Why Does My iPhone Say SOS? A Guide to Understanding and Fixing the Emergency Call Issue

Why Does My iPhone Say SOS? A Guide to Understanding and Fixing the Emergency Call Issue

Why Does My iPhone Say SOS? A Guide to Understanding and Fixing the Emergency Call Issue

We have all experienced moments of panic when our iPhone displays the SOS message. It can be quite alarming and leave us wondering if there is a real emergency. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the reasons behind this issue and provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to fix it.

Understanding the SOS Message

The SOS message on your iPhone usually appears when you press the side button on your device five times. It is a feature designed to quickly call emergency services in case of an emergency. However, many users have reported seeing this message without intentionally activating it. So why does your iPhone say SOS when you didn’t trigger it?

Possible Causes of the SOS Message

1. Accidental Side Button Activation: One common reason for the SOS message is accidentally pressing the side button multiple times. This can happen if your iPhone is in your pocket or bag, leading to unintended emergency calls.

2. Misconfigured Emergency SOS Settings: Another reason could be misconfigured settings in the Emergency SOS feature. Check your settings to ensure that the “Auto Call” option is disabled, as this can trigger emergency calls without confirmation.

3. Software Glitches: Occasionally, software glitches or bugs can cause your iPhone to display the SOS message spontaneously. These issues can usually be resolved by restarting your device or updating to the latest iOS version.

How to Fix the SOS Issue

Here are some steps you can take to resolve the SOS message problem:

  1. Check Side Button: Ensure that your side button is not stuck or malfunctioning. Clean any dirt or debris that may be causing it to register multiple presses.
  2. Review Emergency SOS Settings: Go to your iPhone’s settings and navigate to “Emergency SOS.” Make sure that the “Auto Call” feature is turned off. You can also disable the “Call with Side Button” option to prevent accidental activation.
  3. Restart Your iPhone: Restarting your device can help resolve temporary software glitches. Press and hold the power button (or the side button on newer iPhones) until the slider appears. Slide it across to turn off your device, then wait a few seconds before turning it back on.
  4. Update iOS: Make sure your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. Software updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can resolve issues like the SOS message problem.
  5. Reset All Settings: If none of the above steps work, you can try resetting all settings on your iPhone. Go to “Settings,” then “General,” and select “Reset.” Choose the “Reset All Settings” option. Please note that this will not erase your data, but it will revert all settings to their default values.

Preventing Future SOS Messages

To avoid further occurrences of the SOS message on your iPhone, consider taking these precautions:

  • Use a Protective Case: Using a sturdy protective case can help prevent accidental button presses in your pocket or bag.
  • Adjust Button Sensitivity: If accidental side button activation is a persistent issue, you can customize the button’s sensitivity in the Accessibility settings. This will make it less prone to registering unintentional presses.
  • Double-Check Emergency SOS Settings: Regularly review your Emergency SOS settings to ensure they are configured correctly and not set to automatically call emergency services.
  • Stay Updated: Keep your iPhone’s software up to date by installing the latest iOS updates. These updates often include bug fixes and security patches that can prevent unexpected issues.

By following the instructions provided in this guide, you should be able to understand why your iPhone says SOS and fix the emergency call issue. Remember to double-check your settings and take the necessary precautions to prevent future occurrences. If the problem persists, don’t hesitate to reach out to Apple Support or visit an authorized service center for further assistance.


1. Why does my iPhone say SOS?

SOS appears on your iPhone when the Emergency SOS feature is triggered either manually or due to certain conditions such as holding down the side button and volume button simultaneously or detecting a fall.

2. How can I turn off the Emergency SOS feature?

To turn off the Emergency SOS feature on your iPhone, go to “Settings,” then “Emergency SOS,” and disable “Auto Call” or toggle off the “Call with Side Button” option.

3. What should I do if I accidentally trigger the Emergency SOS feature?

If you accidentally trigger the Emergency SOS feature, do not cancel the call immediately. Instead, wait for the automatic countdown timer to end, and if you have not already done so, follow the on-screen instructions to cancel the call and avoid unnecessary emergency services dispatch.

4. How can I disable the SOS countdown sound on my iPhone?

To disable the SOS countdown sound on your iPhone, go to “Settings,” then “Sounds & Haptics,” and toggle off the “Ringer and Alerts” option for “Emergency Bypass.”

5. Why does my iPhone keep calling emergency services repeatedly?

If your iPhone keeps calling emergency services repeatedly, ensure that you have not accidentally enabled the “Call with Side Button” option in the Emergency SOS settings. Additionally, check if you have any faulty buttons or accidental button presses triggering the feature.

6. Can I disable the Emergency SOS option completely?

While you cannot disable the Emergency SOS option completely, you can disable the “Call with Side Button” option in the Emergency SOS settings to prevent accidental triggers.

7. How can I configure my iPhone’s Emergency SOS settings?

To configure your iPhone’s Emergency SOS settings, go to “Settings,” then “Emergency SOS.” From there, you can enable or disable “Auto Call,” set up emergency contacts, and toggle the “Call with Side Button” option.

8. How can I add emergency contacts to my iPhone for SOS calls?

To add emergency contacts to your iPhone for SOS calls, go to the Health app, tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner, select “Medical ID,” and then select “Edit.” Scroll down to the “Emergency Contacts” section and tap on the “+” button to add contacts.

9. Why does my iPhone display the SOS screen after a fall or accident?

If your iPhone detects a fall or accident, it utilizes the built-in sensors to determine if you might require emergency assistance. In such cases, it may display the SOS screen as a precautionary measure.

10. Can I customize the SOS message sent to emergency contacts?

Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to customize the SOS message sent to emergency contacts. The message includes your current location and a standard message indicating that you have called emergency services using Emergency SOS.