Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2014 1:59 PM by MrsWebster
Mitragorz Level 1 (0 points)
Before you bash me for not searching... I did search, but nothing I found seemed to pertain to me. All the "Deleted Contacts" threads I found (well, most at least) involved MobileMe. I don't have MobileMe. Nor do I have any contacts associated with any email address. All the contacts I added had been done with the "+" sign on the contacts page.

So this is what happened. I got on a plane this morning and shut my phone off. All my contacts were there. I got off the plane later and turned my phone on. I noticed that all the names in my text messages were just phone numbers. No big deal, I've seen it take a while for the whole system to boot up and show names. Well, quite a while went by and the names weren't showing up. I finally opened up my contacts and nothing was there. "No Contacts" was all it said. I pressed the "Favorites" button and the names were there for half a second, then reverted back to plain ol' numbers.

What would make all my contacts spontaneously disappear like that? I'm afraid to connect the phone to iTunes because if my contacts are backed up, I don't want the two to sync and do something like "oh, there's no contacts on this iPhone, so I'll delete all the contacts in the backup file."

Any suggestions? I mean, I didn't delete the contacts, so they still should be somewhere on the phone, right? Hopefully this is just a fixable OS glitch...

Thanks in advance.

Dell Inspiron 1520, Windows Vista
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    You can disable automatic syncing with iTunes when any iPod or iPhone is connected, which is done via iTunes preferences under the Devices tab.

    If no change after an iPhone reset and you do not sync contacts with a supported address book application on your computer which has nothing to do with an email account or address, your contacts are not available on your computer - you depend on your iPhone or any other cell phone alone for this data which can be lost or stolen and is not a good idea, your only option is restoring your iPhone with iTunes from your iPhone's backup without syncing beforehand and declining the prompt to update your iPhone's backup as the first step after selecting Restore.
  • Mitragorz Level 1 (0 points)
    Hmmm... So how do I access the backup and restore it? Going to Preferences -> Devices, there's nothing listed under "Device Backups."

    On the iPhone "Summary" page, I click "Restore" and I get the option to Cancel, Back Up or Don't Back Up.

    I'm SOL, aren't I?
  • Mitragorz Level 1 (0 points)
    iTunes backs up the iPhone each time it updates the phone, right? In which folder is this backup kept, and what is it named?

    A few weeks back I had to replace the hard drive in my laptop. Since then, I don't think I've synced the iPhone so it would make sense that there's no backup on this computer. Maybe I can dig through my old HD and copy the backup file over. I just need to know where to find it.

    Now when doing a restore, will that delete all my text messages? Right now, the only way I can replace many of the contacts is by going through the message list, figuring out which text I've sent to which person, and creating a new contact using the number associated with that text.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    There is only one way to restore an iPhone with iTunes, by selecting Restore under the Summary tab for your iPhone sync preferences with iTunes.

    This will completely erase your iPhone first followed by the firmware being re-installed. After the firmware being re-installed, you will be prompted to restore from your iPhone's backup or from the most recent backup if there is more than one, which is the default selection. The other selection is as a new iPhone or not from your iPhone's backup which must be manually selected.

    Do not sync your iPhone with iTunes before doing so, and when prompted to update your iPhone's backup after selecting Restore, decline this prompt.

    Not sure what caused this to happen since I haven't experienced the same in 3+ years, but there is obviously a problem with your iPhone. If your contacts were available on your computer where they should be and you were syncing contacts with a supported address book application on your computer as designed and intended, there would be no chance of losing your contacts. Although contacts are included with your iPhone's backup, so is a lot of other data.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)

    All data included with the backup is stored in a SQLite database format with the data within various folders not easily accessible. There are some 3rd party utilities that provide for extracting select data from an iPhone's backup such as this one.
  • Mitragorz Level 1 (0 points)
    Would I be able to backup my iPhone as it is now and "hide" it somewhere? I'd hate to go through the restore only to find that the backup I pulled off my old hard drive (if I can even get to it) won't take with the iPhone. Then I'll have to REALLY have to start from scratch!
  • Mitragorz Level 1 (0 points)
    I made a discovery today. Long story short, I was trying to find the number of a girl I've been talking to. I remember we spoke about Nashville in one of our texts, so I searched my iPhone for "Nashville" to find it. Sure enough, her name popped up, along with another contact:


    See? It recognizes the contact!

    I click the name to open the text, but this is what happens:


    Notice that the name isn't shown anymore, only the number is given. Does this shed any light on the problem? Maybe something an Apple store could fix?
  • Mitragorz Level 1 (0 points)
    Sorry, I didn't know the pictures wouldn't show up. The links there are good though, just click 'em and you'll see.
  • onefellow Level 1 (0 points)
    It's so funny how I got into the same problem of all my contact getting deleted and when I did search, it did recognize the numbers exactly like the way it was presented in the pictures you uploaded (recognized the name of the sender but when going into it only showed the number). So it is stored somewhere but how we extract it is the big issue. Definitely a very bad glitch in the iphone. Any expert opinion is greatly appreciated.
  • benj79 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have this exact problem - this happened suddenly this morning. If I open the contacts app in my iphone, it's empty - "No Contacts". But if I swipe to the left to the search screen, I can search for any of my contacts and they are still all there - what's going on? All my contacts are still in the phone, but the contacts app won't display them.....???
  • pugmama Level 1 (0 points)

    I guess it's a bit late to post to this thread, but this happened to me today.  I use mobile me and tried the solutions associated with that but it didn't restore my contacts.


    The thing that jumped out at me from your issue, Mitragorz, is that I, too was on a flight today.  Everything on my phone was perfectly fine before the flight.  On board the plane, I first put my phone on "airplane mode" and then turned it off for the duration of the flight.  Then when we landed, I turned the phone back on and turned airplane mode off.  After I got home, I opened messages and saw no names only phone numbers, just like you.  Then went to contacts and nothing was there.


    Did you ever find a solution?

  • Tony_Tony_Tony Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the exact problem. My iphone text messaging app kept crashing when I got a text last night. I first closed all the app by holding the home botton. It still was crashing, so I tried again but got the same result. Then I did a hard reset and when the phone came back, the message app worked but within a second all the names turned to phone numbers. I went to my contacts and they were there and within a second gone. Then I went to my favorites and the same thing, I see the names then just numbers!! I moved to Hawaii recently and gave my brother my old computer with my latest back up but he's in Los Angeles. I haven't updated in a long time because I heard the new iOS had issues. I'm still on version 5.1.1 (9B206). Just like you, when I slide to the left on the home screen and search words that are in text messages the correct contact shows up on that screen. When you click the text message though, the top will show just the phone numbers just like in the above example.


    If I update to the lastest iOS, would this bug get fixed? I never set up another sync but will do so after I recover my contacts.

  • Mjernat Level 1 (0 points)

    Tony- I know this was quite a few months ago, but this just happened to me this morning. I have 3 sets of contacts on my phone, and the iPhone contacts list, which is the one that has all my phone #'s in it, spontaneously disappeared. My text messages app just kept crashing when I opened it. So I turned off the phone. When I reopened it, just numbers. Some names started to show up. I went to my contacts, and it said no contacts. I tried a few different things, but nothing has recovered them. Now the option to list iphone contacts is gone all together.


    I too have not updated for the last 2 software updates. I'm wondering if you ever figured anything out, or updated software, and what happened. Thanks so much!

  • safespace53078 Level 1 (0 points)

    Okay, it seems we have a lot of people having this problem from time to time, and I am the most recent victim of it.  This morning, when I texted my wife, it showed the nickname I have for her in her contacts, but then later this afternoon when she texted, just her phone number.  That was weird.  But then I looked in my phone list, and it was _all_ phone numbers.  I went into my contacts file - no contacts.  I usually set iTunes to sync to my computer, so I thought my contacts would be in my Address Book app on my computer right?  Wrong!  My address book app was also empty.  Fortunately, my contacts are saved in iCloud (although how did my contacts get into iCloud if I'm syncing with my computer instead?)  Now, how do I get my contacts back into my phone from iCloud?



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