When you travel to another country, one of the important things you must sort out is how to connect to the internet, as it is crucial for staying in touch with your people back home and accessing most services. Luckily, most hotels, cafes, and other public places usually provide free WiFi, allowing you to access the internet easily. However, you might be wondering whether you can use WiFi while in Airplane mode.
If you are unsure about when to enable airplane mode and how it could affect your internet browsing experience, this article is for you. This article will cover everything you should know about airplane mode on your device and whether it is possible to use it and still connect to the internet. Without any further ado, let’s dive right into this!
What is airplane mode?
Airplane mode is a feature available on most modern mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, that allows users to disable all wireless communication functions. When airplane mode is activated, it turns off WiFi, Bluetooth, and other wireless communication services. However, some newer devices and operating systems will still keep Bluetooth enabled even when airplane mode is turned on.
This feature was particularly designed to be useful when you are on an airplane, as it helps prevent potential interference with the aircraft’s communication systems. Hence, the name “airplane mode.” However, one can also use it if they don’t want to constantly get calls and notifications from the internet.
How do I turn airplane mode on?
The process of enabling airplane mode will vary depending on the type of device you are using. Below, we’ll outline the steps to turn on and off airplane mode for both iPhone/iPad and Android devices:
Turning on airplane mode on iPhone and iPad devices
- Go to the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Look for the “Airplane Mode” option, usually located near the top of the menu.
- Tap the toggle next to “Airplane Mode” to turn it on. When the switch turns green or becomes highlighted, airplane mode is active.
- After turning on airplane mode, you will notice that the cellular signal bars and WiFi icons (if connected) will disappear from the status bar, indicating that all wireless communications are now disabled.
- You can also quickly turn on/off airplane mode by tapping the airplane mode icon in your iPhone’s or iPad’s control center.
Turning on airplane mode on Android devices
- Open the “Settings” app on your Android device.
- Look for airplane mode, usually located under the network settings sections.
- Tap on it to access the settings.
- Tap the toggle next to “Airplane Mode” to enable it.
- When activated, the switch will show that airplane mode is on, and all wireless connections will be disabled.
- Android devices also have the option of airplane mode on/off by tapping its icon in the notification center.
When do I use airplane mode?
Airplane mode is typically used in situations where you need to disable all wireless communication on your device temporarily. Here are some common scenarios when you might want to use airplane mode:
- During Flights: As stated earlier, the primary reason for designing the airplane mode feature was to use it during flights. It is a requirement on most airlines that all electronic devices be in airplane mode during takeoff and landing, and it is also recommended to use it throughout the flight.
- To Save Battery Life: You can also save battery by turning on airplane mode, especially if your device is in an area with a weak or no cellular signal. Disabling network connectivity reduced power consumption, hence saving battery.
- In some Restricted Areas: Besides planes, there are other restricted places like hospitals, some medical facilities, or areas with sensitive electronic equipment where you might be required to turn on airplane mode to prevent interference.
- Focus and Distraction-Free Time: It is also common for people to turn on airplane mode to create a distraction-free environment during work, study, or leisure time, as it silences incoming calls and notifications.
Does airplane mode use data?
No, airplane mode does not use data. When you activate airplane mode on your device, it disables all wireless communication functions, including cellular or mobile data, WiFi, and Bluetooth (for older devices and operating systems). With airplane mode enabled, your device will not send or receive any data from the internet or other devices via wireless networks.
What shouldn’t / should I do with my phone when traveling internationally?
For the best experience when you travel to another country, here are some of the things you should and shouldn’t do.
3 things you shouldn’t do with your phone when you travel
- Turning on airplane mode: While airplane mode is useful during flights to comply with aviation regulations and prevent interference, you should avoid keeping your phone in airplane mode when you finally arrive at your destination. When you turn it on, you won’t be able to use mobile data, make calls, or access the internet, which can be inconvenient and risky in certain situations.
- Only using roaming services: Data roaming is one of the ways you can use your home country’s roaming services while traveling. Even though this approach is convenient, it can be extremely expensive, further escalating your travel costs.
- Only relying on WiFi networks: While WiFi can be a cost-effective way to access the internet abroad, relying solely on public or free WiFi networks might not always be reliable or secure. Some countries may have limited public WiFi availability points, limiting your access to the internet. It is also important to note that connecting to unsecured networks can be risky as far as your device’s security is concerned.
3 things you should do with your phone overseas
- Check your phone’s carrier lock status: Before traveling, ensure that your phone is not locked to a specific carrier. A locked phone will only work with the carrier it is tied to, and you won’t be able to use a local SIM card from another carrier to access cheaper data and call rates. If you have a locked device, consider unlocking it before your trip to have the flexibility of using different SIM cards or eSIMs. Contact your carrier for more details on how to unlock your device.
- Learn how to manage data roaming settings: As stated earlier, auto roaming is a convenient but expensive way to access the internet. That’s why it is crucial to familiarize yourself with your phone’s data roaming settings and make sure to disable data roaming to prevent accidental data usage while abroad.
- Prepare and determine the data plan you will use: Instead of relying on roaming services, research and choose a suitable international data plan for the country you’re visiting. For instance, if you’re traveling to the US, consider checking out eSIM USA data plans for the best deals.
What is the best way to use data internationally?
Here are some of the most reliable ways to access mobile internet when you travel to a foreign country.
Travel Physical SIM Cards
Consider purchasing a local SIM card from a reputable carrier in the country you’re visiting. Local SIM cards often offer better rates for data, calls, and texts compared to roaming charges from your home carrier. To use travel sim cards, your phone needs to be unlocked.
Global Roaming Packages
Some carriers provide global roaming packages that cover multiple countries. If you plan to visit various countries during your trip, such packages can simplify connectivity and potentially save you money compared to individual country-specific plans. However, this is the most expensive way to access the internet when you travel. Try to avoid it if you can.
Portable WiFi Devices
Another option is to use a portable WiFi device, also known as a pocket WiFi. They enable you to connect multiple devices to a local mobile network and access the internet while on the go. These devices are expensive to purchase and also require paying data plans.
eSIMs are embedded SIM cards that can be downloaded and activated remotely, eliminating the need for physical SIM cards. Traveler eSIMs have several benefits when compared to the other alternatives we have shared. Some of these benefits include;
- Quicker carrier switching: eSIM allows you to easily switch eSIMs since you don’t have to remove them physically
- Cheaper plans: Some eSIM providers offer cheaper data plans specifically tailored for travelers.
- Easy to use: Setting an only eSIM involves making a few clicks after obtaining a QR code from your carrier.
You can install multiple eSIMs: Most eSIM-enabled devices allow installing up to 8 eSIMs. However, you can only use up to two at a time.
Turning on airplane mode can be useful, especially during times when you don’t want to receive calls and notifications from the internet. You’re also required to put your device in airplane mode when you’re on the plane to eliminate any chances of your device networks interfering with critical aircraft systems. With airplane mode turned on, your WiFi and mobile network connections are disabled, limiting you from connecting to any network service.
However, once you get to your destination, it is crucial to turn off airplane mode if you want to access WiFi and mobile data networks. For mobile data networks, we recommend using eSIM as it makes it easier to switch back and forth between different carriers if you wish to. They are also much easier to acquire since you don’t have to visit the carrier’s physical service centers. If you intend to travel to the US, check out eSIM USA for the best eSIM data plans.
Frequently Asked Questions about Using Airplane Mode
Does eSIM work in airplane mode?
If you meant to use eSIM as a data roaming option, you should turn off the airplane mode to use data with eSIM. Since eSIM should be used when you are using local data, turning on airplane mode only lets you use WiFi, not the mobile data or eSIM.
Can I use wifi on airplane mode internationally?
Yes, you can use WiFi on airplane mode internationally. However, if you are planning to use data overseas, depending only on WiFi while staying on airplane mode for the whole time is not a good idea. We recommend using suitable and reasonable eSIM for your trip.
Can I use eSIM without Wi-Fi?
Yes, you can use eSIM without Wi-Fi. You will only need WiFi when activating the eSIM.
Does airplane mode avoid international charges?
Enabling airplane mode on your device can help avoid international charges since you’re not connecting and using any network. However, this limits you from using any internet services, making it pointless.
Should I turn off cellular data when traveling internationally?
You should always keep your cellular data turned on to access internet service and receive calls and SMS. However, you can always turn it off if you have access to WiFi or if you don’t want to receive any notifications from the internet.
Is it okay to use Wi-Fi while in airplane mode?
You cannot use WiFi while in airplane mode since this mode disables all network connectivity, including WiFi.
Can you use your phone internationally on Wi-Fi?
Yes, you can use your phone internationally on Wi-Fi. However, you need to be in a place with WiFi access points, such as restaurants, hotels, and more.
How can I use Wi-Fi while traveling internationally?
To use Wi-Fi while traveling internationally, you need to first enable it on your device through your network settings. You should then search for nearby WiFi networks and connect to any of them that are available. Some networks may require you to input a password before being connected. You can get this password from the network provider.