What does SOS mean on iPhone?

What does SOS mean on iPhone?


Have you ever seen your iPhone display the message “SOS only” and wondered what SOS means on your iPhone? “SOS only” mode is a feature on iPhones that restricts cellular network activity and allows the phone to connect only to emergency services. This feature is a lifesaver when making an emergency call, but what does “SOS” mean on an iPhone?

“SOS” is an abbreviation for “Save Our Souls” or “Save Our Ship” and is a universal distress signal recognized by emergency services worldwide. While “SOS only” mode can be helpful, being stuck in this mode can cause frustration and inconvenience. You may experience an inability to make or receive calls or texts, no mobile data connectivity, and a phone display showing “No Service” or “Searching” instead of signal bars.

In this article, we’ll discuss the causes and symptoms of an iPhone’s “SOS only” mode issue and provide tips on how to fix it. So, if you’re wondering why your phone is on “SOS only” or how to remove the “SOS on iPhone” message, keep reading!

Why is my phone on “SOS only”?

Why is my phone on “SOS only”?

When an iPhone gets stuck in “SOS only” mode, it can be frustrating and even dangerous in certain situations. There are several possible causes of this issue, which we will discuss below.

  • Weak Cellular Signal or Network Connectivity Issues:

One of the most common causes of “SOS only” mode is a weak cellular signal or network connectivity issues. This can occur if you are in an area with poor coverage or if there is a temporary outage or disruption to the network.

  • Outdated Carrier Settings or Software:

Another possible cause of the “SOS only” mode issue is outdated carrier settings or software. Your iPhone relies on carrier settings to communicate with the cellular network, and if these settings need to be updated, it can cause connection problems.

  • SIM Card Issues or Improper Installation:

If your iPhone’s SIM card is damaged or not properly installed, it can cause “SOS only” mode to occur. Ensure your SIM card is properly inserted, and the tray is free of debris or damage.

  • Hardware Damage or Malfunction:

Finally, hardware damage or malfunction can also cause the “SOS only” mode issue. This can occur if your iPhone is dropped or subjected to physical damage or an issue with the cellular antenna or other internal hardware components.

Symptoms of “SOS only” mode issue

Symptoms of SOS only mode issue.

When your iPhone has stuck in “SOS only” mode, you may experience several symptoms that can be frustrating and limit your phone’s functionality. Below are some of the most common symptoms of the “SOS only” mode issue.

Inability to Make or Receive Calls or Texts

One of the main symptoms of “SOS only” mode is the inability to make or receive calls or texts. This can occur even if you have a strong signal and good network coverage and may persist even after restarting your phone.

No Mobile Data Connectivity

Another common symptom of “SOS only” mode is the lack of mobile data connectivity. This means you cannot use the Internet, send or receive emails, or use apps that require an Internet connection.

Phone Displays “No Service” or “Searching” Instead of Signal Bars

When your iPhone is in “SOS only” mode, it may display “No Service” or “Searching” instead of signal bars. Your phone can only make emergency calls while away from the cellular network.

Emergency Calls Only

When your phone can only make emergency calls, “SOS only” mode is the worst. After fixing the issue, you can use your phone usually.

How to fix “SOS Only” issues?

Here are some potential technical settings you can try adjusting:

Reset Network Settings

Reset Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings can sometimes help resolve the “SOS only” mode issue. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings to do this. This will erase all your saved Wi-Fi passwords, Bluetooth connections, and VPN settings, so be sure to have this information before resetting.

Disable LTE

Disable LTE

If your iPhone is stuck in “SOS only” mode, disable LTE in the Cellular settings. This can force your phone to connect to the 3G or 2G network, which may have better coverage in your area. To do this, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Enable LTE and select “Data Only” or “Off.”

Change Carrier Settings

Change Carrier Settings

Changing your iPhone’s carrier settings can sometimes help resolve the “SOS only” mode issue. To do this, go to Settings > General > About and wait for a prompt to update carrier settings. Alternatively, contact your carrier to ensure your account is in good standing and request updated settings if necessary.

Factory Reset

Factory Reset

If none of the above solutions works, a last resort option is to perform a factory reset on your iPhone. This will erase all your data and settings, so back up your phone before proceeding. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Update iOS

Update iOS

Keeping your iPhone’s iOS software up-to-date can help fix software bugs and improve network connectivity. To check for updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Enable Airplane Mode

Enabling Airplane mode for a few seconds and then disabling it can help reset your iPhone’s network settings and may help resolve the “SOS only” mode issue. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center, then tap the Airplane icon.

Contact Your Carrier

Contact Your Carrier

If you continue to experience “SOS only” mode, it may be due to an issue with your carrier’s network. Contact your carrier’s customer support to report the issue and get assistance with troubleshooting.

Check Your SIM Card

If your SIM card is fixed or put in correctly, it can be easy to connect to the network. Remove your SIM card, clean it with a soft cloth, and reinsert it. If you have another SIM card, try inserting it to see if that resolves the issue.

Restore iPhone

If all else fails, you can “Restore iPhone”  restore your iPhone to its original factory settings. This will erase all data and settings, so back up your iPhone first. To do this, connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. Select your iPhone, click the button, and follow the prompts.


Can you turn off SOS?

Yes, you can turn off the SOS feature on your iPhone. To do so, go to the “Settings” app, select “Emergency SOS” and toggle off the “Call with Side Button” and “Auto Call” options. This will disable the feature of calling emergency services by pressing the side button repeatedly or holding the side button and volume button together. Even if the feature is turned off, you can still contact 911 or your local emergency number from your iPhone.

Does SOS automatically call the police?

When you activate SOS on your iPhone, it does not automatically call the police. Instead, it will attempt to call your local emergency services number based on your location. This could be the police, ambulance, or fire department, depending on your location and the emergency services available.

In addition to calling emergency services, the SOS feature on iPhone will also send a message to your emergency contacts with your current location information. This can be useful for letting your loved ones know you are in an emergency and where you are.

It’s important to remember that you should only use the SOS button on your iPhone in genuine emergencies. False alarms could divert resources from real emergencies and cause unnecessary delays for those needing urgent help.

What happens if you click the power button 3 times?

On an iPhone, clicking the power button three times quickly does not trigger the SOS feature. Instead, it activates a different feature called “Accessibility Shortcut.” This feature lets users quickly access certain accessibility features, such as VoiceOver or Magnifier, by triple-clicking the power button.

Hold the power button and one volume button until the “Emergency SOS” slider displays on your iPhone to activate the SOS feature. You can then slide the slider to the right to make an emergency call. Alternatively, you can also press the power button five times quickly to initiate the same feature.

What does SOS mean on iPhone?

In an iPhone, “SOS” stands for “Save Our Souls” or “Save Our Ship”. It is a feature that allows the user to quickly and easily call for emergency assistance by pressing the side button five times in rapid succession. This will initiate a call to the local emergency services number in the user’s region. Additionally, the iPhone will also send a message with the user’s location information to the user’s emergency contacts.


In conclusion, an iPhone’s “SOS only” mode can be caused by a weak cellular signal, outdated carrier settings or software, SIM card issues, or hardware damage. Symptoms of this issue include the inability to make or receive calls, no mobile data connectivity, and emergency calls only.

Fortunately, several options exist to fix this issue, including checking for a cellular signal, updating carrier settings and iOS software, reinserting or replacing SIM cards, and seeking hardware repairs or replacement.

It is important to promptly address the “SOS only” mode issue, as it can cause frustration and inconvenience. We encourage readers to seek professional assistance from our ThoughtsGate Expert Technical professionals to help resolve the issue quickly and effectively.

Remember, with the right solutions and assistance; you can resolve the “SOS only” mode issue and get back to using your iPhone normally.