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iPhone Stuck in SOS Mode? (Here’s the Fix!)

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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Newer iPhone models come preset with SOS mode. Once activated, this feature contacts emergency services to assist one in need.

It can be used without SIM cards and can even be activated when the cell service is poor. A user can trigger the device into SOS mode by holding down the home button and one of the volume buttons at the same time or pressing the sleep/wake button 5 times in sequence.

While the ease of activation is useful and can be life-saving, it can also be easily set off by accident. If this happens, it can cause frustration and alarm to users. This is doubly inconvenient if your iPhone becomes stuck in SOS mode.

Luckily, there are a handful of troubleshooting solutions to try. Let’s go over the various methods to fix an iPhone stuck in SOS mode.

Restart Your iPhone

iPhone locked in SOS mode, along with many other issues, can be fixed by simply restarting your iPhone.

Restart an iPhone
Restart an iPhone. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

All you need to do to perform a restart is:

  • Locate the power button and hold it down until the screen shows a slider with the text “Slide to power off.”
  • Swipe the slider to the right, powering your iPhone down.
  • Once you have confirmed that the iPhone is off, press the power button again until the Apple logo appears on the screen, then release it to allow the start-up to complete.
  • Alternatively, once the device is off, place it on a charger for about 10 minutes, then attempt to turn it back on.

Disable Airplane Mode

Sometimes users are unable to power their iPhone down when it is in SOS mode. If that is the case, keep in mind that the phone needs at least minimal cell service to active SOS mode.

Airplane mode button in control center
Airplane mode in Control Center. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

So all you need to do is to disable the signal, even for a few moments. Here’s how.

On iPhone X and newer, swipe down from the top-right corner to open Control Center, then tap the Airplane Mode icon. On older models, swipe up from the bottom.

This setting will disconnect you from all cell services and tends to deactivate SOS mode in the process. You can then toggle airplane mode back off.

Check Signal Strength

When the network or signal strength is very low, the iPhone is set to be available for emergency calls only.

iphone signal strength indicator
Check your iPhone signal strength indicator. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

It may, therefore, default into SOS mode based on the fact that it is the only thing that can be done with the phone at the time.

If you notice that you have nearly no signal or the bar signal measure low, you could simply follow the earlier steps of powering the iPhone down and waiting to use it until you are in an area with a stronger signal.

Update iOS

Outdated iOS software can result in a whole host of glitches and malfunctions on your iPhone device.

update iOS
Update iOS to the latest version. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

You can stay ahead of most of these problems, including unwanted jumps into SOS mode, by keeping your iPhone updated to the latest iOS version.

To update the firmware for your iPhone, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Settings app.
  • Navigate to the General section.
  • Go to Software Update.

If there’s a new update, you’ll see it there. Follow the instructions to download, and install the latest iOS updates.

Reset Network Settings

As noted earlier, SOS mode can activate when the signal is insufficient for the iPhone to be used in any other capacity.

reset network settings on iPhone
Reset network settings on iPhone. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

However, this doesn’t always happen for legitimate reasons. If you suspect that you are not experiencing signal loss, you should try resetting your iPhone’s network settings.

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select the Reset tab.
  4. Choose the Reset Network Settings option.

Keep in mind that doing so will have other effects, including the deletion of your Wi-Fi password, so you will need to reconnect to any Wi-Fi network after this reset. 

Check SIM Card

A faulty or improperly inserted SIM card can cause your iPhone to display SOS mode since the iPhone will not be capable of performing any other functions regularly.

iPhone SIM card tray
An iPhone SIM card tray. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

To make sure it is in working order, carefully remove the SIM card from your iPhone. Gently wipe it clean with a soft microfiber cloth, and reinsert it correctly (and carefully) into your device.

Once it’s properly seated in the SIM tray, check if your iPhone is still stuck in SOS mode.

Restore Your iPhone

If none of the above solutions have resolved the issue, restoring your iPhone via Finder or iTunes is the next logical step.

Make sure your iPhone is fully backed up with all of your recent data to avoid data loss.

Follow the steps in this guide to restore your iPhone. After the restore process is complete, set up your iPhone as new or restore from the previously noted backup.

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve exhausted all other options and your iPhone is still stuck in SOS mode, you should reach out to Apple Support online or visit an authorized Apple service center for help.

Representatives will be able to inspect your device for lesser-known, but pertinent issues that could be causing the issue with the iPhone being stuck in SOS mode.

Wrap-Up: iPhone Stuck in SOS Mode

Well, that covers everything you need to know about fixing an iPhone that is stuck in SOS mode. Try any of the steps above to fix your iPhone SOS problem. If you have any feedback or questions, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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