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Home Apple iPhone Lost Contacts on IOS 5 Update

Lost Contacts on IOS 5 Update

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UPDATE: If your in an Exchange Active-Sync environment you can always toggle off / on your contacts. When you toggle off the contacts on the iPhoone the IOS will ask if you want to keep your contacts on your phone. I selected to keep the existing contacts. Once you toggle off / on contacts that have been setup with Exchange Active-Sync you will refresh your iPhone contacts which will re-push them and this should remedy any discrpancy's between Outlook and your iPhone.

The rest of these below are for users who are not using their iPhone in an Active-Sync envronment. Good luck!

I’ve seen a huge spike in traffic on my site searching for iOS lost contacts.  We now have 6 different solutions to restore your contacts.

Thought I’d post something specifically regarding iOS 5, and some solutions that are out there.  Personally I had no problems upgrading, and think losing contacts may just be because the initial “sync” hasn’t gone through yet (remember an iOS upgrade resets your phone to base iOS 5, then imports your information after).


Please post a comment if something works for you (and maybe which iPhone you have, and your carrier).  I’ve found comments extremely useful in determining what does and doesn’t work.

Solution #0 – My Fix Without Trying It

Sorry to throw this in, but I feel the contacts disappearing is just because your phone isn’t done syncing:

  1. Connect your iPhone to iTunes
  2. Click on your iPhone in the left panel under devices
  3. Click “Sync” in the lower right corner.

Please give your phone a chance to restore.  Remember, a new OS means a fresh install, and restoring a backup.  If you interrupt that (as I did) you may not have all your apps, settings, songs, etc.

Solution #1 – The Text Message Fix

This seems to be the most popular solution if you can see your contacts in your text messaging:

  1. Open a recent Text Message
  2. Tap the top of the screen (scrolls to the top of the message)
  3. Tap “Contact”
  4. Edit the contact in some way (add an email, new fake phone number or something, you can delete later
  5. Hit the “Back” button

You should have your contacts back.  Please delete the “edit the contact in some way” if you don’t want it.

Solution #2 – The iCloud Fix

This is probably related to problems with iCloud:

  1. Go to “Settings”
  2. Click on “iCloud” (it’s in the app section if you scroll down)
  3. Turn off your settings
  4. Turn them back on

Again, this probably triggers a “re-sync” with iCloud to force contacts back

Solution #3 – The Import from SIM Fix

This fix relies on you storing contacts in your SIM card most likely:

  1. Go to “Settings”
  2. Click on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
  3. Click “Import SIM Contacts”

I wouldn’t rely on this as it may vary based on carrier.

Solution #4 – Reset Your iPhone (Thanks Josh — see comments)

This fix was submitted by a commenter, and it worked for him (basically the same as everything … reset and force a sync):

  1. Make sure you are connected to iTunes and online
  2. Turn off your iPhone
  3. Turn it on again
  4. iPhone should sync automatically (this could take time, don’t interrupt it!)

Hope it works!

Solution #5 – Restore Your iPhone

This fix submitted by Chris (thanks!) in the comments, and seems to work for a few people:

  1. Plug iPhone into Computer
  2. Launch iTunes
  3. After it’s done syncing, right click on iPhone (under devices in the left) and click on “Restore from Backup”
  4. Choose one (it may not be the most recent, some folks have bad backups just before the upgrade)
  5. Let the iPhone restore completely

Keep the feedback coming!  You’ll lose anything you’ve done since that backup, but you should have your information back.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 07:30