Since the FCC Chairman has announced he will be shutting down the 2013 proposal that would allow cellphone users to make calls and surf the web via a cellular signal while in-flight, it’s more important than ever to understand what exactly your iPhone can do in-flight, even with “Airplane Mode” turned on.
In order to use your iPhone during an airplane flight you are required to put it into “Airplane Mode.” Airplane Mode shuts off your device’s cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios. However, passengers are still allowed to use in-flight Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for headphones. Here’s how to use either, or both of those features while your iPhone is in Airplane Mode. (This tip is for iOS 10, but earlier versions of iOS will be similar.)
Entering Airplane Mode
Slide your finger up from the bottom of your device in order to access your iPhone’s Control Center. Tap the icon at the top left of the control center that looks like an airplane with a circle around it. This will enable Airplane Mode and it will light up as seen in the photo below:
You may notice that the Wi-Fi, (second icon from the left), and the Bluetooth, (center icon) both darken. Now we’ll tell you how to turn those back on.
Turning Wi-Fi On While in Airplane Mode
To turn Wi-Fi back on, just tap the Wi-Fi icon, it will light up, indicating Wi-Fi is now turned back on. You’ll notice the Airplane Mode icon is indicating that it’s still on, but now just your iPhones’s cellular radio and Bluetooth are disabled.
In order to connect to your airplane’s in-flight Wi-Fi, follow the instructions given by your airline.
Turning Bluetooth On While in Airplane Mode
To turn on Bluetooth while in Airplane mode, follow the same steps that you performed turning on Wi-Fi, except tap the center icon. It will light, indicating it is now “on.” Follow your normal procedures to connect your headphones or other accessory, to your iOS device.
After landing, just slide up to access Control Center and tap the Airplane Mode icon once more, that will turn Airplane Mode off, and allow your cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios in your iOS device to connect as normal.
A nice side effect of Airplane Mode is that it ensures that you don’t use international cellular data or voice while out of your home country. It basically turns your iPhone into an iPod touch that won’t be running up any expensive voice or data roaming charges. So, you might leave it on, depending on where your final destination is located.
For more tips and tricks on how to make better use of your Mac, iOS device, Apple Watch, or Apple TV, be sure to visit the “How To” section of our website.