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What is Airplane Mode? How it Works and When to Use it

If you’ve boarded a plan recently, you probably already know how to turn on Airplane Mode, but did you know what airplane mode is? You probably know that it shut your WiFi off, that’s one of the most immediately noticeable effects, but what else does it do? In short, it is designed to turn off all of the features of your phone that might interfere with the various sensors and measurement devices your plane uses.

Whether you have one of the best Android phones or the latest iPhone, airplane mode will be relatively the same. It is activated by tapping an airplane symbol in your settings and acts to shut down cellular and other signals from your phone. While there are some particulars to explore below, you will not be sending (or receiving) calls or texts while in airplane mode.

Using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

The United States Federal Aviation Administration’s 2017 portable electronic devices guidance quickly explains the need to turn off certain signals during flight. In fact, fellow phone-related organization (the Federal Communications Commission, FCC) explicitly prohibits cellular telephone usage while in flight. The waves produced are too long range. Bluetooth, however, uses short-range waves and is permitted.

Using Wi-Fi on a plane is more of a gray area. The FAA allows Wi-Fi, but only if the plane has the appropriate hardware available onboard to make it safe. Ask your in-flight attendant or wait for guidance from the pilot before proceeding.

Thankfully, if allowed, you can turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi back on without exiting Airplane Mode. To do so, tap the relevant icon in your notification shade by swiping down from the top on an Android device or swiping up from the bottom to access the Control Center on an iOS device.

However, the precise rules may vary depending on the aircraft, airline, or country you’re in. If in doubt, ask before you turn any connections on.

Other uses for Airplane Mode

Now that you understand what Airplane Mode is, we felt it was important to mention that it can be highly convenient in a few other situations besides an airplane ride.

Save battery life

One of the best uses of airplane mode off of a plane is to simply save battery life. If you’re struggling to establish a solid connection on your phone and you’re having difficulty getting a signal, it can be helpful to switch Airplane Mode on and off again.

Give yourself personal space

The feature also operates well when you’re in a “don’t disturb” kind of mood. You can quickly turn Airplane Mode on right before you head to bed, and your phone won’t annoyingly wake you up with a text or email alert (and if you’re wondering, yes, alarms still work). When you need to increase the battery life on your phone, Airplane Mode is also an excellent technique to boost it. You can use it and save your battery as long as you aren’t expecting a call or message from someone. We encourage you to take a look at our iPhone battery tips article for more neat ideas. When you’re using Airplane Mode, you should also begin to notice that your phone charges faster when it’s plugged in. 

Limiting data usage

Enabling Airplane Mode is a great way of limiting cellular data usage when traveling if you haven’t paid for international roaming. For those without roaming plans, your phones will immediately charge you international fees when it pings a nearby tower, even if you have Wi-Fi and cellular data turned off. The best way to prevent that is to use Airplane Mode, giving you the ability to use your phone without racking up fees. You can even enable Wi-Fi after Airplane Mode is on while still being assured that your cellular connection isn’t active. Airplane Mode can also be used to limit cellular data usage when you’re near home, for example, if you’re running low on data and don’t want your phone automatically downloading images and videos from WhatsApp messages or updating apps while you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.

Airplane Mode — Frequently asked question

Why happens when someone calls you on airplane mode?

If someone calls you on airplane mode, you will not receive the call as you phone does not receive signal. As your phone does not receive a signal, there will be no notification that your phone was “pinged” by an outside source. In effect, the call simply does not happen. However, the caller may still be able to leave a voicemail. If you have Wi-Fi calling enabled and are allowed to use Wi-Fi on your flight, you may receive calls during flights. Note that you will need to turn off data roaming as well, if you use an iPhone.

Can you receive texts in airplane mode?

You cannot receive texts in airplane mode, as you will not receive signal. You may, however, queue up texts to send out once your signal is reconnected.

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Courtesy by: Digital Trends

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