Airplane mode vs cellular data off explained

Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by Kennedy

Ever wondered if airplane mode or simply turning off cellular data on your phone is the best solution when you are in a flight or trying to save your data. 

In this article we’ll be looking airplane mode vs cellular data off which you should do and which one is the best, and also the difference between the two.

First, let’s head over to the question being asked. 

Airplane mode vs cellular data off

When on flight it is better to enable airplane mode rather than turning off data. In terms of preserving your data plan, it is better to turn off data than enabling airplane mode as you can still receive calls and sms text messages.

Now let me explain when your phone is on airplane mode and when cellular data is turned off. 

When airplane mode is enabled

If airplane mode is enabled on a phone, it will automatically put the phone into offline mode and which prevent calls

and text messages from reaching the phone.

WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular network service is affected by flight mode.

However, when on airplane mode you can still turn on and use both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth whilst on airplane mode. But for cellular network service and cellular data, that is not possible.

That is to say you can’t turn on cellular data when your phone is on airplane mode. For you to use or have cellular network service on your phone be it android phone or iPhone, airplane mode must be disabled.

When you have airplane mode enabled on your phone you won’t be able to;

As you can still turn on and use Wi-Fi while on airplane mode, through Wi-Fi you can have internet access on your phone even when on flight mode.

What this means that you can send and receive instant messages from iMessage, whatsapp, Skype, Facebook messenger, telegram, Google voice, etc. You can also make and receive calls from facetime, whatsapp, Skype, Google voice, etc while on airplane mode.

For cellular calls and messages, that is not possible on airplane mode.

What Does Airplane Mode Do On A Mobile Phone:

When your device is on airplane mode, it disables all wireless functions of your device and this includes;

  • Cellular connection: When on airplane mode, you can’t make cellular calls or receive cellular either, send sms text messages or receive any, or use cellular data to access the internet on your device.
  • Wi-Fi: Immediately you enabled flight mode on your device, your device will automatically disconnect from any existing Wi-Fi connections and won’t connect to any new ones.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a short-range connection that lets you link your phone to speakers, headphones, and more. By default airplane mode disables Bluetooth though you can manually enable it just like Wi-Fi afterwards.

When cellular data is turned off

When cellular data is turned off on a cell phone, it only affect internet activity on the phone especially when you don’t have an active Wi-Fi available.

When cellular data is turned off on a cell phone, you can make and receive calls, send and receive all sort of text messages but cellular data activity will not be available.

So if you want your phone to be completely offline especially during flight you should enable airplane mode on your phone.

Difference between airplane mode and turning off cellular data

The main difference between airplane mode and turning off cellular data is airplane put the phone in offline mode and disable all wireless connections, while turning off cellular data only disable cellular data on a device. 

Below are the difference between airplane mode and turning off cellular data on a smartphone. 

Airplane mode  Turning off cellular data 
Airplane mode puts the phone in offline mode  Turning off cellular data doesn’t put the phone in offline mode 
Calls and text message won’t be available  Calls and text messages will be available when cellular data is turned off 
Airplane mode helps to preserve the battery of a phone  Turning off cellular data doesn’t preserve battery of a phone
Airplane mode helps the phone to charge faster Turning off cellular data  doesn’t entirely help the phone to charge faster 
Airplane mode disables all wireless connection in a device  Turning off cellular data doesn’t disables all wireless connection in a device

These are the difference between airplane mode and turning off cellular data.

In airplane mode vs cellular data off, you can use Wi-Fi while on airplane mode or when you turned off your cellular data.

Should you leave your phone on airplane mode or turned off your cellular data?

If you are on a flight it is commendable to leave your phone on airplane mode but it not on a flight, kindly have your cellular data turned off especially when not in use.

If you have an active Wi-Fi connection on your phone, there’s no need to leave cellular data turned on but that doesn’t mean you should enable airplane mode.

You can turn on airplane mode only when you know you won’t receive calls and text messages or don’t give a damn about cellular network services like cellular calls and sms text messages.

Does airplane mode mean no data?

Airplane mode means that you can’t use cellular data or have cellular network service when enabled on a device be it on smartphone, smartwatch, etc.

On the other hand you can say airplane mode indeed means no data as it disables cellular data on a cell phone.

Does airplane mode turn off cellular?

The answer is yes. Airplane mode will automatically disable or turn off cellular network service and cellular data immediately it is turned on.

It will also turn off other wireless connections like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However, you can still turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while on airplane mode but it is not possible when it comes to cellular network service and cellular data.

Will I be charged if my cellular data is off?

As long as your cellular data is turned off you won’t be charged by your internet provider for cellular data activity. You can only be charged when you have cellular data turned on and you are using it as well.

For better option, kindly use Wi-Fi if available to you and save your cellular data plan especially when it comes to streaming online, downloading and uploading large files on the internet.

How to turn off cellular data

To turn off cellular data on your mobile phone, kindly pull down the notification bar or the control panel and tap on mobile data.

Now let me show you how to turn off cellular data on Android and iPhone.

How to turn off cellular data on Android

To turn off cellular data on android pull down the notification bar on your android phone and you will see where it states mobile data. Go ahead and tap on mobile data and it will turn off cellular data on your android device. 

airplane mode vs cellular data off

Another method to turn off cellular data on Android is by opening the settings app, open connections and next is to open mobile networks. Finally tap on mobile data to turn off cellular data on Android

How to turn off cellular data on iPhone

Pull down the control panel on your iPhone and you will see the cellular data icon just like on the picture below.

How to turn off cellular data

If that icon is green in color just like on the above picture, it simply means that cellular network is active on the iPhone. So you go ahead and tap on it to turn off cellular data on your iPhone.

Anothee method to turn off cellular data on your iPhone is by opening the settings app and go to mobile data. 

Once you are in mobile data, on the first option states mobile data, so you just go ahead and tap on it but only if it is green in color which indicates that mobile data is turned on or active on your iPhone.

airplane mode vs cellular data off

How to use mobile data in airplane mode in iphone

Kindly note that it is not possible to use airplane mode on iphone as it automatically disable mobile data in an iphone.

Once you have airplane mode turned on or enabled on your iPhone, be rest assured that you won’t be able to use cellular data or mobile data on your iPhone.

Lastly and before I round it up, airplane mode vs cellular data off? When on flight it is better to enable airplane mode rather than turning off data. In terms of preserving your data plan, it is better to turn off data than enabling airplane mode as you can still receive calls and sms text messages.

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