The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that by the end of the year passengers will be allowed to use iPhones, iPads, and similar electronic devices in all phases of flight. The only caveat: They must keep the devices in “Airplane Mode” at all times.
The rule change will allow passengers to be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos during all phases of flight, including landing and takeoff, with very limited exceptions. Previously, passengers had to wait until their plane was at a high enough altitude — 10,000 feet — before they could turn on their devices.
The rules will require passengers to either hold or put their electronic items in the seat-back pocket during the takeoff and landing phases of the flight. Cell phones must also be kept in Airplane Mode, which means their cellular service must be disabled, during the entire flight.
If a carrier offers in-flight Wi-Fi service, that may be used. Also, Bluetooth connections will also be allowed. Phone calls, even those via a data connection, will not be allowed during the flights.
The FAA’s advisory board recommended in September that the agency loosen restrictions on in-flight electronic device usage.
A flight crew can instruct passengers to turn off their devices in such instances as low-visibility.
For more information on how to use your iOS device’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities while it is in Airplane Mode, be sure to read our step-by-step how-to article.