Wondering why does my Verizon phone say SOS? Well, this only appears on Apple iPhones and happens when the device is out of the Verizon network service.
Since iPhones 14 or later, have the “satellite” feature, you can send emergency calls even when you’re out of service.
The reason why Verizon phones say “SOS” is because the Verizon network is completely offline, which can be caused due to bad reception, outage, or interference.
The solution is to check for any customer-related issues as well as optimize the reception coverage!
Let’s unwrap more about the “SOS” message!
Why Does My Phone Say SOS Only Verizon?
To clarify, the “SOS” message or “SOS Only” appears on iPhones only and the message with the same meaning on Android is “No Service”.
The reason why you see “SOS” only when the mobile device is with a Verizon SIM card is because you’re offline (the cellular network is down).
Verizon Service Outage?
In case you’ve tested inserting a different SIM card, rather than Verizon, and the SOS message is gone the explanation is simple.
Verizon might currently be under maintenance on the service in only some areas and towns so it’s best to check for Verizon Service Outages prior to all else!
SIM Card Not Recognized?
Another reason for the “SOS” or “SOS Only” message, also meaning “No Cellular Service”, is that the Verizon SIM card is not recognized by the device.
This could be due to multiple things that can prevent the device from recognizing the working with the Verzio SIM card:
- SIM not installed properly
- Suspended Verizon service
- Damaged/old SIM Card.
In case you see the “SOS” or “SOS Only” message with a Verizon SIM card, perhaps your device is locked to another operator.
This explains why your secondary operator SIM works but Verizon won’t connect and the only solution is to check whether your device is operator-locked.
You can see if the iPhone is operator locked by going into Settings > General > About and checking whether the “No SIM restrictions” message appears.
In case you see the name of an operator instead of the message, then your phone is locked and won’t work with Verizon SIM.
How To Remove the Verizon Phone SOS Mode?
Now that we know that “SOS” simply shows that the iPhone can send satellite calls because the cellular reception is offline, this is what we’re mainly going to address.
In other words, the steps below will help you regain and optimize the reception with Verizon, and remove the SOS text.
Reminder: If you still haven’t checked whether your iPhone is locked, scroll up and verify!
1. Reboot Your Apple iPhone!
Sometimes the Verizon reception gets lost due to a software-related problem with the iPhone and the device simply displays “SOS” or “SOS Only”.
The best first step would be to power cycle the iPhone by holding the Power button and sliding right to completely shut down.
- Keep the iPhone turned off for about 30 seconds!
Important: Is There a PIN Prompt?
A very important factor to watch out for after turning on the iPhone is whether there is a PIN confirmation prompt, which indicates that the SIM card is recognized.
If yes, the default PIN is either “0000” or “1234”, but in case it does not appear and you see “SOS”, keep reading!
2. Reseat the Verizon SIM Card
In case you continue to see “SOS” at the top right or left of your iPhone, then it’s highly likely that your Verizon SIM card is not recognized by the device.
The best possible approach against the issue would be to safely eject the Verizon SIM card and then re-embed the card.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the process, follow the steps below:
- There is a Sim Tray pinhole on your iPhone.
- Acquire the SIM Ejector Tool or a needle.
- Reach inside and pressure to eject the tray.
- Gently remove the Verizon SIM with your hand.
- Ensure that there is no dust or dirt accumulation.
- Use the orientation corner to embed the SIM card.
- Gently push and close the SIM card tray within.
Info: In case your Verizon SIM card was not recognized until now, then you will now see a PIN confirmation prompt, which is the primary indication.
3. Reset the iPhone Network Settings!
Sometimes when the issue is deep within the iPhone settings, and you only see “SOS” with no service available on the device, it’s easier to simply reset the network settings.
This reset only unpairs and forgets WiFi and Bluetooth devices and erases all networking settings.
Here’s how to reset the network settings on an Apple device:
- From the home screen go to Settings.
- Then tap on the General tab to enter.
- Next, go to Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Choose the Reset Network option.
- Tap on “Reset” to confirm the process.
Note: Your iPhone will immediately turn off and restart, where the Apple logo might appear above a loading bar that you would need to wait out - just like a firmware update!
4. Restart the Data Roaming Feature
Another quick fix when you see “SOS”, “SOS Only”, “Searching” or “No Service” would be to go and turn OFF and ON the Data Roaming feature.
The settings can be found in Settings > General > Cellular > Cellular Data > Data Roaming and you only need to tap on the toggle.
Note: Also, ensure that the “Voice & Data” is set to 5G Auto, and the Data Mode is set to Allow More Data on 5G.
5. Update your iPhone’s Firmware
Sometimes the reason why does my Verizon phone say SOS, is because of an Apple iPhone’s outdated firmware.
It’s quick and easy to update the iPhone firmware as long as the device is connected to a working WiFi and there is an internet connection.
Follow the steps below to update an iPhone or iPad device’s firmware:
- From the home screen go to Settings.
- Then go to General > Software Update.
- Connect your iPhone to a charger.
- Tap on the “Install Now” button to start.
- Wait until your iPhone updates and restart.
Note: Based on your internet speed the software update shouldn’t take too long!
6. Tweak the Verizon APN Settings!
It’s likely that the Verizon cellular reception is down because the APN settings on your iPhone are misconfigured or wrong.
The best way would be to check the APN (Access Point Names) and configure the settings manually as per the correct information.
On iPhone, the APN settings are either in:
- Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Cellular Network
- Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options > Mobile Data Network
When you find the APN settings, configure them as per the table below:
|Verizon APN Settings for iPhone
|Leave ALL other fields blank!
Tip: When you’ve manually configured the iPhone’s APN settings, save the changes and reboot the phone using the power button.
7. Test the Verizon SIM on Another Device
To identify whether the issue is with your iPhone or with the Verizon SIM card it’s best to insert the card into a secondary device to test with.
You can use an Android or an Apple device, and you will be able to understand if you see “SOS“, “SOS Only”, “Searching” or “No Service” as well.
This is an indication that the SIM card and the device are not connecting to the Verizon network, hence the issue is not with the previous iPhone device.
In those cases it’s best to seek some professional help, so continue reading further!
Info: SIM cards automatically become inactive when the contract has been canceled or expired!
8. Contact Verizon Customer Support
In case nothing helps and you continue to see “SOS” on your iPhone, it’s not excluded that your SIM card is suspended for one reason or another.
The best way is to contact the supplier in this case Verizon Customer Service, and report the issue that you’ve been facing lately.
Reminder: Don’t forget to share what you’ve already attempted in this guide!
Now that we’ve learned why does my Verizon phone say SOS and how to troubleshoot and identify the issue, we know that it’s networking related.
The best way is to attempt to regain signal reception by applying various techniques that are proven to help!
We hope that this guide was helpful so follow us for more!
Read Next: Verizon Phone Goes Straight To Voicemail?
Finn Wheatley holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UCL, London. He helped small data science consultancy firms, helping large corporations to grow their data capabilities, deploy advanced machine learning-based analytics and troubleshoot tech-related issues. Check out more about him here.