If you’ve ever noticed your iPhone displaying “SOS” or “SOS Only” in the upper right corner of the screen, you may have wondered what it means and how to resolve the issue. This article will explain what the SOS status means, why it appears, and provide step-by-step instructions to help you reconnect to your cellular network.

Understanding the “SOS” Status

When your iPhone shows “SOS” or “SOS Only” in the status bar, it indicates that your device is not connected to your regular cellular network. However, even in this state, you can still make emergency calls through other carrier networks. This emergency calling feature is available in several countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Reasons Why Your iPhone Displays “SOS”

There are a few common reasons why your iPhone might display the SOS status:

  1. You are outside your cellular network’s coverage area
  2. There is a temporary outage or issue with your cellular carrier’s network
  3. Your account with your cellular carrier is not active or in good standing
  4. Your iPhone’s cellular settings are not configured correctly

How to Fix the “SOS” Issue

Follow these steps to troubleshoot and resolve the SOS status on your iPhone:

Step 1: Check Your Cellular Network Coverage

Ensure that you are in an area with cellular network coverage. If you are in a remote location or an area known for poor reception, move to a different location and check if the SOS status disappears.

Step 2: Restart Your iPhone

Sometimes, simply restarting your device can resolve the issue. To restart your iPhone:

  1. Press and hold the side button and either volume button until the power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your device off.
  3. After your device turns off, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo.

Step 3: Toggle Airplane Mode

Turning Airplane Mode on and off can help refresh your iPhone’s connection to the cellular network. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch on and wait for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch off.

Step 4: Update Your iPhone’s Software

Ensure that your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. To check for and install updates:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to General > Software Update.
  3. If an update is available, tap “Download and Install”.

Step 5: Update Carrier Settings

Carrier settings updates can resolve issues with cellular connectivity. To check for and install carrier settings updates:

  1. Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.
  2. Open the Settings app and go to General > About.
  3. If a carrier settings update is available, you’ll see a prompt to update.

Step 6: Reset Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings can resolve issues with cellular connectivity, but note that this will also reset your Wi-Fi networks and passwords, cellular settings, VPN, and APN settings. To reset network settings:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  2. Tap “Reset” and then select “Reset Network Settings”.

Step 7: Contact Your Cellular Carrier

If none of the above steps resolve the SOS issue, contact your cellular carrier to:

  • Verify that your account is active and in good standing
  • Ensure there are no outages in your area
  • Confirm that your iPhone is not blocked or barred from receiving cellular service
  • Verify that your iPhone is set up with the correct data plan


The “SOS” or “SOS Only” status on your iPhone indicates that it is not connected to your regular cellular network but can still make emergency calls. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you should be able to resolve the issue and reconnect to your cellular network. If the problem persists, don’t hesitate to contact your cellular carrier for further assistance.

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