What does SOS only mean on iPhone and 11 ways to fix It

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“SOS Only” on your iPhone indicates that you’re in an area where your mobile carrier’s signal is not available. In this situation, you won’t be able to make regular phone calls, send text messages, or access the internet as usual. Your iPhone can only make emergency calls, such as dialing 911.

To resolve this issue, you can:

  1. Move to an area with better signal coverage from your carrier.
  2. Toggle the airplane mode on and off in your iPhone’s settings.
  3. Restart your iPhone to re-establish a connection with your carrier.

Seeing “SOS Only” at the top of your iPhone screen means you might encounter difficulties with making calls, sending texts, or using the internet. These steps can help you return your phone to normal functionality.

Why does my iPhone say “SOS Only”?

When your iPhone shows the “SOS Only” message, it can be due to several reasons:

  1. Network Coverage: If you’re in an area with weak or no network signal, your iPhone may display “SOS Only.”
  2. Carrier Issues: Sometimes, your carrier might have network problems or server issues, leading to the “SOS Only” message.
  3. SIM Card Problems: Incorrectly inserted or damaged SIM cards can trigger the “SOS Only” message on your iPhone.
  4. iOS Updates: Occasionally, updating your iPhone’s operating system (iOS) can cause temporary network connectivity problems, resulting in the “SOS Only” message.
  5. Airplane Mode: If you’ve enabled Airplane Mode and forget to turn it off, your iPhone won’t connect to the cellular network, leading to the “SOS Only” message.

Understanding these reasons, you can now explore troubleshooting steps to resolve the “SOS Only” issue on your iPhone.

How to fix “SOS Only” on an iPhone

If your iPhone displays “SOS Only,” it means you’re out of your carrier’s network range. To address this:

1. Check your network coverage

When your iPhone shows the “SOS Only” message, it means there might be no signal in your current area. To resolve this, check your network coverage. If you’re in a place with weak or no signal, simply wait until you’re in an area with better coverage.

2. Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone is a helpful solution for addressing the “SOS Only” problem. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Power button (typically found on the side or top of your iPhone) until you see the “Slide to Power Off” option on the screen.
  2. Slide the slider to turn off your iPhone.
  3. After a few seconds, press and hold the Power button again to turn your iPhone back on.

This simple process can resolve connectivity issues and restore normal network operation on your device.

3. Move closer to your carrier’s network

To resolve the “SOS Only” signal issue on your phone, another great solution is to move closer to an area where your carrier’s network coverage is stronger. This is because “SOS Only” is a safety feature, and the only way to regain normal signal functionality is to be in an area with better network reception from your carrier.

4. Remove and reinsert the SIM card

When your iPhone shows the “SOS Only” message, it can happen if your SIM card is not inserted correctly or if it’s damaged. To fix this, take out the SIM card and then put it back in, making sure it’s securely connected. This can help restore your phone’s network connection.

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5. Consider Dual-SIM

If you often see an “SOS only” message on your iPhone, you should think about using the dual-SIM feature. This means getting a second mobile plan from a different carrier, which can improve your phone’s signal and coverage in certain situations.

6. Check for carrier settings update

A carrier settings update is a small software update for your iPhone that helps it connect to your mobile carrier’s network more effectively. To check for and install a carrier settings update, follow these steps:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap on “General.”
  3. Select “About.”
  4. If there’s a Carrier Settings Update available, you will see a notification prompting you to download and install it. If not, you won’t see this notification.
  5. If there’s an update, tap “Update” or “Install” to download and install it. Your iPhone may restart during this process.

This update is essential for ensuring your iPhone works correctly on your carrier’s network, so it’s a good idea to check for it from time to time, especially when you encounter network-related issues.

7. Turn off Airplane Mode

“Airplane mode” on your iPhone disables its wireless communication features, including cellular network connectivity. To turn off airplane mode, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen to open the Control Center.
  2. Look for the Airplane icon, which resembles an airplane, and tap it. This action will disable airplane mode, allowing your iPhone to reconnect to the cellular network and resume normal wireless communication.

8. Disable data roaming

Disabling data roaming is the action of turning off the capability on your mobile device to connect to other cellular networks when you are not within your usual network coverage area. This is important because using data roaming can result in high charges. To disable data roaming, follow these steps:

  1. Open your device’s Settings.
  2. Select the ‘Cellular’ or ‘Mobile Data’ option.
  3. Look for ‘Data Roaming’ within the Cellular settings.
  4. Toggle the ‘Data Roaming’ switch to the ‘Off’ position.

By doing this, you prevent your device from automatically connecting to other networks when you’re traveling or in areas with weak signals, helping you avoid unexpected charges.

9. Reset network settings

“Reset Network Settings” is a function on your device that wipes out all the configurations related to your network connections. This includes things like Wi-Fi passwords and settings, as well as VPN configurations. When you use this option, your device reverts these settings back to their original or default state. To do this on most devices, you usually navigate to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Reset,” and finally select “Reset Network Settings.”

10. Update your iPhone’s software

Updating your iPhone’s software is important because it can fix bugs that may be causing network problems. To do this:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap “General.”
  3. Select “Software Update.”
  4. If there’s a new update, tap “Download and Install.”

Installing the update can improve your iPhone’s performance and address network connection issues.

11. Contact your carrier

If you’ve tried all the solutions above and still have a problem, get in touch with your mobile phone service provider (carrier). They will assist you in identifying and resolving the issue you’re experiencing with your phone or service.

12. Restore your iPhone

“Restoring your iPhone means returning it to its original settings as if it just came out of the box. This action deletes all your data, apps, and settings. To do this, go to ‘Settings,’ then ‘General,’ ‘Reset,’ and select ‘Erase All Content and Settings.’ Remember to back up your data before doing this, as you’ll lose everything on your iPhone.”

The bottom line

In conclusion, if your iPhone shows “SOS Only,” indicating a loss of network connectivity, it can be frustrating. To resolve this issue, you can follow the twelve methods mentioned above. These steps should help you identify and rectify the problem, ultimately restoring your iPhone’s network connection.