individually or tap “Recover All” to restore all recently deleted contacts.
  2. Restore from iCloud Backup: If you have previously backed up your iPhone to iCloud, you can restore your device to an earlier backup that includes the deleted contacts. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. Select the relevant backup and restore your device using that backup. Keep in mind that this will replace your current data with the data from the backup.
  3. Use a Third-party App: There are some third-party apps available on the App Store that claim to recover deleted contacts directly on the iPhone. However, be cautious when using such apps and ensure they are from reputable developers to avoid potential security risks.

Please note that the chances of successfully recovering deleted contacts without a backup are limited. It’s always a good practice to back up your iPhone regularly using iCloud or iTunes to prevent data loss in the future.

Also Read: Why Did My iPhone Randomly Restart? Troubleshooting and Solutions


Accidentally deleting contacts from your iPhone can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with the right approach, you can recover them successfully. Remember to enable iCloud Contacts Sync for automatic backups, check the “Recently Deleted” folder first, and utilize reputable third-party data recovery tools when needed.

Always be cautious when attempting DIY data recovery methods and consider seeking professional help if necessary. By following these steps, you can mitigate the risk of losing important contact information and ensure that your iPhone remains a reliable tool for staying connected.

Remember, data recovery(Retrieve Deleted Contacts on iPhone) success may vary depending on individual circumstances, so act promptly and avoid further data overwrites to maximize the chances of retrieving your valuable contacts.

Talha Hanjra

Hi! I'm Talha Hanjra. I have a natural affinity for cutting-edge technological devices, and I enjoy finding solutions to their difficulties. I'll tell you how to fix various outdated gadgets and where to buy the best products. My research and experience will be of tremendous use to you.

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