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Lost contacts, iPhone 4

409054 Views 411 Replies Latest reply: Apr 13, 2014 6:17 AM by Ævar Ómarsson RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • Emamlt Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 26, 2013 3:29 AM (in response to Zoomer271)

    If you want to recover your iPhone contacts, you can recover contacts directly from the iPhone and to retrieve previous contats by extracting it from iTunes backup.


    You can extract your contacts from the iTunes backup when you lost your iPhone. iTunes can automatically back up your iPhone contacts and update it every time when you sync it. So you really have a big chance to recover contacts from iTunes backup.


    Let's check how to recover contacts with or without your iPhone


    Part 1: Directly scan and recover contacts from iPhone (with iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS)

    Part 2: Scan and extract iTunes backup to recover iPhone contacts (without iPhone) 


    Part 1: Directly scan and recover contacts from iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS

    Step 1: Connect your iPhone to the computer

    Step 2: Enter the device's scanning mode and scan it

    1) Hold your device and click the "Start" button.

    2) Pressing the "Power" and "Home" buttons at the same time for exact 10 seconds.

    3) Then release the "Power" button, but keep holding "Home"  for another 15 seconds until you get the message of successfully entering.

    Whatever the device you use, the program will automatically begin scanning your iPhone for lost contacts after you doing the steps accordingly.

    Step 3: Preview and recover iPhone contacts

    When the scan is finished, you can preview all found data before recovery. Choose "Contacts" to preview, mark it and click "Recover", you can save all the contents on your computer with one click.



    Part 2: Extract iTunes backup to recover iPhone contacts

    Step 1: Scan the backup file

    Step 2: Recover your iPhone contacts


    How iTunes backs up your iPhone contacts

    As an iPhone user, who tends to manage the content of iPhone with iTunes, must know that iTunes backs up everything of your iPhone first when you sync with it. This will be the warmest thing when you lost your contacts from iPhone. The bad point is that the backup file is not regular file type, but a SQlitedb file, which is not allowed to preview, even access. Sometimes it's encrypted, just for private safe.


    You can read the detailed steps here:

    How to Recover iPhone Contacts


    I hope it can help you. Good luck!

  • garrettincanada Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 26, 2013 10:02 AM (in response to Emamlt)

    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.

  • chasemolike Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 26, 2013 8:08 PM (in response to Zoomer271)

    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.

  • kelzk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2013 9:14 AM (in response to Zoomer271)

    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???

  • westvandude Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 8, 2013 11:27 AM (in response to kelzk)

    My phone did this yesterday. Text message app went weird. Rebooted. All contacts gone. How can you restore contacts from itunes old backup to icloud and then to iphone??

  • Lt. SD Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 9, 2013 2:56 PM (in response to Zoomer271)

    Here's how I restored mine:

    Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Import SIM Contacts>On My iPhone

    It worked for me, I hope this helps someone else.

  • CKRIZA Calculating status...
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    Oct 11, 2013 8:51 AM (in response to Zoomer271)

    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.

  • westvandude Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2013 3:06 PM (in response to Lt. SD)

    Didn't work for me. Nothing in the sim card. Speaking of which, how do you go about actually "saving" your contacts from iphone to the sim card?

  • westvandude Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2013 3:10 PM (in response to CKRIZA)

    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.

  • moonchilddave Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2013 5:50 PM (in response to Zoomer271)

    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.


    <Edited By Host>

  • Pooky1 Calculating status...
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    Oct 17, 2013 1:49 AM (in response to kelzk)

    Thank you kelzk. I had the same problem and tried your fix (I had to try a couple of times as it kept automatically turning off the contacts). It finally worked and everything is back to normal again

  • sianellejo Calculating status...
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    Oct 19, 2013 1:13 AM (in response to Zoomer271)

    I reset all my setting by going to general - reset - all setting and after a few minuites all my contacts re appeared!  Id not done anything out of the oridinary so not sure why they disappeared in the first place :-/

  • B J P Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 22, 2013 11:11 AM (in response to Zoomer271)

    If you find that some contacts are missing and you had previously added a Gmail account via Exchange to sync contacts, check your accounts list to see if that had disappeared. That was the case with me recently. Took me a while to figure out what had happened.

  • Bryansmommy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2013 11:09 AM (in response to westvandude)

    If you downloaded the "backup assistant" you should be able to run this and it will add all your contacts back in. Normally when you get a new phone these days it suggests you download "backup assistant"


    It just helped me out - hope it helps you!

  • westvandude Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 27, 2013 7:24 PM (in response to Bryansmommy)

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is "backup assistant"?


    I tried a couple of 3rd party pc software applications that both scanned the iphone and itunes for the required data files. It found nothing on the iphone (contacts).


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