What Does Flight Mode Mean on a Mobile Phone

Flight mode is a pretty standard option on mobile phones nowadays, but if you don’t have cause to get onto an aeroplane, then you might not ever use it. We often get asked what flight mode is and what it does to a phone, so here is a quick guide.

How to Turn on Flight Mode

Usually found as a toggle on/off icon in your settings or shortcut bar, you will notice that it has an aeroplane logo, as of course it was explicitly designed for mobile phones being carried on a plane. Turning your phone off is acceptable on a flight, but if you still want to be able to use some of the features, you will have to use airplane mode, or get told off by the flight attendants. In all seriousness, the feature is there for your safety so you shouldn’t grumble if asked to use it.

Whats does Flight Mode do?

Basically, it is all to do with the wireless signal that mobile phones use to transmit data and communicate with the internet, cellular services and other things. When you are on a plane, there is a possibility that the signal could interfere with the equipment in the cockpit. While it is often debated as to whether there would be an issues pilots prefer that mobiles are off, and we are not just talking about one phone, with hundreds of passengers on some bigger flights it makes sense for this safety feature to be observed.

As standard, this means that you will not be able to make or receive calls, send text messages and access your mobile data to get on the internet. It also means you will be disconnected from any wifi connections and the phone will not attempt to connect to any new ones. Finally it means that you Bluetooth will not work, so this prevents the use of things like wireless headphones and speakers etc., a bit of a buzz kill we know but in this situation possibly vital to ensure that the plane stays int he air.

Some handset will also turn off GPS, others will leave them on, as the feature doesn’t actually send out any radio waves. This means offline maps would work but live traffic won’t work for example, although you don’t really need traffic info on a plane. If you are hoping to check the state of the roads when you land, then you will have to wait until you are back in the airport.

There are times when airplane mode is a useful feature even if you do not actually fly. For example, some hospitals ask for phones to be turned off or put into aeroplane mode as they also have equipment that could be interrupted by too many other signals being around.

While most academic associations take away mobile phones from exam halls, there is a possibility as an adult you might be allowed to keep your phone on airplane mode with you. Of course, it is also a great feature if you have downloaded a movie that does not require the Internet to view, to ensure you are not interrupted by calls and text, but this doesn’t work if you are live streaming from a site like Netflix as you need the wifi or 4G connection