iPhone ‘SOS Only’: What It Means and How to Fix It

Seeing only SOS at the top of your iPhone’s screen without your carrier name can be alarming. But there is no need to panic and fixing the SOS or SOS Only message is simple.

The SOS icon at the top of your iPhone’s screen means you can still call emergency services but not make any more calls or use a data connection. That’s the bad news. The good news is that when you see “SOS only,” you can call emergency services, such as 911 in the United States.

Why Does Your iPhone Say “SOS Only”?

The most common reason why your iPhone says “SOS” or “SOS Only” is because there is no signal from your wireless carrier where you are. This can happen if you are too far from your wireless carrier’s base stations or if you are in a building blocking your carrier’s wireless signals.

When you only see SOS or SOS on your iPhone, it means that another wireless provider’s network is available for emergency calls. When another carrier’s wireless network in your location has a stronger signal, this will be displayed instead of the four dots indicating no signal.

All wireless carriers sometimes have downtime due to storms, network errors, and other glitches. However, if your carrier’s network is not working near you, you may see the SOS icon instead of the logo until the issue is resolved.

Sometimes your iPhone can be the source of the problem and you can fix it without much trouble. If your iPhone displays the SOS message, but other iPhones on the same network do not, this is probably the case.

How to Fix “SOS Only” on Your iPhone


If you’re in an area that usually has good wireless coverage, but you’re seeing the “SOS only” message, you may be able to fix the problem by resetting your wireless connection.

  1. Swipe down from the top right of your iPhone’s screen.
  2. Tap the green icon and it will turn gray.
  3. Wait a few seconds and tap the icon to turn it green again.

If that doesn’t work, you can try restarting your iPhone to get rid of the SOS message. To restart your iPhone simply:

  1. Press and hold one of the volume buttons and the right side button at the same time
  2. Swipe the power icon from left to right.
  3. Wait a few seconds after your iPhone screen turns black.
  4. Press the button on the right side of your iPhone to turn it back on.
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If any of these methods don’t work, you may need to try going outside to look for a better signal. If you’re already outside, heading towards main roads or more congested areas, the best thing you can do is get a better signal.

Moyens Staff
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