SOS Only Mode iPhone
SOS Only Mode iPhone

You glance at your iPhone, expecting to see the usual signal bars, but instead, you spot “SOS Only.” Confused? Concerned? Let’s dive into what this means and how to navigate it.

The Basics: What Does “SOS Only” Signify?

“SOS Only” on an iPhone means that the phone is in an emergency mode where it can only make calls to emergency services. It’s an indication that the phone cannot connect to your cellular provider’s regular service but can still access emergency services if needed.

Situations Leading to “SOS Only”

Several scenarios can trigger this mode:

Network Unavailability: If you’re in a location with poor or no cellular reception, your iPhone might switch to “SOS Only” mode. This often happens in remote areas, basements, or places with signal obstructions.

SIM Card Issues: A damaged or improperly seated SIM card might prevent the phone from connecting to the network, leading to “SOS Only.”

Phone Damage or Malfunctions: Hardware damage, especially to the phone’s antenna or internal components, can cause this state.

What Actions Can “SOS Only” Mode Facilitate?

While in this mode, the primary action you can undertake is to make a call to emergency services. Regular functions like texting, browsing, or making non-emergency calls are restricted.

How to Get Out of “SOS Only” Mode

Feeling stuck? Here are some troubleshooting steps:

Restart Your iPhone: Sometimes, the age-old technique of turning it off and on again can work wonders.

Reinsert the SIM Card: Switch off your iPhone, remove the SIM card, check it for any visible damage, and then reinsert it. Ensure it sits properly.

Check for Carrier Settings Update: Head to Settings > General > About. If a carrier update is available, you’ll receive a prompt to download and install it.

The Importance of Understanding SOS Features

Being familiar with “SOS Only” mode is crucial for two main reasons:

  1. Safety: Knowing that you can reach out for help even without a regular network is reassuring.
  2. Troubleshooting: Identifying the cause can help address the underlying issues more effectively.


“SOS Only” on iPhone is more than just a notification—it’s a safety feature, a signal of potential issues, and a reminder of the dynamic nature of tech devices. By understanding its intricacies, you can be better prepared for any situation, ensuring safety and seamless communication.


  1. If my phone shows “SOS Only,” can I still use Wi-Fi?
    • Yes, “SOS Only” relates to cellular services. You can still connect to and use Wi-Fi networks.
  2. How long will my iPhone stay in “SOS Only” mode?
    • It depends on the underlying issue. If it’s a temporary network problem, the mode might clear up once the signal is better. For hardware or SIM card issues, it may persist until resolved.
  3. Does “SOS Only” mode drain the battery faster?
    • Continuously searching for a signal can consume more battery. If you’re in this mode for extended periods, it might be wise to switch to airplane mode to conserve battery.
  4. Can all phones access emergency services without a network?
    • Most modern smartphones have a feature similar to “SOS Only.” However, the exact functionality may vary between brands and models.
  5. Is there a difference between “SOS Only” and the emergency SOS feature on iPhone?
    • Yes. While “SOS Only” indicates network status, the emergency SOS feature allows users to quickly call for help or send out their location in dire situations.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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