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What does SOS mean on iPhone?

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  • 5 min read

SOS stands for Save our ship and is commonly used as a distress signal. This feature is incredibly helpful in tough situations allowing you to call the emergency services quickly.

Many phones, including the iPhone, has this feature but several people have reported seeing an ‘SOS only’ message in the status bar of the iPhone. In this article, we will discuss what this means and how to turn it off.

SOS on iPhone: What is it and why are you seeing it?

When you make an SOS call from your iPhone, you will directly connect to the emergency services and your iPhone will also share your live location with them. Depending on the country where you are currently residing, you can choose the services that you need. For instance, in some countries, you can choose police, fire, or ambulance service as an SOS priority.

Moreover, after an emergency call ends, your emergency contacts will be notified with a text message and your emergency contacts will also receive your location. On iPhone 14, you can even use emergency SOS via satellite to text the emergency services.

Here’s how to make an SOS call on iPhone 8 and after:

  • Press and hold the side button and one volume button to activate the Emergency SOS slider.
  • When the slider appears, drag it to call the emergency services.

If you are using an iPhone 7 or earlier model, here’s how to call emergency services:

  • Press the side or top button repeatedly five times and the Emergency SOS will appear.
  • Drag the slider to make the call.

‘SOS only’ in the status bar of the iPhone

If you are seeing an ‘SOS only’ message in the status bar, then it means something entirely different. The ‘SOS only’ message indicates that you are not connected to any cellular network, but you can still make emergency calls. Either your cellular network is having no network in the area or you may be having some problems with your cellular network’s account.

Whatever the case, when you see an ‘SOS only’ message on your iPhone, you cannot make normal calls to your friends, family or colleagues.

Also read: Is 64GB enough for iPad?

How to turn off the SOS feature on your iPhone?

Turning off the emergency SOS feature is easy. Go to Settings > Emergency SOS and then turn off Call with Hold and Release or Call with 5 Button Presses.

If you have an iPhone 14, turn off the Call After Severe Crash option.

We advise you not to turn off these features as you might need them in the future.

Also read: Fix: Apple Pencil 2 not working but connected

How to fix the ‘SOS only’ message on iPhone?

Here are some ways to fix the ‘SOS only’ message on iPhone:

Check your coverage area

Make sure that you’re in an area with a cellular network. Visit their website and enter your zip code to check the coverage area. If that didn’t work, move to another area to resume the coverage.

Restart your iPhone

Sometimes, a simple restart can fix many minor issues with your device. To restart your iPhone, press and hold the power button and any one volume button until the power slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off the iPhone, then press and hold the power button again until you see the Apple logo.

Now, check if the problem still persists. If yes, move on to the next steps.

Reset the network settings

Resettings your iPhone’s network settings can help resolve wireless charging issues caused by connectivity problems. To reset the network settings, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Go to Settings and tap on General
  • Scroll down and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Tap on Reset Network Settings

Update iOS

Make sure that the iPhone’s OS is up-to-date. If you haven’t updated your iPhone in a while, then go to Settings > General > Software Update to check for any available updates.

Turn off and then on your cellular data

Go to Settings > Cellular and then toggle off the Cellular Data to switch off and then back on.

Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Now, let us dive into some FAQs on the topic:

How do I get my iPhone off SOS mode?

Go to Settings > Emergency SOS and then turn off Call with Hold and Release or Call with 5 Button Presses. If you are using iPhone 14, turn off the Call After Severe Crash option.

What happens if you accidentally do SOS on your iPhone?

If you accidentally make an SOS call from your iPhone, then simply end the call by tapping the hangup button.

Also read: How to turn off vibration on iPhone?

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: