What Does SOS Mean on iPhone?

For those unfamiliar with Apple products, the abbreviation “SOS” may be a mystery. As an Apple user, it’s important to understand this feature and how it can help you in an emergency situation. In this blog post, we will explain what SOS means on your iPhone and how to use this function.

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What is SOS on iPhone?

SOS (or “Emergency SOS”) is a feature on the iPhone that allows you to quickly call emergency services in your area in the event of an emergency. When activated, it will dial emergency calls (like 911 in the USA) and send out a text message with your current location to your emergency contacts.

However, recently, many people found that their new iPhone 14 series will be at the SOS status. There will be an SOS logo in the top-left corner or top-right if you’re in the latest operating system). It means there are some issues with your cellular network.

tms sos

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Potential issues with your cellular network

  1. Your iPhone is in a poor network coverage area
  2. The SIM doesn’t have roaming privileges or the network has been changed to a different one in the iPhone settings
  3. Your SIM card isn’t inserted properly
  4.  The SIM card has stopped working completely, like invalid due to non-payment of bills, physical damage, or something else

You can’t call or send messages in this situation, but you also can call emergency calls.

Why is Your iPhone Under the SOS Situation?

Maybe you will panic the first time when an SOS icon suddenly appears on your phone’s status bar. This can be especially alarming on an iPhone, where it has never been displayed before. But there’s no need to worry. Thanks to regulations set by the Federal Communications Commission, all phone carriers in the US are required to transmit emergency calls to the appropriate center, regardless of their status. This unique icon appears in the space where the carrier name is usually displayed, indicating that your phone is empowered to make emergency calls to 911 using nearby cell towers. This capability is not unique to iPhones or even Android devices – it’s available on all phones in the US, no matter what platform you’re using. So if you find yourself in a no-service zone, know that you’ll still be able to contact help when you need it most.


 In the context of mobile phones, ‘SOS’ or ‘SOS Only’ usually appears when your phone is unable to establish a connection with your cellular network. This could be due to various reasons such as poor reception, a problem with your SIM card, or incorrect network settings.
Here’s what each term typically means:


When you see ‘SOS’ on your phone, it means that your device can only make emergency calls. This happens when your phone is unable to connect to your cellular network but can connect to another network for emergency calls. The ‘SOS’ symbol or message is standard across many types of phones, not just iPhones.

SOS Only

This message is similar to ‘SOS’,  the “SOS Only” indicating that your device can only make emergency calls. It’s often seen on iPhones and means that your phone isn’t connected to a cellular network. This may occur if you’re in an area with poor reception, your SIM card isn’t inserted correctly, or it’s damaged.

How to Turn off SOS Only on iPhone?

 If you want to turn off the Emergency SOS feature on your iPhone, it’s easy to do. Just navigate to Settings > Emergency SOS and toggle off the Call with Side Button slider.

When you press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and volume down button simultaneously, you’ll see the Apple logo appear. This is a good indication that you’ve successfully disabled the Emergency SOS feature.

If you accidentally start an emergency call, simply press the Stop button and then tap Stop Calling. You can also add or remove contacts from your Medical ID screen in case of an emergency.

How to Turn off Emergency SOS on iPhone?

If your iPhone is stuck in Emergency SOS mode, there are several ways to fix it. You can force

1. Check Network, and update network carrier settings

Go to Settings > General > About. Make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. If an update is available, install it on your iPhone.

2. Reset the Network

Go to Settings > General > Transfer or reset iPhone. Then, go to Reset > Reset network settings.

3. Turn off and on mobile data

Go to Settings > Cellular Data (or Mobile Data). Turn off the toggle next to Cellular data (or Mobile data). Wait for a while and then turn it back on.

4. Turn on data roaming

Go to Settings > Cellular data (Mobile data). Tap on Cellular data (Mobile data) options and enable the toggle next to Data Roaming.

5. Turn off Airplane Mode

This is easy! Go to Settings > Airplane Mode. And turn off it.

6. Select Right Network

Go to Settings > Cellular data (Mobile data) > Network selection. Enable the toggle next to Automatic. If it’s already on, turn it off and then enable it again.

7. Enable LTE

Go to Settings > Cellular data > Cellular data options > Voice & data. Choose a different mode than the current one. Also, try enabling LTE.

8. Restart your phone

Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons to turn off the iPhone. Then wait for a while and turn on the phone again.

9. Re-insert SIM

Remove the inserted SIM to the iPhone, then check if anything wrong or dirty. Check and clean it, then re-insert it again.

10. Final Call: Contact Network Provider

If the ways above can’t help to turn off the SOS on your iPhone, you can contact your Network Provider to know more about it. It may your SIM card can’t work anymore and you need to change to a new one!

Is iPhone SOS Service only Available in the US?

No. The SOS service on iPhones is available in many countries around the world. In the United States, it will dial 911 when activated. In other countries, the emergency number may be different and include other services such as fire, medical, or police. You can easily check to find out what the local emergency services are in your area by visiting your country’s official website or searching online. It’s important to note that even if you’re traveling abroad, an international SOS service may still be available on your iPhone so that you can contact emergency services in case of an emergency.

How To Access/Activate SOS?

Depending on your model of iPhone, there are two ways to access the SOS feature.

1. On models from iPhone 8 onwards

Quickly press and hold down the side button along with either volume button until the Emergency SOS slider appears.

Then you can drag the Emergency Call slider to quickly call emergency services. But if you need to discreetly make an emergency call, continue holding down the buttons and a countdown will begin. When the alert sounds, release the buttons and your iPhone will automatically contact emergency services. So don’t hesitate to utilize this feature when every second counts.

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2. On models from iPhone 7 or earlier

Just press your side (or top) button five times to bring up the Emergency Call slider. With just a swipe, you’ll be connected to emergency services who will come to your aid.

And that’s not all – after the call ends, your phone will send a text message to your emergency contacts with your current location. This way, they’ll know where you are and can come to your assistance if needed. And even if your Location Services is off, your iPhone will temporarily turn it on to give your contacts the most up-to-date location information. Keep yourself safe and prepared with this handy emergency feature.

Automatically Call Emergency Services

What’s more, stay safe on the road with the latest iPhone tech. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models have a crash detection feature that can automatically call emergency services or send an alert to your emergency contacts in the event of a severe car crash.

How to Set Emergency Contacts?

  1. Open the Health app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Tap Medical ID.
  3. Click Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
  4. Tap the Add button “+” to add an emergency contact.
  5. Select a contact, then add their relationship.
  6. Tap Done to save your changes.

You can’t set emergency services as an SOS contact.

How to Remove emergency contacts?

  1. Open the Health app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Tap Medical ID.
  3. Click Edit, then scroll to Emergency Contacts.
  4. Tap the Delete button “-” next to a contact, then tap Delete.
  5. Tap Done to save your changes.


For Apple users who are unfamiliar with their device’s features, understanding what SOS means on your iPhone could save your life in an emergency situation one day. Knowing how to use your phone’s features effectively could potentially save yourself or someone else from harm’s way in an instant. Be sure to share these tips with other Apple users so everyone knows about this critical safety option!

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