When faced with a low battery, many turn to Airplane Mode. But behind this simple action, is there truly a secret to extended battery life?
Indeed, Airplane Mode can help conserve battery by preventing your smartphone from continuously searching for a network. However, while in Airplane Mode, you won’t be able to make calls, be reachable, or access the internet. Additionally, sending and receiving text messages will be disabled.
- What is Airplane Mode?
- How Does Airplane Mode Work?
- How Can Airplane Mode Save Battery?
- When to Use Airplane Mode?
- Airplane Mode Doesn’t Stop Battery Drain
- 7 Drawbacks of Airplane Mode
What is Airplane Mode?
Airplane Mode is a feature that disables all wireless connections, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mobile networks. When activated, an airplane icon prominently appears on your device’s status bar.
It’s also referred to by other names like “flight mode” or “offline mode.”
The name originates from the fact that airlines prohibit phone usage during flights due to potential interference with cockpit-to-control tower radio communications. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does allow wireless headphones and airpods. Read more here.
You don’t need to be on a plane to use Airplane Mode. It can be used to disconnect from the outside world or to save battery before it runs out.
Contrary to popular belief, Airplane Mode isn’t exclusive to smartphones. It’s available on laptops, tablets, PCs with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and more.
How Does Airplane Mode Work?
Airplane Mode is straightforward. When selected and turned on, network connections, Bluetooth functions, all internet frequencies (3G, 4G, 5G…), and Wi-Fi are turned off.
You might not know this, but your phone is always looking for nearby cell towers, even when you’re not using it. Additionally, a cellphone emits other radio signals, for instance, for location tracking.
By turning on Airplane Mode, your device stops searching for towers and sending out signals.
Here’s a rundown of features that are turned off in Airplane Mode:
- Bluetooth: Airplane Mode turns off all Bluetooth connections and pairings, like headphones, portable or home speakers, keyboards, computers, etc.
- Wi-Fi: Airplane Mode disconnects Wi-Fi, preventing internet access and usage of tools like Alexa. However, like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi can be manually reactivated even in Airplane Mode.
- Mobile Network: In Airplane Mode, your mobile network is off. A diagonal line appears on the network bars, and you can’t make or receive calls, texts, or access 4G/5G mobile internet data.
- GPS: Most devices keep the GPS on even in Airplane Mode to pinpoint their exact location. Since GPS doesn’t use network data, it’s usually not an issue. However, some mobile apps like Google Maps or Waze need an active network to display additional location data. In such cases, you might need to turn on Airplane Mode while manually turning off the GPS.
How Can Airplane Mode Save Battery?
While Airplane Mode is a safety measure in aviation, it’s also a way to conserve battery.
When not flying, you can turn on Airplane Mode on your phone to extend battery life.
When a phone connects to a tower, it sends out a series of signals. This process tends to drain your phone’s battery, especially in areas with poor coverage.
Switching on Airplane Mode saves battery by preventing your device from sending signals until it can establish a connection.
But that’s not all…
In Airplane Mode, your smartphone also stops searching for nearby Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices!
Additionally, the device won’t update your location via GPS, and installed apps won’t communicate with other devices or servers. All these actions help conserve your device’s battery.
When to Use Airplane Mode?
If you want to save your device’s battery before it dies, consider turning on Airplane Mode.
Another benefit of Airplane Mode is the ability to disconnect from the outside world since you can’t make calls, send texts, or be reached.
It also cuts off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, enhancing your digital privacy and stopping notifications. And with GPS turned off, your location remains a well-kept secret.
How to Activate Airplane Mode on iPhone?
It’s easy to turn on Airplane Mode on an iPhone. Here’s how:
- From the home screen, swipe down
- At the top right, tap the airplane icon
- The airplane icon will turn orange, indicating Airplane Mode is on
- Open the Settings app (gear icon)
- You’ll see “Airplane Mode” at the top
- Turn it on
How to Activate Airplane Mode on Android?
Activating Airplane Mode on an Android device is just as straightforward. Here’s how:
- Access quick settings by swiping down from the top of the screen
- Look for an airplane icon and tap it
- An airplane icon will appear in the status bar, indicating your phone is in Airplane Mode
- Open your Android’s settings
- Go to Network & Internet
- Find Airplane Mode and tap it to turn it on
How to Activate Airplane Mode on a Laptop?
Turning on Airplane Mode on a laptop can help save battery. Here’s how:
- Click on the internet icon in the taskbar at the bottom right
- Click on Airplane Mode to activate it
Airplane Mode Doesn’t Stop Battery Drain
Turning on Airplane Mode on your Android or iPhone doesn’t mean the battery level will remain unchanged. However, the decrease will be much slower.
The battery level might drop, but only by a few percentages per hour.
In Airplane Mode, the battery can last 3 to 4 times longer.
If you notice a rapid battery drain even with Airplane Mode on, check if an app is running in the background.
Smartphones don’t close apps in Airplane Mode. They don’t use mobile data, but they do use memory and therefore battery.
7 Drawbacks of Airplane Mode
- Limited Communication: In Airplane Mode, you can’t make calls or send or receive texts. This can be an issue in emergencies or if you’re expecting an important call or message.
- No Internet Access: All cellular data connections are off, meaning you can’t browse the internet, check emails, or use apps that require a connection.
- Wireless Connections Turned Off: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are typically off in Airplane Mode, although you can manually turn them back on. This means you can’t connect to Wi-Fi or use Bluetooth devices like headphones or smartwatches unless you reactivate them individually.
- Limited GPS Location: While GPS might technically work in Airplane Mode on some devices, apps that need a data connection to provide maps or other location-related info might not work properly.
- Delayed Updates: Notifications, updates, and other services that need an internet connection won’t be received while Airplane Mode is on.
- Not Ideal for Extended Use: If you forget to turn off Airplane Mode, you might miss important calls, messages, emails, or notifications.
- Limited Features: Some apps and features that rely on a network connection, like Google Maps or Waze, might not function well.
While Airplane Mode is effective for conserving smartphone battery, it’s not the only solution. Here are other methods to consider if you notice your phone’s battery draining quickly:
- Close apps when you’re not using them
- Delete energy-intensive apps like Messenger and Facebook
- Avoid exposing your phone to direct sunlight
- Lower the screen brightness
- Turn off mobile data when not in use. You’ll still be reachable by phone and text in emergencies
By following the above tips and using Airplane Mode, you’ll extend your phone’s battery life and likely make it through the day.