iPhone Disaster

I recently upgraded my iPhone 3GS to 4.3.3, everything went well.  There are new features, such as wifi/bluetooth Tethering, it is very handy.  However, I found myself in a real disaster 2 days later.  ALL MY CONTACTS ON THE PHONE HAS DISAPPEARED!!!

I spent the entire Saturday morning today, I was searching through the entire Google, I found many people have the same problem, however not many of them have much luck restoring their contacts.  I seems to be a bug in this upgrade and even you have created a backup before upgrade, the restoration won’t help.  Interesting thing is some user like my luck Boss, he upgraded his phone without any issues (I can’t imagine what will happen if he loses his 500 contacts @.@)

Anyway, I managed to find a few solution and I want to share them here.

  • Recover the contact list from backup

As I have mentioned, even I restored from backup, the contacts are still missing, so am I confusing you!?  Actually this method need a bit of technical skill, but I got all my contacts back from this method, so it is highly trusted.  If you don’t have much confidence, get someone to give you a hand.  Also another requirement is Cydia App, which means you need to JailBreak your phone.  (It is totally up to you, JB your phone or lost all contacts)

1- Download and install iPhoneBackupExtractor software in trial mode http://www.iphonebackupextractor.com/
2- Connect your iphone to your computer and start  iPhoneBackupExtractor.exe
3- Browse and select the appropriate backup. Some backups may not contain any contacts (Possibly the recent one). Check the amount of contacts under Available Data / Contacts (You can see the exact number highlighted with blue.)
4- Click “Expert Mode”
5- Go to Library / AddressBook
6- Mark the checkbox of AddressBook.sqlitedb
7- Click “Extract selected” (Trial version of iPhoneBackupExtractor allows only to extract 2 files at the same time. So this does not bother us because we only need to extract a single file.)
8- In your iPhone go to Cydia and search for OpenSSH
9- Install OpenSSH to your iPhone
10- On your computer download WinScp from http://www.winscp.net
11 – In WinScp choose new

HostName= iPhone IP address (To find out, on your iPhone go to settings-wifi and tap the blue arrow next to your connection)
password=alpine (this is the default password)

12 – After login go to private/var/mobile/Library/AddressBook
13- Drag and drop the file “AddressBook.sqlitedb” which you have extracted from backup, to the folder “AddressBook” (replace the existing file)
14- Right click to “AddressBook.sqlitedb” and click “Properties”
15- Change the owner to “mobile”  (some people on Internet says change the owner to “root”, however it doesn’t work in my case, change to “mobile” work for me)
16- Restart your iPhone.

  • Open up the SQLiteDB

If you do have problem copying the SQLiteDB file back onto your phone, I also found another way to read your contact data, however this should be the last option as this method will still need you to either enter the contact back onto your phone, or if you are smarter, you can run some SQL query from this software, export it to another format and then import it back to your phone.


You download this software, drag and drop the “AddressBook.sqlitedb” from the above steps, you will find all the phone number in ABMultiValue table under Browse Data tab.

Good luck restoring your contacts.