It has happened to me now 9 times in the last 2 months. The bad part is that i've been out of state away from home the past two months so i haven't gone to get a new phone. In addition, for some unknown reason, i have never been able to get iCloud to work for me so i have no backup. And to add to that, i have a different computer for work since the last time i did a backup that way so i am pretty much screwed. While it is my fault for not having it back up and not keeping the software up to date, there is no F'ng way this should happen. We pay way too much for these phones and the monthly bill to have to worry about our contacts randomly disappearing. I had over 300 contacts, including a lot of business contacts and the only ones i can get back are the ones i had text message conversations with. Apple is on my sh*t list right now!
So it would seem most people are having the same issues I have noted since Janaury of this past year. First off I have been using these phones since the original 3G so I don't think I am too crazy. Anyways, all of what I have observed is on the iPhone 4s ATT model with version 5.1.1 (9B206)
So starting a few months ago, I noticed that the contacts would randomly appear with this groups button as opposed to the circle button that you will see when iCloud is turned on.
Afterwards when I check the contacts on my phone you will see them totally blank. Gone ! To fix it though what I have found is if you go into the iCloud back up and turn off contacts it will ask you two things: do you want to leave the contacts on the phone or deleted them. I say keep them. Then you proceed to turn the contacts for iCloud back on then it will ask you to merge and then bingo they come back. Now Since January it will keep doing this on and off on and off on and off. So finally I turned off the iCloud for good and everything was fine. Now recently like many have stated, all of my applications and even trying to read text messages or tapping on the phone icon it will randomly crash. Mind you iCloud has been turned off at this point and I had restored from a nice clean backup, so there should NOT be any problems. WELL WRONG !!!! When I restart the phone or shut it down, the contacts are completely gone. I'm am still trying to fix it but I think there must be something related to the 4/4s model and this issue. I can't keep restoring this phone everytime a stupid application crashes, and whats funny is that all these problems have occured after I refuse to go to iOS 6 and will continue to do so until I get rid of this phone. So far though I haven't found anything and will be contacting them shortly and will post my findings when I do
Yes, this is annoying to say the least and there is no consistency as to when you lose contacts.
Best thing you can do is to use the free or paid app MC Backup and do a backup whenever you make any changes to your contacts. Then email yourself a copy to keep on both your phone & computer when they disappear again. It's simple to restore all your contacts and details with this app and you've always got a backup on your phone.
MC Backup is really easy to use and is consistently reliable.
That's awesome ! I'll definitely take a look at the app. I'm sure it will save alot of headache in the future ! I'm going to try actualy restoring the OS on my phone right now to see if that will do anything perhaps the partition where the operating system lies was corrupted somehow, thought I'm almost positive that its on the other end and not the user since so many are having the same issues.
Given the revelation today that the NSA is logging all Verizon calls and data...and you can bet its on all carriers too not just them, and given the timing that it started around the time we all started having issues, and add in Apples refusal to even acknowledge such a wide spread problem(they would face prosecution for revealing the secret effort), I wonder and actually suspect our contact corruption issue is related to the NSA data mining operation on phone users. The 5.1.x IOS release doesn't support the data mining effort correctly and corrupts the contact information when the phone is probed. What thinks you all?
Re reinstalling all your contacts can be really easy using MC Backup, also known as My Contacts Backup. It comes as a free or paid version. It works really easily and you don't have to go through all your texts, calls, etc to add the contact names back in. It also backups everything you've noted against a contact.
If your contacts are lost just go to your email which contains the backup file and import all contacts. Just follow the simple instructions and your contacts are back instantly. My daughter loses her contacts all the time and since I installed MC Backup on her phone I no longer get any midnight calls from Italy asking what to do.
Do a backup whenever you make any changes to your contacts. Then email yourself a copy to keep on both your phone & computer when they disappear again. It's simple to restore all your contacts and details with this app and you've always got a backup on your phone.
MC Backup is really easy to use and is consistently reliable.
This is probably in fact the truth that's probably happening! So many issues in a short amount of time and more so with all the possible variables such as version and specific iPhone model that could possibly rule it out are all simliarities. More so, this is affecting a version that was completely stable for as long as it has been out since I kept up to date during the iOS 5 updates. However, this definitely needs to be address because there is definitely alot of people that are already frustrated and sick of apple ignoring it. But then again not surprising. The other thing that I find interesting is while erasing my phone like 6 times last night (since I kept forgetting about WiFI enabled so it started downloading 6.1.3) I did a quick test after everything was done and turned it off and on about 3 times and no contacts disappeared so I would assume that what you stated is probably the only possible answer to all of our questions, though it would seem that it is completely at random? Now I haven't turned my phone on and off during the day so I'll try that tomorrow to try and replicate the errors and report my findings.
To everyone in this thread,
I was caught out early with this and posted on here Febuary 28th wondering what had happened to my contacts.
I have carefully read through each reply as they came in listening to peoples frustrations & trying some of the sugggested actions, None of which really helped me but apprecaited the fact everyone was trying to help each other with what is a crazy problem !!
All the time I was still running the older 5.1.1 software, refusing to update due to changes that I didn't want enforced on me & partly down to the fact I dont like being told what to do.
The contacts wiped again during this period after the Apps kept crashing or the phone freezing a further 2 times which left me as frustrated as the 1st time it happened & Again having to key what I could back in was driving me mad but then towards the end of May it got really ridiculous, In the space of one week the phone either froze, rebooted itself or started crashing out of EVERYTHING including messages & call functions 4 TIMES !!! And each time Zero contacts were left once it restarted or I had restarted.
Enough was enough now, no matter how much I wanted to keep the old software or not be told what to do, it just wasnt worth it any longer as I was losing the basic funtions of any phone & on a regular basis, Just lost all faith in the device & couldnt bare the thought of keying the contacts back in again.
Upgraded to 6.1.3 a week ago now - Guess what.... No Problems! hasn't crashed out of one App, turned itself off or even Frozen once... Ive turned it off a few times myself to check & everytime the contact have remained. The changes although inforced on me which I hate are actually ok... the phone itself seems much quicker, the battery is lasting longer & even the Google Maps App that I downloaded is not much different from the in built one on 5.1.1
If you are still holding out on updating then Fairplay to you but for me it just became to much.... I needed the phone to work as it should. so If you do get to this point & worry about updating I promise you I have had NO Problems & now starting to wonder why I held out for so long....... Good Luck People!
I updated to ios 6 also and so far for about two weeks or so its been ok. I feel like you about being forced into it but I have a sizable investment in apps and waterproof lifeproof cases and accessories and don't want to switch to droid right now...though the S4 looks very vey good. That being said, I'm waiting on a third party app support engineer to get back to me on a possible fix. Even at ios 6, my contact names get stripped when I try to export them to my iphone. They think they found the bug and are releasing a new version that hopefully fixes it and will let me get my most important contacts back to the phone. I'll post here what app if it works when I get the new version.
But I still think we will ultimately find out this was caused by an incompatibility in ios 5.1 to the NSA data mining thats in the news. IOS 6 plays nice with it without tipping you off something is wrong by blowing away your contacts....thats my take. Your NSA thanks you for upgrading.
As I posted https://discussions.apple.com/message/21910038#21910038, I am also experiencing trouble and am using iOS 5.1.1. My wife's phone has also begun experiencing the issues (same iOS).
Random crashes of applictions or the phone freezing and then the swirly circle and boom ... phone reboots and all contacts gone. I am using iCloud just for the sake of not losing them again and again; but, I've even noticed that once or twice after it crashes and reboots some of my settings get changed back to defaults.
I really wish Apple would admit there is a problem ... of course their solution will be to upgrade to the newest iOS, which I really don't want to do ... head too many negatives about it such as battery life, etc. But, I may have to at some point, because I can't keep having my phone get wiped out because I am reading text messages or checking email or on Facebook or using the calculator ... and it just decides to freeze, crash, or stop working.
There is enough evidence around this site and through simple Google searches online that there is a problem with iOS 5.1.1 (or 5.1.x) that has been triggered ... now, short of upgrading, what's the real solution, Apple?
This is ridiculous. My 4S lost all contacts today. Unfortunately this is bad timing since my experienced the same problem on her iPhone 4 last week. So now we both have not contacts. I have an old backup somewhere but my wife had none. This is a wideapread problem. My brother too experienced this couple of months ago. It's very unprofessional that Apple would not even acknowledge it.
We have just a few months left in the contract. My next phone is not going to be an iPhone for sure!
Sorry to hear that. Whatever you replace your iPhone with consider getting the free My Contacts Backup (MC Backup) as that works for Android also. In fact, you can back up contacts on an iPhone and import them into Android using MC Backup. It works just as easily.
I've done that with my Andoid phone I use for fishing as I don't want to get my iPhone wet in the boat.
Interesting. My phone was fine until last week when I flew from the SF Bay Area to Chicago. As soon as I landed and turned off Airplane mode, I noticed my phone was operating slowly / weirdly. Facebook crashed and so I rebooted the phone. I then noticed my IM app (WhatsApp) didn't show the names of my friends anymore. That's when I noticed my contacts were gone.
I forgot what I exactly did but I think I enabled iCloud contacts and I now have a COPY of the contacts, albeit an older version. I haven't figured out how to restore my original contacts yet. I don't think I lost anything TOO important but it is annoyting. I see a lot of people have run into this problem.
Before you attempt to sync your iPhone contacts with the iCloud or any other account, make sure you back them up to your computer so you can revoer then later on if needed. Here is a quick tutorial on how to backup your iPhone contacts.