Add me to the list. Happened to me March 1. iPhone 4s running 5.1.1. Didn't want to upgrade the OS because everything was working fine. Seems like most upgrades come with at least a temporary reduction in battery life. Plus I wanted to keep the original Google Maps. Has anyone tried one of the utilities that claim to recover iphone data from the phone itself, such as http://www.any-data-recovery.com/product/iphone-data-recovery.html. There's another one out there that looks just like it. Both offer a free trial.
So, at kojokylea's suggestion I went into Settings, iCloud. All possible things to backup were set to Off, as well as iCloud Backup itself. Everything was Off. I switched Contacts to On, but kept iCloud backup Off, and my Contacts came back. BUT, they were old contacts from almost a year ago. None of my recent ones were in there. Funny though because I've never had iCloud backup on, on my phone. I guess since I've backed up, and synced, through iTunes, that maybe they came from there. I will say that they were restored INSTANTLY when I switched Contacts backup to On. Not like it had time to download them from iCloud. Plus I wasn't connected to Wireless, which supposedly is necessary to use iCloud. I may try that trial version of that data restore utility anyway, and see what happens.
Ok, I tried the free trials of the data recovery utilities. The first one wouldn't work with a 4S, which I didn't realize until I tried it. The second one was supposed to, but it crashed every time I put the phone into DFU mode. Guess I'm stuck with my old contacts. Better than nothing I guess. I am now using the My Contacts Backup app to email myself a copy of my contact list in a format that can be used to restore them to the phone. It will also export in CSV format so you can view them in Excel. I will never have this problem again. Still not sure if I'm going to update to IOS 6.
I also think this is related to iCloud somehow. I didn't set up iCloud for anything but Find My Iphone. I looked on the Iphone's iCloud settings, and like kojokylea said, it told me my iCloud password was invalid. I added edited my password, but all I got back was one contact (myself).
I am trying to set my phone up now to:
1. Backup to my pc via iTunes (like it's always done), and
2. Sync (apps, music, etc) to iTunes (like it's always done), and
3. Sync (contacts, notes, etc) to iCloud
ITunes backup and synch both work fine, but the ICloud sync does not. I first tried to set up Contacts to sync to iCloud from within iTunes, but there was no option for iCloud. So I changed the iCloud setting from the phone. When I chose Contacts, it said it would merge my contacts with what was previously synched to the pc. I didn't want this, but there was no other option, so I said ok. It also made me sign up for an iCloud email address...
But nothing is synching. I went into iCloud and nothing is there. (just the one contact - myself). When I go into iTunes, it says that my phone is set up to synch contacts with iCloud. There are no longer options to choose anything else. It says to change the iCloud sync settings, I need do this on my phone. But I cannot find any place to change the sync settings. I found one button to click to synch, but it just initiated the normal pc synch (it was connected to my pc at the time). That's not what I want. I want to synch the contacts, notes, and stuff to iCloud.
What do I need to do to activate it?
Well I did a restore from a backup I did in August that had a more recent contact list than what had shown up when I turned on Contacts in iCloud. But that also caused me to lose all photos and texts since then. No big deal. I use a camera to take important pictures, and texts I certainly don't need. The moral of the story is, back your stuff up often. I also upgraded to the OS to 6.1.2. I think that was what caused this problem in the first place. Everyone this happened to had a 4 or 4S, that was still running 5.1.1. Apple screwed us somehow, but doubt it was intentional.
My settings crashed last night every time that I went to it - so I turned off my phone and was able to go to settings just fine. Today, I received a call from my husband as a phone number and no name, pic, and ringtone. I discovered all of my iPhone contacts are gone! Reason number one to not purchase an iPhone with the mobile upgrade I qualify for already. I do not back up my phone often and do not wish to lose my photos!
You can add me to the list of upset iPhone 4 users who suddenly lost my contacts today! Ridiculous!
I have had a couple iPhones over the last 5 years and had no intention of getting rid of my phone, but this is so frustrating. I tried to update through settings-iCloud but it didn't work. I guess I'll have to try syncing tomorrow but really, this is the kind of instability I expect from a Windows phone, not apple.
Good on you Apple, another product FAIL. And you wonder why sales are dropping??!!
Same specs as everyone else, same issues as everyone else. Out of nowhere, all contacts just gone. Preceeding activity was attempting a status update in Facebook app, then booted out of that, phone started turning itself on and off and freezing. When it settled down, boom, contacts gone.
I've spent SIX HOURS trying to remedy this, I have 313 important contacts that are still showing up in Outlook. I cannot for the life of me get them to sync back to my iphone 4s. I tried updating to latest version of iphone software, no change.
Eventually I exported them as a csv file from Outlook, imported them into Gmail, then changed my sync settings in iTunes to sync contacts through Google.
It worked, but all it transferred was the basic phone number and email addresses of everyone. I lost all the additional info I had stored under contacts, such as kids names, birthdays, etc.
I also randomly lost my contacts today too - someone posted about restoring to the previous backup saved in itunes and it worked, so thank you!
Steps I took:
-Saved all my photos onto my computer prior to do anything in itunes!
-Restored to previous backup
(Now I had my contacts back!)
-Updated to IOS6
So far so good......although agreed that it is terrible this has happened to everyone. Wish I had updated to IOS6 to begin with.
Hope this helps some of you!
Same thing just happened to my Mums' phone...it's linked to my itunes, so I know it wasn't an update issue....
I downloaded Wondershare Dr.Fone, and used the free trial to see her contacts, then just took screenshots and emailed them (not paying $99 for one-off use!)......Mum can enter them manually haha
Good luck, so frustrating!!
Just happened to me - iPhone 4S 5.1.1 kicked out of Messages, turned phone on a off, Messages opened but with no contacts... Was getting worried as they didn't reappear after switching on a off a few times.
In Settings > iCloud, I switched on syncing of Contacts et voila, they returned!
This may be because I recently switched on iCloud syncing of Contacts on my new Mac - otherwise, I guess there wouldn't have been a copy of them in the cloud? I don't remember whether I had the phone syncing them with the cloud before... Glad I didn't have to restore from iTunes and lose recent files, messages etc - I hadn't synced with iTunes and hence backed up for a while!
Is it an issue caused by iCloud? The phone looks for synced contacts, but doesn't find them? Or maybe the phone just magically switched off its syncing with the cloud, so couldn't see the contacts any more? Weird.
Bugs happen, this is why we back stuff up! Hope you all get it sorted.