Can You Receive Texts In Airplane Mode? (& How)

Can You Receive Texts In Airplane Mode? (& How)

FAA has flight regulations and to be able to make your cell phones compatible with these flight regulations, cell phone manufacturers decided to add the airplane mode feature to cell phones. Airplane mode cuts off radio communication between your phone and cell towers as this is the primary part of what makes it compliant with the regulations. However, a lot of users have questions regarding this mode and one of the most asked questions is “Can you receive texts in airplane mode?”

If your airplane mode feature works perfectly, you won’t receive texts while the feature is on. However, if you’re connected to WiFi, you will be able to get internet-based messages even when your phone is on airplane mode as the feature doesn’t disable your phone’s WiFi as people assume it to. If you have a great Wi-Fi connection and haven’t had time to hire a van on, this is the perfect time to do so, as once you land at the airport you will be able to find the van and start your journey successfully.

If you’ve ever enabled the airplane mode and you received text messages without being connected to WiFi, then your airplane mode may be faulty. In this article, I’ll explain the reasons why you can receive texts in airplane mode and how you can continue to receive text messages even when your airplane mode feature is enabled. 

Can You Receive Text Messages On Airplane Mode?

Can You Receive Texts In Airplane Mode? (& How)

Airplane mode is supposed to cut off radio communication from your device in accordance with the FAA regulations, hence, manufacturers created the mode on all cellular phones. However, you can only receive text messages on your phone when the mode is enabled if the airplane mode is faulty or your phone is connected to a WiFi connection. Although airplane mode cuts off radio communication from your phone, you can still connect to WiFi to communicate and receive internet-based text messages to your phone. 

Hence, the simple answer to this question is, “yes, you can receive text messages in airplane mode”. However, receiving texts on airplane mode means two things- your airplane mode is faulty (which may be bad news) or your phone is connected to a WiFi connection over the internet. If your airplane mode is faulty, the mode will continue to toggle on and off intermittently, allowing messages to be delivered to your phone even when you’ve enabled the mode. 

Since the airplane mode feature is a software-based setting on all cellphones, it’s a fundamental feature that’s expected to be able to help users cut off radio connections whenever they are about to board a plane as this is an important rule in accordance with FAA regulations. 

This is because, on some airplanes, radio communications from phones can interfere with communications to and from the airplane, altering the communications which may be bad as it’s important for the communication to and from the airplane to not be altered. Airplane mode turns off the specific radio that may cause this interference so it’s important to put it on while boarding flights. 

Even when your phone cannot communicate via a cell tower, Bluetooth and WiFi are still enabled even though both features use radio signals to communicate. The reason why they aren’t cut off when the airplane mode is enabled is that they do not use the same exact radio signals as the cell towers which may interfere with the communication to and from the airplane. 

Bluetooth signals are easy to understand as radio signals because they are designed to be low-power, short-range communication methods. Most Bluetooth devices cannot work from the back of an airliner to the cockpit because they do not have enough range to do this. This means that clearly, Bluetooth is too weak to create interference issues with an airplane hence why the airplane mode doesn’t cut out the radio signals from your phone’s Bluetooth feature. 

For Wifi, it’s a stronger signal when compared to the Bluetooth signal, but it operates in a different radio spectrum different from that of cellular communications. 

Due to this, wifi signals are easily filtered from plane communications, making it easy to identify WiFi signals. Once the signal is identifiable, it doesn’t cause an interference problem with the communication moving to and from the airplane hence why the airplane mode doesn’t cut off wifi signals along with the cellular radio signals being cut off from every user’s cell phones. 

Not all users use airplane mode whenever they want to board a plane. Some use it to cut off communications whenever they do not want to be disturbed so they don’t get distracted from what they’re doing at that time. 

How To Receive Text Messages On Airplane Mode 

Can You Receive Texts In Airplane Mode? (& How)

As discussed earlier, you won’t be able to receive text messages in airplane mode. However, receiving a text message on your device is highly dependent on how the message was sent before the mode was activated and if you’re connected to the WiFi, you’ll also be able to receive text messages. I’ll discuss how these two reasons can help you receive text messages when you enable airplane mode on your device. 

Via WiFi

Since airplane mode doesn’t disable your phone’s WiFi connection, you can easily connect to the internet via any WiFi network around you to receive and send text messages whenever you want. Although this feature isn’t possible on all devices as not all phone manufacturers allow WiFi to be enabled when you switch on the airplane mode, if you’re using a new phone model, you should be able to use your WiFi even when the airplane mode is active. 

This is because, prior to newer cell phone releases, it wasn’t possible to switch off cellular radio networks without switching off the WiFi but with the new releases, manufacturers have now made this possible. 

To use your phone WiFi when your airplane mode is turned on, go to your device’s settings. Unlock your phone and go to your app menu then scroll to the settings icon and tap it. You’ll be welcomed with a menu of all the settings on your device. 

Navigate to your WiFi settings and click on it. If you see a toggle switch right beside it, toggle the WiFi on and your WiFi will search for available WiFi networks your phone can connect to. Once your phone finds a WiFi network and connects, you’ll be able to receive messages instantly to your phone. 

Via Intermittent Airplane Mode Connection 

Can You Receive Texts In Airplane Mode? (& How)

Another way you can receive text messages is if your airplane mode is faulty or connects intermittently. With this, even when you switch on your phone’s airplane mode, you will still receive messages because your cellular radio connection will be running in the background, letting messages come into your phone. 

You may not notice this because your phone shows that airplane mode is enabled on your device, but in your background, your cellular radio connections are running and your text messages will continue to come in. 

While you may think your airplane mode connection is faulty, another reason why you may receive text messages on your phone may be due to the mode in which the message was sent or received. 

If the message was sent to you immediately after you enabled your airplane mode, there are tendencies that the message will be delivered to you instantly and you will receive the message after your airplane mode is enabled. If you haven’t put on your airplane mode and a message has been sent to you, you may receive the message immediately after you toggle on your airplane mode.

So this may not be because your airplane mode is faulty but because of the mode and time, the message was sent.


  • Tristan

    Tristan has a strong interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression. He has a background in computer science, and he enjoys exploring the ways in which AI can enhance and augment human creativity. In his writing, he often delves into the ways in which AI is being used to generate original works of fiction and poetry, as well as to analyze and understand patterns in existing texts.