Understanding the iPad’s Airplane Mode Settings

Are you annoyed that you have to turn off your iPad every time your plane takes off and lands? Well, you’re not the only one, but apparently it’s for our own good.

Please Turn Your iPads Off

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates airline safety in the US, forces flight companies to ask passengers to turn off iPads for takeoff and landing because the devices can disrupt the plane’s electronics. The same rules apply for most other countries around the globe. There’s some controversy over this measure. Surely a few iPads turned on won’t bring the plane crashing down? Certainly not, but the FAA is just being cautious. Surely we won’t die during our flight without the Internet, will we?

Although flight companies ask passengers to turn off their tablets for takeoff and landing, they usually allow the use of the devices during the flight, provided that the Internet connection stays off. WiFi, much like a cellular radio, is not allowed during most flights, and it’s usually better to leave it off and forget about social networks and websites and email for a while. But there’s nothing wrong with watching videos, viewing pictures, or listening to your favorite albums. After the takeoff, that is.

The Airplane Mode

The iPad has a convenient Airplane Mode for all versions of the tablet, regardless of your wireless model. By tapping the Airplane Mode (Settings Screen) to On, you turn off all the device’s wireless radios, including WiFi, cellular, and Bluetooth depending on the model.

That makes all Internet applications unavailable, so no web browsing, video streaming, cloud services, App Store and the like. The Airplane icon will pop up on the status bar and will stay there until you turn it off – after your flight, of course. The Airplane Mode is a nice way for you to make your iPad flight-friendly without having to disable all those wireless radios individually.

On some flights, in-flight Wi-Fi is available, sometimes free, sometimes at a cost. But do you really need it? Probably not. Why don’t you just relax with your favorite album, or a cool game, or a hot new movie? A break from the Internet will likely do you good.

Chris Page

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