Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What Airplane Mode Does & Why to Use it

People often wonder what is the point of airplane mode on smartphones and what exactly airplane mode does to the phone when it is enabled.  Placing a smartphone in airplane mode means turning off communications to the phone.  In airplane mode the following functions are disabled:
  • Cellular - this function is used to make and receive phone calls, send SMS messages, and also to pass data when not connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Wi-Fi - this function is used to connect to wireless networks which smartphones connect to so they can pass data without using the data allotted in phone plans.
  • Bluetooth - this function is used to connect to various items like keyboards, mice, activity trackers, hands-free speakers for making phone calls in newer cars, headsets and headphones, and more.
The most common use for airplane mode is obviously when on a flight.  The reason for this was to prevent any disruptions or interruption in the communications with all of the systems the airplane uses and relies upon.  The benefit of having airplane mode means smartphones can be left on while flying without worry of causing any issues with the plane itself.

Another reason for using airplane mode is to increase battery life at a time when communications are unlikely or when in an area where they are unavailable.  Using airplane mode is a faster way to disable communications for a period of time rather than powering a phone off and on.  With airplane mode enabled, smartphones can still be used to:
  • Draft emails and read existing emails
  • Check and modify calendar items
  • Take photos and videos
  • Watch videos downloaded to the phone, including items downloaded through iTunes or Amazon Prime, etc.
  • Listen to music downloaded to the phone
  • Play games and run other apps local to the phone
  • Make notes or modify files in apps
Airplane mode is easy to enable on both Android and iPhone devices and is accessed in the following ways respectively:

  • Go to Settings and Select "Wireless & Networks"
  • Check the box next to "Airplane Mode" to enable it

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap the slider next to "Airplane Mode" to enable it

Whether using airplane mode while on a flight or to save battery life, it is a handy tool for temporarily disabling portions of a smartphone while leaving many other functions available.  There are many ways to continue to work or simply use a smartphone as entertainment while in airplane mode.  Airplane mode is easy to enable and disable and normally takes less than a minute to re-establish connections to cellular towers and Wi-Fi networks.

As always, a better understanding of our everyday technology is optimal!

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