What Happens When Someone Calls You On Airplane Mode?

What happens when someone calls you on Airplane mode? Can you receive calls in Airplane mode or flight mode? Read on to find out whether it’s even possible to do so. You see, mobile phone technology has come a long way in the past couple of decades. If you rewind the clock back 20 years, you will realize that mobile phones were quite different.

For starters, they had monochrome screens, and the few that had colored displays had very limited functionality. However, with the passage of time, mobile phone technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, mobile phones come with multiple radios and features that allow you to connect with a range of devices.

For instance, apart from standard calling functionality, you can now connect to 4G and 5G as well. On top of that, Wi-Fi capabilities are also standard in all devices. Bluetooth is also available to allow a user to connect to different devices and use them with their phone.

Functions Disabled By Airplane Mode

Now, managing all of these radios at once can be difficult. To streamline operations and make it easy for the user to power on or shut off all the radios, all mobile phones nowadays come with an “Airplane Mode.” The airplane mode is simply a switch that turns off the cellular radio, the Bluetooth, and the Wi-Fi, along with the GPS signals. Basically, all wireless transmission functions are shut off at the tap of the screen.

It doesn’t matter if you are using an iPhone, an Android Phone, a Windows device, or any other device with a separate operating system, such as the Blackberry OS; they are all going to have the Airplane Mode. The functions disabled by the Airplane Mode are described below:

Cellular radio: The connection to the cell towers will be instantly stopped. Your device will no longer connect to the nearest cell tower. This means that you won’t be able to send, or receive, any kind of communication that relies on cellular data, such as SMS messages, voice calls, and mobile data.

Wi-Fi: If your mobile phone is in range of a network that you have connected to before, it is going to instantly look for the authorization and connect to it again. However, when you turn on Airplane Mode, it’s not going to look for Wi-Fi signals and your phone will stop scanning for nearby Wi-Fi signals.

GPS: The GPS receiving functions of your mobile phone will also be disabled when you turn on Airplane Mode. These functions are designed for location tracking purposes. GPS is different from the other technologies listed above because it only allows for one-way communication; a device that has GPS turned on usually only listens to GPS signals that are being sent to it.

When you turn on the Airplane Mode, you will notice an icon on the top bar of your device that looks like an airplane. The icon will usually appear on the same place where the signal strength indicator is shown on the device.

Why Is it So Important?

There are strict regulations in various countries regarding the use of devices that emit signals on a commercial airliner. When you sit in a commercial aircraft for travel, you will hear an announcement before takeoff, asking you to shut off all mobile devices. While technology has improved dramatically since the early ages, and it’s no longer necessary for you to turn off the mobile phone, there’s still a risk that the signals emitting from your phone can interfere with the telemetry of the aircraft.

Airplanes have a bunch of different sensors and remain constantly connected with satellites for navigation in the skies. If your mobile phone is unable to connect to a cell phone tower, it’s going to automatically boost the signal, and there’s a risk that it might interfere with the navigation equipment on the aircraft.

Modern equipment is quite robust, and while the chances of that happening are incredibly low, it’s still advisable that you do so. Most people completely forget to enable airplane mode when they embark on an aircraft, and that’s alright as well.

What Happens When Someone Calls You On Airplane Mode?

Now, what do you think will happen if someone calls you when your phone is on Airplane Mode? It’s a common question that many people have from time to time, and the reality is that the answer varies depending on where you are in the world. Here are a few common scripted responses that you might hear when you call a mobile number that is on Airplane Mode.

Scenario 1: “The number you are calling is either unreachable or switched off at the moment. Please try again later.”

This is the default response when the SIM is unable to catch signals. This usually happens when the mobile phone is unable to connect to the cell phone tower. This also happens when you have airplane mode turned on, so you are probably going to get this response.

Scenario 2: “The number you are trying to reach is switched off at the moment.”

If the phone is switched off, the person will receive a scripted response letting them know that the number is switched off.

Scenario 3: “The person you are calling is unreachable at the moment.”

This happens when the bell continues to ring for an extended period of time, but no one picks up. If the line is disconnected or if the other person you are trying to reach cuts the call, it might say “the person you are trying to reach is busy at the moment.”

Scenario 4: “The person you are trying to reach is on another call. Please wait, or try again later.”

This is possible when the other person has call waiting activated on their device. If the other person accepts your call and keeps their phone down, you will be connected right away.

These are just some of the messages that you might hear if you call a mobile phone number that is on airplane mode, so it’s just the same as if the mobile phone was turned off.

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About David

Hey there, I'm David. I recently joined the Spacehop team from Tech Devised, 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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