Why Does My iPhone Say SOS Only?

If you own an iPhone and find yourself in a situation where your device displays “SOS Only,” it can be frustrating and worrisome. This article will delve into the reasons behind this issue and provide you with troubleshooting steps to resolve it. So, let’s dive in and understand why your iPhone says “SOS Only” and how you can fix it.


Modern smartphones, including iPhones, provide users with a wide range of features and functionalities. One such feature is the SOS functionality, which allows you to make emergency calls even when your iPhone is locked. However, if your device constantly displays “SOS Only” instead of showing regular network signal bars, it indicates a problem that needs attention.

Understanding the SOS Feature on iPhone

Before we delve into the reasons behind your iPhone showing “SOS Only,” let’s take a moment to understand the SOS feature. When you encounter an emergency situation, you can quickly access the emergency dialer on your iPhone by pressing the power button five times in rapid succession. This feature is designed to assist you in reaching emergency services swiftly.

Reasons Why Your iPhone May Show “SOS Only”

Several factors can contribute to your iPhone displaying “SOS Only.” Understanding these reasons will help you troubleshoot the issue effectively. Let’s explore the common culprits:

SIM Card Issues

One of the most common causes of the “SOS Only” problem is a faulty or improperly inserted SIM card. Your SIM card connects your device to your carrier’s network, allowing it to send and receive signals. A loose, damaged, or incorrectly inserted SIM card can result in a loss of network connection.

Network Coverage Problems

In some cases, your iPhone may display “SOS Only” due to inadequate network coverage in your area. This issue can occur if you are in a remote location or an area with weak cellular signals. Network coverage problems can prevent your device from establishing a stable connection to your carrier’s network.

Carrier Restrictions

Certain carriers may impose restrictions on your iPhone’s network access. These restrictions can limit your device’s connectivity to their network or specific regions. If you have recently switched carriers or are using a locked iPhone, you may encounter the “SOS Only” issue due to such limitations.

Software Glitches

Software glitches or bugs within the iOS operating system can also lead to the “SOS Only” problem. These glitches may interfere with your iPhone’s ability to connect to the network properly. It is not uncommon for new iOS updates or software installations to introduce unexpected issues that can result in network connectivity problems.

SOS Calls: A Lifeline in Emergencies

Troubleshooting Steps to Fix “SOS Only” Issue

If you are experiencing the “SOS Only” problem on your iPhone, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve it. Follow these steps one by one to increase your chances of success

in resolving the issue:

  1. Check SIM Card: Start by ensuring that your SIM card is properly inserted in your iPhone. Remove the SIM card, clean it gently with a soft cloth, and reinsert it securely into the SIM card slot. Make sure it is not damaged or worn out.
  2. Verify Network Settings: Go to the “Settings” app on your iPhone and navigate to “Cellular” or “Mobile Data” settings. Check if the “Airplane Mode” is turned off and that the “Cellular Data” option is enabled. You can also try toggling the “Roaming” option if you are in a different region.
  3. Restart Your iPhone: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve temporary glitches. Press and hold the power button on your iPhone until the slider appears. Slide it to power off your device, wait for a few seconds, and then press the power button again to turn it back on.
  4. Update iOS Software: Keeping your iOS software up to date is crucial for optimal performance. Go to “Settings” > “General” > “Software Update” to check if there are any available updates. If an update is available, download and install it on your iPhone.
  5. Reset Network Settings: Resetting your network settings can often fix connectivity issues. Go to “Settings” > “General” > “Reset” and choose “Reset Network Settings.” Keep in mind that this will erase your saved Wi-Fi passwords, so make sure to note them down before proceeding.
  6. Contact Your Carrier: If the “SOS Only” problem persists, it’s advisable to get in touch with your carrier’s customer support. They can check for any network outages or account-related issues that might be causing the problem. They may also assist you in troubleshooting further steps specific to your carrier.

Preventive Measures to Avoid “SOS Only” Problem

While it’s challenging to predict and prevent every network connectivity issue, there are some preventive measures you can take to minimize the chances of encountering the “SOS Only” problem:

  • Keep Your iOS Updated: Regularly update your iPhone’s software to the latest version provided by Apple. These updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can enhance network connectivity.
  • Ensure a Stable Network Connection: When using your iPhone, try to be within range of a reliable Wi-Fi network or a strong cellular signal. This helps maintain a stable network connection and reduces the likelihood of experiencing network-related problems.
  • Regularly Check SIM Card Status: Periodically check your SIM card to ensure it is clean, undamaged, and properly inserted. If you notice any issues with the SIM card, contact your carrier for a replacement.
  • Use a Reliable Carrier: Choose a reputable carrier that offers good network coverage in your area. Research different carriers and their coverage maps before making a decision. Opting for a reliable carrier can significantly reduce the chances of encountering the “SOS Only” problem.


Encountering the “SOS Only” issue on your iPhone can be frustrating, but it’s usually solvable. By understanding the possible causes and following the troubleshooting steps provided, you can resolve the problem and regain normal network connectivity. Remember to keep your iOS software up to date and take preventive measures to minimize future occurrences of the “SOS Only” problem.


  1. Why does my iPhone say “SOS Only”? The “SOS Only” message on your iPhone typically indicates a network connectivity issue. It can be due to SIM card problems, network coverage issues, carrier restrictions, or software glitches.

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