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How to turn off Emergency SOS on an iPhone

Things like rollercoasters can trip an iPhone's Crash Detection technology.
June 16, 2023

Apple’s Emergency SOS feature is meant to save critical time reaching emergency services and contacts — devices in the iPhone 14 lineup and later can even send alerts via satellite. But if the feature is being triggered accidentally, say via Crash Detection, children, or your pocket, you can disable it (almost) entirely. Here’s how.


To disable Emergency SOS shortcuts, go to Settings > Emergency SOS and turn off Call with Hold and Release, Call with 5 Button Presses, and (if you have an iPhone 14 or later) Call After Severe Crash. You can leave one or more of those options on if it's just a particular thing causing you trouble.


How to turn off Emergency SOS on an iPhone

Emergency SOS settings on iPhone

While there’s no universal switch, you can accomplish similar ends by toggling off all of the feature’s activation options in the Settings app.

  • Go to Settings > Emergency SOS.
  • If you want to disable manual shortcuts, turn off Call with Hold and Release and Call with 5 Button Presses.
  • If you want to disable automatic Crash Detection calling, turn off Call After Severe Crash. Only the iPhone 14 and later models offer this choice.

Note that even with all these settings changes, you can still launch Emergency SOS through the power-off screen. To reach that screen on most iPhones (excluding anything with a home button), hold the side button and one of the volume buttons at the same time. Swipe the Emergency SOS slider to initiate a call.

What “SOS only” means on an iPhone, and how to get rid of it

If you’re seeing “SOS” or “SOS only” in your iPhone’s status bar, that means regular cellular service is unavailable. You may however be able to make calls to emergency numbers like 911, or — if you have an iPhone 14 or better — send satellite alerts. If nearby Wi-Fi is working, you can use that too if you have the right login info.

Typically the only way to fix the situation is by walking, riding, or driving to a place with better cellular coverage. If you’re in a spot that should have a decent signal, however, there are a few other things you can try (in no particular order):

  • Go to Settings > Cellular and toggle Cellular Data off for 10 seconds, then back on again.
  • If you’re traveling, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and make sure Data Roaming is enabled, at least if you’re not worried about roaming fees.
  • If you’re still using a physical SIM card instead of an eSIM, try popping it out, checking for damage, and putting it back in if it’s okay.
  • Restart your iPhone.