What is SOS Only on iPhone: A User-Friendly Guide

What is SOS Only on iPhone: A User-Friendly Guide

In today’s fast-paced world, we rely heavily on our smartphones for communication and staying connected. So, imagine the panic when you see the “SOS Only” message displayed on your iPhone. What does it mean? Is there something wrong with your device? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this user-friendly guide, we will explain what the “SOS Only” message on your iPhone means and provide you with step-by-step instructions to resolve the issue.

Understanding the “SOS Only” Message

When you see the “SOS Only” message on your iPhone, it means that your device is currently connected to a mobile network, but it doesn’t have sufficient signal strength to make or receive calls, send messages, or use cellular data. In this situation, your iPhone will only be able to make emergency calls.

Possible Causes of “SOS Only”

There are several possible reasons why your iPhone might be showing the “SOS Only” message:

1. Weak Signal Strength: One of the most common reasons for “SOS Only” is a weak signal in your current location. This could be due to being in a remote area, being inside a building with poor reception, or experiencing network issues.

2. SIM Card Issues: Another possible cause is a problem with your SIM card. It could be a loose or damaged SIM card, or an issue with the SIM card activation.

3. Carrier Settings Update: Sometimes, updating your iPhone’s carrier settings can lead to temporary “SOS Only” messages. This can happen when you switch to a new carrier or when your existing carrier releases an update.

Resolving the “SOS Only” Issue

Now that you understand the possible causes of the “SOS Only” message, let’s discuss how you can resolve this issue:

1. Check Signal Strength: Start by checking the signal strength on your iPhone. If you are in a weak signal area, try moving to a different location to see if the signal improves.

2. Restart Your iPhone: Sometimes, a simple restart can fix the “SOS Only” issue. Press and hold the power button until the “slide to power off” slider appears. Slide it to turn off your device, and then turn it back on after a few seconds.

3. Check SIM Card: Remove and reinsert your SIM card to ensure it is properly seated in the SIM card tray. If you suspect a damaged SIM card, contact your carrier for a replacement.

4. Reset Network Settings: Go to the “Settings” app, select “General,” and then tap “Reset.” Choose “Reset Network Settings” and enter your passcode if prompted. This will reset your network settings, including Wi-Fi and cellular data settings, but it may resolve the “SOS Only” issue.

5. Update Carrier Settings: Go to the “Settings” app, select “General,” and then tap “About.” If a carrier settings update is available, you will see a prompt to update. Follow the on-screen instructions to update your carrier settings.

6. Contact Your Carrier: If none of the above steps work, contact your carrier’s customer support for further assistance. They will be able to troubleshoot the issue and provide specific guidance for your situation.


Experiencing the “SOS Only” message on your iPhone can be frustrating, but it is typically a temporary issue that can be resolved with a few simple steps. By understanding the possible causes and following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this user-friendly guide, you can quickly get your iPhone back to normal functionality. Remember, if the issue persists, don’t hesitate to reach out to your carrier for additional support. Stay connected and enjoy all the features your iPhone has to offer!


What does SOS Only mean on an iPhone?

SOS Only on an iPhone means that the device can only make emergency calls and does not have access to a cellular network for regular use.

Why does my iPhone show SOS Only?

Your iPhone may show SOS Only if it is not connected to a cellular network or if it is in a location with weak or no network coverage.

How can I fix the SOS Only issue on my iPhone?

To fix the SOS Only issue on your iPhone, you can try the following steps:
1. Check if you are in an area with network coverage.
2. Restart your iPhone.
3. Insert your SIM card properly or try using a different SIM card.
4. Check if your iPhone has any pending carrier settings updates.
5. Reset your network settings.

Is SOS Only mode the same as airplane mode?

No, SOS Only mode is not the same as airplane mode. Airplane mode disables all wireless functions on the device, while SOS Only mode allows emergency calls to be made.

Can I use my iPhone for anything other than emergency calls in SOS Only mode?

No, in SOS Only mode, your iPhone can only be used to make emergency calls and does not have access to the regular functions or features.

What should I do if my iPhone is stuck in SOS Only mode?

If your iPhone is stuck in SOS Only mode, you can try the following solutions:
1. Restart your iPhone.
2. Check for any available software updates and install them.
3. Remove and reinsert your SIM card.
4. Contact your cellular service provider for assistance.

How can I prevent my iPhone from going into SOS Only mode?

To prevent your iPhone from going into SOS Only mode, ensure that you are in an area with good network coverage and keep your cellular service active and up to date.

Does SOS Only mode drain the battery faster?

No, SOS Only mode itself does not drain the battery faster. However, if your iPhone is constantly searching for a network signal, it may consume more battery power.

Will my iPhone automatically exit SOS Only mode once it regains network coverage?

Yes, once your iPhone regains network coverage, it should automatically exit SOS Only mode and allow regular usage.

Can I disable SOS Only mode on my iPhone?

No, you cannot disable SOS Only mode on your iPhone. It is a feature designed to prioritize emergency calls for situations when regular network connectivity is not available.