Does the screen on your phone display the message “Emergency Calls Only” and you’re wondering why? In this post, we will cover the common things that cause this message to display on your phone and not enable you to make normal calls.
The first thing to understand in this situation is that your wireless phone will allow calls to emergency services no matter what. That means that if your phone is not linked to a wireless carrier, you can still call 911. When the phone only allows emergency service calls, it has become separated from its network somehow. We need to figure out why the phone is disconnected from its network.
1. Did you pay your bill?
Has it been a while since you paid your wireless carrier? If so, your carrier may have turned your service off. Ensure your wireless bill is paid and your phone should return to normal rather quickly.
2. Is your SIM Card seated properly?
If your SIM Card is not inserted or is not seated properly, it may cause your phone to only allow calls to 911. Ensure your SIM Card is securely inserted into the slot. It may not hurt to remove it and re-seat it.
The SIM card is very small. It is usually about the size of a fingernail and located somewhere near the battery or in an eject-able slot on the side. If you don’t know where the SIM card is located on your device, look for documentation for your device.
You may also want to try a different SIM card in the case that it is defective. You should be able to get a replacement SIM card from your wireless carrier for no charge.
Note: Not all devices use a SIM Card, but most these days do.
3. Have you restarted your phone?
If you haven’t tried to power down your phone yet, do so. Turn it off and let it sit for a few seconds before turning it back on. This resolves this problem in most cases.
4. Is there a Service interruption?
Sometimes there may be a problem with the carrier’s network that will cause your phone to not work properly. Are there any power related disturbances in your area? Are some of the wireless towers down?
Lookup your wireless service on Downdetector and see if other customers have reported problems.
5. Are you receiving a proper signal?
In some rare cases, your phone may display the “Emergency calls only” message when it can’t connect to a wireless tower on your network. It allows emergency calls because it is connected to a tower that is not a part of your wireless carrier’s network.
You may want to check to see if your phone has a setting that allows you to make calls while “Roaming”. If you do this, your wireless carrier may charge more for calls.
6. Is the Phone Reported Stolen?
Is your phone considered stolen by your wireless carrier? Sometimes if the phone hasn’t been activated properly by your carrier, or has been reported stolen, it will only allow emergency calls.
Contact your wireless provider or return the phone to the place of purchase to see what the problem might be.
7. Last resort – Factory Reset
If you have tried all of the above items, and the “Emergency Calls Only” message still appears, you may want to try to factory reset your device. A factory reset will wipe all data from the memory of the phone. So be sure all data is backed up before proceeding with this option.
If you’re not sure how to factory reset your phone, look for documentation for your particular device or perform a Google search on the topic.