Digitalranger, did you have to do anything special to get the contacts back via Sync?
I first noticed that my contacts had all disappeared on Sunday 3/17 when I got a text message from a known contact only showing the number. Here are my details:
Had recently updated facebook app (with past 2 weeks)
Not using iCloud
Windows 7 PC
All texts, favorites, apps, intact.
I synced my phone with iTunes to try to get the contacts back, which resulted in both iTunes and my phone having no contacts. So the fact that I'd synced 2 weeks prior was no longer helpful (those contacts are gone, unless somebody else knows where in the Apple binary file basement they're kept).
Eventually I upgraded my phone to iOS 6 on 3/18/13, in case that would restore my contacts. It did not.
Today I successfully used ibackupbot to convert an old iTunes sync contact binary file into an Excel file. That sync file was from 2 years ago, so I'm still missing many newer contacts. Take a look at ibackupbot here:
I also tried the free version of iPhone Backup Extractor, but cannot recommend it because it didn't allow me to extract my contacts.
Removing the facebook app after all this did not restore any of the old contacts, nor did Syncing after this. I think it's because I had already corrupted the PC contacts.
So, I paid a visit visited to my closest apple store and spoke with a "genius". First off, the sales rep and "genius" flat-out denied any knowledge of this glitch/virus, then went on to say that "just because this topic exists on this forum doesn't mean there is any fact to the issue" even with proof right before them, they diverted from the possible cause of the issue. That aside, the "genius" was very friendly and offered me the following advice, which I graciously accepted and have implemented.
1, restore from your last back-up.
2, activate your icloud and sync your contents etc.
3, restore the phone to factory settings
4, update your phone to the latest OS
5, sync your contacts etc from your icloud
6, bend over and take it in the proverbial, you've just been done by apple
I didn't want to use icloud or iOS 6, however, my contacts and phone functionality are more important than my stubbornness and rebuke for a software update.
I know, I know, this is exactly what apple want.
Phone is working though, and all my contacts are there. I'll be straight back here should this glitch/virus continue to steal my contacts post iOS6 update.
From apple's "geniuses" perspective, even though there are thousands of independent people all reporting the exact same problem, they must be liars because apple products are perfect and there would never be such a widespread issue!
I can guarantee you this WILL happen again, my wife's phone has had this happen multiple times.
Also her cousin's phone just did the same thing yesterday.
This is such a pathetic response from apple.
Apple's choice is to deny there's anything wrong and treat the end users like they're the problem.
I guess charging people to report a widespread problem is one way to keep them silent.
After all a company with the amount of money that Apple has can't pay a couple of employees to monitor and provide feedback on their forums..
If this is a bug or security vulnerability in iOS 5.1.1, there should be an acknowledgement of the issue on Apple's site and they should recommend upgrading to the latest firmware to resolve the issue. People can accept that, bugs and security vulnerabilities that get patched by firmware/os updates happen all the time.
Staying tight lipped and denying there's a problem is just going to drive people to alternate products.
Too bad we've invested in Airplay speakers, once there's an airplay compatible app for Android we'll never use an apple product again due to their shameful silence on this issue.
I just *fixed* this on my girlfriends phone via this method:
1. Go to "settings"
2. Go to "mail, contacts, calenders"
3. Under accounts observe the fact she has a settings for "Gmail - Contacts"
4. Click on the account, and then toggle the contacts setting off and then back on again.
There could be a virus that is disabling other peoples contacts but it wasnt the case for her, I wouldnt curse too much at apple either - my girlfriends issue started after she updated the AirBnB application (an app for renting accomodation abroad) and is on iOS 5.1.1 on a 4s. I believe there is an issue with storing/sync settings for contacts and the phone getting confused (maybe certain applications are calling a function within iOS that change the default location for contacts to a system default).
It has been a good reminder to backup the phone more often (dont think she had done her once either also), I sync music with mine all the time so its no issue... anyway, it is solvable hope the next person can get their contacts back also :-)
Couple things... There's a big difference between "sync" and "restore" If you have a phone with empty contacts and you connect it to your PC or laptop and "sync" them you will indeed lose your contacts in your computer. What you should have done was "restore" from your backup on your computer to your iphone.
I found this topic last night, after my daughter said her contacts vanished after a text from a known contact. We tried everything mentioned to no avail, so as a last resort, we found she last backed up her phone in December. I explained that if we restore from that backup, she'd lose all photos and the remnants text discussions she has had since then, but she felt that was a small price to pay to at least get back her many contacts. So we did the restore and they were back again. I then advised her to update the software, and back up her phone on a regular basis. I realize this is of no help to those who have already lost valuable contacts, but it's something to consider. It sure woke me up, as I have so many contacts in my iphone that I'd be in big trouble if I lost them. I have been loathe to update my phone's software because I had issues too many times with updates gone bad on my ipod, but after this issue she and several of you have had, I decided to go ahead and do it, so in the wee hours last night,Ii took a backup of my phone, then updated the software and backed it up yet again. So far, so good. My daughter wants to wait a few days and see if I run into any problems from the updates before she does the same thing. I wish we knew what happened to her phone in the first place, but I guess we never will.
Just want to summarize by saying- it's very important to back up your phone OFTEN, and if you do have this problem, DON'T TRY AND SYNC YOUR PHONE WITH THE LAPTOP OR PC! If your phone loses its contacts today, and you go to sync it in hopes they come back, your PC will think it was your desire to delete those contacts, so what do you think happens? it "syncs" your phone with the PC and deletes all the contacts.
RESTORE is what you will have to do... As long as you keep frequent backups, then there is way less to worry about.
I came here searching for answers after my girlfriends contacts all disappeared. We have had nothing but problems with the iphone. AT&T blames apple and apple blames AT&T. I have searched hundreds of complaints of this but none of them have a response from apple. The only "answers" are to restore a previous back up form Icloud. We had to get of of the stupid ICloud because she was getting all my text, pictures ect.
If she hooks up to icloud now she just gets all of my contacts.
Her contacts were on her phone. Why are they all of a sudden not there? This is total BS!
No more expensive overhyped apple **** for me.
Burnistx, below is what I did and what I *wish* I had done, if it helps.
If she's ever backed up to itunes on a pc (you'd need to look up file locations for mac if you have that instead) browse to where the itunes backups are saved. For me, running vista 64bit, it was here:
Find the file that is the most recent OR next to most recent if you've already sync'd since losing contacts.
Copy that file, don't "move", to another location and make sure you note where.
*wish I'd done* Open My computer, find your iPhone, browse to pictures and copy off any that you've taken recently and don't want to lose. You may not need to do this, but wish I had.
Open iTunes, create a backup. Copy that backup somewhere, my two backups were named the same so you may have to store them in separate places.
Restore from backup, choosing the OLD backup that should/could have your missing contacts. Here is where my phone spent 20 minutes restoring only to pop up an error that I was trying to restore to a different iPhone. I just tried again and it worked the second time.
At this point I had my contacts back from a 5 day old backup, but lost some important stuff. From here down is stuff I WISH I'd done.
After getting your contacts back do a google search, I found 2 ways to export your contacts if you have a Mac or a PC, do it - export your contacts to somewhere/someway that you can later re-import them.
Now go back and restore from the NEWEST backup, the one where you went without contacts but had texts and pictures and possibly other stuff you didn't want to lose. Once you're done restoring, go IMPORT your contacts that you exported from the OLD backup.
And, lastly if she doesn't have an iTunes backup, I read somewhere, maybe even in this thread I just don't remember and I'm not reading all 12 pages again , that someone was able to go in and create an iTunes backup from their phone with missing contacts then restore that very same backup and their contacts came back. I'd call that a last ditch effort in the backup options....
I'm pretty disgusted myself with Apple, when it works it's great but when it doesn't it's an outstandingly bad experience for customers with fixes being few and support being useless.
I'll vouch for iBackuprobot. Simple online search will find the program for a site called icopybot.com.
My issue is that I mistakenly did a sync early on when this issue began, and so unless Apple stores multiple backups on a system, my old backup was replaced with a newer one, effectively eliminating any old backup files.
Can anyone confirm that there is only one backup file stored on a system, with the old ones being replaced each time you sync to your computer?
You can store more than 1 backup on your PC or laptop.
The best thing to do is backup your phone and UPDATE TO THE NEWEST SOFTWARE. The problem won't come back. Help others you know by telling anyone with an Iphone to be proactive, backup the phone and update to the new software. We haven't had any issues whatsoever since we've done this. My daughter hasn't had her contacts vanish since we updated her phone, and mine never went anywhere. If there's any kind of issue moving forward I'll be the first one back here screaming about it.