Contacts Not Showing up on Your iPhone? 7 ways to fix it

  • If contacts are not showing up on your iPhone, there are several ways you can troubleshoot and solve the problem.
  • There are a lot of potential settings to check: ensure no contacts are hidden and contacts are enabled for each email account.
  • You can also toggle iCloud backup off and on, and make sure all your iOS devices are configured to back up properly.

When you add someone to your iPhone’s Contacts app, you expect that person to be forever at your fingertips. And usually, that’s the case. But sometimes your contacts list doesn’t work the way you expect, and some of your contacts don’t show up on your iPhone.

There are a lot of reasons that might happen, but here are seven ways to troubleshoot and solve the problem when your contacts don’t show up on your iPhone.

Restart your iPhone

If you troubleshoot computer (or smartphone) problems from time to time, you quickly learn that many common problems are caused by a temporary software glitch, and it’s often easily solved by simply rebooting your phone. If you need a reminder, here is how to restart any iPhone. After the phone restarts, see if the contacts you’re looking for are still missing.

Sometimes, the reason you can’t see all your contacts is obvious in hindsight; for some reason, they were previously set to hidden. To check for this possibility, start the app where the contacts are missing, such as the phones app or the Contacts app, and then tap groups at the top left. Are any groups not selected? Tap Show All Contacts at the bottom of the screen and then done.

Contact groups in the Contacts app for iPhone.

If some contacts are missing, you might be hiding some groups.

Dave Johnson/Insider

If you have multiple email accounts on your iPhone, you should be aware that each account might have its own contacts list, too. It’s possible the contacts are disabled for one or more of these accounts. To check, start the Settings app and then tap Mail. On the Mail page, tap accounts. Check each account: Tap an account name and, if it has an entry for Contactsmake sure it’s enabled by swiping the button to the right.

Account settings on iPhone.

Be sure that you haven’t disabled contacts from any of your email accounts.

Dave Johnson/Insider

You probably already back up your iPhone to iCloud, and part of that backup includes your contacts. But if you have multiple devices, you should be backing them all up to iCloud. If you added a contact on your iPad, for example, unless you’re syncing both the iPad and your iPhone to iCloud, the new iPad contact will never make its way to your phone.

On your iPhone, start the Settings app and tap your account name at the top of the screen. Tap iCloud and then make sure Contacts is enabled by swiping the button to the right. Now repeat that process on your iPad to make sure all contacts end up on both devices.

iCloud backup settings on iPhone.

Make sure that you are syncing all your contacts on all devices through iCloud.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Resync with iCloud

It’s possible that some of your contacts are stored in iCloud but aren’t, for some reason, making their way to your phone when iCloud regularly syncs with your devices. You can often solve this by toggling iCloud off, then on again. To do that, start Settings on your iPhone and tap your account name at the top of the screen. Tap iCloud and then turn off Contacts by swiping the button to the left. In the pop-up menu, choose Keep on My iPhone. Wait a moment, then swipe that button to the right to turn it back on. Select merge to combine your phone’s contacts with iCloud.

After a few minutes, all your contacts should re-sync and hopefully your missing contacts will appear.

Turn off Short Name

Short Name is a setting for contacts that makes your contacts easier to read, but there may be times when this feature conflicts with third-party apps. Try turning this feature off to see if it fixes the problem: Start the Settings and then choose Contacts. Tap short name and turn off short name by swiping the button to the left.

Short name settings on iPhone.

Try disabling Short Names to see if that solves your contacts problem.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Check for iOS updates

Finally, it’s always possible — though not very likely — that a bug or software incompatibility on your iPhone has affected the Contacts app’s ability to display all your contacts. You should check to make sure your iPhone’s operating system is fully up to date, and make sure the phones other Contacts apps are updated as well.

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