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What is Airplane Mode and When Should You Use It?

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One of the first announcements made by flight attendants when we board an airplane is to switch off our phones or set them on airplane mode. What is the purpose of this? This article will explain what flight mode is and what it does. It also explains how to use Bluetooth and WiFi in airplane mode.

What’s Airplane Mode?

Airplane mode (also known as flight mode) is a setting that disables wireless signal transmissions on smartphones and other portable computers. When airplane mode is activated on your smartphone, it means that its cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth functions have been disabled. Sometimes GPS functions can be disabled.

What does an Airplane Mode do?

You can enable airplane mode on your device to do the following:

  • This mode prevents your phone from receiving or sending text messages or making voice calls. Flight mode stops your phone from communicating with cell towers.
  • This mode disconnects your phone from a WiFi network. This mode turns off your phone’s ability to scan for WiFi networks and attempt to join them.
  • It will disable Bluetooth on your smartphone.
  • It could also cause your smartphone to lose its GPS function.

Can you use WiFi in an Airplane Mode?

WiFi can be used with airplane mode disabled, but only if the plane offers in-flight WiFi. When you turn this mode on, your phone’s WiFi will disconnect automatically. If your flight has WiFi, you can activate WiFi in flight mode via Settings to connect to the flight’s network. However, in-flight WiFi may not be free. The terms of each airline are different.

You can find more information in our How to Get WiFi on a Plane guide.

Can Bluetooth be used in flight mode?

If your smartphone is set to airplane mode, Bluetooth can be used during flights. Short-range Bluetooth devices can be used, such as your headphones for music and your wireless keyboard to get some work done. To be safe, ask permission first from a flight attendant before you take off with your AirPods.

Why use Airplane Mode?

For safety reasons, airplane mode must be enabled on your smartphone during flights. Radio signals are used by planes’ navigational equipment. Your phone’s wireless transmissions could interfere with pilots’ work. Flight mode can also be helpful in other situations. When:

Traveling to Other Countries

International roaming fees can be very high. Your phone will automatically go into airplane mode, which means that you won’t be charged extra for sending or receiving text messages. You can connect to local WiFi when you reach your destination.

You don’t have to pay WiFi for when you are away from home. Check out our guide to how to get free WiFi everywhere you go.

How to Save Your Battery

To prolong the battery life of your phone, you can turn on airplane mode. Your battery will last longer because you won’t have any data or radio connections.

How to Get Your Smartphone Used by Kids

We recommend that you also turn flight mode on if your children use your phone for gaming purposes. You will be able to prevent them from accidentally sending messages or photos to your contacts. They won’t need WiFi to play any games. You can check out our list of games that do not require WiFi.

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