What is airplane mode? What does airplane mode actually do? Here’s what you need to know about this important phone feature.
Grab an Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or even a Windows PC, and you’ll see an airplane mode toggle in their various shortcut menus. But what is airplane mode and what does it actually do? How can you use it to your advantage on your phone or PC?
What Is Airplane Mode?
On almost all smartphones, laptops, and similar devices, there is a setting called “aeroplane mode,” often known as “aeroplane mode” or “flight mode.” When you go to aeroplane mode, your device’s signal transmission is completely stopped. When your device is turned on, the status bar will display an aeroplane icon.
Have you ever questioned why the flight attendant requests that you put your phone in aeroplane mode and refrain from using it while seated in a flight? Actually, the majority of people are aware of this application of the aeroplane mode on phones or tablets. Aerial mode is useful in a variety of other situations as well. You will be shocked by how many advantages it has.
The feature is known as airplane mode because most airlines prohibit the use of wireless devices on their planes, especially when taking off and landing. There’s some debate on whether phones can actually interfere with the radio equipment in planes, but most think it’s best to err on the side of caution.
It Save Battery?
Yes, airplane mode definitely helps your device save battery life. The various radios in your phone take up a lot of power. They regularly push app notifications over Wi-Fi, communicate with Bluetooth devices and cell towers, and check your location.
That all drains a lot of power, so disabling them all at once is a great way to keep your phone alive for longer. Because your phone doesn’t do as much work in airplane mode, it should also charge faster.
Can You Use Wi-Fi ?
While it depends on your device, most modern phones allow you to use Wi-Fi even when in airplane mode. When you enable airplane mode, Wi-Fi will shut off, but you can enable it again manually. In some cases, Wi-Fi might not shut off when you turn on airplane mode in the first place.
Many airlines now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, so you can enable Wi-Fi while in airplane mode to enjoy that if applicable. If you’re not sure, you should check with an airline employee before you try connecting. Planes typically allow Wi-Fi only when above 10,000 feet, however, so take care to keep Wi-Fi turned off during takeoff and landing.
Does Bluetooth Work?
This is a similar scenario to the above. Enabling airplane mode disables Bluetooth (except with the exceptions mentioned earlier), but on most phones and laptops, you can turn it back on with the shortcut toggle. Airlines don’t usually care much about Bluetooth, because its range is so short (about 30 feet in most cases).
Enabling Bluetooth lets you pair your Bluetooth earbuds, keyboard, or similar devices. Even when you’re not on a plane, you can enable airplane mode to save battery while listening to offline music through Bluetooth headphones.
Do Alarms Work?
Yes, alarms will sound as normal, even in airplane mode. They don’t rely on any kind of internet or mobile connection. Open the Clock app on your device and switch to the Alarms tab to set your alarm as normal.
Can You Receive Calls and Texts?
No, because your phone has no connection to cellular service. If someone calls you and your phone is in airplane mode, they’ll reach your voicemail as if your phone was turned off. You’ll see SMS texts that you received while in airplane mode once you disable it.
If you use Wi-Fi Calling, however, you won’t have this limitation. Your phone and carrier must both support this function, and you have to enable it to run calls and traditional SMS texts over Wi-Fi.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage are an exception to this. If your phone is in airplane mode but you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you can still message others using instant messaging services because they go over the internet, not carrier networks.
How to Listen to Music While in Mode
Since you don’t have an internet connection in airplane mode, music streaming apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and similar won’t work. The only way to stream music in airplane mode is to turn Wi-Fi back on, as we’ve mentioned.
Assuming you can’t connect to Wi-Fi, you have two options for listening to music in airplane mode. First, if you subscribe to a paid streaming service, like Spotify Premium or YouTube Music Premium, you can download music to your mobile device using the app. This lets you listen to it even in airplane mode.
If you don’t want to pay for a premium streaming subscription, you can still listen to local music you own. You’ll need to sync your music to your phone and use an offline music player app to do so.
What Does Airplane Mode Do?
Airplane mode disables all wireless functions of your phone or laptop, including:
- Cellular connection: You can’t make calls, send text messages, or use mobile data to access the internet.
- Wi-Fi: Your device will disconnect from any existing Wi-Fi connections and won’t connect to any new ones.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a short-range connection that lets you link your phone to speakers, headphones, and more. Airplane mode disables this.
After enabling airplane mode, you can manually toggle Wi-Fi or Bluetooth back on, while still keeping airplane mode enabled to block cell signals.
Modern versions of iOS and Android feature convenience tweaks for airplane mode. On modern devices, if you turn on airplane mode while connected to a Bluetooth device, it won’t drop the Bluetooth connection. You can still turn off Bluetooth manually, if you like.
GPS is a bit different. It doesn’t transmit any radio waves; your phone’s GPS functionality only receives signals from GPS satellites. Depending on your device, airplane mode may or may not turn off GPS.
While offline map apps work without an internet connection, features like live traffic won’t work in airplane mode, since you have no connection to the internet.
That’s What You Can Do.
We’ve answered some of the most common questions about airplane mode on your phone or laptop. In short, it lets you shut off all wireless activity on your device, which is required on some flights yet handy even on the ground. And you can tweak airplane mode by turning on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth manually if you still want to allow some connections.
If you’ve got a long flight coming up, we recommend downloading your media to your phone so you aren’t reliant on an internet connection. That way, you have plenty to enjoy without paying for airline Wi-Fi.