What Does SOS Mean on iPhone and How to Resolve It

What Does SOS Mean on iPhone and How to Resolve It

There may be times when you try to make a call or send a text message using your iPhone, but you can’t do so. Not knowing what’s wrong, you soon see SOS or SOS only in the status bar (top-right corner of your iPhone screen). So what does this mean? What does SOS or SOS only next to the Wi-Fi signal strength indicator mean? In this guide, you will learn what both mean if they appear on your iPhone’s status bar. You will also learn how to get your iPhone out of SOS mode.

SOS on iPhone Status Bar: What Does It Mean?

According to an Apple support document, when SOS or SOS only appears on the status bar, it means that the iPhone isn’t connected to a cellular network. However, if you’re located in the U.S., Canada, or Australia, you can still make emergency calls.

It should be noted that SOS or SOS only on the status bar differs from getting your iPhone into the Emergency SOS screen and getting stuck there. When your cellular signal is limited to SOS or SOS only, you won’t be able to do anything with your device until you perform some troubleshooting steps to fix it.

Photo Credit: Apple

Two Reasons Why Your iPhone Displays SOS or SOS Only

Now, there are two probable reasons why your iPhone will display SOS or SOS only on the status bar. One is that your carrier may have no accessible service in the area where you are currently located. And second, there could be something wrong with your iPhone or your account with your cellular provider.

Because of those two reasons, your carrier cannot recognize whether your iPhone has a cellular service available.

What to Do If Your iPhone Shows SOS or SOS Only

As mentioned, your iPhone cannot connect to a cellular network when it displays SOS or SOS only. Hence, the most logical thing to do is to move to a new location and hope that the area is covered by your cellular service provider.

If moving to a new location doesn’t solve the issue, you might want to check if your iPhone’s cellular settings are configured properly. Follow the steps below to do this.

Time needed: 1 minute.

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap Cellular > Network Selection.

  3. Check if the toggle next to Automatic is grayed out or green.

    If it’s grayed out, toggle it on.

After toggling the Automatic network selection on, your iPhone should be able to automatically connect to the proper cellular network. But of course, that will still depend on whether you are in a location covered by your cellular service provider.

Apple also suggests several troubleshooting tips to get rid of the SOS or SOS only message on your iPhone’s status bar. These include restarting your iPhone, checking for carrier settings updates, turning your cellular connection off and on again, resetting your network settings, updating iOS, and contacting your cellular service provider.

How to Check for a Carrier Settings Update on Your iPhone

  1. Make sure that your device is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.
  2. Tap Settings > General > About. You will see an option to update your carrier settings, if available.
  3. To see the version of carrier settings on your device, tap Settings > General > About, then look next to Carrier.

How to Turn Your Cellular Connection Off and On Again

Go to Settings > Cellular and check to see if your cellular connection is turned on. If it is off, turn it back on. Then check to see if you have service.

How to Reset Your Network Settings

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  3. Next, tap Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Final Words: SOS or SOS Only on iPhone Can Be Easily Dealt With

The bottom line here is that SOS or SOS only on iPhone is not a big issue, provided that you have a non-defective handset. Doing any of Apple’s suggestions, as well as moving to a new area where there is cellular coverage, should fix this issue right away.

On the other hand, if all the aforementioned troubleshooting tips fail to solve the problem, your last resort is to call for help from Apple Support.

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