Why is my iPhone in SOS mode? – AT&T Service Outage

Numerous AT&T Customers Experience Outage, Disrupting Communication Nationwide

AT&T’s network experienced a significant outage Thursday morning, affecting many customers across the United States. The disruption left users unable to make calls, send texts, or access the internet. Many have reported their phones are in “SOS” mode after seeing the notification in the top of their iPhone.

What does SOS Mode mean on your iPhone?

SOS Mode is a feature available on certain smartphones that can be activated in emergency situations. It allows users to quickly send a distress signal to emergency services or designated contacts.

While some Verizon and T-Mobile customers also reported network issues, these were not as widespread. Both T-Mobile and Verizon stated their networks were unaffected by AT&T’s outage, suggesting that reported issues might be due to an inability to connect with AT&T users.

For those without service, AT&T recommends enabling Wi-Fi calling if Wi-Fi is accessible, allowing for calls and texts to be sent.

Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored. We will provide updates here as they are available.

Message From ATT Website

According to DownDetector, a digital service tracking site, over 74,000 AT&T customers reported outages. However, this number only accounts for self-reported incidents. Reports peaked in the 9 am ET hour but then stabilized.

How to set up Wi-Fi Calling on AT&T Phones During Outage

During the ongoing network outage, AT&T recommends using Wi-Fi calling to maintain communication. This feature allows users to make calls and send texts via a Wi-Fi connection.

To activate Wi-Fi calling, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your phone.
  2. For iPhone users, select “Cellular.” For Android users, choose “Connections” or “Network & Internet” depending on your device.
  3. Look for the “Wi-Fi Calling” option and toggle it on.
  4. Follow any additional prompts to complete the setup.

AT&T confirms that there are no additional charges for using Wi-Fi calling. Once enabled, the feature will automatically work when connected to a chosen Wi-Fi network.

AT&T confirmed the widespread outage but did not specify the cause. “Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them,” the company stated, advising the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored. AT&T is beginning to see recovery in some network areas but has not provided a timeline for complete restoration.

The reason for the outage remains unclear, but industry sources suggest it might relate to the process of peering, where cellular services transfer calls between networks. There is no evidence to suggest that the outage was caused by a cyberattack or malicious activity.

Verizon spokesperson Richard Young expressed optimism that the nationwide issue affecting AT&T customers is nearing resolution.

Carriers often remain silent on the causes of network outages, which in the past have ranged from construction accidents to network updates with bugs.

The outage has disrupted services in several local governments. San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, Upper Arlington’s Fire Department in Ohio, St. Joseph County in Michigan, Cobb County in Georgia, and Cabel County in West Virginia all reported impacts on their emergency services. The New York Police Department and Massachusetts State Police also noted issues with AT&T’s network affecting their operations.

AT&T’s FirstNet network, which serves first responders, has remained operational throughout the outage. This network is designed to be more robust than AT&T’s commercial network.

Meanwhile, Verizon and T-Mobile reported about 1,000 outages each, according to DownDetector, but both companies confirmed that their networks were operating normally. T-Mobile suggested that reports of its outage might reflect difficulties in connecting with users on other networks.

Apple Forum Shows Little Help Regarding the SOS Outage

It looks like a lot of users are reporting the same outage:

Posted on Feb 22, 2024 5:11 AM

This is so weird, I am the only user in the house without service so I know it’s not location related. We all have att and Apple phones. Why am I stuck on SOS and without service? I have reset my network settings and toggles the airplane mode and all of the other quick fixes and nothing is working.


This story is still developing and will be updated with new information.

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