Keeping in touch with people was the main purpose of mobile phones when they were founded. And although they have rapidly changed since their inception, this feature never went away. No one expects the other person to know their phone number by heart, plus, it is possible that the person also has a Gmail account, a secondary phone number, and other vital information. This can all be saved under one contact on your Android or iOS phone, which is a reliable place to reach for in times of need.
But what if you woke up, and the contacts have simply vanished? Is there a way to get them back? We’ll try and maximize the chances by guiding your hand on how to recover deleted contacts from the phone.
How to Recover Contacts from an Android Phone
If you own an Android phone and lost your contacts, it is pretty easy to recover them given that you satisfy certain requirements.
Check if your contacts are truly gone
It could very well be that you accidentally changed the setting, or an update messed it up. To clarify, this entire guide applies to devices using Android 10. If yours doesn’t, check if it is possible to update.
- Open Contacts on your Android phone.
- Spot the three dots in the top right corner, and tap on them.
- Tap on Customize view.
- Make sure the “All contacts“ option is ticked.
How to backup your Android contacts
A backup is always the safest option to make sure your data is accessible any time even in case of an accidental deletion. So, you should back up your contacts on your Android device.
Exporting Android contacts
- Open Contacts.
- Tap on three parallel lines in the top left corner.
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll to the bottom.
- Choose Export.
- Choose the location to export the .vcf file by tapping on the lines in the top left corner. You can also create a new folder or change the name of the file.
- Tap on Save.
Importing Android contacts
- Open Contacts on your phone.
- Follow steps 2, 3, and 4 above.
- Choose Import.
- Choose either .vcf file and tap on OK.
- Locate the file and tap on it.
Optional. Instead of a .vcf file, it is also possible to import files from a SIM card following the same steps. This is useful if you format your internal memory, and the contacts from your SIM card aren’t automatically restored. However, if you ever lose your phone or have it stolen, despite being able to receive a new SIM card and the same phone number from your network provider, the data will be lost. For that reason, we recommend going with the option below.
Using Google to restore your contacts
It makes sense to use Google to store your contacts. After all, they created Android, and you probably already use their services to sync your bookmarks and browse the Internet on your computer.
Why not expand that to your smartphone? Furthermore, having contacts saved in the cloud means that, with a tap of the finger, you can restore everything you’ve lost. Here’s how.
Backing up contacts to Google
- Enable your wireless Internet connection, mobile data, or a hotspot.
- Spot three parallel lines in the top left corner and tap on them.
- Tap Settings.
- Go to Accounts. If the intended Google account isn’t there, tap on Add an account, then Google, and fill in the details.
- Go back to Settings, then verify that the right account is listed under the Default account for new contacts.
- Go back to Settings again, then tap on Contacts sync. Verify that both Automatically sync Google Contacts and Back up & sync device contacts options are enabled.
In addition, you may also recover your Gmail contacts.
Restoring contacts from Google sync
- Follow steps 1, 2, and 3 above.
- Option 1. Tap on Restore. Tap on From account, and choose the appropriate Google account.
- Option 2. Tap on Undo changes. You can choose to revert your contacts list to a state from 10 minutes ago to even weeks ago. This is perfect for people who accidentally did a factory reset or deleted their contacts.
Using third-party applications to restore contacts
As mentioned in our list of the best data recovery software for Android, you’re not powerless even if you didn’t think ahead and backed up your contacts. This should work even after a factory reset or deleting your contacts by accident.
How to restore contacts on Android with EaseUS MobiSaver
- Download EaseUS MobiSaver for Android.
- From the list of files to scan for, choose Contacts.
- After a brief search, you will see a list of contacts. Put checkmarks in front of the names to restore contacts individually, or mark all of them.
- Tap on Recover.
- You might be able to recover only a portion of the contacts before you are required to purchase the Full version.
Restore contacts after a reset
If you recently reset your device and that resulted in the loss of contacts, there are still chances for recovering them. Follow our guide to recover contacts after a reset.
How to Recover Deleted Contacts from iOS
The same principles of data restoration apply to the users of Apple devices.
How to backup contacts on iOS
This won’t help if you’ve already lost contacts but will act as a failsafe for the future, once you restore them through other means. And, it ensures that if you purchase a new iPhone, the contacts will be automatically downloaded from iCloud. That way, you don’t have to import them manually.
- Open Settings on your iPhone.
- Tap on your name.
- Choose iCloud.
- Make sure the Contacts option is on.
How to restore deleted contacts from iOS
Once you have a backup, it is pretty easy to restore those contacts you have lost. Here are a few things you can do to restore deleted contacts from an iPhone.
Using iCloud to export contacts
This requires that you have previously backed up contacts via iCloud. It is useful if you have your iPhone stolen, or are forced to create a new Apple ID, but you want your contacts restored on it.
- Open your browser and go to icloud.com.
- Enter your Apple ID and password and sign in.
- Go to the Contacts section.
- Tap on the cogwheel (gear) icon in the bottom left corner.
- Choose Export vCard from the list, and choose a location for the .vcf file on your computer.
Using iCloud to import contacts
- Once again, launch your browser, then visit icloud.com.
- Enter your new Apple ID/password to sign in.
- Navigate to Contacts.
- Tap on the gear (cogwheel) icon in the bottom left of the window.
- Click on Import vCard.
- Locate the .vcf file and open it.
- The files will be imported to iCloud. Make sure the automatic synchronization is enabled on your new iPhone following the step above.
Using EaseUS MobiSaver for iOS
In case you performed a factory reset by accident, or deleted your contacts before you set up an automatic iCloud backup, the only solution is an application from our list of best data recovery software for iOS.
- Our recommendation – download EaseUS MobiSaver for Mac.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac and launch the software.
- Click on Recover from iOS Device in the top left corner.
- Click on Scan.
- The flaw of the software is that you cannot choose to scan for contacts only. Instead, you will have to wait for the scan of your entire iPhone to finish.
- Contacts will be sorted into a Contacts/Messages category on the left.
- Put a checkmark on the contacts you want to restore, and click on Recover.
- Choose the output folder to save the contacts as a .vcf file on your computer.
- Follow the steps above to import them to iCloud.
Preventing Accidental Deletion of Contacts
It’s a good idea to take some precautionary precautions to avoid the trouble of restoring lost contacts in the future. To reduce the possibility of unintentional contact deletion, do the following actions:
1. Regularly back up your contacts
Set up automated backups of your contacts to a secure location, such as your cloud storage or computer. In the event that they are ever unintentionally erased, you can do it with ease.
2. Enable contact synchronization
Take advantage of the contact synchronization feature offered by your device’s operating system. Your contacts will be safely saved in the cloud and readily accessible when required if you sync them with your Google or iCloud account.
3. Be cautious when managing contacts
Exercise caution when making changes to your contact list. Double-check before deleting any contacts and ensure you are not accidentally selecting multiple contacts for deletion.
4. Use contact management apps
Consider using contact management apps that provide additional features, such as contact organization, duplicate detection, and easier backup options. These apps can help you better manage and protect your contacts.
5. Enable device lock and screen lock
Set up a secure lock screen pattern, PIN, password, or biometric authentication (such as fingerprint or facial recognition) on your device. This increases security and lowers the possibility of illegal access or unintentional contact deletion.
6. Review permissions for contact-related apps
Regularly review and manage the permissions granted to apps on your device, especially those that have access to your contacts. Be cautious when granting permissions, and only allow access to trusted apps that genuinely require contact information. Restricting unnecessary access can help prevent accidental deletion or unauthorized use of your contacts.
Always remember that prevention is always better than therapy. You may reduce the possibility that you’ll accidentally erase your contacts by putting these protections in place, and save yourself from the trouble of attempting to recover them later.