Switching your smartphone into Airplane Mode does not mean you can fly a plane with it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It temporarily turns off your device’s calling and data features, so that when you’re on a plane it won’t interfere with any communications between the airplane and the control tower. Pretty important stuff, to be sure!
But does it serve any purpose when you’re not actually on an airplane? Surprisingly, the answer is yes! Switching to Airplane Mode significantly reduces the amount of background work your phone or tablet is doing, which helps your battery stay charged longer, and also require far less time for it to recharge.
And though you’ll be prevented from making calls or sending text messages, there’s still plenty you can do with a modern smartphone, even when it’s in Airplane Mode. By connecting to Wi-Fi, which is now widely available in most hotels, coffee shops, vacation spots, and even on some airplanes, you can still access streaming music and video, check the Internet and social media, and use most of your favorite apps.
You can even still easily keep in touch. With a Wi-Fi connection, you’re able to use messaging apps like iMessage for iPhone, Google’s Google Hangouts or Duo, or Facebook’s Messenger. You’re also able to use video chat, so if you’ve downloaded the Skype app or, for iPhone users, have the Facetime feature, you’ve got an especially handy way to check in with your contacts back home. Plus, you can always let friends keep up with everything you see and do on your travels by posting photos and messages to social media.
Finally, if you use your smartphone as your alarm clock, putting it in Airplane Mode can also help you get a peaceful night’s sleep. With the messaging functions turned off, you avoid the noisy notification sounds that can suddenly pop on in the middle of the night and snap you out of gloriously deep slumber!
So while it won’t let you actually pilot a jumbo jet, Airplane Mode will help your flight get safely into the air, while also serving as a handy battery saver and a helpful sleep aid—an impressive number of benefits for changing one simple setting!