Trying to send a message on WhatsApp today, did you notice that some contacts are missing from the app's address book? Weird. Try opening the Contacts app on your smartphone for a second. Contacts are missing from there, too, aren't they? That's to be expected. In fact, WhatsApp doesn't have its own address book and draws directly from your smartphone's contacts. So if a contact isn't in the app, it isn't in your phonebook either.
How do I do it now? Don't worry, it's not time to panic yet. If you spend five minutes of your free time with me, I can help you recover deleted WhatsApp contacts using automatic backups from certain cloud services and deleted data recovery solutions. With a little luck, you'll be able to recover all the names that "disappeared" from your smartphone's address book (probably because they were accidentally deleted during a previous cleanup) and add them back to WhatsApp. Happy reading and good luck with everything!
Note: Once you retrieve contacts in your smartphone address book, you might need to update the application's contact list to appear in WhatsApp. To do so, launch WhatsApp, go to the Chat tab, press the comic book icon in the lower right corner (the one to start a new conversation), press the ? button in the upper right corner, and choose the Update option from the menu that appears. This operation is only possible on Android, not on iOS.
Retrieve deleted Android WhatsApp contacts
If you want to recover deleted WhatsApp contacts and use an Android terminal, you have several solutions at your disposal. You can, for example, try restoring your phonebook via Gmail, or you can rely on apps to recover deleted data, which is explained below.
Restoring the Gmail address book
If you have Google contact synchronization enabled on your smartphone, you can access your account settings and restore your address book to a previous state (up to 30 days earlier than the current one). To check if your smartphone syncs your contacts with Google, do the following: Go to Android Settings (the gear icon on the home screen or on the screen with the list of all the apps installed on your device), go to Account > Google, select your Gmail address, and check if the Contacts tab is active or not: If it is, your smartphone syncs your contacts with your Gmail address book, and then you can try to recover your deleted contacts by returning your address book to a previous state.
You can take action now. Then connect to the Google Contacts service (where you can find and manage all the names in your Gmail address book), log in with your account (if necessary) and first click on the More item in the left sidebar and then on the Cancel changes option, which appears at the bottom.
In the box that appears on the screen, choose the date to return the address book between 1 h ago, Yesterday, 1 week ago or Custom (to set a custom date, up to 30 days earlier than the current one) and click the Confirm button to confirm the operation.
Mission accomplished! Now, if your smartphone has Google phonebook synchronization enabled, your contacts will be restored to the status they were on the date you selected on Google Contacts and, as a result, the names you deleted by mistake will be restored. To see the changes, you may have to wait several minutes: be patient.
Once the restored contacts appear in your Android address book again, they will also automatically appear in WhatsApp.
App to recover deleted WhatsApp contacts
If your smartphone did not have phonebook synchronization with Google enabled when you deleted your contacts, you can try your luck with an application to restore deleted data. You should be aware, however, that applications of this kind do not guarantee reliable results (if the data to be recovered has been overwritten on your smartphone's memory, there is little you can do) and they need root to work properly. If your device has not undergone the root procedure, do not submit it now (as you would risk overwriting the contacts to be recovered). Try using the apps I'm about to recommend (the ones that can work without root), but know that your success rates will be reduced.
Having done this long but dutiful premise, let's get to work! The first data recovery app that I recommend you to try is EaseUS MobiSaver, which doesn't necessarily need root for contact recovery but, if it is present, it can work "deeper". You can use it for free but only to view the recoverable contacts and export JPG and MP4 files. To export the contacts you need to make an in-app purchase of 6.49 euros.
To start the search for deleted contacts with EaseUS MobiSaver, start the app in question (after downloading it normally from the Play Store), press the Grant button (if you have the root) then the Contacts button and finally grant it permissions to access your smartphone's address book. At this point, wait for the deleted contacts to be searched and, when you find the ones you are interested in, select them to see their details.
If you've purchased the full version of the app you can also export the contacts you found: tick the box next to the contacts you want to recover, press the Recover button (top right) and you're done.
Importing Contacts from VCF Files
Do you have another smartphone with the contacts that you have accidentally deleted on your phone? Then there's no problem - you can export and import them to your phone via VCF files.
If you don't know how to export contacts as VCF files from Android or iOS, read my tutorials on how to export your Android phonebook and how to save your iPhone phonebook. Once the export of contacts is complete, proceed as follows.
- Send the VCF file via email, prompted to use an address that you can access from the smartphone on which you need to retrieve the contacts;
- On your smartphone, open the email you sent yourself and download the VCF file by clicking on the attachment icon. The file will end up in the download folder on your Android device;
- Launch the Android Contacts app, tap the ? button at the top left and select Settings from the menu on the side. Next, tap the Import item, select the File .vcf option from the box that appears on the screen and choose whether to import contacts to your Gmail account or locally to your device. Finally, select the VCF file that contains the contacts you want to import to your smartphone and you're done.
Importing contacts from a SIM card
Did you realize you have a SIM card with some of the contacts you accidentally deleted on it? That's great! Insert it into your smartphone now and use the Android Contacts app to copy them to your phonebook.
The procedure you have to follow is very similar to the one seen above for importing VCF files. Tap the ? button at the top left, select the Settings item from the menu on the side and go to Import first and then to SIM Card.
Then tick the checkmark next to the names you want to import to your smartphone; use the drop-down menu at the top to choose whether to transfer your contacts to your Gmail account or locally to your device, and tap the Import button (top right) to complete the process.
Other useful solutions
- Restore your address book backup from your computer - if you have been provident and created a backup of your address book on your PC before deleting the contacts you now need, you can recover everything using the same program you used for data backup, such as Smart Switch if you use a Samsung terminal or HiSuite if you use a Huawei terminal. For more information about backing up and recovering data with these tools, read my tutorials on how Samsung Smart Switches work and how to connect Huawei to your PC
- Deleted data recovery programs - if you have not created a backup of your address book and the solutions mentioned above did not allow you to recover deleted contacts from WhatsApp, try connecting your smartphone to your computer and using a deleted file recovery program. There are many to choose from, for example EaseUS MobiSaver, which in its free version allows you to recover only one contact at a time (otherwise it costs 36.95 euros), or Dr.Fone, which you can try for free but to recover files found on the phone memory requires the purchase of a license (from 70 euros). I told you about how to use such programs in my tutorials about data recovery from mobile phone and how to recover deleted files from mobile phone.
Retrieve deleted iPhone WhatsApp contacts
If you want to recover deleted contacts from WhatsApp and use an iPhone, unfortunately you can't count on all the solutions available to Android users, but you still have several ways to go: here they are all explained in detail.
Restoring the iCloud address book
If you have enabled address book synchronization with iCloud by default, you can recover deleted contacts from WhatsApp (and consequently from your device's address book) using Apple's cloud service restore feature.
To check if your iPhone's address book is synchronized with iCloud, go to the iOS Settings menu (the gear icon located on the home screen), press on your name at the top and go to iCloud. If, on the screen that opens, there is a toggle next to the Contacts option, the sync option is active.
Once you've checked the iCloud activation on your "melaphone", you can take action. Then connect to the iCloud website, log in with your Apple ID (if necessary) and first click on your name (located at the top right) and then click on iCloud Settings from the menu that appears.
On the page that opens, scroll down, click the Restore Contacts item (bottom left) and locate the address book backup you want to restore. Then click on the Restore entry and wait a few minutes for the changes to be made on your "melaphone" (where, of course, contact synchronization with iCloud must be activated).
Once you restore your address book via iCloud, your previously deleted contacts (if present in the restored backup) will return to both the iOS Contacts app and WhatsApp.
Restoring the Gmail Address Book
If you are trying to set up Gmail on iPhone and chose to sync your "melaphone" address book with Google instead of iCloud, you can restore deleted contacts by following the same procedure I explained earlier in the Android chapter (then connect to Google Contacts and use the Undo Changes option).
Importing contacts from VCF files
If you have another iPhone or Android smartphone that has the contacts you now want to restore on your "melaphone", you can create a VCF file and import them via it. If you don't know how to export your contacts as a VCF file, follow the instructions in my tutorials on how to save your iPhone address book and how to export your Android address book.
After exporting your contacts, send the VCF file via email to an address accessible from your iPhone. Then launch the iOS Mail app, open the email containing the VCF file you sent yourself, and tap the attachment icon first and then the Add All xx Contacts item on the screen that opens. All contacts in the VCF file will be imported into your iOS address book.
Programs to recover deleted WhatsApp contacts
If you don't have an address book backup at hand and you can't count on cloud services like Gmail and iCloud, all you have to do is try your luck by connecting your iPhone to your computer and using a program to recover deleted files from your smartphone.
Among the best programs of this kind there is Dr.Fone, which you can download and try for free but, to export the recovered data requires the purchase of a license, which costs 70 euros. Dr.Fone is available for both Windows and MacOS and allows you to recover data both from the iPhone memory and from the iPhone backups made on iTunes and iCloud. In my tests, the contact recovery feature proved to be more effective through iTunes backups than direct scanning of the "melafonino" memory. Another important thing to note is that to be used on Windows, no matter which scanning method you choose, Dr.Fone requires the presence of iTunes (if you don't know how to download iTunes and how to install it, follow my tutorial about it.
To download the trial version of Dr.Fone on your computer, go to the program's official website and click the Download button for the software version you are interested in: Dr.Fone for Windows - Apple iOS device if you are using Windows or Dr.Fone for Mac - Apple iOS device if you are using macOS.
When the download is complete, if you are using a Windows PC, open the Dr.Fone installation package (drfone-for-ios_fullxx.exe) and click Yes first and then OK. Then tick the box next to I accept the terms of the license agreement and complete the setup by clicking Next three times in a row and then Finish.
If you are using a Mac, instead, you can install Dr.Fone by opening the dmg package that contains the program and dragging the dmg icon into the Applications folder of macOS.
Now, connect your iPhone to your computer, open Dr.Fone and click on the Recover button in the main window of the program. Then, wait for the "melafonino" connection to be established and choose whether to recover data from your iOS device, iTunes backup or iCloud backup by selecting one of the available options in the left sidebar and proceed with the search for files to recover (if you choose to recover files from the device memory, you can only select the search for contacts, if you use an iTunes/iCloud backup instead, you have to wait for the search for all files).
When the scan is complete (it could take quite a few minutes), select the Contacts item from the left sidebar, put a check mark next to the names to be recovered and click on the Export button at the bottom right to export the selected contacts (which, I repeat, is feasible only by purchasing a paid Dr.Fone license).
By selecting a contact from the Dr.Fone scan results, you can also view the numbers and email addresses associated with it: by doing so you may be able to retrieve the numbers you are interested in and add them back to your iPhone address book (manually) without purchasing the paid version of the program.
If Dr.Fone does not satisfy you, you can use the EaseUS MobiSaver program, which works in a very similar way to EaseUS MobiSaver and in its free version also allows you to export your contacts (although one at a time). In my tests, however, it proved less reliable than Dr.Fone.
Restoring backups from iTunes/iCloud
If you backed up your iPhone to your computer, via iTunes, or to the cloud, via iCloud, you can reset your "melafonino" and return it to the backup status to restore the contacts and conversations you had on WhatsApp at the time. I know, it's a drastic measure, but in some cases, it's the only viable one.
If you don't know how to restore iPhone backups and need help with it, follow the directions in my tutorial on the subject.
Retrieve WhatsApp Messages
As a last option, if none of the above solutions worked, you can try to restore WhatsApp conversations and recover conversations made with the contacts you have now deleted.
To restore WhatsApp chats, no matter what operating system you are using on your smartphone, simply uninstall the app, reinstall it, and accept the last backup from Google Drive (Android) or iCloud (iOS). Of course, for this to be successful, the backup of the conversations must not be too recent and must contain the conversations made with the contacts now deleted.