Written by: Emily Chen

What is Airplane Mode

In the digital age, where smartphones and laptops have become essential companions, understanding their features is crucial. One such feature, often overlooked until we’re about to take off on a flight, is airplane mode.

But what exactly is airplane mode? How does it work, and when should you use it? This comprehensive guide will demystify airplane mode, exploring its functions, uses beyond flights, and its impact on your device’s applications.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or just want to make the most of your device’s features, this article will provide you with the insights you need.

what is airplane mode featured image

The Birth of Airplane Mode

The concept of airplane mode was introduced as a safety measure in response to concerns about the potential for devices’ radio signals to interfere with aircraft systems.

While the actual risk posed by these signals is a topic of ongoing debate, the airplane mode setting is now a standard feature on virtually all portable devices that can connect to a network.

Airplane Mode Explained

Airplane mode, also known as flight mode, is a setting available on nearly all smartphones, laptops, and similar devices.

When you activate this setting, it suspends many of the device’s signal transmitting functions—thereby disabling the device’s capacity to place or receive calls or text messages, or use data services.

What Does Airplane Mode Do?

When you switch your device to airplane mode, it suspends a number of signal-transmitting functions. This includes:


Your device will stop communicating with cellular networks. This means you won’t be able to make or receive phone calls, send or receive text messages, or use mobile data.


Your device will disconnect from any Wi-Fi networks and won’t connect to any new ones. However, it’s worth noting that many devices allow you to re-enable Wi-Fi after switching on airplane mode.


Bluetooth will be disabled. This means you won’t be able to connect your device to any Bluetooth accessories like headphones or speakers. Similar to Wi-Fi, some devices allow you to re-enable Bluetooth after switching on airplane mode.


Depending on your device, GPS may or may not be disabled. This varies widely by device and operating system.


Near Field Communication, used for services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, will be disabled.

Why Use Airplane Mode?

While the name “airplane mode” suggests that this mode is solely for use on an airplane, there are actually several other situations where it can be useful.

Saving Battery Life

Because the various radios inside your device are turned off, they’re not searching for a signal and thus not draining your battery. This can help your device last longer on a charge.

Avoiding Roaming Charges

If you’re traveling internationally and want to avoid costly roaming charges, you can switch your device to airplane mode and then connect to Wi-Fi when it’s available.

Reducing Distractions

If you want to use your device without being interrupted by calls, messages, or notifications, you can switch on airplane mode.

Speeding Up Charging

Some people claim that switching on airplane mode can help your device charge faster. This is because the device isn’t using energy to search for signals or receive data.

Can You Use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in Airplane Mode?

Yes, in most cases, you can. After you switch on airplane mode, you can usually enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth separately. This is useful if you want to use these features while also keeping your device in airplane mode.

For example, many airlines now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth can be used to connect wireless headphones.

The Impact of Airplane Mode on Apps

When your device is in airplane mode, most apps will not be able to connect to the internet, which means any feature that relies on a network connection will be unavailable.

However, any downloaded content will still be accessible. For instance, if you have saved articles on a reading app or downloaded music on a streaming app, you’ll still be able to access these.

Games that don’t require an internet connection can still be played in airplane mode. However, any features that require internet access, such as online multiplayer modes or ad viewing for rewards, will not work.

Airplane Mode and Emergencies

It’s important to note that when your device is in airplane mode, you won’t be able to make or receive calls, including emergency calls. Some devices and carriers offer emergency features that can override airplane mode, but these should not be relied upon.

If you have an emergency, the best course of action is to turn off airplane mode and dial your country’s emergency number.

Airplane Mode on Different Devices

While the basic function of airplane mode is the same across devices, the way you activate it can vary. Here’s how to turn on airplane mode on a few common devices:

iPhone/iPad: Open Control Center (swipe down from the top-right corner on iPhone X and later, or swipe up from the bottom edge on other models). Tap the airplane icon.

Android: Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notification shade. Depending on your version of Android, you may need to swipe down a second time to reveal the Quick Settings. Tap the airplane icon.

Windows 10: Click on the network icon in the system tray on the far right of the taskbar, then click on the airplane icon in the pop-up menu.

MacOS: Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar, then select “Turn Wi-Fi Off.” There’s no dedicated airplane mode in MacOS, but you can achieve the same effect by turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.


In the future, we may see even more customization options for airplane mode. As airlines continue to improve their in-flight Wi-Fi systems, and as more devices become capable of connecting to these networks, the need for a one-size-fits-all airplane mode may diminish.

Instead, users could be able to choose exactly which functions they want to disable, ensuring they can continue to use their devices in the ways that are most important to them, even while in the air.

Airplane mode is a simple concept, but it has a wide range of uses. Whether you’re flying, trying to save battery life, or just need a break from notifications, it’s a feature that many of us find essential in our daily lives.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop a comment below.

By entering your email & signing up, you agree to receive promotional emails on eSIMs and insider tips. You can unsubscribe or withdraw your consent at any time.

About The Author
Meet Emily Chen, a travel writer and eSIM enthusiast. Emily’s love for exploring new places has taken her all over the world. She now shares her experiences and tips for staying connected while traveling through her writing on eSIMradar.
0 0 votes
Rate the article
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

How To Order an eSIM

esim purchase

Compare eSIMs

Compare and find the most suitable travel eSIM for your needs and purchase it directly with the provider.

esim delivery

Receive eSIM via email/app

You will receive the eSIM profile within a few minutes in a separate e-mail or you can directly access it in the provider’s app.

esim setting

Install eSIM

Scan the eSIM QR code in the mail with the camera function of your smartphone and follow the instructions on the screen. The profile will be set up automatically.

esim success

Free roaming abroad

You can now use the eSIM abroad! 

Search over 28000 eSIM data plans in 210+ countries

Why Choose an eSIM?

esim environment friendly


The eSIM works digitally only, so fewer resources are used than with the classic SIM card.

esim digital


The new eSIM can easily be digitally uploaded to your smartphone. It’s quick and saves the environment.

esim fast delivery email

Fast Installation

Your eSIM profile is sent easily and conveniently by email. This means you will receive your digital eSIM much faster than a physical SIM Card by post.

Join the conversation! Leave your questions and opinions below.x

Write a review

Help others by providing a review on eSIM providers or their eSIM plans