I posted here months ago when all went wrong. Snce then I have upgraded IOS twice. However, my wife noticed something which may help all of you who have lost your contacts. They DO seem to be buried in the deeper caverns of the phone's memory.
Try doing the following.
Go to the Messages app, and go to create a new message. Make sure this is not a reply to an existing message, but a brand new message.
In the To: window, type just one letter, for example the letter a.
When I do this, my phone then suggests a whole list of contacts who contain the letter 'a', even contacts that I no longer have, i.e. contacts that have been wiped.
I don't think you can 'use' these contacts - you might just have to use pen and paper to write down the details.
if they are showing in the device as a ghost contact, your best bet would be to restore iPhone contact from the backup:
iCloud and iTunes can back up most data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Backed-up information includes purchased music, TV shows, apps, and books; photos and video in the Camera Roll; device settings (for example, Phone Favorites, Wallpaper, and Mail, Contacts, Calendar accounts); app data; Home screen and app organization; Messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, and more. Media files synced from your computer aren’t backed up, but can be restored by syncing with iTunes.
Backup of purchased music is not available in all countries. Backup of purchased TV shows occurs only in the United States. Previous purchases may not be restored if they are no longer in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore.
This just happened to me for the first time. Wife called and I thought it was strange it showed her number instead of contact info/picture. After we got done I checked and I have no contacts! I added someone last night. They seemed all there then. What happened over night??
How do I tell what happened to this???
previous suggestion succeeded in restoring them:
go to settings -> icloud and turning off backup of contacts (it did not prompt about removing anything)
turn off the phone
turn on the phone
settings -> icloud, turn on backup of contacts
a few seconds later it had restored them all.
Glad to get them back. That was scary. But what caused it???
None of the discussions or Apple support tutorials have answered my question at all. There was only one relative discussion thread that some one gave what seemed like it was good advice, I was optimistic with the what he suggested, but....alas NO help what-so-ever! Frustrating, right?
Someone out there have any good tips that you can please share?
Thanks! ~Krisy Cole, SoCal.
Nothing I found has worked. Lucky for me, I still had my iphone 3GS lying around, actually just use it as a music player on my BMW motorcycle. In any case, have all contacts on there (albeit 11months old) so shared each contact I wanted to keep in an email. Go into 4S and import/create new contact. Stupid but it works. As a separate backup I suppose you could share each contact you have with yourself (email to yourself). Can always go into your email history and re-import them to your iphone.
3rd party software is at least $35 to pull your contacts off itunes. In my case all versions of the iphone scanning software didn't find my contacts anywhere on the iphone. Completely gone.
Buddy of mine just said tons of people having their camera not working on 4S with latest apple iOS. Apple has no fix. Oh, wait, their fix is "you need to get an iphone 5". Whatever.
Ok, it appears as if on iOS 5.1.1 the contacts are stored in a database located at:
I have a number of files in that directory, but I also have a hack to add photos to the contacts (Cyntact), so I may have more than what there is typically in that directory.
I'll add to the discussion that my images get all switched around lately as well, but I'm not sure if that's related or not. I suspect the main files of interest are "AddressBook.sqlitedb" and "AddressBook.sqlitedb-shm". The "AddressBook.sqlitedb-wal" has a file size of 0, so I suspect it's not all that relevant.
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No ignorance at all! It's an application you can download for free thru the App Store. But the only way you will be able to restore your contacts back is if you already had it and they were in there. I actually did it when I set my old phone up - it took all my contacts and backed them up and then when I got my new phone I just connected to my computer and they all moved over.
When I lost my contacts (out of the blue) yesterday - I didn't even have connect to the computer I just needed to hit the app and sync and everything came back within a minute.
I hope it helps.