How to Use an iPad in Airplane Mode

  Matt Cone       July 25, 2021      Tutorials iPad


Flying somewhere with your iPad? You may need to learn about an important iOS feature called Airplane Mode. Turn this setting on, and your iPad may be compliant with regulations that prohibit the use of certain wireless technologies while the aircraft is flying. This tutorial provides a comprehensive look at Airplane Mode and how you can use an iPad on an aircraft.

What is Airplane Mode?

When you enable Airplane Mode, your iPad disconnects from any cellular and wireless networks and stops trying to automatically reconnect to those networks. WiFi, Location Services, and GPS will also be disabled. All of those wireless technologies could potentially interfere with the avionics in the cockpit. And since your iPad won’t be constantly looking for networks to join, another benefit of Airplane Mode is that it can help conserve battery power.

How to Enable Airplane Mode

Depending on what part of the flight you’re in, you may need to enable Airplane Mode. Here’s how:

  1. Placing your finger on the top-right corner of the screen, pull down, as shown below.

    Using Airplane Mode on iPad

  2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon, as shown below.

    Turning on Airplane Mode on iPad

You’ve successfully put your iPad in Airplane Mode. You’re not connected to any networks at this point, but you can still watch downloaded movies, listen to downloaded music, or use any of your apps that don’t require an internet connection.

Connecting to Wi-Fi Networks and Bluetooth Devices

Airplane Mode automatically disables WiFi connectivity, but most regulations allow you to enable wireless protocols while airborne. This is useful when connecting to in-air wireless networks or using Bluetooth devices, such as a Bluetooth keyboard. Here’s how to enable WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity while your iPad is in Airplane Mode:

  1. Placing your finger on the top-right corner of the screen, pull down.

  2. Tap the WiFi and Bluetooth icons, as shown below.

    Turning on Wifi and Bluetooth while in Airplane Mode on iPad

You’ve successfully enabled WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity while using the iPad in Airplane Mode. You can now connect your iPad to a WiFi network.

How to Turn Airplane Mode Off

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ll want to disable Airplane Mode so your iPad can start automatically connecting to wireless networks again. Here’s how to turn Airplane Mode off:

  1. Placing your finger on the top-right corner of the screen, pull down.
  2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon to disable Airplane Mode.

You have successfully disabled Airplane Mode. Now Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location Services, and GPS are enabled again.

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© 2021. A Matt Cone project. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Made with 🌶️ in New Mexico.