If you keep seeing SOS or “SOS only” instead of signal bars on your iPhone’s status bar while traveling, you won’t be able to call or text your friends or use the internet. Let’s look at what the warning means and how you can get rid of it.
What Is Your iPhone’s SOS Feature?
Emergency SOS is one of the many emergency features on your iPhone that can save your life. It allows users stuck in danger to contact local services without having to dial their phone numbers. When you use the SOS feature on your iPhone, your location is shared with emergency services automatically.
If you’ve set up emergency contacts on your iPhone, it will also alert them once you contact local emergency services unless you decide to cancel. To help you feel safer, if you decide to alert your emergency contacts, your iPhone will also share your current location with them and share updates with them until you’re in SOS mode.
Your iPhone’s Emergency SOS feature can come in handy while traveling. For instance, if you’re stuck in a crisis and don’t know the local emergency numbers, the SOS feature could potentially save your life.
Note that the Emergency SOS feature on iPhones only works if you’re in an area with cellular service unless you have an iPhone 14 or later, which comes with the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature.
Emergency SOS via Satellite allows you to contact local emergency services even when you don’t have cellular coverage or Wi-Fi. If you try to get in touch with emergency services but fail to do so, your iPhone will attempt to connect you with them via satellite.
You can use Emergency SOS via Satellite free of cost for two years after the activation of your iPhone 14 or newer model. Unfortunately, the feature is only available in a few regions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, and Italy.
Why Does Your iPhone Show “SOS Only”?
If you see “SOS” or “SOS only” appear in your iPhone’s status bar, it means your device isn’t connected to a cellular network, but you can still make emergency calls over a Wi-Fi network. As long as your iPhone shows “SOS only,” you won’t be able to make regular phone calls and are limited to contacting local emergency services like the police or fire department.
According to Apple’s Support page, this feature is only available to users in the United States, Australia, and Canada.
How to Get Rid of “SOS Only” on Your iPhone
While traveling, you may occasionally see the “SOS only” text on your iPhone’s status bar when you lose cellular signal. The only way to get rid of it is by moving to an area with cellular reception.
However, if you see it constantly, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try to fix the “SOS only” warning in your iPhone’s status bar, like enabling data roaming, checking for carrier settings updates, switching to LTE, and more.