turning on contacts

In our ongoing series of simple iOS tips and tricks, today we’re going to help my mom (or yours) restore her contacts from iCloud to her iPhone. You’d typically need to do this if you got a new iPhone for example, or maybe if you performed a restore. Or if you’re my mom, you might have just “accidentally” disabled iCloud contacts sync and you just have no idea how to turn it back on.

In this post, we’re going to assume that you previously synced your contacts with iCloud, and we’ll show you how to restore contacts from iCloud to your iPhone. Note that these steps work just as well for getting iCloud contacts back on an iPad.

How to restore contacts from iCloud to iPhone

1) On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > iCloud. Make sure you are logged in with your Apple ID.

iCloud logged in

If the Contacts toggle is already on but your contacts aren’t showing, just turn it off. You will get a confirmation message asking whether you want to keep contacts on your iPhone or delete them. Choose “Delete from my iPhone.” If the Contacts toggle is already off, then just go to the next step.

Delete contacts from iPhone iCloud

2) Turn the Contacts toggle on. You’ll briefly see a “Turning On Contacts…” pop up show on your screen.

Turn iCloud contacts on

3) Your contacts should now be on your iPhone.

As you can see, it’s usually a pretty easy fix to restore iCloud contacts. Typically, turning the Contacts switch off and on can take care of any syncing problem.

More tips on how to manage contacts

  • Pato_

    Another stupid lame post. Everybody who owns a iphone know this

    • James Gunaca

      Not everyone who arrived at this site is an expert. This helps drive new traffic and new users to the site. If that helps iDB pay the bills so we keep getting awesome coverage, so be it

  • Help

    These are nice and all but a bit useless as I’m still waiting for the tutorial on how to turn the phone on….

  • Der Faust


  • Scape

    You forgot to tell us how to save a number to contacts.

    • nonchalont

      How do you open an app after install? (Kidding. Just wanted to jump on the silly bandwagon) 🙂 – information like this is good for new users to iOS.

  • GzyOnline

    I did a fresh restore 2 days ago.. I came to work then tried to load my contacts from iCloud but nothing would load.. not sure if it was because I was not on wi-fi..? i went home and tried and still nothing! i had to restore again.. this time I let my iCloud contacts sync on the Wi-Fi right away!

    It essence, it is very simple.. as long as everything is working the way it’s supposed to.

    I think iCloud was experiencing some issues this past week.. If I recall correctly, there was a post here about iCloud (email?) being down.. I did about ~4 DFU restores & re-jailbreaks over the past few days.. one instance, I could not get my App Store purchases to load.. Thanks to someone who posted on a site, I was able to sign out, reboot, and sign back in and finally my App store purchases loaded!

    • Jonathan

      Read my other post here, may help. 🙂

  • Jonathan

    I have this problem (had it 2 days ago) where my contacts on my iPod suddenly disappear. Still in iCloud, still on my other device, but not my one iPod. I turned iCloud Contacts off, then back on hoping it would restore them, but it did. The only way I found to resolve this was by download contacts backup from the App Store (select vCard in the app) and tap back up. Then email them to myself and restore them that way.

    Anyone else have it where they randomly disappear? I didn’t change any settings. Just bam, gone.

  • Allen Danny

    You can log in your iCloud account in your computer and then find your contacts from backups and download them to your iPhone. Or you can connect your iPhone to the computer and use FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery to recover your contacts from iCloud backups with just a few click.

  • ZaCharee

    Unfortunately, iPhone doesn’t have a trash bin in which your deleted data can be stored. If you accidently delete data on your iPhone, you may need to restore to recover deleted data from iPhone.