How to use Airplane mode on a Windows tablet or laptop

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 and Windows 10 both have a feature called 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, in both operating systems.

NOTE: If you are interested in instructions for Windows 8.1, read page 2 of this guide.

What is the Airplane mode in Windows?

Airplane mode turns off all the wireless communications on your Windows device. That means that it disables 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, 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 Wi-Fi 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 also makes this feature useful when you don't board planes but you want to save as much power as possible.

How to turn Airplane mode On or Off from the Action Center in Windows 10

One of the fastest ways to enable or disable the Airplane mode in Windows 10 is to use the quick actions from the Action Center. There are many ways of opening the Action Center in Windows 10 and you can find them all here: How To Use The Notifications From The Action Center In Windows 10.

However, if you’re in hurry and don’t have time to read all the methods we showed in that guide, either press Windows + A on your keyboard, or click/tap on the Action Center icon from the system tray. Then, expand the Quick actions section.

Airplane mode, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, enable, disable, wireless

To turn Airplane mode On or Off, click or tap on its quick action switch.

Airplane mode, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, enable, disable, wireless

How to turn Airplane mode On or Off from the Networks list in Windows 10

Another method for turning Airplane mode On or Off in Windows 10 is by using the Networks list. Click or tap on the Network icon from the taskbar notification area.

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Then, click or tap on the Airplane mode button to switch it On or Off, depending on what you want.

Airplane mode, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, enable, disable, wireless

How to turn Airplane mode On or Off from the Settings app in Windows 10

The third and the longest method of enabling or disabling the Airplane mode in Windows 10 is to use the Settings app. There are many ways of opening the Settings app in Windows 10 and you can find them all here: 6 Ways To Open The Settings App In Windows 10.

Once you’ve opened Settings, go to the Network & Internet section.

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In the left column, you will see an option called Airplane mode. Click or tap on it.

Airplane mode, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, enable, disable, wireless

In the Airplane mode section, you will find the switch that enables or disables this feature. Here, Windows 10 also explains that turning Airplane mode On will “stop all wireless communication”.

Airplane mode, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, enable, disable, wireless

While you can use the main switch to turn all wireless chips On or Off, the Settings app also lets you do it individually, for each radio chip found on your device. If you only want the Wi-Fi network adapter to be disabled, use the Wi-Fi switch only. If you only want to disable Bluetooth, use only its switch.

Airplane mode, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, enable, disable, wireless

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About the Author: Codrut Neagu
Codrut is a Senior Editor on Digital Citizen. He's passionate about technology and he is fluent in working with several operating systems, including Windows and Linux. He likes to test security products and he feels like at home when digging through the registry, optimizing things or having fun on Telnet.