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6 Unorthodox Ways to Use Airplane Mode on Your Phone

March 14 2018

co pilotWhat can you accomplish when you cut your smartphone off from the world? No wi-fi, no voice, no data--nothing but literal radio silence?

A whole lot, it turns out. Last month, we showed you a neat Instagram trick using Airplane Mode (the fastest way to go "radio silent" on your phone). There are plenty more creative uses for Airplane Mode, so today we're going to show you a sampling of the best.

Why Airplane Mode?

But first, let's start with a quick refresher on just what Airplane Mode is, and why it's the perfect method for accomplishing certain things.

Airplane Mode disconnects you from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, voice calls, and mobile data--effectively shutting you off from the outside world with just one click. As its name suggests, Airplane Mode was created for use on flights, as turning it on prevents your phone from sending or receiving signals and thus from interfering with the plane's navigation equipment.

For our purposes, it's the complete disconnection from the internet and cell networks that's of interest. Why? Because it lets us do things on our phone that we couldn't otherwise do. Read on to find out what we mean...

Practical Uses for Airplane Mode

mobile uberificationThe first set of Airplane Mode uses are purely practical and are aimed at making your phone work better. Turn on Airplane Mode to:

Save battery

When your phone is disconnected, it's in a state of rest. That means it's not constantly searching for nearby cell towers, or Wi-Fi networks, or pushing notifications your way. This disconnection alone saves a MASSIVE amount of battery, as all of the checking in your phone does with various networks and apps is a huge energy drain. So if you're running low on battery, switch your phone to Airplane Mode to conserve what's left.

This is also a good trick when you're in a rural area with spotty reception. Your phone will be constantly searching for nearby cell towers, which is another big battery drain. Turn your phone to Airplane Mode in these areas to save battery life; you can turn it off when you get back to an area with better reception.

  • Pro Tip: If you're going to be in an area with poor reception, you can download a Google Map of that area beforehand. When the time comes, just turn on Airplane Mode to save battery and access your downloaded Google Map for navigational help. Here are instructions for doing this on iPhone and Android devices.

Charge your phone faster

Need to charge your phone a LOT in a little amount of time? Turn on Airplane Mode!

Most people charge their phone while it's still turned on and connected to various networks and Wi-Fi. That means your apps and other phone functions are still communicating with the networks around it, and all that activity drains your phone even while it's being charged.

To cut off this energy siphon, just turn on Airplane Mode. Your phone will charge a lot faster because of it.

Regain cell service

Sometimes our phones drop cell service for no apparent reason. If you're in an area where you would typically have service, but don't at the moment, turn on Airplane Mode and then turn it back off again.

Why? Well, because when you turn off Airplane Mode and go back to normal mode, your phone automatically pings nearby cell towers and connects your phone to the nearest tower. Think of this trick as a connectivity "reboot."

Regain your sanity

If it's you that needs the reboot, use Airplane Mode to disconnect from all of the constant texts, emails, and notifications. Bonus: Airplane Mode is the quickest way to disconnect--instead of disconnecting from each network individually, it disconnects from all of them (voice, mobile data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) in one touch.

The Down Low

These next couple tricks--well, let's just say they fall into a bit of gray area. Use them at your own discretion.

Read messages without the other party knowing

So you know how on apps like Facebook Messenger when you read a message, it shows the sending party that you've seen it? Well, if for some reason you don't want them to know if you've read their message (no judgements here), turn on Airplane Mode, read it, exit the app (VERY important!), and go back to normal mode. Because the app was disconnected from the internet and cell service, it couldn't communicate that you read the message--and because you exited the app before reconnecting, it never will. Mwa, ha and ha.

(This also works on other messaging apps like WhatsApp.)

Screenshot Instagram and Snapchat stories on the sly

Instagram made waves last month after TechCrunch reported that the social platform was testing a new feature--one that notifies posters when another user screenshots their Instagram Stories. (Snapchat has a similar feature that you can also outsmart in Airplane Mode.)

This made a lot of creepers very angry and was widely regarded as a bad move--but only because they didn't know about Airplane Mode. Like the tip above, this trick relies on you logging into the app, entering Airplane Mode, doin' your thang (screenshot), exiting the app, and going back to normal mode.

Because Airplane Mode disconnects you from the outside world, you can ghost in and out of the app without anyone knowing you were there or what you did.

  • Pro Tip: Conversely, be on the lookout for notifications of people taking screenshots of your content. This can indicate a warm lead, especially if someone is capturing property related photos. Follow up with a friendly Direct Message on Instagram!

There you have it--the top ways to take advantage of Airplane Mode on your smartphone! Have any mobile tricks of your own? Share them on our Facebook page!