What does Airplane Mode do?

Went to town briefly with Neighbor L this morning. Neighbor D is still in the hospital but reportedly improving.

In among the conversation, she complained that her telephone kept going into Airplane Mode on its own.

Me: “Y’know, I don’t even know what airplane mode does.”

Her: “It makes it so you can’t use the internet or call people.”

Me: “What’s the point of that? Why not just turn the phone off?”

Her: “Dunno.”

Me: “Maybe so you can take pictures of all the screaming people when parts fall off the airplane.”

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What does Airplane Mode do?

  1. Anonymous says:

    FWIW: I’d been having that trouble, and discovered recently that it was because I was fat-fingering the airplane mode switch when turning off the flashlight-function after use.

  2. Mike says:

    Airplane Mode turns off all the cellular radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth features of your phone that might interfere with the various sensors and measurement devices your plane uses.

    It’s also useful in situations where a phone ringing would be a social faux pas. Think, church, movie theatres, business meetings, job interviews, etc.

    Also, airplane mode prevents an external actor from accessing your phone remotely.

  3. ka9vsz says:

    ‘Way back when, Mythbusters tried their darndest to create interference with a plane’s systems. IIRC, they went so far as to use a test rig that emulated all cellphone emissions at a much higher power than a cellphone would be capable of achieving. Nary a glitch. My experience has shown me airplane mode exists purely to piss me off. Of course, most of the functions also do so… The “screaming passengers” rationale also sounds plausible.

  4. Dr. Coyote says:

    I think it’s one of those felt-good-in-the-day things that’s taken on a life of its own. You know, kind of like taking off shoes at the security gate. Pure theater, but if you’re the guy in the organization that says “hey, let’s stop this nonsense, it’s outdated and not helping any” and something bad happens, you’re now on the hook.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I use bluetooth for my fitbit and wifi for the obvious. When it’s reading time in the evening I use airplane mode to shut off (and turn on) both at once. Too much infrastructure for such a small task, but at least it has a use, for some people.
    The only downside for me was that my little kids liked to push the Airplane, then when the wifi turned off and android helpfully popped up the wifi connection panel, they’d try to fix it by typing in new passwords.
    Ah. The good old days.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You can still take pics and play games in airplane mode. For some folks that’s what a phone is for.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Turning off the phone results in waiting for it to restart. Airplane mode is instant.

    Also, turning airplane mode off and on can connect to a better/different tower signal. Sometimes speeds up data.

  8. malatrope says:

    In addition to what everybody else has said, airplane cuts down the power considerably. The battery will last much longer.

  9. RCPete says:

    Back in the early 1960s, there was an airliner crash that was blamed on a kid using an AM transistor radio. I’m not sure how lousy ’60s avionics was, but susceptible to a transistor radio?

    I used to set my Kindle to airplane mode when I took it into town, so it didn’t spend power looking for a WiFi hot spot. Now, I just turn off WiFi. At home, it takes a few seconds to find and connect to the router.

  10. thexrayboy says:

    Airplane mode is ostensibly to turn of a cell phones radio so it cannot broadcast a signal. In reality it merely makes your phone unuseable to YOU but the radio is still broadcasting your location so you can be tracked and the mic is probably still eavesdropping on you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What others said. Makes a very noticeable difference to battery life, especially in areas with poor signal. Apparently finding/connecting to towers requires more power than simply maintaining a connection. With my house being just at the edge of service, turning on airplane mode gives me 3-4X the battery life compared to leaving it off.

    On the interference side of things, I had an old Motorola phone in the early 2000’s that would cause noticeable interference on any speakers nearby (TV, radio, etc.) moments before a call came in. I’m sure they’ve fixed that by now, but back then there might have been some justification for the airplane thing…

To the stake with the heretic!