An iPhone may store dozens of business and personal contacts on its internal memory, in both the phone application and other email and social networking programs. Apple includes a recovery utility in the iTunes media management program that works from previously created backup files. If you don't want to use iTunes, some third-party programs can recover contacts as well. Some contacts require no recovery, as many online services keep contact information stored with the account.
In order to recover lost contacts, you must first create a backup file from within iTunes. If you synchronize your iPhone with iTunes, the software automatically creates a backup with every sync, saving the phone's address book in addition to music, application data, calendar schedules, notes and other information. This backup overwrites the previous backup each time. If you don't sync the iPhone with the software, or if you wish to create a secondary backup, right click on the iPhone's icon in the iTunes window and select "Back Up." The program will prompt you for which items on the phone's memory to save.
After iTunes has created a backup, you can recover the contacts from the backup file by reconnecting the iPhone to the system. Wait for iTunes to open and right click the iPhone's icon. Select "Restore from Backup" from the list. Select the backup file desired to recover the contact information. Depending on the changes in the iPhone's content between backup and recovery, the recovery process may remove or change other data on the device as well.
Many contact services use online accounts to access the user's contact lists and do not store the information directly on the phone. Applications like Facebook, Gmail and Twitter do not require contact recovery. If you reset your iPhone or otherwise lose access to a contacts list, simply download the application again and sign in to your existing account to resume use of the service.
Though iTunes provides backup and recovery features, it also has several unnecessary features for users who don't need media management or syncing. Some third-party utilities can also recover iPhone contacts. Apps such as iDrive Lite and Contacts Backup Management can back up and recover contacts directly on the phone without the need for any computer connection.
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