If you’ve ever been on a flight, you’re probably familiar with setting your mobile device to Airplane Mode. But what is Airplane Mode and why do we need it?
What is Airplane Mode?
Airplane Mode is a helpful function that is used to disable a device’s cellular radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other wireless transmission functions, all in one place. Even if you’re not on an airplane, it offers a convenient way to disable a host of your devices core features. This can extend battery life and work as a solution to some phone issues.
With technology becoming an even bigger part of everyday life, many airplanes now offer in-flight Wi-Fi and cellphone use to their patrons. As a result, this has left quite a few people wondering what exactly Airplane Mode does.
What Does Airplane Mode Do?
Airplane Mode disables a handful of your devices features. This applies for many different types and brands of technology, from iPhones and iPads to Android phones and Windows devices. The features it disables are:
- Cellular: Your device will no longer be able to communicate with cell towers.
- Wi-Fi: Your phone will no longer connect, scan for, or interact in any way with any Wi-Fi routers or hotspots.
- Bluetooth: Disabling Bluetooth completely will make it unable to find, pair with, or utilize previously linked Bluetooth devices.
- GPS: Your phone will no longer communicate with GPS services. This is only on some devices, as GPS only really receives signals, as opposed to sending and receiving them.
What is Airplane Mode For?
If you have Airplane Mode enabled, you should see an icon showing you as such. It is usually shaped like a tiny plane of some kind, to signify its name and usage. The point of Airplane Mode is to prevent you from having to power down your phone during a flight. You can instead use Airplane Mode to continue using some of the phone’s functions, such as music or video playback. This applies even during take-off and while landing, although many airlines still insist on powering your cell phone off.
Why is Airplane Mode Needed?
Many airlines and countries prohibit the use of devices that transmit signals on commercial aircraft flights. This is something that all phones possess. One common theory is that when a cellphone has to struggle to communicate with towers, like say on a plane, it will need to boost its signal. This could potentially interfere with other sensors and other equipment on the plane and cause issues with navigation tools.
However, the reality is that modern equipment is advanced enough to mitigate most of these issues, and this is more of a precaution. Even if cell phones did happen to cause issues, it wouldn’t be enough to bring a plane down.
How Can I Use Airplane Mode to Save Power?
As Airplane Mode shuts down the main functions of your phone, your device will not need to work nearly as hard. The benefit of this is seen in extra battery life. Receiving calls, communicating with GPS, and making Bluetooth connections are all some of the most battery intensive things your phone can do.
Using Wi-Fi in Airplane Mode
While airlines require you turn on Airplane Mode, many do offer Wi-Fi. Airplane Mode will turn off your Wi-Fi functions by default. If you need to use Wi-Fi, simply re-enable it after putting on Airplane Mode to use both functions together.
Airplane Mode offers a way for us to turn off the core things that our devices use. This can save battery, potentially make travel safer, and offer a convenient way to enable and disable our phone’s signals. This can be useful when having issues with sending texts or making calls. While not necessarily needed, Airplane Mode is certainly one of the more welcome additions to the smartphone market.
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