What does SOS Only mean on iPhone & How to Fix it?

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Are you seeing the SOS text written in the status bar’s top-right corner of your iPhone? You might be wondering “why is it there?”, “what’s wrong with your phone?” Not to worry, you are at the right place. In this article, we’re gonna discuss what is this issue, why is this happening, and how can you fix this.

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What does it Mean when your iPhone says SOS only?

The SOS-only text or SOS icon usually appears in the top-right corner of your iPhone if you have iOS 16 installed and in the top-left corner if an older version is installed. This indicates that there is some problem with your cellular network. And hence, you cannot make or receive normal phone calls, but you’ll still be able able to make emergency calls.

There could be many reasons your phone is showing the SOS icon.

  • Poor Connectivity: If your iPhone is in a poor network coverage area, means your phone isn’t receiving cellular signals properly, this could lead the SOS icon to appear.
  • Roaming: The SOS icon could also appear if your SIM card doesn’t have roaming permission allowed.
  • other reasons: Other reasons like your SIM card is not inserted properly or your SIM card being damaged can also make the SOS icon appear.

In short, the SOS icon means your phone is not able to establish a cellular connection with your carrier network and hence can only make emergency calls.

How to get rid of SOS only on iPhone?

If your iPhone shows SOS-only or SOS icon in the status bar, here are the methods given below you can try to turn it off.

Fix 1: Restart your iPhone

Sometimes, the SOS icon could appear due to some temporary software bug. To fix it, simply restart your iPhone. To restart your iPhone, press and hold the Power button until you see the Power slider. swipe the slider towards the right side and your iPhone will turn off. Wait for a few seconds and then turn on your iPhone again by pressing the Power button.

power off iphone

Fix 2: Check your network

As I mentioned before, the poor network coverage area is one of the main reasons for the SOS icon to show. So, try changing your location. Move to a different room or move to a new area where there is good network coverage.

Fix 3: Re-Insert the SIM card

If you are already in a good network area then you must remove your physical SIM card from your device and clean it gently with a dry cloth and insert it back into your iPhone.

Fix 4: On/Off your Mobile data

Go to Settings > Mobile data (or Cellular data). Turn off the toggle next to Mobile data (or Cellular data). Wait for a few sounds and then turn it back on.

enable mobile data iphone

Fix 5: Enable Data Roaming

Make sure that data roaming is enabled on your iPhone if you are traveling in a different state or country than the original place where your SIM was issued. Because as I mentioned earlier, the SOS icon could also show if your SIM doesn’t have roaming privileges.

To enable Data Roaming on your iPhone go to Settings > Mobile data (Cellular data) > Mobile data (Cellular data) options > Enable Data Roaming.

enable data roaming iphone

Fix 6. Right Network Selection

If you have accidentally selected or switched to the wrong network on your iPhone. For example, you have a SIM card “XYZ” and you have selected the network for “ABC”.That could be the reason for the SOS icon to show. The best way to fix the problem is to set network selection to Automatic. Here’s how you can do it:

Go to Settings > Mobile data(Cellular Data) > Network selection. Enable the toggle next to Automatic. If it’s already on then turn it off and enable it again.

automatic network seection iphone

Fix 7: Enable LTE

Some carriers like AT&T are slowly removing older networks such as 3G. If you have selected 3G in Voice & data option, this could also make the SOS icon show.

You just need to switch to the LTE option to turn it off. Go to Settings > Cellular data > Cellular data options > Voice & data and choose LTE.

Fix 8: Update Your iPhone’s Software

You should always update iOS to the latest version so that it can fix the software issues if there are any. To check if the update is available, go to Settings > General > About. Make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. If there is an update available, install it on your iPhone.

Update software on your iPhone

Fix 9: Reset Network Settings

If any of the fixes mentioned above doesn’t for you then lastly, you should reset the network settings on your iPhone. It will restore all the network settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc., to their default values or you can say it will factory reset your network settings.

Go to Settings > General > Transfer or reset iPhone. Then, go to Reset > Reset network settings.

reset network settings
reset network settings

Fix 10: Contact your Network Provider

If nothing works, then the last option you have left is to contact your network provider and explain your issue to them. They may help you with the same.

Bottom Line

This is it, here comes the end of this fixing guide, I hope this article has cleared all your doubts about the “SOS Only on iPhone” and also how you can fix it. In this article, we have discussed 9 major methods of how you can fix this issue. and lastly, if no method works for you then you should contact your network provider and explain your issue to them.

Also, if this article was helpful to you in any way then please consider sharing it with the needy ones in your circle and comment below on which one of the aforementioned methods worked for you.

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1 Comment

  1. edward Anthony kofol

    helpful, but I’m going w/option 9, thanks

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