Does Airplane Mode Save Battery? (Or Charge Faster?)

Does airplane mode save battery or charge faster? If you’re curious to know what airplane mode does to your phone’s battery life, then keep reading to find out! In today’s world, it makes sense that you will want to make sure that your battery is always charged.

While it often seems as if battery life on most phones doesn’t last nearly as long as it did in the past, it’s also important to consider that today’s phones do a lot more than the phones in the past did, which requires more energy.

For many people with phones, there is always a constant balance (or in some cases, a struggle) to find the perfect mix of using your phone however much you want and making sure not to run out of battery life.

As such, there are often a lot of rumors about ways that you can save battery life or charge your phone faster. Some of these rumors are harmless and more amusing than anything else, while other rumors were created solely to trick people into damaging their phones irreparably.

Because of this, it can be hard to believe when people mention that certain tricks can save battery life or help a phone to charge faster than it otherwise would.

One rumor that you may have heard is that putting your phone into airplane mode helps to not only save the battery, but also helps the phone to charge faster.

To understand the basis of this, you first have to have a good understanding of what airplane mode is and how it affects the phone. From there, you may be able to see where the rumor originated and whether or not it has any truth to it.

All smartphones, even ones that are generations old, have a mode on them known as airplane mode. Whenever you board a plane or another aircraft, you are typically asked to turn your phone completely off.

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration began to accept airplane mode as an alternative to powering down the phone completely, and now it has become commonplace to rely on this instead of just turning the phone off.

The reason for why you need to either put your phone into airplane mode or to turn it off is because when there is an airplane full of people using their phones, it can cause interference with the plane’s equipment and radio communications.

Airplane mode affects four major areas of your phone’s capabilities: how it connects to cellular networks, how it connects to Wi-Fi, how it connects to Bluetooth, and its GPS.

The main goal of this is to reduce and eliminate connections that can cause potential interference with the plane’s communication system. In short, it stops your phone from communicating in just about all ways.

Airplane mode tells your phone to stop connecting with cell towers, which is part of what can potentially cause the interference that has you turning on the mode in the first place.

Any function that relies on cellular data will not work, rendering your phone offline completely.

It also tells your phone to stop connecting to any Wi-Fi network, to stop scanning for any available networks, and it will disconnect you from any hotspots that you may be connected to.

Most phones allow you to reenable Wi-Fi, but by default, you won’t be allowed to connect to anything with airplane mode on.

Following this same theme of preventing your phone from being able to communicate and potentially cause interference, putting the phone into airplane mode also disables Bluetooth connections.

Similar to Wi-Fi connections, you may be able to reenable Bluetooth connections after airplane mode is turned on, but you should leave it off if you want to genuinely stay in airplane mode. Finally, there is the GPS mode.

This is more present in older phones, where connecting to GPS satellites was a more resource-intensive process for the phone. In newer phones, GPS connectivity usually remains on, though you will still be functionally offline from most other applications.

For most people, airplane mode renders their phone into something similar to a paperweight.

Because most people use their phones for the sole purpose of connecting to others when they are not at a computer or another connection device, when the phone cannot connect, the phone has little to no use.

However, if you have saved media to your phone (music, videos, books, and so on) you can still access these in airplane mode, meaning that as long as you come fully prepared, airplane mode doesn’t make your phone completely useless.

Does Airplane Mode Save Battery?

In short, airplane mode does technically save phone battery life because your phone won’t be spending energy connecting to things, as it will be almost completely offline.

This is less to do with a little-understood function of airplane mode, but more to do with the fact that with so many commonly used features restricted, your phone isn’t going to be doing as much behind the scenes, such as connecting to cell towers or searching for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks.

Without as much happening in your phone, there will be fewer processes happening that can drain the battery, making it appear that your phone is indeed saving battery life.

For more specific numbers, studies have seen that airplane mode will, on average, save you about 8% of the battery that would be drained during the same usage without airplane mode.

Other studies have found that in a span of time and activities that would normally drain about 10% of the battery, putting the phone in airplane mode and attempting to do the same activities causes the phone to only lose a few percentage points instead of the full 10.

What this means is that it is factually proven that putting your phone into airplane mode can actually save your phone battery.

The Downside to Airplane Mode

The one problem with doing this is that by putting your phone into airplane mode, you are rendering your phone almost completely offline in terms of Wi-Fi, cellular data, and Bluetooth.

Because most people use their phones for online activities on the go, this makes the phone not particularly useful for anyone’s needs.

Of course, if you have saved music, audiobooks, or other content that can be accessed offline, then using airplane mode won’t make a difference and you can save your battery life this way.

In short, while airplane mode will absolutely save your battery life, it comes at the price of reducing what your phone can do.

If you don’t mind these limitations, then putting your phone into airplane mode when you don’t need to be online in any capacity can be a good way to save some of your battery life until you reach the next area to charge your phone at.

Keep in mind though that for the battery saving aspect of airplane mode to make itself clear, you need to keep it on for a substantial amount of time, often several hours uninterrupted.

Turning it off and on throughout the day means that there are still points that your phone is using battery life, and likely even more of it as it tries to reconnect itself to everything that it was disconnected from.

A better alternative to consider, especially in more recent phones, is the battery saving settings that a lot of phones are incorporating.

These settings are designed to cut down on unnecessary processes so that your battery life can be extended without impairing the function of the phone quite as much as airplane mode does.

Some phones even allow you to choose what apps and processes are barred from being used in these battery saving modes, so you have complete control over it and can save your battery life in a non-obstructive way.

Does Airplane Mode Make Your Phone Charge Faster?

The answer to this question follows much of the same vein of thinking as whether or not airplane mode actually saves your phone’s battery. By technicality, airplane mode does allow for your phone to charge faster.

However, this is also not a poorly understood trick or some “hack” that people have found out. The reason for this is pretty simple.

The charge appears to go faster because your phone doesn’t have as many processes running that would take up the battery while it is charging.

This is simply because your phone is not requiring as much of the battery life as it otherwise would, meaning that the charging speed comes across as being faster.

The same effect can be achieved by not using the phone at all while it is charging, although that may be hard to do depending on the circumstances. When the battery life isn’t being drained as the phone is charging, this allows for the charging speed to increase.

This can be accomplished without airplane mode and with simple ruling out the use of any apps or functions that you don’t need to use while the phone is charging.

Though, one thing to note is that if you are setting your phone to charge overnight and you don’t need to check any emails or messages from people during the night, turning your plane to airplane mode can be an effective way of having it charge more quickly.

This is without you needing to worry about the limited functions that airplane mode brings. This way, you can lay down for a quick nap or do something without your phone for a few hours and by the time you come back, you will find that your phone has charged more than it otherwise would have.

In short, airplane mode can allow for your phone to charge more quickly than it otherwise would and this is caused by the fact that your phone isn’t running the same number of processes that it typically does.

The same effect can be achieved by turning the phone off while it is charging so that nothing is being used. You can also achieve this by simply turning off any processes you aren’t actively using while the phone is charging.

Why Do People Use Airplane Mode?

Aside from the two biggest reasons people use airplane mode, with those being when they are in planes and when they are trying to prevent their batteries from going out quite as fast, most people don’t have a reason for using airplane mode.

Most people find that their phones become rather boring when they are in airplane mode because of all the limitations it places on your phone’s ability to connect to the rest of the world.

Some people use airplane mode to read messages and screenshot messages on certain apps without the app realizing or notifying that the messages have been read or that there has been a screenshot taken because there is limited connectivity.

This works to an extent, as you may need to connect to the Internet to even access the apps in question, though once connected, you can often turn airplane mode on to get the job done.

Other people try to use airplane mode as a way to do a soft reset for connectivity issues.

After all, since it forcibly disconnects you from cell towers, networks, Bluetooth, and just about anything else you can connect to, it acts as a soft reset without requiring you to fully do a power cycle for your phone.

This works to a limited degree and it depends heavily on what the original issue with connectivity is, so this solution can be a bit hit or miss.

Finally, airplane mode is a good way for people to disconnect themselves from social media and other online areas without necessarily leaving the phone behind or getting rid of any accounts that one has.

If you need some time to yourself but you still want to listen to saved music or something similar, turning your phone on airplane mode can achieve this feature.

However, depending on the phone that you have, you can also just turn your phone on “do not disturb” mode and turn off connections to achieve the same effect.

About David

Hey there, I'm David. I recently joined the SH team and love writing about all things TECH! When I'm not writing, you can find me enjoying the great outdoors with my golden retriever Lucy or enjoying a pint at my local Irish pub.

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