SOS on iPhone: What it signifies and how to resolve it

SOS on iPhone

If you see “SOS on iPhone” or “SOS Only” on your iPhone, don’t panic. It’s not an accidental emergency alert. Instead, it tells you that your iPhone isn’t connected to a regular cellular network. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good thing.

But here is the silver lining: you can still make emergency calls with “SOS” or “SOS Only” on your iPhone. This means you can reach out to 911 or the equivalent in your area if you need urgent help.


Let’s clear up common confusion. “SOS” and “SOS Only” are different from “No Service.” When your iPhone shows “SOS,” you can make emergency calls. But if it says “No Service,” that means there’s absolutely no signal available, not even for emergencies. Keep an eye out for “SOS” if you ever find yourself in a tough spot with your mobile.

We are discussing the SOS signal that pops up in the top status bar of your iPhone. Where you usually see your cellular connection.

SOS signal

If you are curious about how to activate an SOS alert on your cell phone, don’t worry; we have a guide for that. In this article, our focus is on understanding what that SOS symbol in your iPhone’s status bar means and how you can go about fixing it.

What does SOS on an iPhone mean?

The SOS icon in your iPhone’s status bar shows that you no longer have a proper cellular connection and can only make an SOS call or text to emergency personnel. If you exit SOS service on an iPhone 13 or earlier, it will change to “No service.” Because the iPhone 14 features satellite SOS functionality. You should not receive that message unless you are spelunking or deep-sea diving.

How to Fix SOS on Your iPhone?

Encountering the SOS signal on your iPhone can be frustrating, especially when you know you should have a connection. In this guide, we’ll explore steps to resolve this issue.

Check Your Signal Strength

  • Return to a Stronger Service Area: If possible, move to an area with better network coverage to resolve the SOS issue.


Restart Cellular Data

  • Swipe and Toggle Cellular Data: Swipe down from the upper-right corner of your screen and tap the green Cellular Data icon to turn it off, then tap it again to re-enable it. This can help reestablish the connection.


Perform a Soft Reset

  • Soft Reset Steps: Simultaneously hold down the side button and the lower volume button for about 3 seconds. This will bring up a new screen with two sliders and a cancel icon.
  • Power Off: Slide the top power icon to the right to turn off your iPhone.
  • Power On: After shutting down, wait a few seconds and then hold the side button to power your iPhone back on.


Troubleshoot Persistent Issues

  • Repeated SOS in Good Coverage Areas: If SOS persists in areas with good coverage, it might be due to a faulty SIM card or SIM card slot.
  • Contact your carrier or Apple Store: You may need to visit your carrier or an Apple Store for further assistance.
  • Consider eSIM (for iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, or later): If SOS issues persist, consider switching to eSIM. It can resolve connectivity problems, but ensure a smooth transition by seeking expert guidance.



By following these steps to solve SOS on iPhone , you can effectively resolve the signal issue on your iPhone and enjoy uninterrupted connectivity. If problems persist, don’t hesitate to reach out to your carrier or Apple support for professional assistance.

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