iOS: Contact Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad?

Several users have reported problems with the built-in Contacts app. Some users have reported an issue in which iPhone or iPad’s Contacts app freezes during a contact search. Others have stated that conducting a search always yields “No Results,” causing users to think that their contacts have disappeared. Furthermore, some users stated that they started having this problem after updating their iOS or iPadOS software to the latest version.

This is an important problem because if you are unable to use the search function, you may not be able to find the contacts you are looking for. This article explains what to do when your Contacts search is not working properly. These problems include, but are not limited to:

  • Contact search does not work as expected.
  • Contact search does not show any results and shows a blank page.
  • Contact search freezes and becomes unresponsive.

See also: Spotlight Search problems?

Contact Search no Results

If you are experiencing issues with your Contacts application, here is how you can troubleshoot.

Fix Contact search

See also: Messages Showing Numbers, Not Contact Names? Fix

After performing each step, please check to see if the issue is resolved.

1. Ensure that your device is up to date. Go to Settings > General > Software Update.

2. Restart your device. You can do so by going to Settings > General > Shut Down. The Power Off slider will appear. Drag the slider to the right. After shutting down, press and hold the Top or Side button to turn on your device.

3. Ensure that your device is connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi or cellular. Also, ensure that Use Cellular Data is on for Contacts so that the Contacts app can access cellular data:

  • Settings > Cellular or tap Mobile Data, then turn on Contacts.
Contacts Cellular

4. Force restart your device. Different models require different steps to do this:

  • Phone 6s and earlier, iPad, or iPod touch: Press and hold the sleep/wake button and Home button together until you see the Apple logo.
  • iPhone 7 models: Press and hold the Side and Volume Down buttons together until you see the Apple logo.
  • Other iPhone models (iPhone 8 and later): Press and release the Volume Up button and then the Volume Down button, and then press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.

5. Launch the Contacts app, tap Groups, uncheck all contacts, then re-check them and tap Done.

Group Contacts

6. Close the Contacts app and restart it. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and pause in the middle (or double press the home button quickly if your device has a Home button), swipe up on the Contacts app’s preview to close it. Then relaunch it.

7. You can use contacts from other accounts, such as iCloud, Google or Exchange, in the Contacts app. If you are using another account like this and if you do not see your contacts from this account, turn it off and on again to force it to sync again:

  • Settings > [your name] > iCloud. Toggle the switch next to Contacts.
  • Settings > Contacts > Accounts, then tap Google. Toggle the switch next to Contacts.
  • Settings > Contacts > Accounts, then tap Exchange. Toggle the switch next to Contacts.

8. Sign out of your Apple ID, and then sign back in:

  • Settings > [your name] > Sign Out. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  • To sign in, tap Settings and Sign in to your [device].

Related: iOS Message Notifications: Contact Names Missing

Article history

  • This article was updated on April 19, 2022.
    • Technical details have been updated to reflect recent changes.
    • A new screenshot was added.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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17 thoughts on “iOS: Contact Search Not Working on iPhone or iPad?”

  1. Sadly none of these suggestions worked for me. I am an SE owner. Upwards swipe of Contacts app does not work at all. Previous potential fixes were unsuccessful. Any other suggestions.

  2. I am facing same problem by using iPhone 6pluse iOS 10.1.1. 128GB. Can’t search contacts from my contact list. But from other apps like whatsapp, viber, imo. I can search contact.

    Please give me the solution

  3. I tired all and it did not work except following

    Disable Contacts syncing with icloud and remove all the contacts in your mobile
    Reboot iphone
    Sync contact back to iphone from icloud

  4. I am facing the same problem. Using Iphone 6 with ios 10.1.1
    None of the solutions mentioned above seem to work for me. Really disappointing.

  5. I tried all these but not working. It works once I switch off and on the phone, that too for a short time later it goes back to the same old condition . I emergency situation difficult when the search in contact is not functional.

  6. My solution in brief …

    iPhone 6 128GB persistently freezing when attempting to search 1852 contact cards.

    This issue appeared to be related to an update from iOS 8 and was not remedied with successive iOS updates or clean installs and rebuilds.

    I remedied and experimentally replicated issue of app freezing being associated with one contact containing a very large note (173,274 characters – 31,928 words)

    This huge ‘note’ had evolved with successive duplicates of this card being cloned … and subsequently merged.

    The offending note was relatively easy and quick to find.

    Posted in


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