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Old Oct 25, 2008, 09:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2008
iPhone Contacts Disappear - Solution

I checked the forum and didn't see a clear post about a solution to this problem. Sorry if this is a duplicate of earlier information.

Problem: I open Contacts on the iPhone and no contacts are listed. It's as if I have never entered any contacts. I check MM Cloud and Address Book (on iMac) and the contacts are still intact.

The first time it happened I fiddled around and they eventually reappeared. Since then it's happened several times and usually they reappear after a short or long period. I reboot, turn contacts on / off and after several combinations, I finally lucked into this solution to get them back immediately.

Here's the solution.
on iPhone, go to Settings > Mail,Contacts, Calendars and select your Mobil Me mail account.
Slide the "Contacts" toggle into the off position. A message will come up "Synced contacts will be removed from your iPhone".
Select 'Stop Syncing' message will state something to the effect "Removing contacts"
Hard boot the iPhone.
After restart, open mail program and send a message via Mobil Me account.
Open Contacts and hooray- they're back!

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Old Nov 23, 2008, 05:18 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2007
This just happened to me.

Contacts are visible on both my computers but not on my iphone. it has worked fine until now.

trying your instructions...
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 11:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2007
yup turning contacts off and on again worked, but it pretty scary and i would prefer it not to happen !
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Old Dec 10, 2008, 06:45 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Contacts disappearing

Hello all, this has just started on my phone. I entered a number in my phone on Tuesday and Monday this week. Phone number is gone the next day. I tried the un-sync and sync with the mobileMe account. And it didn't bring back the 1 phone number I had entered. Any other ideas? I can't find anything on Apple's website that this bug has been fixed as of yet. Help...
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Old Dec 10, 2008, 08:25 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2008
I have an idea, turn off mobile me syncing for your contacts and LEAVE it off. Syncing mobile me contacts also removes custom ringtones and reverts them back to default. YAY MM.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 12:25 PM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2010
iPhone Contacts still disappear

I just stumbled on this interaction. I've had this problem occur on multiple occasions over the past year. Last summer it happened regularly and in one case the addresses were missing from the iPhone for 5 days while I was on vacation. The only phone numbers that remained were my favorites (with no names, but only the phone numbers) and any phone numbers that I'd copied into an iCal entry (the calendar seems immune to the problem). I have reported this on Apple's feedback page (http://www.apple.com/feedback/) as a bug report on 4 or 5 occasions over the past year.

It happened again last Friday and again last night as I was trying to reach someone I was supposed to meet. The addresses seem to return more quickly now than they did last summer - last night they came back within the hour, but way too late for meeting my friend. Today I turned off MobileMe for my address book and returned to hard syncing. I might bite the bullet again and go back to mobile me to try your solution. Unfortunately the problem isn't reproducible on command, so there's no way to test it in a safe environment.

I encourage people to report this to Apple when it happens to them. I understand there is a developer feedback page and perhaps this gets more attention? Hopefully with enough complaining Apple will figure out how to solve this disturbing and critical problem. Clearly it is solvable, given the calendar is stable....
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 05:08 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2010
iPhone Contacts Disappear - possible solution

Hi guys,

A couple of my contacts started randomly disappearing this morning, even after I rebooted my iPhone 3GS and added the contact again. Since I don't use mobileme, I was stumped. I have a mix of SIM contacts and Gmail contacts, synced through the Exchange Calendar option for Gmail.

So I went into Mail, Contacts, Calendars and chose to "Import SIM Contacts" into the default contacts location. It took a while (c. 5 mins) but it seems to have worked, as all of my previously deleted contacts have returned.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 05:38 PM   #8
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
My MobileMe has stopped syncing with my iPhone today. Had a lengthy Live Chat with 2 Apple support reps and we were unable to figure out a solution.

We tried removing the MobileMe account on the iPhone and removing all contacts and calendar entries from the iPhone, then try to sync data from the cloud. It just would not work, even with their test MobileMe account. Iphone gets zero entries from the cloud.

The senior support rep said that he will get back to me within 48 hours on this.
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 08:33 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2010
some hope anyway

Reading through the various responses here has given me SOME hope - I don't have MobileMe, though I was about to sign up for the 60day demo after installing "Find my iPhone" after losing it last weekend and it being miraculously returned....right after I upgraded to 4.0 which was what was offered at the time; now my provider (Fido in Canada) tells me that it's buggy and there's 4.0.1.....yeah it's been freezing and doing other odd things....including tonight losing my contacts.

First they disappeared from SMS and I dropped by the phonebook to see if they ewre there, yup they were; but not soon had I gone to "recents" then poof they were gone; I've tried restarting and resetting the phone (holding down both wake/home buttons etc) but nope nope nope. I started gritting my teethy when Fido told me they couldn't help me, because if it involved a restore process in iTunes then I'd have to talk to Apple, and Apple....well, Apple would probably charge me for the privilege of my having to waste more time trying to recover my contacts which their wonderful software had lost for me....

I WAS going to try a restore off last week's backup, when I upgraded to 4.0, but simply needed to know where in my iMac the backup was stored so that running sync wouldn't wipe out the already-backed up contacts....."hide" the old backup, then bring it back and "set up as new iPhone", which I was advised (post-facto) to do to get around the freezing problem(s) that's started since......

So now, maybe, I can just go in mail-contacts-calendar etc and try some switches and turning it off and on again....it stands to reason the data's still in the phone, and it's just an OS glitch that's made theM "disappear".....it's running late at teh webcafe I came to get the download down, so I can't follow through on a lot of stuff tonight, not here, but I did download separately teh 4.0.1 upgrade - but now I don't want to run it until I've restored teh contacts UNLESS I HAVE to run it in order to get them frmo last week's update.....

If I'm sounding confusing that's because I'm confused . At least I gather that getting them out of a backup is not maybe necessary...but it sounds like they may come back piecemeal, or on and off, or one of you soujnds like they haven't come back at all......and timing couldn't be worse, as with last week's temporary loss, I'm both moving and looking for housing as well as pending work, so other than not having contacts at my fingertips I'm ALSO having to spend valuable time dealing with this.......

Those of you who haven't read Samuel Butler's "The Book of the Machines" should have a read thorugh the opening pages.....the hours of my life spent "servicing the machine" are getting out of control......

But what I will ask if it comes to it - is how to I protect my existing backup on my iMac from being sync'd into oblivion when i run the 4.0.1 restore? And will the shakeyness in the contacts database simply be transferred into the newly upgraded OS?

You'd think someone would have come up with an APP just to export/import contacts/phonebooks all at once.......

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Old Aug 2, 2010, 11:48 AM   #10
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Disappearing iPhone 4 contacts

Hi Im having the same problem. It started after I deleted mobileme.

Does anyone know how to over come this problem?
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Old Aug 7, 2010, 10:12 AM   #11
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Join Date: Aug 2010

Go to advanced option in itunes under info. It is located at the bottom of the page. It allows you to "replace information on this iphone". Worked for me!
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Old Jan 21, 2011, 09:53 AM   #12
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Join Date: Jan 2011
the restore method described early needs minor tweak

I followed the directions to turn contacts off in mobileme, reboot, send message from mobile me- and contacts were not there. I had to go back into settings and turn contacts back on after sending the email- then they were there. That step was missing in the directions.

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Old Dec 3, 2011, 05:32 PM   #13
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Join Date: Dec 2011

Well, I was freaked out about the sudden disappearance of my Contacts until this post came to the rescue.

Thanks a million!
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Old Sep 1, 2013, 09:53 PM   #14
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Join Date: Sep 2013
You may take a look at this iPhone contact recovery video which helped me before


hope this helps.
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Old Nov 9, 2013, 02:58 AM   #15
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5 years later apparently
Apple hasn't worked out this glaring issue. I have never seen it til this week. I had the iPhone 3 and up to 4S
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Old Nov 27, 2013, 04:14 AM   #16
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Just happened to my iPod Touch, had no idea this problem existed. Sorted it out now, though. For those interested I switched off and on my contacts button in my icloud settings, then restarted the ipod and sent an imessage.

Mid-2011 13" MBA, iPhone 6 plus, Apple TV, Fuji X100s and a partridge in a pear tree
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Old Dec 25, 2013, 12:13 PM   #17
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Join Date: Dec 2013
I figured this out

On your iphone...go to settings>"Mail, Contacts, Callendars">scroll down till you see "Contacts" just under that you will see "Import SIM Contacts" it should be typed in blue, click that...all my contacts came back
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Old Jan 4, 2014, 01:23 PM   #18
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Contacts Disappeared

My contacts disappeared mid-text message. I always upgrade as soon as they are released and upgrades were not for released for a while, so that shouldn't have been the issue.
My fix was simple. Settings: Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Somehow, all of my iCloud settings were turned off. And all of my "contacts" settings were turned off in all of my various email accounts. I simply turned them back on and all contacts were restored.
It was strange because while all of my iCloud settings were turned off (including contacts), only my 'contacts' were turned in my various email accounts.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:45 PM   #19
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Join Date: Jan 2014
I had the same problem. I went to settings, general; and disabled spotlight search for contacts, and they re-appeared.
Hope this works for you too.
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Old Feb 28, 2014, 12:58 PM   #20
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Join Date: Jun 2011
I just had this happen to me. To fix, close all apps. Then hard reboot. After going into the phone app and checking contacts, they started appearing again one by one. Scary as hell but it seems to work now!
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Old Apr 1, 2014, 01:25 AM   #21
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Join Date: Mar 2014
I woke up this morning and have no contacts on my iPhone. I have iCloud open and all my contacts are there. I've followed some instructions from a thread found here but it hasn't worked. I need help restoring my contacts from iCloud to iPhone.
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Old May 13, 2014, 02:35 AM   #22
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How to restore deleted Iphone 4s contacts, without itunes backup?
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Old Sep 22, 2014, 09:19 PM   #23
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Join Date: Sep 2014
You should first of all check your iTunes or iCloud backup files.
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