How to Fix Emergency Calls Only Error on Any Phone

Cellular Network

If you’re reading this guide, you’ve probably been experiencing the “Emergency Calls Only” error on your phone. There’s no need to fret though because, at some point, this happens to everyone who has ever owned a smartphone. It may be a common problem, but most of the time, it is one that you can easily resolve. In this guide, we’ll show you how to fix the Emergency Calls Only Error on any phone and explain why it appears on your device.


What Causes the Emergency Calls Only Error?

An error as common as this one might be caused by a wide variety of factors. To name a few, it can be caused by your location, software problems, physical damage, or maybe a failure to settle an overdue payment of your mobile plan. Whichever it may be, listed below are some hacks you can try.

Emergency Calls Only
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash


Possible Fixes You Should Try

As mentioned that there could be numerous causes of the problem, here are troubleshooting steps you can do and the reasons behind the Emergency Calls Only error.


Settle Accountabilities with Your Carrier

If you have a mobile plan and happen to have unpaid dues with your carrier, it is likely that they temporarily discontinued your outgoing services. Your carrier can limit some features that you can do with your phone, including your ability to make calls or send texts. That might be the reason why the “Emergency Calls Only” message appears on your device. If such is the case, then the only solution is to regularly settle your payments on time, or better yet, way ahead of the payment deadline. You can check with your carrier if you have unsettled dues to make sure.


Restart Your Phone

When you restart your phone, it helps you fix a ton of issues including the Emergency Calls Only error. Most people resolve the problem with this simple solution. Just turn off your phone, wait for a minute or two, and then turn it back on. Wait for it to reboot and check if it still shows the error. If it worked, it means it was just a little software glitch.

There may be instances where it won’t show the option to turn off your phone when doing a long press on the power button. Just in case that happens, what you can do is to continue pressing and holding it until your phone shuts down.

For phones with removable batteries, you can try doing a secondary restart. Ensure that your phone is not connected to a charger and then remove the battery while your phone is turned on. After a minute, reinstall the battery and reboot your phone. This trick also works wonders in most scenarios.


Check Your SIM Card

Not all phones use SIM cards (Subscriber Identity Module), but if yours does, then it’s important to know that it plays a crucial role in enjoying cellular services like making calls or sending texts. If your SIM card isn’t installed properly or is not in good condition, this might be the reason why you’re experiencing the Emergency Calls Only error. Here are things you should check with your SIM card:

Taking care of the SIM card is one of the basic ways to avoid invalid SIM card issues
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

1. Ensure SIM Card Is Positioned Properly

Your daily activities with your phone or any accidental drops can sometimes displace your SIM card. Whatever the cause, if it’s not correctly seated, your phone might not be able to read it properly. Double-check by carefully ejecting and reinserting your SIM card, and see if the error disappears. If it does, it means the card may have been displaced in its SIM card tray.


2. Check the SIM Card For Any Damage

When you swap SIM cards too often, it becomes prone to scratches or damage. Having too many scratches on your SIM will leave it unreadable or dysfunctional, that is why you may want to check if this is the case for you. It can help you rule out whether or not your SIM card is causing the error.


3. Clean SIM Card

Over time, the SIM card or the SIM card tray can catch on dirt or debris which can also hinder your phone from reading your SIM card properly. Use the tip of an unused pencil eraser to clean the SIM card or its tray from any dirt as this can also help resolve the error.


4. Request For a New SIM Card

Maintaining the health of your SIM card is a good thing! But if it’s been with you for a couple of years, you should definitely consider getting your SIM card replaced. Even though it may appear to work perfectly, keeping an old SIM card may be the cause of the error. Make it a practice to replace your SIM card as frequently as once a year, so you won’t miss out on the latest cellular technology and features like the blazing Internet speeds of 5G LTE.


5.  Trade SIM Cards With a Friend or Family Member

If the previous steps did not work, trying sitting down with someone who has a working phone and SIM card. If their SIM card is working on your phone, but yours isn’t working on their phone — it’s safe to say that you have a SIM card problem. On the other hand, if their SIM card doesn’t work on your phone but yours isn’t working on theirs, you can say that you have problems with your phone’s software.

Also read: How to Fix Invalid SIM Card or No SIM Error on Android and iOS.


Check Your Location

Cell Tower Map Near You
© Photo by By Tove Stoddard on Unsplas

If you are in a crowded place like a conference or a concert, the area could be experiencing network congestion, or simply put, too many users of your mobile network are densely situated in your area. Not only will you have trouble making calls or sending texts, but it could be why you’re encountering the error. In these situations, sadly there might be no better solution than to wait until you can leave the area.

Just moved into a new home or office? If you notice that your mobile network has poor reception in the area, it may also be a possible cause of the error. However, if this happens everywhere else, keep reading to help narrow down the troubleshooting steps.

Also read: How to Quickly Locate a Cell Tower Map Near You


Manually Select Mobile Network

Go to the Settings app on your phone, and somewhere under cellular network settings, try selecting your mobile network manually. You may want to try this because your location can also play a factor here.

The reason you would want to do this is that reception may be poor in your area, but your phone is able to detect other mobile networks. As a result, your phone is prompting you that you can only make emergency calls. That is why manually selecting your carrier among the available mobile networks would hopefully resolve the error.


Tweaks on Android

If you are not an Android user, you may skip this part of the guide. But if you are, here are two effective tweaks you can make to resolve the Emergency Calls Only error on your phone:

Review Your Apps

If you downloaded or updated a third-party application on your phone when the problem started, you might like to uninstall the app to check if this is causing the error. Issues sometimes arise from third-party applications, especially if they are from unofficial websites or developers.

Temporarily Switch to 2G

Another effective tweak you should try is switching to 2G:

1. Go to Settings and select Connections.

2. Head to Mobile Networks.

3. Tap on your carrier and select 2G only.

Once the error disappears, you can switch the setting back to 4G/5G LTE.


Contact Carrier

Reaching out to your service provider or carrier may sound a bit bothersome for others, but at times, it can also save you the trouble of scrambling for solutions. After explaining to them the error, they may offer instructions or even inform you about problems that the mobile network could be facing like cell tower maintenance among others.


Factory Reset Your Phone

iphone displaying codes
Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

Wiping your phone to a clean slate may be one of the last options for you before losing all hope. Factory resetting your phone removes all your data and restores all its settings back to default. Although this is considered a last resort, it often resolves the issue because it removes all bugs or potential malware that might be causing the error.

Just make sure that you perform a backup of all your files and data before doing a factory reset since it deletes everything on your phone in the process. Also, be sure to check out our article How to Use OneDrive App to Back Up Files on Android and iOS.


Check for Warranty

By now, you have probably thought of sending in your phone to third-party repair services. It may be wise to have your phone diagnosed, but before proceeding with any repair work, it would be wiser to check if your phone is still covered by warranty. Warranties are usually good for one year and if your device is still covered, the manufacturer can do the repair or send a replacement for free.

Otherwise, you may seek professional advice from the manufacturer or authorized centers if your phone is physically damaged and if it needs to be repaired.


Get a Replacement Phone

It would be pretty rare if you have sent your phone in for repair yet still continue to experience this error. The problems could be related to either hardware, software, or could even be both. If any troubleshooting or any kind of repair doesn’t seem to work, what would you do with a phone that no longer functions as it should? It might be the best time to get a replacement phone. Visit our guide on buying the Best Mobile Phones in the market today!


Be Aware of Natural Calamities

Possible reasons behind the error could be things beyond your control. Natural calamities like earthquakes or hurricanes can sometimes cause serious damage to cell towers, leading your phone to receive the message that you can only make emergency calls. This can be very frustrating especially when you need to contact your loved ones. Nonetheless, it tremendously helps to be aware during such situations and the best thing to do is wait for outgoing services to be restored.



There are many reasons why you may be experiencing the Emergency Calls Only error on your phone, but there’s likely to be a solution to every problem. We hope you were able to find an effective solution in this guide and that you were able to learn a thing or two about why such an error occurs. Let us know which step has helped you the most in resolving the error!