Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows devices to communicate with each other over short distances. People use it to connect headphones, speakers, keyboards, mice, and other accessories to gadgets. These gadgets include smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Bluetooth can also be used for transferring files, sharing contacts, and streaming music.
But what happens when you want to use Bluetooth on a plane? Do you have to turn it off along with your cellular and Wi-Fi connections? Does Bluetooth work in airplane mode? And is it safe to use Bluetooth on a plane?
In this article, we will answer these questions and explain how to use Bluetooth on a plane without causing problems or breaking the rules.
What is Airplane Mode?
Airplane mode is a setting on your device that disables all the wireless radios that transmit or receive signals. This includes cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, and Bluetooth. Airplane mode stops your device from affecting the plane’s navigation and communication systems. It also helps you save battery life and avoid roaming charges when traveling abroad.
When you turn on airplane mode, you will see an airplane icon on the status bar of your device. You will also see that you can’t make or get calls, send or get texts, access the internet, or use apps that need an online connection.
However, airplane mode does not completely disable all the functions of your device. You can still use offline apps, play games, watch videos, listen to music, take photos, and access your calendar and contacts. You can also turn on some of the wireless radios individually without turning off airplane mode.
Can You Use Bluetooth in Airplane Mode?
Yes, you can use Bluetooth in airplane mode. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that operates on a different frequency band than the ones used by the plane’s systems. Therefore, it does not pose any risk of interference or disruption to the flight operations.
However, you need to manually turn on Bluetooth after activating airplane mode. This is because airplane mode turns off all the wireless radios on your device, including Bluetooth. To turn on Bluetooth while in airplane mode, follow these steps:
- On an iPhone or iPad: Swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen to open the Control Center. Tap on the airplane icon to enable airplane mode (it will turn orange when on). Then tap on the Bluetooth icon to turn it on (it will turn blue when on).
- On an Android phone or tablet: Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notification panel. Tap on the airplane icon to enable airplane mode (it will turn green when on). Then tap and hold on the Bluetooth icon to open the Bluetooth settings. Tap on the switch to turn it on (it will turn blue when on).
Once you turn on Bluetooth, you can connect your device to headphones, speakers, keyboard, mouse, or other accessories. You can also connect your device to the plane’s in-flight entertainment system if it supports Bluetooth.
What are the Rules for Using Bluetooth on a Plane?
The FAA doesn’t ban Bluetooth devices on planes, but each airline decides if they’re allowed. So, you should always check with your airline before using Bluetooth headphones or other accessories on a plane.
Some airlines may allow you to use Bluetooth devices throughout the flight. While others may restrict their use during certain phases of the flight, such as takeoff and landing. Some airlines may also require you to put your device in flight mode or airplane mode before using Bluetooth.
Here are some examples of what different airlines have to say about using Bluetooth devices on their planes:
- When flying to or from Mexico on Alaska Air, you can’t use small electronic devices or short-range Bluetooth accessories below 10,000 feet. Noise-canceling/reduction headsets are allowed.
- Allegiant Air: You can use Bluetooth headphones, but they do not offer Wi-Fi service. So you will need to download some movies or music before your flight.
- American Airlines: You can use Bluetooth earbuds on American Airlines. However, they won’t work with the seatback entertainment screens. To enjoy entertainment, bring your device and download it before your flight.
- Delta: Wireless headphones cannot be used with the entertainment system. Bring your device and download entertainment before your flight.
- Southwest: Wireless headphones are allowed, but they won’t work with the entertainment system. Therefore, you must bring your device and download entertainment before your flight.
- United: You can use wireless headphones. However, they won’t work with the entertainment system. So, you need to bring your device and download entertainment before your flight.
Most airlines let you use Bluetooth devices on their planes, but not with their in-flight entertainment systems. To use Bluetooth headphones or speakers on your flight, bring your device. And download entertainment beforehand.
You should also follow the instructions of the flight crew and turn off or stow away your device when asked to do so. This is for your safety and the safety of others on board.
Does Airplane Mode Turn off the Location?
When you put your phone in airplane mode, it doesn’t turn off the GPS or location services. However, it stops your phone from telling its location on the internet. Airplane mode turns off all the things in your phone that send and receive signals, like cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. These signals could cause problems for the plane’s navigation and communication systems. However, GPS doesn’t need signals from your phone to work; it uses signals from satellites to figure out where your phone is. But in airplane mode, your phone can’t connect to the internet, so it can’t update its location on apps like Find My or Google Maps. This means other devices or websites can’t track your phone when it’s in airplane mode, unless you turn on some of those signal things one by one.
Does Airplane Mode Save Battery?
According to the web search results, airplane mode does save battery on your device. Airplane mode turns off wireless radios that send or receive signals like cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC. These radios consume a lot of power when they are active, especially when they are searching for networks or connections. By turning them off, you reduce the workload and energy consumption of your device.
According to one source, turning on airplane mode can save you 8% of battery life. Another source says that airplane mode can extend your device’s battery life as long as you don’t need any of those wireless radios. However, the exact amount of battery saving may vary depending on your device model, settings, and usage patterns.
Airplane mode can also help you charge your phone faster since it prevents your phone from using any power while it is plugged in. Some sources suggest that airplane mode can speed up the charging process by up to 25 percent 13.
However, there are some drawbacks to using airplane mode. You won’t be able to make or receive calls, send or receive texts, access the internet, or use any apps that require an online connection. You also won’t be able to use some features that depend on wireless radios, such as GPS navigation or NFC payments. You can turn on some of the wireless radios individually without turning off airplane mode. But this will reduce the battery-saving effect.
Therefore, you should only use airplane mode when you don’t need any wireless communication or when you want to charge your phone quickly. When you’re on a plane, it’s important to follow the flight crew’s instructions and turn on airplane mode. This is required by law or regulation in most places. This is to prevent your device from interfering with the navigation and communication systems of the plane.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that lets you link your device to other devices or gadgets when they’re nearby. You can use Bluetooth even when you put your device in airplane mode, but you’ll have to switch it on by yourself after turning on airplane mode. It’s a good idea to also ask your airline about using Bluetooth devices on a plane because they might have their own rules and limits.