Why Is My Phone on SOS Only: Troubleshooting Guide

Why Is My Phone on SOS Only
Why Is My Phone on SOS Only

Why Is My Phone on SOS Only?

Your phone displays “SOS Only” when it cannot connect to a cellular network. This can be due to a weak or no network signal, issues with your SIM card, or accidentally enabling airplane mode. It’s crucial to check these factors and address them to restore standard phone functionality.

Understanding SOS Mode

SOS mode, also known as “emergency mode,” is a feature on mobile phones that restricts the device’s connectivity to emergency services only. When activated, your phone limits its functionality to making emergency calls, typically to numbers like 911, 112, or other local emergency services. This feature ensures that you can still reach out for urgent assistance even when your phone has no regular network signal or is restricted.

In SOS mode, your phone often displays “SOS Only” or a similar message on the screen, indicating its limited functionality. While in this mode, you can make emergency calls without requiring a SIM card or even if the device is not registered with any cellular network. Read about How to Turn Off Flash Notifications on iPhone

Causes of SOS Only on Phone

Several factors can trigger the SOS-only mode on your phone. It’s essential to identify these causes to implement appropriate solutions.

Lack of Network Signal

 A weak or absent network signal is the most common reason your phone is in SOS mode. If you’re in an area with poor network coverage or deep within a building where signals struggle to penetrate, your phone may display “SOS only.”

SIM Card Issues

A faulty or improperly inserted SIM card can trigger SOS mode. If the SIM card is not making proper contact or is damaged, your phone may restrict itself to emergency services only.

Airplane Mode

Accidentally turning on airplane mode will disable all wireless connections except for emergency calls. Check if airplane mode is enabled and turn it off if necessary.

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Airplane Mode
Airplane Mode

Incorrect Network Settings

 Incorrect network settings on your phone can lead to connectivity problems, causing it to display “SOS only.” Double-check your network settings to ensure they are accurate.

Emergency Contacts Settings

 Incorrectly configured emergency contact settings might cause your phone to display SOS only. Verify that your emergency contact settings are appropriately set up.

Troubleshooting SOS Only Issue

Encountering the “SOS Only” mode on your phone can be a frustrating experience, especially when you need regular phone functionality. Fortunately, you can take several troubleshooting steps to resolve this issue and restore your phone’s full connectivity.

Checking Network Connection

Start by ensuring you’re in an area with good network coverage. Weak or no signal could be the primary reason for the SOS mode. Move to an open space or a location with better signal reception.

Validating SIM Card Status

 Remove the SIM card from your phone, check for visible damage, and reinsert it properly. Ensure it’s correctly seated in the SIM tray and functioning as expected.

Addressing Airplane Mode

 Double-check if airplane mode is accidentally turned on. Disable it if enabled to restore regular network connectivity.

Examining Network Settings

Review and verify your phone’s network settings. Ensure they are accurate and appropriate for your carrier. Adjust any settings that might be causing the SOS mode.

Verifying Emergency Contacts

 Confirm that your emergency contacts are correctly set up in your phone. Incorrectly configured emergency contact settings could restrict your phone to SOS mode.

Tips to Avoid SOS Only Mode

To prevent encountering SOS mode in the future, follow these tips:

Phone in SOS Mode
Phone in SOS Mode

Validate Network Setting

Periodically review and verify your network settings to ensure they are correctly configured. Incorrect settings can disrupt your phone’s network connectivity and potentially trigger SOS mode.

Use Reliable Accessories

When using accessories like phone cases or screen protectors, ensure they don’t interfere with your phone’s network reception. Poor-quality accessories might obstruct signals, leading to SOS-only mode.

Regularly Restart Your Phone

 Restart your phone at regular intervals. This simple action can refresh the device’s network connections and settings, potentially preventing SOS mode issues.

Check for Hardware Damage

Inspect your phone for physical damage, especially around the SIM card slot and antenna. Damaged hardware can impede network reception and result in SOS mode activation.

Consult Your Service Provider

Contact your service provider if you frequently experience SOS mode or other network-related issues. They can provide insights into the problem and suggest solutions or optimizations to enhance your phone’s connectivity.


Encountering your phone displaying “SOS Only” can be distressing, but understanding the underlying reasons and following the troubleshooting steps outlined can help resolve the issue effectively. Whether it’s a network signal problem, a SIM card issue, or an accidental setting, there are various ways to restore your phone to its regular functionality.

Remember, staying in areas with good network coverage, ensuring your SIM card is functioning correctly, and validating your phone’s settings are crucial to preventing future occurrences of SOS mode. By staying informed and proactive, you can minimize disruptions and make the most of your phone’s features.


1. What does “SOS Only” on my phone mean?

“SOS Only” on your phone indicates that your device is currently limited to making emergency calls. It typically happens when there’s a lack of regular network signal or a specific network-related issue.

2. How can I exit SOS mode on my phone?

To exit SOS mode, ensure you’re in an area with good network coverage. Restart your phone or disable airplane mode if it’s accidentally enabled. Additionally, validate your SIM card and network settings.

3. Can a weak signal trigger SOS mode?

Yes, a weak or absent network signal can lead to SOS mode. Ensure you’re in an area with adequate network coverage to prevent your phone from displaying “SOS Only.”

4. Is SOS mode the same as airplane mode?

No, SOS mode and airplane mode are different. Airplane mode disables all wireless connections on your phone, while SOS mode restricts it to emergency calls only, allowing limited functionality.

5. How do I enable SOS mode intentionally for emergencies?

Most phones have a dedicated SOS or emergency button on the lock screen. Pressing it will activate SOS mode, allowing you to make emergency calls without unlocking it.



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