How to Turn Off SOS on Apple Watch (Step-by-Step Guide)

by | May 9, 2023

Quick Answer:

Open the “Settings” app on your watch, tap on “SOS,” tap on “Hold Side Button“, and toggle it off. Alternatively, open the “Watch” app on your paired iPhone, tap on “Emergency SOS,” and toggle off the “Hold Side Button to Dial” switch.

Apple Watch Emergency SOS is a potentially lifesaving feature designed to help users quickly and easily call for help during emergencies.

This feature allows you to contact emergency services and send your location information to them, as well as notify your designated emergency contacts.

While it can be useful in dire situations, it doesn’t come without downside. There is a known design flaw in the Apple Watch, where if you bend your wrist back too far, it sets off the SOS alarm.

In this post, we’ll give you some solutions to prevent that pesky SOS from going off.

How to Turn Off SOS on Apple Watch

There are two methods of turning off Emergency SOS:

Turn Off SOS Using Apple Watch

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your watch.
  2. Scroll down and tap on “SOS.”
  3. Tap “Hold Side Button
  4. Toggle off the “Hold Side Button“.

Turn Off SOS Using iPhone

  1. Open the “Watch” app on your iPhone.
  2. Select “My Watch” tab
  3. Scroll down and tap on “Emergency SOS.”
  4. Toggle off the “Hold Side Button to Dial“.

Common Reasons Apple Watch Emergency SOS Keeps Going Off

There are several reasons why your Apple Watch Emergency SOS might be going off randomly.

  1. Accidental Button Press: It’s possible that you’re accidentally pressing the buttons on your Apple Watch, triggering SOS. This can happen while working out or during other activities that involve your wrists.
  2. Software Glitches: Sometimes, software glitches or bugs can cause SOS to go off without any apparent reason.
  3. Faulty Hardware: In rare cases, a hardware issue might be responsible for the random activation of SOS.

Important! I will say that the overwhelming majority of the time the SOS randomly goes off, is because of an accidental button press.

How to Deal With The Issue Without Disabling SOS

Let’s say you don’t want to disable emergency SOS because you still want to the feature for safety, but you want to avoid accidentally pressing the button.

Luckily for you, I’ve been in that exact situation. Here are 5 tips to prevent your Apple Watch Emergency SOS from accidentally going off:

1. Wear your Apple Watch on the bottom of your wrist

The Emergency SOS goes off because your wrist is bending backwards and pressing the button. A way to solve this is by wearing your Apple Watch underneath your wrist instead of on top of it.

It is not the most pretty solution, and you will have to flip your wrist to be able to read the watch, but it is the best solution out there.

This method allows your Apple Watch to still read your heart rate accurately, since the skin under your wrist is thin and easy to penetrate with the watch sensors.

2. Wear your Apple Watch higher up your arm

Another method of dealing with this issue is to wear your watch on the top of your wrist, but then position it higher up your arm so it is out of the way of your wrist when it bends back.

Again, this is not the prettiest or most comfortable way of wearing your watch, but it solves the problem.

One issue with this method is that you may not get the most accurate heart rate readings from your Apple Watch, because your veins are deeper in your arm.

3. Flip the Apple Watch around so the Digital Crown faces the other way

Another option is to flip the Apple Watch around so the Digital Crown is facing away from your wrist.

This will solve the issue, but will require you to remove the bands on your watch and reverse them.

4. Update and restart your watch

If your watch SOS goes off when you’re not working out and it is not related to your wrist bumping it, then make sure your watch is updated to the latest WatchOS, and then restart your watch.

In rare cases, the SOS can go off as a result of software glitches. If that is the case, a simple update and reboot will solve that problem.

5. Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all the methods above and your SOS is still going off randomly, then it could be a hardware issue and it is time to contact Apple Support.

How to End an Emergency Call

If you accidentally activated Emergency SOS and want to turn it off, just follow the steps below:

1. If the countdown has started but not yet completed

If the emergency SOS is going off and the timer is still counting down, just let go of the right side button. The countdown will stop and it will return to its normal state without contacting emergency services.

2. If the countdown has completed and a call is in progress

If the countdown completed and the call is in progress, once the call connects, you can speak with the emergency operator and explain the situation, or simply end the call by tapping the red phone icon on your Apple Watch screen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my Apple Watch keep going to emergency SOS?

If your Apple Watch keeps going to Emergency SOS unintentionally, it may be due to accidentally pressing and holding the side button. Adjusting your grip or using a watch band that doesn’t press against the side button may help prevent this issue.

Does Apple Watch emergency SOS work without cellular?

Apple Watch Emergency SOS works without a cellular plan if your watch is connected to your paired iPhone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If your Apple Watch has its own cellular capabilities, it can make Emergency SOS calls independently without needing a nearby iPhone.

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Ken Lynch

by Ken

Ken is a Data Analyst in the Healthcare industry and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.

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