10 Replies Latest reply: Sep 17, 2012 12:28 PM by Superblue32 Branched to a new discussion.
jchbiggianthead Level 1 (0 points)

my son has an iPhone 4G that is about a year old.  He never synced or backed it up but continually added photos and contacts.  He was having problems with hardware so I suggested he back up and restore.  I did this and of course had to update iTunes and the version on his phone from 4.3 (I think) to 5.0.1.  I don't know what happened after after the back up and restore, but now his settings, text messages and contacts are all gone.  All contacts were on the phone and not in an email contact folder.  Same with photos, they were on the phone, but never synced up with a computer until I did the back up right before restoring.  I have restored my phone and my wifes without losing anything.  I don't understand why it did not work on my son's phone.  Is there any way to recover the contacts.  All apps and music did transfer because I was prompted to transfer purchases before updating the software on the phone.  If the sync and/or back up did not take and the phone was restored, is there any way to recover the contacts?  Is there a contact file from the back up somewhere on the computer where these files can be retrieved?  I found some software programs that claim to be able retrieve these files from the sqlite file (or some similar sounding file) but I don't trust them and want to know more about options from Apple first. 

iPhone 4, iOS 5.0.1
  • modular747 Level 6 (18,405 points)

    As long as he didn't sync/backup again AFTER the restore and losing the contacts, etc., it's possible that they still are in the backup made BEFORE restoring.  To get them back, he'll have to restore the backup:


    1. Disable automatic syncing on connectioin in iTunes Prefs > Devices > Disable....

    2. With iTunes open, connect the phone.

    3. Right-click the device tab on the left side of the iTunes window and select "Restore From Backup."

  • jchbiggianthead Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, I tried the restore from backup before posting this, but didn't disable automatic syncing before doing that


    The restore from back up resulted in no changes.  Is all lost?  I don't understand why the back up before restoring didn't take.  The software prompts the back up, which I did and after restoring it should have just restored everything the way it was?  The only thing different about this situation is that he had never backed up the phone on the computer prior to doing this initial back up.  Is there a file on the hard drive of the computer where the back up can be retrieved?

  • Dindy5 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the info, I did what you said but my contacts were not there. I am hoping they are not lost. Is there anything else I can do to get them back? Thank you for your help. Linda

  • LexSchellings Level 6 (8,125 points)

    Did you sync before the Restore?

    If yes, click on the iPhone holding the Alt key, just like modular said, choose restore, just like modular said, then you get a window with a list of the available backups, then choose one of before the restore, everything like Modular said.

    If you did not sync regularly, in iTunes (automatic sync off), on the Info page in the Advanced section (on the bottom of the page), check what you want to copy from the computer, then sync.

    You do not have to uncheck that afterwards because it will only this time overwrite with everything on the computer.

  • KiltedTim Level 8 (48,630 points)

    jchbiggianthead wrote:


    ...He never synced or backed it up but continually added photos and contacts...now his settings, text messages and contacts are all gone.

    Contacts are NOT part of the iPhone backup. Only the contact favorites are part of the backup. If they were not synced to a compatible address book or cloud service, they are gone.


    Photos in the camera roll and text messages should have been part of the backup, assming the backup completed properly prior to the update.


    Since the phone had never been synced to that computer previously, it's difficult to say what you selected when you were presented with the dialog box by iTunes when you first plugged it in, but I'm guessing that a backup was not done at all. You either told it to set it up as a new phone, or chose to restore it from an existing backup, probably the former. In that case, it would not actually have been backed up.


    The data is more than likely gone for good.

  • Antonyell Level 1 (0 points)



    Yesterday I instaled iCloud on my iPhone and again, more than 1200 pictures LOST!!! (neather on my iPhone, nor on my iTunes. LOST!!!)


    What's going on there??


    Mr. Mac, you should do something about that. This is very disapointing...


    I lost some of my conctacts and my notes too!!!



  • KiltedTim Level 8 (48,630 points)

    The camera roll is intended to be TEMPORARY storage for photos. You should be extracting them to your computer on a regular basis the same as you would with any other digital camera. Why anyone would leave 1200 photos in their camera roll is beyond me.

  • Taffy25 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same issue, with the exception I was on the phone over an hour with Apple to do the restore because of other phone issues.  I followed his instructions and when the backup started we ended the call.  I found after it finished it had import 4 contacts from a hotmail account I have.  None of my previous phone contacts.  He did indicate it would restore those, it would just not restore any of the apps from the Apple store.  I've been on hold this morning trying to get assitance, but no luck yet.

  • LouKondek Level 1 (0 points)

    Same issue here. Updated the wife's phone from 4.x to 5.x. everything went smoothly, all her photos were there, but the contactes were gone. So I did a restore and now 500 photos are gone. I thought it made a back up from today? The back up folder shows it was modified today but tthe only back up is old, hence the loss. I guess it's my fault for not properly backing up but I thought iTunes was performing a full back up/restore. It seems there's always something lost when working with iTunes.

  • Superblue32 Level 1 (0 points)



    1 - We're in a 'Post PC' world (just ask Apple)

    2 - When you initiate a reset it says on the screen that it won't delete data, only settings

    3 - Even though I backup to icloud, my photos appear to be lost anyway