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Use Your iPhone's WiFi While on a Plane

Geek Tip: Use iPhone's WiFi on Your Next Flight

I figured out this iPhone tip after my laptop battery died while on a WiFi-equipped cross-country flight. Unlike Virgin America (my favorite high-tech airline!), there weren't individual seat outlets, so once the battery was gone, it was gone. Just as I was starting to feel anxiety about being disconnected for the remainder of the flight, I remembered my iPhone's WiFi capabilities and wondered if I'd be able to switch the WiFi on while keeping the cellular signal in the FAA-mandated "off" position.

Turns out, you can! To enable WiFi without using a cell signal, switch to (or keep your phone in) airplane mode and just turn on the WiFi. You won't be able to send text messages or make phone calls, but every other function and application that works with WiFi will work on your phone (including Words With Friends! Goodbye, in-flight boredom). While this is obviously useful in flight, it's also useful if you're in an area with poor phone reception and don't want to drain the battery, a foreign country where you don't want to pay hefty out-of-network charges while visiting, or if you don't want to be distracted by phone calls or text messages but want to send email or use other functions on the phone.

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Join The Conversation
allergydoctr allergydoctr 7 years
I realized that my contacts contain "sensitive" info...but have been hesitant to usee the passcode to open/lock the Iphone...concerned it may not work once ..which would require a hard reset..losing all data..etc has anyone had any problems with the Passcode Lock?
Tech Tech 7 years
Nikkecole - It's possible! Though I suspect airlines will begin to regulate this type of activity eventually. I was able to video chat from my computer on a recent flight — talk about surreal.
nikkecole nikkecole 7 years
Hmm..does this mean you could skype from your phone on the plane?
iphonegirl iphonegirl 7 years
This is a great tip thanks!
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