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I updated my iPhone 4 to iOS5 yesterday morning, and noticed after the install was complete that the contacts seem to have disappeared completely from my phone after setting the Preference for them to sync with iCloud.

Find a forum post from July suggesting creating a new text message in the Messages app and typing the first few characters of a contact's name to see if they still exist - which works, suggesting that having the contacts sync with iCloud causes some bug where the contacts merely aren't displayed in the Contacts app.

I then turned off iCloud-syncing for Contacts, and all my contacts were displayed normally again.

A few hours later, I test turning iCloud-sync for Contacts back on, notice no side effects; login to later and see all of my contacts listed there.

Then this morning I open the Contacts app on the phone and it displays no contacts again. Turning iCloud syncing back off fixes it again.

Is there a better way to fix this and a way to fix it so that it doesn't happen in the future?

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Im currently having this problem! But it doesn't fix after turning iCloud sync off again!.. although in I can see all my contacts have been updated. I think I'll have to go back to sync through Itunes!... any other idea of what this might be!..., I have a Blank contact list at this minute! cheers! – user12452 Oct 19 '11 at 21:01
Does starting a new message in the message app and typing the first few chars of a contact's name work for you? One week after applying the iOS 5 update, I haven't noticed this problem any longer - seems like it might have just been some initial hiccups with iCloud and syncing. – matt b Oct 20 '11 at 17:33
I had this problem, It was beacuse I used a fresh iCloud account with no contacts, when I synced with iCloud, it had no contacts so my phone also had no contacts!!?? I then had to sync with the cable and restore from backup. Luckly I had all my contacts stored on iPad. I then had to chose to push my contacts to iCloud so when you sync with iCloud, you will need to select the option merge contacts with iCloud. This should then create all the contacts in iCloud, and push to all devices. – Graeme Hutchison Nov 7 '11 at 10:57

I experienced this issue only when I synced my iPhone contacts with the iCloud for the first time. I think it was a temporary glitch. After a quick search online I have found this to be a neat solution to the iPhone contacts disappear issue.

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It looks like this continues to vex people.… and over and over yet again – bmike Nov 6 '13 at 15:25

I experienced this and my contacts are NOT set to sync with iCloud. I rebooted my phone, and they reappeared. Try this first before messing around with your settings.

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I've had this problem with iPhone 5 Updated IOS, about 2/3 of contacts disappear. Tried some of solutions, best one yet Settings > Contacts> Import SIM Contacts> iCloud And boom they are back, for now!

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If another device is using the same iCloud account that contacts of that seconds device can override the contacts on your iPhone. I have lost many important notes due to this. I have an iPhone 5 and iPod Touch 4th Generation and when I connected the iPod Touch to my iCloud account (with the iPhone already being connected) the notes on the iPod Touch overrode those of the iPhone 5.

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