Use Airplane Mode with Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Enabled on an iPhone or iPad
If you want to use an iPhone or iPad during a plane flight, you’re supposed to turn Airplane mode on to disable the built-in wireless communication aspects of the device. Airplane mode disables cellular and 3G/4g connectivity, GPS, wi-fi, and Bluetooth capabilities, but how are you supposed to use inflight wi-fi service if everything is turned off? The solution is to enable Airplane mode as usual, but then manually turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth separately on the iOS device:
- Launch Settings and flip “Airplane Mode” to “ON”
- Tap on “Wi-Fi” and flip the switch to “ON”, join the wireless network as usual
- For Bluetooth use, within Settings tap on “General” and then tap “Bluetooth” to enable separately
Either choice will not reenable the cellular modem or connection, typically keeping you within the realm of acceptable behavior for most flights. You’ll probably want to check with the specific airline before doing this, but chances are if they offer inflight wireless service then it’s acceptable behavior.
Outside of flying, using Airplane mode but turning on wi-fi is an easy way to temporarily turn an iPhone into an iPod touch, letting you use wifi networks but avoid any potentially expensive voice or data roaming charges.