How Do I Get Back the Contact List I Lost When I Updated My iPhone Software?

By Alexander Poirier

In this electronic age, the cellphone contact list is the 21st century version of the Rolodex. When you lose your contact list, you feel you have lost your ties to the outside world. Luckily, every time you connect an iPhone to your computer, iTunes creates a backup of your device. If your contact list is deleted from the phone, you can recover it by syncing to iTunes or, if that doesn't work, by restoring your iPhone.

Things You'll Need

  • iPhone USB connection cable

Step 1

Connect the iPhone to the computer via the USB connection cable that came with the device. If the iTunes application does not launch automatically, double-click the application icon to launch the application.

Step 2

Click the iPhone name beneath the "Devices" heading in the iTunes application window.

Step 3

Under the iTunes "Summary" tab, choose "Restore." Alternatively, right-click the device and select the "Restore from Backup..." option from the context menu. Confirm that you want to restore the device to factory settings. Do not choose "set up as a new device," as this selection erases all information stored in iTunes for your iPhone. Allow several minutes for the restoration process to finish.

Step 4

When the restoration process is complete, sync the iPhone to transfer all your information including your contact list to the iPhone. It may be necessary to update your iPhone software to the current version as well.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you choose "set up as a new device," which erases all the synced information for the iPhone from iTunes, the only way to retrieve the contact list and other information is to access a previous version of iTunes through Time Machine for the Mac or another type of backup of your computer contents.