If you are a mobile user who travels a lot, then you need a way to work or have fun, while flying. Luckily, just like any smartphone operating system, Windows 8.1 has a feature named Airplane mode. You can turn it on so that you can use your laptop or tablet while flying. Here's what Airplane mode does, why you should use it and how.
What is the Airplane Mode in Windows 8.1?
Airplane mode turns off any radio chips that might interfere with the airplane's communication and navigation systems or chips that might not work while you are flying. As the name implies, this feature should be used when flying on an airplane. In Windows 8.1, when Airplane mode is turned on, the wireless network card, the Bluetooth chip and the mobile data connection (3G or 4G) are turned off. You should turn it on when boarding planes. After take-off, you can enable the WiFi or the Bluetooth, if you need to use them. However, they should be turned off again when the plane prepares for landing.
This feature also helps you save power when flying. Because some of your device's components are turned off, they are not used and they don't consume any power. Therefore, you'll get slightly better battery life. This benefit alone makes this feature useful also when you don't board planes but you want to save as much power as possible.
How to Turn On or Off Airplane Mode from the Networks List
The quickest way to enable or disable the airplane mode in Windows 8.1 is by using the Networks list. Start by opening the charms and going to Settings. If you don't know how to access the charms, read this guide: What are the Charms & How to Use them.
Then, on the bottom of the Settings charm, click or tap the network icon.
The Networks list is now displayed. On the top, you will see the Airplane mode switch.
Set it to On or Off depending on whether you will like to enable or disable this feature.
After the plane takes off, you can switch back the WiFi or the Bluetooth chip, if you need them. For example, if your airline offers an in-flight Internet service, turn-on the WiFi and connect to the wireless connection available in the airplane. Then, most probably, you will have to open an Internet browser and follow the steps requested by the airline in order to access the Internet.
Turn On or Off Airplane Mode from PC Settings
As always with Windows, there's more than one way of doing the same thing. You can also use PC Settings to turn on Airplane mode and you get more control over the different devices that get turned off when this feature is enabled. Go to PC Settings. If you don't know how, use this guide: Six Ways to Access PC Settings.
Then, click or tap Network.
You will see several sub-categories with networking related options. Click or tap Airplane mode.
On the right, you will see the switch for turning On or Off this feature.
Set the switch as you wish. When the Airplane mode is turned on, you can use this sub-section in PC Settings to control the Wifi and the Bluetooth radio (if you have one on your laptop or tablet).
The Quick Way of Telling Whether Airplane Mode is Turned On
If you need to double check whether Airplane mode is turned on, there's a very quick way to do this:
Go to the Desktop and look on the taskbar, in the notification area. If this feature is turned on, you will see an airplane icon instead of the network icon. If this feature is turned off, you won't see the airplane icon being displayed.
As you can see, using the Airplane mode feature is easy in Windows 8.1, for both tablet and laptop users. If you have any problems with it or any questions, don't hesitate to ask using the comments form below.