aircraft wingtip photography inside airplane above clouds at daytime

No. Putting your phone into Airplane Mode (also known as Flight Mode) will reduce the drain of your battery significantly. This is because airplane mode only DISABLES functions – and those functions use a lot of power. Some of the functions disabled include Bluetooth, WiFi, some background apps, etc.

And that makes sense. When you switch your iPhone to airplane mode, you’d expect the battery life to last significantly longer, right? However, many users have reported a puzzling scenario: their iPhone’s battery drains substantially even when in airplane mode is on. This issue isn’t just a one-off; it’s a widespread concern, especially among users of newer iPhone models like the 15 Pro running on iOS 17.

Let’s dive into why this happens and what you can do about it.

Battery Drain Under Airplane Mode

DeviceBattery drain under Airplane mode (per hour)Typical battery drain (per hour)Potential causes of battery drain
iPhone 150.5-1%2-3%Background processes
iPhone 141-2%4-5%Background processes, location services, cellular network activity
iPhone 130.5-1.5%3-4%Background processes, location services
iPhone 120.5-1%2-3%Background processes
Android 131-2%5-6%Background processes, Wi-Fi searching
Android 120.5-1.5%4-5%Background processes, Bluetooth scanning
Pixel 71-2%4-5%Background processes
Pixel 60.5-1.5%3-4%Background processes
Samsung Galaxy S231-2%5-6%Background processes, cellular network activity
Samsung Galaxy S220.5-1.5%4-5%Background processes, cellular network activity


  • These are estimated averages. Battery drain can vary depending on several factors, such as individual usage patterns, specific device models, and background processes running.
  • Disabling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can further reduce battery drain under airplane mode.
  • Some apps may continue to run in the background even when airplane mode is on. You can check the battery usage details for individual apps in your device’s settings and disable any that are causing significant drain.

Additional Tips to Minimize Battery Drain:

  • Turn off location services when not needed.
  • Reduce screen brightness.
  • Close unused apps.
  • Use low-power mode (available on some devices).
  • Update your device to the latest software version.

How To Turn On Airplane Mode

There are two ways to turn on Airplane Mode on your iPhone:

Method 1: Using Control Center

  1. Open Control Center:
    • iPhone with Face ID: Swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen.
    • iPhone with Touch ID: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon. The icon will look like an airplane.
  3. Airplane Mode is now turned on. You will see the Airplane Mode icon displayed in the status bar at the top of your screen.
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Method 2: Using Settings

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on “Airplane Mode.”
  3. Toggle the switch to the ON position.
  4. Airplane Mode is now turned on. You will see the Airplane Mode icon displayed in the status bar at the top of your screen.

Additional Notes:

  • When Airplane Mode is turned on, all wireless connections will be disabled, including cellular data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
  • You can still use some features of your iPhone while in Airplane Mode, such as Music, Photos, and Games.
  • To turn off Airplane Mode, simply follow the same steps as above and toggle the switch to the OFF position.

Here are some additional tips:

  • You can create a shortcut to quickly turn Airplane Mode on or off by adding it to your Control Center.
  • You can also schedule Airplane Mode to turn on or off automatically at certain times.

Turning On Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with Airplane Mode Enabled

While Airplane Mode disables all wireless connections, you can selectively turn Wi-Fi or Bluetooth back on while keeping other connections disabled. Here’s how:

On iPhone:

1. Open Control Center:
iPhone with Face ID: Swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen.
iPhone with Touch ID: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

2. Look for the Airplane Mode icon: When Airplane Mode is enabled, the icon will be highlighted.

3. Tap on the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon: * Tapping the Wi-Fi icon will enable Wi-Fi only. * Tapping the Bluetooth icon will enable Bluetooth only.

4. You will see the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon appear in the status bar: This indicates that the respective connection is now active.

5. To turn Wi-Fi or Bluetooth off again, simply tap the corresponding icon in Control Center.


On Android:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap on “Network & internet.”

3. Tap on “Airplane mode.”

4. Toggle the switch to the OFF position.

5. Now, you can turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth individually: * Tap on “Wi-Fi” and toggle the switch to the ON position. * Tap on “Bluetooth” and toggle the switch to the ON position.

6. The Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon will appear in the status bar once active.

7. To turn Wi-Fi or Bluetooth off again, simply tap the corresponding toggle in the settings.

Additional Notes:

  • Turning Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on while in Airplane Mode may increase battery drain.
  • Some airlines may have restrictions on using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth during flights. Always check with the airline before enabling these features.

The Mystery of Battery Drain in Airplane Mode

Airplane mode is designed to disable all wireless features of your iPhone, including cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connections. Theoretically, this should reduce battery usage, as these functions are known to consume significant power. However, users have noticed that their device’s battery percentage drops dramatically even when left in airplane mode for extended periods.

Possible Reasons Behind the Drain

  1. Background Processes and App Activity: Even in airplane mode, certain background processes and apps may continue to run, consuming battery power. These could include system services and apps that don’t rely on a network connection.
  2. Battery Health and Usage Patterns: The overall health of your iPhone’s battery plays a crucial role. A battery with diminished capacity will drain faster. Additionally, how you use your device (screen brightness, volume levels, etc.) can impact battery life.
  3. Software Glitches: Sometimes, a software update can introduce bugs that affect battery performance. This seems to be a common complaint with certain iOS versions, where users notice a sudden drop in battery life following an update.

Tips to Minimize Battery Drain

  1. Check for Software Updates: Apple often releases updates to fix bugs and improve performance. If you’re experiencing unusual battery drain, check if there’s a new update available.
  2. Monitor and Manage Background App Refresh: Some apps may still refresh content in the background, even in airplane mode. Go to your settings and adjust the Background App Refresh options.
  3. Use Low Power Mode: Low Power Mode is a useful feature that reduces overall power consumption by disabling certain features and reducing performance.
  4. Monitor Battery Health: Regularly check your battery’s health in the iPhone’s settings. A battery with significantly reduced capacity may need to be replaced.
  5. Reset Settings or Perform a Factory Reset: If all else fails, resetting your iPhone’s settings or performing a factory reset can sometimes resolve battery issues.

User Experiences and Community Feedback

The Reddit community, especially in forums like r/ios, has been vocal about this issue. Users share their experiences, with some noting that their device loses a significant amount of battery just idling in airplane mode. Others suggest that recent iOS updates, particularly 17.1.2, might be exacerbating the problem. Interestingly, some users have found that updating to iOS 17.2 improved their battery life and overall smoothness of the device.

Exploring Solutions and Workarounds

While waiting for a permanent fix from Apple, users have experimented with various solutions. Some suggest enabling Low Power Mode along with airplane mode to further reduce battery consumption. Others recommend monitoring and limiting the use of power-hungry apps. The community also emphasizes the importance of keeping the iOS updated to the latest version to benefit from any bug fixes and improvements.

The Role of iOS Updates in Battery Performance

It’s clear from user discussions that iOS updates play a significant role in battery performance. While some updates are meant to enhance battery life and overall performance, others inadvertently introduce new issues. Users often find themselves hoping that the next update will resolve their current problems.

Conclusion: A Balancing Act

Dealing with battery drain in airplane mode on an iPhone, especially newer models like the 15 Pro, is a balancing act. It involves understanding the limitations of your device, keeping up with software updates, and being proactive in managing settings and app usage. While Apple works on providing more stable updates, users can experiment with the tips mentioned above to mitigate the issue.

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  1. Why does my iPhone battery drain in airplane mode? Your iPhone’s battery might drain in airplane mode due to background processes, diminished battery health, or software glitches.
  2. Can software updates affect my iPhone’s battery life? Yes, certain iOS updates can either improve or worsen battery performance due to changes in the system or unintentional bugs.
  3. Is it normal for my iPhone to lose 50% battery overnight in airplane mode? No, this is not normal and could indicate an issue with your phone’s software or battery health.
  4. How can I reduce battery drain in airplane mode? Enable Low Power Mode, manage background app refresh settings, and ensure your iOS is up to date.
  5. Does Low Power Mode help when my iPhone is in airplane mode? Yes, Low Power Mode can further reduce battery consumption even in airplane mode.
  6. Should I replace my iPhone’s battery if it drains quickly in airplane mode? If your battery’s health is significantly degraded, replacing it might help improve battery life.
  7. Can resetting my iPhone’s settings fix battery drain issues? Sometimes, resetting settings can resolve battery issues caused by software glitches.
  8. How do I check my iPhone’s battery health? Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health to check your battery’s maximum capacity and peak performance capability.
  9. Will turning off background app refresh completely stop battery drain in airplane mode? It won’t stop it completely but can significantly reduce battery drain.
  10. Is it better to update to the latest iOS version if I’m experiencing battery issues? Generally, yes, as updates often include fixes for known issues, including battery-related problems.

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