Just What is Airplane Mode and When to Use It? ⋆

Just What is Airplane Mode and When to Use It?

If you fly very rarely, you probably have not used your phone’s airplane mode let alone what it is or when you should use it. Everyone knows you cannot use your phone in flight unless you have the setting on airplane mode.

So, what exactly is airline mode, what does it do, and is it important to set your phone on this mode when the flight attendant tells you to? The following information will bring you up to par about airplane mode and why it should be important to you.

First off, the airplane mode setting on your smartphone turns off all the wireless functions on your phone or your tablet.  Your phone should have a plane icon that, when tapped, turns off your cellular voice, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

This mode allows you to use the device during the flight.  What you might not know, the radios inside your device emit electromagnetic interference that can affect operations in the flight deck. This includes the instruments and other equipment for flying the aircraft.  The FAA said that these devices, if not on airplane mode, can have a negative effect on the cellular towers.

Why Do I Need To Bother With Airplane Mode?

It is mandatory that your cellular service and WiFi are in compliance with the Federal Regulations and Airline’s rules.  As a matter of fact, Apple has a very clear message on their devices that airline mode allows users to comply with the Airline Regulations.

Although there are outside sources, such as Business Insider, who claim that mobile phones do not interfere with navigational equipment or the performance of an aircraft, but the Federal Communications Commission has made it mandatory that your phone is on airplane mode when you fly.

In many cases, the FAA is more concerned about issues from cell towers on the ground.  They have warned that when a plane is 40,000 feet in the air, phones could pick up service signals from many different towers which will crowd the networks and disrupt service.

What Am I Able To Do With My Phone In Airplane Mode?

As airplane mode blocks your connection to networks, you can’t make phone calls, send a text message, or other communication avenues.  You shouldn’t be able to connect to the internet as your WiFi is shut down as well.  In 2013, the FAA updated their guidelines allowing passengers to use their Bluetooth and WiFi connections.

With The New Guidelines, How Does This Work?

If your airline has WiFi on their planes and you have Bluetooth devices you wish to use during flight, you will be able to use WiFi and Bluetooth when your phone is on airplane mode.  You will have to switch them back manually after turning on airplane mode.  You will be able to connect to the in-flight WiFi and use your wireless headphones while in flight.

Can I Use Airplane Mode Even If I’m Not Flying?

Yes, you can.  There are other situations when using this setting might be convenient even if you are not anywhere around an airport.  Using the airline mode can save your battery’s life which is a great option if you will be in an area for a while that has really poor service.  Other sources have shown that in airplane mode, your phone will actually charge up more quickly.

Some users have found this mode very useful if they are busy and do not want to be inundated by Facebook, Instagram or other apps that have you checking your phone non-stop.

Another handy feature, if you give your phone to your children to watch a show or movie, it will prevent them from making phone calls and will keep your notifications from interrupting what they are doing on the device.

There you go! Now you know what Airplane Mode is about and the added bonuses for using it whenever you wish.