What is airplane mode? Is it really dangerous to use phones on planes?
In almost any smartphone sold today, you’ll find within the connectivity settings an option for something called “Airplane mode”.” This situation, which is available to everyone and has a basic feature, perhaps clear from its name, made the phone suitable for use in plane without risk. But despite the name, this situation does not really affect plane, or there is no real evidence for that at least.
In the article here, we will review some intuitive information about the things that airplaane mode does to phones and other electronic devices, and we will also discuss why this mode is associated with plane, and whether it is really necessary or just a very exaggerated precaution.
What happens when airplane mode is activated?
When you press the Airplane mode icon, whether on a phone, computer, or other device, all operations that include broadcasting or receiving wireless signals are simply stopped.
So the cellular network usually shuts down, wifi and Bluetooth connections are completely turned off, and GPS location information is no longer received. However, after activating the mode, phones usually allow these features to be reactivated separately, keeping only the cellular network connection turned off.
Why does airplane mode even exist?
Airplane mode began to appear in mobile phones and other devices at the beginning of the millennium, especially with the transformation of mobile phones into tools used for different things, not limited to calls and messages only.
So instead of having to turn off phones and electronic devices completely (as the laws of many countries and the instructions of most airlines) you can simply keep the device working but without any exchange of information over wireless networks.
In principle, the idea of the situation was to make many devices suitable for flight, as the legislation that prevents the use of these devices is based on the belief that the signals adopted by electronic devices such as phones and laptops can affect the aircraft and the important signals it needs to receive from control towers Earth.
What is interesting is the absence of any real examples of this alleged jamming of aircraft. Since there is no recorded case of a plane crash involving interference from a smartphone,
for example, the closest thing that exists is a case of an error reading the direction of flight as a result of a DVD player that was emitting radio signals due to malfunctions within it.
Do electronic devices pose a real danger to aircraft?
In principle, it would seem very logical that electronic devices are prohibited on many airlines. As electronic devices usually emit and receive wireless signals all the time. These signals can cause interference to the delicate instruments necessary for the operation of aircraft.
The result can be errors in measurements, elevation and orientation, or even interference with communication with ground control towers.
In general, just because it is theoretically possible does not mean that it really happens. As today’s electronic devices are limited to certain areas of their wireless communications, whether to telephone networks or via Wi-Fi networks.
At the same time, modern aircraft possess highly advanced technologies in the field of “electronic noise” isolation. If everything works as intended, interference is usually unlikely under normal circumstances.
Of course, the possibility of confusion does not mean the impossibility of the matter. But it is more likely that the laws passed several decades ago were too strict.
The danger that appeared as a very great threat in the past is very small today, both in terms of the likelihood of problems and the extent of these problems.
In general, there are a lot of people who ignore instructions to turn off electronic devices all the time. Although ignoring safety rules (however unreasonable they may be) is reckless, here is evidence that the risk is much smaller than the lawmakers imagined.
Is airplane mode really necessary today?
Although most countries around the world are still very strict about the use of electronic devices, especially phones and laptops, the absence of real evidence seems to push the removal of these restrictions in the future, but not really directly.
Some of the restrictions regarding the use of Wi-Fi networks are actually starting to loosen, especially with some airlines that offer Internet access from the plane (for an additional cost of course).
In some countries there are studies to allow cellular networks to be used again during normal flights (except for take-off and landing) but with a specific ban on voice calls (ie any use such as messaging or surfing the Internet is allowed as long as you do not disturb other travelers).
But, as might be expected, there is pressure from some airlines against such legislation, as many airlines take advantage of the ban on electronics to sell internet on planes or even sell voice calls.
In general, while removing the ban on technologies is a very slow process due to bureaucracy on the one hand, and the fact that most countries do not consider it necessary at all.
And most likely, the trend of returning to allowing electronic devices on planes and completely is definitely coming, but after a while.
Of course, this does not mean that Airplane mode will be gone from phones and other products. As it is used in many other cases, and regardless of its name, the vast majority of airplane mode uses have nothing to do with aircraft at all.
Some other uses
Save phone battery
Smartphones consume a lot of battery power, in order to keep the phone network working at all times, but if the user needs to save battery power for the user without the need to make or receive calls, the flight mode can be activated with Wi-Fi turned on also in case of wanting to connect to the Internet.
Battery charging speed
When the airphone mode is activated, the phone charges much faster, because this mode stops all energy-consuming processes inside the phone, which helps the user to consume less time than normal methods when charging the phone, and it also avoids the phone being exposed to high temperature during charging.