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June 12 2012 3 12 /06 /June /2012 18:10
iphone contacts disappear

... after syncing with iCloud

Do your iPhone contacts disappear when syncing with iCloud for the first time? In my case: yes!


Bottom line – read on to see that there is nothing to worry about and there IS a way to solve the “iPhone contacts gone” problem.


This is an issue I went through recently and it has taken a huge headache from worrying that my iPhone contacts are gone forever to thinking that I might end up with duplicates after having to disable and enable iCloud sync according to some instructions.


What you need in order to solve the problem

The problem explained


Many users with iPhone contacts already loaded on their iDevices, see their iPhone contacts disappear when they first choose to turn on Contact sync via iCloud. This has occurred with first-time users of the iCloud with iCloud account containing no contacts.


UPDATE FOR IOS 7 USERS - refer to the below page for a complete list of causes and solutions to the iPhone contacts lost issue:


iPhone contacts lost: did your address book just go missing



1. Let’s say I start with an iPhone full of contacts


iphone contacts gone


2. I decide to start using iCloud so I go to Settings > iCloud and from there, enable Contacts sync by moving the slider for Contacts from OFF to ON. This is the first time I use iCloud, so my iCloud contact list is empty


iphone contacts disappear after


3. The program will ask me to “Merge” my current iPhone contacts with the iCloud. As there is no other option (unless you want to cancel sync), I go with “Merge”


iphone contacts gone after


4. Surprise! iPhone contacts are gone


iphone contacts are gone

How to bring back your iPhone contacts gone?


1. Go to your iCloud account on your PC by navigating to You will see all of your iPhone contacts in one place. Now, click on the cogwheel button after having selected all iPhone contacts in iCloud and choose “Export vCard”


iphone contacts


2. Select the destination for the contacts files on your computer. A *.vcf file containing all of your iPhone contacts will now appear in that location


iphone contacts are gone after


3. Go to your iPhone and make sure to turn off iCloud contact syncing by navigating to Settings > iCloud and moving the slider from ON to OFF


iphone contacts disappear


4. On your computer, download and run a small free BETA app called CopyTrans Contacts and then connect your iPhone to your PC.


5. Now, go back to the location where you saved the iCloud *.vcf file and drag the file from there to the CopyTrans Contacts main window


iphone contacts gone after sync


Here is a quick YouTube video of how this works:

6. This will move back all of your gone iPhone contacts back to your iPhone where they belong. The program will now display all your iPhone contacts within its main window


contacts disappear from iphone


Your iPhone will also display the contacts previously disappeared.


iphone contacts disappear


7. Now, go back to your iPhone, enable iCloud by moving back the slider from OFF to ON. Don’t forget to select “Merge” when prompted


8. Now you will have your original iPhone contacts both on the iPhone and on the iCloud and in addition, you will have saved a backup copy of your contact list to your PC so that if it disappears again, you would know what to do.


With the emerge of iCloud, it seems iPhone contacts disappear all the time, or at least, there is a risk for this to occur. Should that happen again, just follow the above instructions. You might also want to keep a safe offline backup iPhone contact copy of your list on your computer.

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Becca 20/06/2013

Thank you so much for this post and step by step instructions. Not only did it save me a trip to AT&T but also a migraine! It worked perfectly. Unfort. the only drawback there was is that I
have 71 contacts I needed restored and the app would only do 50 unless I purchased it (which I won't, I can add the rest back myself). Neat little app it is though! Thanks again =)

David 09/07/2013

Help me! This just happened to me. I'm moving to iPhone 5 from 3gs. I enabled contacts sync on my old iphone and my contacts are disappeared, BOTH on my phone and icloud. I checked my icloud
account on PC, there are no contacts!
This is just so weird, I have no backup :(

David 09/07/2013

And I waited long enough. Contacts on my icloud is still empty. Do I have a hope for getting my contacts back?

Amy 11/11/2013

Thank you, it worked perfectly. I couldn't figure out why almost all my contacts were gone and my favorites only show the numbers! Thanks again!

Ariana 22/03/2014

Help! My contacts disappeared overnight. The only contacts left are the ones synched from Facebook. The phone numbers in my favorites list are still there but the names are gone??! I did not have
them saved on iCloud. I've tried turning that feature on/off to see if something would change but nothing changes. This is so weird! Thanks in advance for your help!!