Home » iPhone: What “SOS Only” Means, & How to Fix SOS Mode

iPhone: What “SOS Only” Means, & How to Fix SOS Mode

by Vincent

Discover what “SOS Only” on your iPhone means and how to resolve SOS mode. Have you ever encountered a frustrating situation where your iPhone displays “SOS Only” and you’re unable to make phone calls? This article will shed light on what this message signifies and provide you with a solution. 

Understanding the Meaning of “SOS Only” on iPhone

When you observe the “SOS” or “SOS Onlytext in the status bar of your iPhone, it implies that your device is not connected to a cellular network that can support regular phone connectivity. However, the good news is that even in this state, you can still make emergency calls.

Here’s an Infographic Guide on how to fix ‘SOS Only’ on iPhone:

Infographic about SOS Only

There are a few possible explanations for why your iPhone may display the “SOS Only” message: 

  1. Out of service area

If you find yourself in an area where there is no cellular coverage, such as rural areas or tunnels, your iPhone may struggle to connect to a cellular network. 

  1. Poor cellular connectivity

In some places with weak or inconsistent cellular signals, your iPhone may enter “SOS Only” mode due to the lack of a reliable connection.

iPhone 8 plus espresso


To address this issue, you can try the following solutions: 

  • Move to a different location: If you’re currently in an area with poor cellular coverage, consider relocating to a spot where you can receive a stronger signal. 
  • Reset network settings: Sometimes, network settings on your iPhone can become corrupted, leading to connectivity issues. Resetting these settings can potentially resolve the problem. 
  • Contact your service provider: If the problem persists, reach out to your cellular service provider for assistance and further troubleshooting. 
  • Remember, “SOS Only” differs from “No Service” as the former still allows you to make emergency calls, while the latter indicates a complete lack of coverage.
  • In conclusion, if your iPhone displays “SOS Only,” don’t panic. Follow the steps outlined above to troubleshoot and rectify the issue. Your ability to make emergency calls will remain intact, even in this mode.As we rely more and more on our smartphones to stay connected, a lack of cellular coverage can be a frustrating experience. Poor cellular 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you troubleshoot the issue

Step 1: Check Your Location 

If your iPhone displays “SOS Only,” try moving to a different location. If you’re indoors, try going outside or moving closer to a window. If you’re in a rural area, consider driving to a more populated location or a place with higher elevation. Sometimes, simple changes in location can help you get a stronger signal. 


Step 2: Reset Your Network Settings

If you’ve tried changing your location and you’re still seeing the “SOS Only” message, try resetting your network settings. This will delete all saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords, as well as cellular network settings, VPN and APN settings, and other network-related preferences. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Go to Settings > Tap General
  2. Scroll down and tap Reset > Tap Reset Network Settings
  3. Enter your passcode if prompted > Tap Reset Network Settings again to confirm

Note that resetting your network settings will not erase any of your data, apps, or media.

iPhone reset network


Step 3: Contact Your Cellular Service Provider 

If resetting your network settings doesn’t help, it’s time to contact your cellular service provider. They may be able to troubleshoot the issue remotely or provide you with additional suggestions for improving your cellular connectivity. If you’re experiencing poor coverage in a particular area, your provider may also be able to provide you with a signal booster or other solutions. 

Woman wearing a headset

It’s important to remember that “SOS Only” mode on your iPhone is different from “No Service” mode. While you can still make emergency calls in SOS mode, you won’t be able to make regular phone calls or access the internet. If you’re experiencing “No Service” mode, it may be a more serious issue that requires additional troubleshooting. 

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing poor cellular connectivity or “SOS Only” mode on your iPhone, don’t panic. Try changing your location, resetting your network settings, and contacting your cellular service provider for assistance. By following these steps, you can improve your chances of getting a stronger cellular signal and staying connected when you need it most.


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