Despite the name, airplane mode can have a lot of advantages for travelers whether used on a plane or not. The airplane mode feature on most smartphones and tablets cuts off cellular, wireless, and Bluetooth connections so they don’t interfere with an airplane’s communication systems.
There are a few other handy side effects of airplane mode, however, you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re (literally) on the road, at your hotel, or out wandering around.
1.Extend What Battery Life You Have Left
Cellular communication is the single biggest battery drainer on your phone. To locate cell towers, your phone is always emitting radio waves to see where they are, analyzing signal strength to determine whether a switch to a closer tower is needed, or as is often the case when traveling, looking for a network to roam on.
When there is no available network, you phone emits stronger signals to extend its search in the hopes of getting you a mobile signal. This is also true when you’re indoors or moving at high speeds; basically your phone has to work harder to keep you connected to a cell tower.
So instead of getting on Facebook to complain about how you’ve only got 2% battery life left, put your device into airplane mode to conserve what you have left. A phone without a cellular or wireless connection (by the way being on wifi is less power intensive) can still be useful as a camera, notebook, foreign exchange calculator, and more.
2. Save Data On A Local SIM
Depending on how you’ve got your particular phone or tablet set up, there’s a chance you might be wasting a lot of data on a prepaid card due to automatic downloads, app updates, or streaming services. Although it might not be expensive, spending more time topping off a SIM card is less time sightseeing. Sure, you can make a lot of changes to your settings to prevent data leak but chances are when you’re back home you’ll want to set them all back, again, more time wasted. Airplane mode is a quick and efficient solution.
3. Speed Up Charging
In most cases, the more power a device is consuming, the slower it charges because it’s using power at the same time it’s trying to store it. Particularly if you don’t have a phone that supports rapid charging (*cough* Apple) you’ll want to speed up charging so you’re not stuck inside a hostel aggressively sneering at a power outlet. (Telepathy doesn’t help charging time.)
Having your phone on airplane mode means it’s using a lot less power and can charge faster whether you’re connected to a wall outlet or using a portable battery.
4. Fix Wireless Weirdness
Have you ever been told when getting a new local SIM card (or the wireless connection at your Airbnb is flaking out) to restart your device? For phones and tablets, turning airplane mode on and off is essentially the same thing since it causes a restart of most networking services without going through needless reboots.
5. See The World Around You
A 2012 study found that even looking at a mobile phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can reduce your ability to complete complex tasks and significantly distract focus. Not only does that mean could be missing the small details of tile art decorating the train station in Porto, but pickpockets as well, who count on mental misdirection.
You’ll see your phone hundreds times before you upgrade it at the next possible opportunity, though the same probably isn’t true of the Taj Mahal. Turning airplane mode on can relieve your mind of messages waiting – most of which are cat memes mom is sending you anyway.