Airplane Mode on Your Android Phone - dummies

Airplane Mode on Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

The rules about flying on an airplane with a cell phone like your Android are changing. Where it was once outright forbidden to even look at a cell phone while the plane was aloft, governments around the world have left it up to each airline to determine in-flight usage.

Generally speaking, follow the crew’s direction when it comes to using your cell phone. They’ll let you know when and how you can use the phone: specifically, whether it needs to be turned off for takeoff and landing and, once in the air, whether you can use it to make phone calls or enable any wireless features, such as Wi-Fi and GPS.

Traditionally, cell phones are placed into what’s commonly called airplane mode during a flight. In that mode, it’s okay to use the phone and access many of its features, except for cellular network access. So you can listen to music, play games, or use the in-flight Wi-Fi if your bankroll can afford it.

To activate airplane mode on a typical Android phone, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose the More item in the Wireless & Networks section.

  3. Place a check mark by the Airplane Mode option.

    Airplane mode is active.

When the phone is in airplane mode, a special icon appears in the status area, similar to the one shown. You might also see the text No Service on the phone’s lock screen.


To exit airplane mode, repeat the steps in this section, but in Step 3 remove the check mark.

And now . . . the shortcuts!

Perhaps more shortcuts exist for finding airplane mode than any other Android phone feature. First, the Device Options menu features and Airplane Mode setting; press and hold down the Power/Lock key to see the Device Options menu.

Second, you can find an Airplane Mode icon in the quick actions drawer.

Finally, you may find an Airplane Mode icon on the Power Lock widget, should your phone feature that widget on the Home screen.

  • Some Android phones feature sleep mode, in which case you can place your phone into sleep mode for the duration of a flight. The phone wakes up faster from sleep mode than it does when you turn it on.

  • Bluetooth networking is disabled in airplane mode, as is NFC communications and the Android Beam feature.