iPhone SOS crisis resolved as AT&T outage comes to an end: Here's what happened

man holding iphone in hand
(Image credit: Bagus Hernawan on Unsplash)

According to AT&T's official X/Twitter account, the ongoing iPhone SOS service outage is officially over. The network has struggled to resolve an ongoing outage since earlier in the day, causing many iPhone users to be stuck in SOS mode, unable to connect to the cellular service, and with some unable to contact emergency services.

AT&T's outage quickly became a small-scale crisis as customers of Verizon, T-Mobile, Cricket, and more, wrongfully assumed that their cellular service was also at fault, registering service disruption reports with outage tracking website DownDetector and causing spikes in disrupted service reports across the board for many networks that were experiencing no fault at all.

Thankfully, T-Mobile and Verizon were both quick to point out that these reports were the cause of customers attempting to connect to users of AT&T's disrupted service, and that things on their end were working smoothly.

Meanwhile, AT&T has been battling through its technical troubles for over 12 hours, with the company only announcing within the last hour (as of publication) that full service had been restored.

What caused the AT&T outage?

While the outage may have come to an end, there are still plenty of questions left on the table as to what may have caused it in the first place.

The internet has been abuzz with rumors of cyber attacks, solar flares, and even aliens. But, as of yet, there's been no official word as to how AT&T's network suffered such a dramatic blow.

What we do know is that AT&T is currently working alongside the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FCC (with its Public Safety Bureau and the Homeland Security Bureau personally investigating the issue) to find out.

According to CNN, National Security Spokesperson John Kirby says there is no evidence of a cyber attack on the network, and that both Homeland Security and the FBI are looking into today's service disruption.

A recent Twitter/X post from AT&T may have cleared things up, however. In the post, AT&T claims that after an initial review, it believes the outage was caused by "the application & execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack."

AT&T will be continuing its assessment with its goal being "to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve."

So, not aliens or solar flares after all? That's a shame.

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Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.