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What Does SOS Only Mean on iPhone and How to Turn it Off

by Mehvish

Are you seeing the SOS text in the top-right corner of your iPhone? If yes, you might be wondering, “Why does it say SOS on my iPhone?” Before you jump to the worst conclusions, take a deep breath and read this article. Here I explain to you the meaning of SOS in the status bar of the iPhone and different ways to get rid of it. Let’s get started.

What Does It Mean When My iPhone Says SOS Only

The SOS icon or SOS-only text, which usually appears in the top-right corner of your iPhone on iOS 16 and in the top-left corner on earlier versions, indicates that there is a problem with your cellular network. And therefore, you cannot make or receive regular phone calls. However, you can still make emergency calls.

There are many reasons why your iPhone could be showing SOS. Firstly, it could mean that your iPhone isn’t receiving the proper cellular network. That is, your iPhone is in a poor network coverage area.

Similarly, it could also indicate that your SIM doesn’t have roaming privileges or the network has been changed to a different one in iPhone settings. Or, your SIM card isn’t inserted properly, and even worse that, the SIM card has stopped working completely. That is, it has become invalid due to non-payment of bills, physical damage, or something else.

In a nutshell, the SOS icon means that your iPhone isn’t connected to your carrier but it doesn’t turn off emergency calls. Your iPhone can still make emergency calls. You need to fix the cellular connection in order to get rid of SOS only from your iPhone, and then only you will be able to make normal phone calls.

Note: You will only see the SOS icon on your iPhone in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.

How to Turn off SOS Only on iPhone

If your iPhone shows SOS in the status bar, follow the methods given below to turn it off.

1. Restart Your iPhone

Sometimes, the SOS icon could show due to a temporary bug. To fix it, simply restart your iPhone. For that, press and hold the Power button until you see the Power slider. Drag the slider towards the right side and your iPhone will turn off. Wait for a few seconds and then turn on your iPhone again by pressing the Power button.

2. Check Network

One major reason for the SOS icon showing on your iPhone is poor network. So, try changing your location. Move to a different room or if possible, a different area where you will have a good network signal.

3. Re-insert SIM

Next, you must remove the physical SIM card from your iPhone. Then, clean it with a soft cloth and put it back in your iPhone. This fix is quite helpful in getting rid of SOS text on iPhones.

4. Turn off Cellular Data

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

5. Enable Data Roaming

Make sure that data roaming is enabled on your iPhone if you are traveling in a different state or country than the original place where your SIM was issued.

1. Go to Settings > Cellular data (Mobile data).

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

6. Select Right Network

You might have accidentally selected or switched to the wrong network on your iPhone. That could be the reason for SOS showing in the status bar. The easiest way to fix the problem is to set network selection to automatic. That way your iPhone will automatically select the right network for your SIM.

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

Some carriers like AT&T are phasing out their older networks such as 3G. If you have selected 3G in Voice & data setting, you could see the SOS symbol in the status bar.

To turn it off, you simply need to switch to a newer network. Go to Settings > Cellular data > Cellular data options > Voice & data. Choose a different mode than the current one. Also, try enabling LTE.

Tip: Learn how to fix LTE/4G not working on iPhone.

8. Update Your iPhone and Carrier Settings

Often, due to old carrier settings, you might have a network issue on your iPhone and that’s why you could be getting the SOS symbol. To turn it off, you must update your carrier settings manually. Similarly, you should also update iOS to the latest version.

To check the available updates for both of them, 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.

9. Reset Network Settings

Lastly, if nothing seems to help in getting rid of SOS in the status bar on your iPhone, you should reset the network settings on your iPhone. Doing so will restore all the network settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc., to their default values. You have to set them up again.

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

Final Call: Contact Network Provider

I hope you understood the meaning of the SOS symbol in the status bar on your iPhone. Similarly, know the meaning of symbols in the Control Center of the iPhone. However, if you are unable to get rid of SOS text from your iPhone, you should contact your network provider. There could be an issue with your SIM.

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