Why Does My Phone Display 'SOS Only' on Top? A Troubleshooting Guide

Why Does My Phone Display ‘SOS Only’ on Top? A Troubleshooting Guide

Why Does My Phone Display ‘SOS Only’ on Top? A Troubleshooting Guide

Understanding the ‘SOS Only’ Message

It can be frustrating to see your phone display ‘SOS Only’ instead of the usual network signal bars. This message indicates that your phone is currently not connected to a cellular network and can only make emergency calls. But why does this happen? Let’s dive into the possible reasons and troubleshooting steps to resolve it.

Possible Causes of ‘SOS Only’ Message

1. Service Provider Issues:

If you see the ‘SOS Only’ message, it could be due to temporary network problems or maintenance work carried out by your service provider. In such cases, the issue is usually resolved within a short period of time.

2. SIM Card Issues:

A faulty or improperly inserted SIM card can also cause your phone to display ‘SOS Only.’ Ensure that your SIM card is correctly inserted and try restarting your phone to see if the issue is resolved.

3. Network Coverage:

If you are in an area with poor network coverage or in a remote location, your phone may struggle to connect to the network, resulting in the ‘SOS Only’ message. Moving to a different location or reaching an area with better coverage should resolve this issue.

4. Phone Software Update:

Occasionally, after a software update, some phones may experience compatibility issues with the network, resulting in the ‘SOS Only’ message. Updating your phone’s software to the latest version can often fix this problem.

Troubleshooting Steps

1. Check Signal Strength:

Ensure that your phone has a strong network signal. If the signal is weak, try moving to a different location or going outside to improve connectivity.

2. Restart Your Phone:

Restarting your phone can often resolve temporary network issues and may fix the ‘SOS Only’ message.

3. Check SIM Card:

Remove your SIM card and carefully reinsert it. Ensure that it is inserted correctly and securely. If the SIM card appears damaged or faulty, consider replacing it with a new one.

4. Update Phone Software:

Check for available software updates for your phone and install them. This can often address any compatibility issues with the network.

5. Contact Your Service Provider:

If none of the above steps resolve the issue, contact your service provider for assistance. They can check for any network outages or specific account-related issues that may be causing the ‘SOS Only’ message.


Seeing your phone display ‘SOS Only’ can be worrisome, but understanding the possible causes and following the troubleshooting steps can help you resolve the issue. Remember to check your signal strength, restart your phone, and ensure your SIM card is properly inserted. If the problem persists, consider updating your phone’s software or contacting your service provider for further assistance. By following these steps, you can get your phone back to its normal functioning and regain access to the cellular network.


1. Why is my phone displaying ‘SOS Only’ on top?

The ‘SOS Only’ message on your phone’s display typically means that your phone is unable to connect to a regular mobile network and is currently on an emergency network instead.

2. What could be the possible reasons for my phone to show ‘SOS Only’?

There can be several reasons for your phone displaying the ‘SOS Only’ message, including poor network coverage, SIM card issues, or your phone being locked to a specific network.

3. How can I troubleshoot network coverage issues causing the ‘SOS Only’ message?

To troubleshoot network coverage issues, try moving to a different location or area to see if the signal improves. Also, check if there are any network outages in your area by contacting your service provider.

4. What should I do if my SIM card is causing the ‘SOS Only’ display?

If your SIM card is causing the ‘SOS Only’ message, try removing the SIM card from your phone and then reinserting it properly. Make sure the SIM card is clean and properly activated by your service provider.

5. How can I check if my phone is locked to a specific network?

To check if your phone is locked to a specific network, try inserting a SIM card from a different network provider. If your phone displays the ‘SOS Only’ message even with a different SIM card, it may indicate a network lock issue.

6. What are the steps to unlock my phone from a specific network?

To unlock your phone from a specific network, you need to contact your current network provider and request an unlocking code. Follow the instructions provided by your service provider to unlock your phone.

7. Can software issues cause the ‘SOS Only’ message on my phone?

Yes, software issues can also cause the ‘SOS Only’ message on your phone. Make sure your phone’s software is up to date and consider performing a factory reset if the issue persists.

8. How can I perform a factory reset on my phone?

To perform a factory reset, go to the settings menu on your phone, select ‘System’ or ‘General Management’, and look for the ‘Reset’ or ‘Backup & Reset’ option. Make sure to backup your important data before carrying out the factory reset.

9. Is there a possibility of a hardware issue causing the ‘SOS Only’ message?

Yes, a hardware issue such as a faulty SIM card slot or antenna can also cause your phone to display the ‘SOS Only’ message. In such cases, it is recommended to visit a professional technician for further assistance.

10. What should I do if none of the troubleshooting steps resolve the ‘SOS Only’ issue?

If none of the troubleshooting steps resolve the ‘SOS Only’ issue, it is advisable to contact your service provider or visit a authorized service center for further assistance. They will be able to diagnose and address any underlying problems with your phone.