8 Things to Do When iPhone Says SOS Only

Oct 27, 2023 • Filed to: Mobile Repair Solutions • Proven solutions


Losing network reception is the very last thing we want to experience. Why so? Simply because our mobile phones cannot do much without stable cellular connectivity. With signal bars all down, basic tasks like sending text messages or making phone calls suddenly become a chore. The same thing goes for internet surfing unless you have access to the Wi-Fi network nearby. That’s why we feel extremely frustrated whenever our iPhone says SOS only.

It will be such a relief when your iPhone says SOS during emergency situations. That means you can still reach the assistance hotline and call for help. However, it’s not the case if this network status suddenly appears on a normal day. It’s potentially an indication that something unusual is going on. Don’t worry. Handling this issue is a piece of cake.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top reasons why iPhone says SOS only. We will also provide some tutorials that can help you fix it quickly and easily. Continue reading below to learn more.

Why iPhone Says SOS Only

In general terms, the iPhone says SOS Only when there’s no stable network reception in your location. It basically indicates that any type of regular communication other than emergency calls will not push through on your device. However, there are other factors that also lead to such network errors. Some of them are listed below. Check it out.

The network settings on your iPhone are misconfigured.

Have you recently modified the network settings on your iPhone? If so, it’s probably the answer to your question: “Why does my iPhone say SOS Only?” Unusual alerts like SOS Only or No Service pop up suddenly when the default network settings get altered. It means that the recent changes have affected the signal reception of your iPhone.

Your SIM card doesn’t fit right.

If your SIM card is not inserted properly into the tray, network issues might arise and cause some problems. That’s probably the reason why your iPhone says SOS Only. The device cannot establish a stable cellular connection because it cannot read the information stored in the SIM card.

Your carrier cannot provide a stable network signal at the moment.

It’s possible that the network service is deliberately interrupted by your carrier due to routine maintenance or unexpected signal outages. If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is wait for its full restoration. Don’t worry. Such procedures usually don’t take much time to complete.

Your iPhone encounters software problems.

Software problems also cause network issues sometimes. That’s probably why your iPhone says SOS Only. The current condition of your iOS is not good enough to receive stable cellular service. Yes. This issue sounds like a bit of concern for the affected users. But don’t sweat it. System glitches can now be fixed easily with the aid of system repair software. All you need is an internet connection and a computer. The rest will be handled alone by the platform.

What to Do When iPhone Says SOS Only?

“My iPhone says SOS Only, how do I fix it?” The answer to this question is very simple. Depending on the cause and nature of the issue, there are many ways to fix this network irregularity. Listed below are some effective solutions you can try when your iPhone says SOS Only. Choose the best one that perfectly fits your current situation.

Solution 1: Restart your iPhone.

Most of the time, there’s actually nothing serious when your iPhone says SOS Only. It’s possible that it runs into a minor glitch while starting up. Therefore, you can easily fix it and restore stable network reception by restarting your iPhone. Here’s how to do it in easy steps.

  • Step 1: For the users of iPhone X or newer models, press the Power and Volume (either Up or Down) simultaneously. If you’re using iPhone SE or older models, press the Power button alone. Don’t let go until the slider appears on your screen.
  • Step 2: Drag the Power-off slider to the right. Wait until the screen turns completely black.

iphone power slider

  • Step 3: Turn your iPhone back on after a few minutes. Simply hold the Power button until the Apple logo manifests on the screen.

Solution 2: Switch the Airplane Mode and Cellular Data On and Off.

“Why does my new iPhone say SOS Only?” Maybe you just need to restart the wireless connections on your device. Don’t worry. It’s just an easy exercise. All you need to do is turn the Airplane Mode and the Cellular Data on and off. Here’s how to do it quickly and easily.

  • Step 1: Access the Control Center on your iPhone.
  • Step 2: Tap the Airplane Mode button to activate it. After a few minutes, deactivate Airplane Mode by tapping the same button once again. Do the same thing with the Cellular Data button next to it.

restart airplane mode cellular data

  • Step 3: Wait while your device is refreshing the network signal. Right after, check the status bar to see if the network issue has been resolved.

Solution 3: Activate Automatic Network Selection on your iPhone.

Is Automatic Network Selection currently enabled on your device? If not, it’s probably why your iPhone says SOS Only. Your SIM card is probably connected to the wrong network at the moment. Don’t worry. Turn it on is as easy as pie. Here’s a short guide for you.

  • Step 1: Go to Settings.
  • Step 2: Click Mobile Data or Cellular.

iphone mobile data

  • Step 3: Click Network Selection.
  • Step 4: Toggle on the radio button next to Automatic.

automatic network selection

Solution 4: Upgrade your iOS to the latest version.

An outdated operating system is the primary cause of mobile problems. It commonly creates issues with certain features that require a higher iOS version. Therefore, don’t take it lightly. Turn on Automatic Updates on your device to ensure you don’t miss it whenever a new version becomes available. Here’s how to do it in easy steps.

  • Step 1: Go to Settings.
  • Step 2: Click General.

iphone general settings

  • Step 3: Click Software Update.
  • Step 4: Click Automatic Updates.
  • Step 5: Turn on the options under Automatically Install and Automatically Download.

automatic ios updates

Solution 5: Reset your network settings.

As previously mentioned, a miscalibrated network settings can be the reason why your iPhone says SOS Only. The recent adjustments may have altered the network reception of your device and affected its performance. If that’s what happened, the best option you can try is to reset your network settings. Here’s how to do it quickly and easily.

  • Step 1: Go to Settings.
  • Step 2: Click General.
  • Step 3: Click Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  • Step 4: Click Reset.

automatic ios updates

  • Step 5: Click Reset Network Settings.

reset iphone network settings

  • Step 6: Type in your passcode when prompted.
  • Step 7: Click Reset Network Settings to confirm the action.

Solution 6: Eject and reinsert your SIM card.

Maybe your SIM card is not placed properly into the tray. That probably explains why your iPhone says SOS Only. Therefore, try to eject the SIM card from your device. Reinsert it again after a few minutes. This time, ensure that it’s placed in the right place to prevent hardware-related network issues from happening again.

Solution 7: Update your carrier settings to the latest version available.

Network providers regularly send out carrier settings updates to improve cellular service and fix any lingering issues. That’s why you should always take it into consideration and update your carrier settings whenever a new version becomes available. Here’s how to do it in easy steps.

  • Step 1: Ensure your iPhone is connected to a strong internet network.
  • Step 2: Go to Settings.
  • Step 3: Click General.
  • Step 4: Click About.

about iphone

  • Step 5: A notice will be prompted when there’s a carrier settings update available. From there, click Update.

carrier settings update available

Solution 8: Fix software issues using Wondershare Dr.Fone.

System glitches are not new to us. They cause certain problems that affect the device's performance and significant features. That’s probably the answer to your question: “Why does my iPhone say SOS Only?” Don’t worry. Wondershare Dr.Fone is there to help you out. It has a powerful iOS repair feature that can fix software glitches. Here’s how to use it in easy steps.

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  • Step 1: Download Wondershare Dr.Fone from its official website. Install it on your computer.
  • Step 2: Launch the newly installed Wondershare Dr.Fone on your desktop.
  • Step 3: Once it fully loads, navigate to the left-side panel and then click Toolbox. Right after, head over to the main dashboard and then click System Repair.

wondershare drfone system repair

  • Step 4: Connect your iPhone to the computer using a data cable.
  • Step 5: Then, click iPhone.

wondershare drfone system repair

  • Step 6: Find and click iOS Repair from the provided options.

ios repair for iphone

  • Step 7: Click Standard Repair.

standard ios repair

  • Step 8: At this point, you need to put your iPhone into Recovery Mode to proceed. On your mobile device, click Trust. Go back to your computer screen and then click Enter Recovery Mode. In the event you need more details instructions, click Guide instead.

iphone recovery mode

  • Step 9: Wondershare Dr.Fone will display the available firmware for your device. Choose the best one that fits the specifications of your iPhone. Click the Download button next to it.

choose iphone firmware

  • Step 10: Wait while the selected firmware is being downloaded to your device.

download selected firmware

  • Step 11: Right after, click Repair Now.

repair ios

  • Step 12: The iOS repair process will commence immediately. At this moment, avoid using your iPhone or computer to avoid unwanted delays.

installing new firmware

  • Step 13: Wondershare Dr.Fone will prompt a notice after completing the process. From there, click Done to wrap it up.

ios repair done

How to Set Up Emergency SOS on iPhone

We have learned from the previous discussions that the iPhone’s SOS feature is indeed useful in times of emergency. That’s why it’s best to enable some of its shortcut keys on your device. Don’t worry. You can absolutely tailor the Emergency SOS settings according to your personal liking. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it.

  • Step 1: Go to Settings.
  • Step 2: Click Emergency SOS.

iphone emergency sos

  • Step 3: Toggle on your preferred settings.

sos shortcuts iphone


It indicates a lot of things when your iPhone says SOS Only. It can be a normal network outage, which is the case most of the time. But it can also be a sign of a problem on your device. Refer to the tutorials above to fix it in simple and easy steps. Furthermore, download Wondershare Dr.Fone to get the mobile assistance you need.

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James Davis

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