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How to Recover Deleted iPhone Contacts Without Backup

Is there any way to recover contacts from the iPhone 4S itself?

I accidentally deleted several contacts from my iPhone 4S, and forget to back them up with iTunes. Now I need them urgently, but I've heard that there is no way to recover deleted data on an iPhone except through backup. Is that really? Can I recover data from the iPhone itself without iTunes backup? Please help! Thanks in advance.

The saying that there is no way to recover iPhone data without iTunes backup is absolutely wrong. Due to the special technology of iOS devices, it's very hard to recover data directly from the iPhone itself, but it's not impossible. There is indeed such a program that enables you to recover contacts from iPhone 6 Plus/6/5S/5C/5/4S/4/3GS without iTunes backup files: Wondershare Dr.Fone for iOS (for Windows users) or Wondershare Dr.Fone for iOS (Mac) (available for Mavericks).

Download the free trial version below to have a try.

Download win version Download mac version

Note: If you've synced your iPhone with iTunes on your PC or Mac before losing your contacts, you can also recover your previous contacts by extracting the iTunes backup.

Steps of how to recover iPhone contacts without backup

The tutorial below is about the Windows version of Wondershare Dr.Fone for iOS. If you are a Mac user, please read the guide for Wondershare Dr.Fone (Mac) here: Wondershare Dr.Fone (Mac) User Guide.

Before recovering deleted iPhone contacts, you need to know that you shouldn't use your iPhone for anything after you lost your contacts, because any operation on your iPhone may overwrite the lost data. The best way is to power off your iPhone until you've recovered the lost iPhone contacts.

Now follow the next steps to recover deleted iPhone contacts without any backup files.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to the computer

First of all, connect your iPhone to your computer, and then run Wondershare Dr.Fone for iOS. Here are three recovery modes provided: Recover from iDevice, Recover from iTunes Backup File and Recover from iCloud Backup File. Just stay at the default one.

For different iPhones, you can enter different recovery ways after you connect your iPhone. Below is the main window for all iPhones.

recover deleted iphone contacts

For iPhone 4/3GS, you can choose to go to the Advanced Mode to get a deeper scan for your iPhone. Just click on the button at the lower right-corner.

recover deleted iphone contacts

Step 2. Scan deleted contacts on your iPhone

As iPhone 6 Plus/6/5S/5C/5/4S users, you can directly click the "Start Scan" button after connecting your device. Then the program will automatically begin to scan your iPhone 6 Plus/6/5S/5C/5/4S for deleted contacts on it.

To recover deleted contacts directly from the iPhone 4/3GS, you need to enter the device's scanning mode before the scan. Follow the steps below:

1. Hold your iPhone and click the “Start” button.
2. Press the Power and Home buttons on your iPhone at the same time for exactly 10 seconds. The software will count the time for you.
3. When 10 seconds have passed, release the Power button right away, but keep holding the Home button. After another 10 seconds, you’ll be informed that you've successfully entered the system and you can release the Home button now.

When the program starts to scan your iPhone for the deleted contacts, the window is like below.

recover iphone contacts without backup

Step 3. Preview & recover deleted iPhone contacts

After the scan, you can preview all data that have been found by Wondershare Dr.Fone for iOS. Choose "Contacts" on the left side and you can preview all your deleted contacts here as follow, including job titles, addresses, and more.

recover deleted iphone contacts without backup

The data found here includes those contacts you have on your iPhone now. If you only want to retrieve deleted contacts from your iPhone, turn the button on the top on: Only display the deleted items. Then mark and recover them. You can also check the video tutorial for this guide:

Download win version Download mac version

Further Reading

Recover iPhone messages: This guide shows you how to retrieve deleted text messages from iPhone in different ways.
Recover deleted photos on iPhone: This article shows you how to recover deleted photos on iPhone in different ways.
Recover iPhone iMessages: You can recover deleted contacts without a backup on iPhone with 3 steps at ease.

Product-related questions? Speak directly to our Support Team >>

disqus_K95Ejrv1eo
Hi, as for contacts, this program will save contacts as a .CVF or csv file to your computer. Later you can import the contact file to your iPhone via iCloud Contacts or Gmail. The good news is that Wondershare Dr.Fone for iOS is able to recover deleted text messages and iMessage directly back to iPhone.
Jim
Does this app restore the file to the phone or to some text file on the computer?
disqus_K95Ejrv1eo
Since you've backed up the iPhone, you can download the program and choose Recover from iTunes Backup File or Recover from iCloud Backup Files. It depends on where you've backed up the iPhone. :)
Jack
Hay guys ive stuffed up and backed up my dads iphone and restored it on his work one so now his work stuff is lost is there a way I can get it back
disqus_K95Ejrv1eo
The only difference between the trial version and full version is the function of recovery. What you can see found by the full version will be the same with what you can see with the trial version. The unknown part means that the part of the content has been overwritten by new data, and can't be found.
disqus_WZY3TNp78m
some text messages shown say unknown does that mean the number's unknown?or if I register the unknown number will appear?
Selena
It doesn't matter, Wondershare Dr.Fone doesn't ask you to use the contacts icon.
disqus_Ez4BHuY0Zt
what if the contacts icon is disabled?
Selena
Please try re-installing the program or re-connecting your iPhone again.
Suzanna
It keeps telling me that my device is looked and it can't perform the backup because of locked devoid but its not looked. I disconnected it several times but it keeps on telling me the same thing.

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