We’ve all been on an airplane daydreaming about our weekend getaway when the customary in-flight announcement comes on requesting for us turn our electronic devices off or on airplane mode.
But what actually happens when you put your cell phone into airplane mode?
Hence the name, airplane mode was originally created for use while flying.
In order to connect to WiFi, Bluetooth, or a cellular network, your cell phone must send out wireless, or radio frequency signals, which creates a form of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation. When you set your phone to airplane mode (sometimes called flight mode), these radio signals are disabled so your device cannot connect.
The reason for the airplane mode requirement while flying is that the RF signals emitting from mobile devices may interfere with various sensors and equipment on commercial airplanes, especially if there is a high volume of RF traffic. If you accidentally forget to enable airplane mode, don’t worry, the plane won’t fall out of the sky. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? As a bonus, by disabling these RF signals, airplane mode can help reduce your exposure to EMF radiation!
What is EMF Radiation?
All cell phones emit EMF radiation, which is comprised of Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiation and Radio Frequency (RF) radiation. ELF is emitted by every electronic device with a plug or battery. On top of that, RF is emitted when your cell phone or other mobile device connects to a cell tower, WiFi router, or Bluetooth accessory.
What’s the problem with EMF radiation? According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, practically all Americans use cell phones, and 77% use a smart phone. This means almost everyone is exposed to the ELF and RF radiation emitting from their cell phones!
When we constantly use our mobile devices close to our bodies over long periods of time, exposure to EMF radiation can become harmful. Studies have found links between EMF exposure to minor health concerns such as headaches and skin rashes, to very serious concerns, such as fertility problems, DNA fragmentation, cell damage, and cancerous tumors.
For example, a recently released study from the National Toxicology Program showed that high exposure to EMF radiation in male rats was associated with clear evidence of heart tumors, some evidence of brain tumors, and some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands.
In this new ‘Digital Age,’ cell phones and other mobile devices are here to stay, but that doesn’t mean you must always expose yourself to their harmful EMF emissions. Putting your device into airplane mode will eliminate RF radiation, which dramatically reduces the amount of overall EMF radiation emissions.
What Can You Do While in Airplane Mode?
With a phone set in full airplane mode, you can:
- Take pictures and videos
- Listen to music or podcasts that are already downloaded on your phone
- Read e-books downloaded on your phone
- Set and use alarms and reminders
- Make lists
- Play games that don’t require connecting to WiFi or cellular service
- Use AirDrop on Apple devices, which allows for the transfer of photos, videos, and files
- Use GPS tracking on recent models of Android and iOS devices (8.3+ models)
While your electronic device is in airplane mode, you can manually turn on WiFi, which will allow you to use any app or service requiring an Internet connection. However, since cellular and Bluetooth signals remain off, your exposure to RF emissions is reduced.
With a phone set in airplane mode with WiFi connected, you can:
- Browse and post on social media apps
- Read and respond to emails
- Message on certain apps (WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Viber, etc.)
- Video chat on Skype or FaceTime
- Make audio calls using apps
- Stream movies and videos
When Can You use Airplane Mode?
In addition to using airplane mode in the sky, there are many other times you can harness the sneaky benefits of this feature!
1. During the Day
Enabling airplane mode any time you don’t need to be connected is an easy way to reduce your exposure to EMF radiation.
Using this feature while at the movies, in a meeting, driving (remember, you can still use GPS!), studying, or eating dinner will greatly decrease the amount of wireless radiation you are exposed to. It can be hard to actively remember to do this, but we recommend setting reminders to enable airplane mode, or do it as soon as you put your phone down to create a healthy habit!
2. At Night
Turning on airplane mode at night means you won’t be disturbed by any messages and notifications that can keep you from falling asleep or wake you in the middle of the night.
Airplane mode also limits your exposure to EMF radiation all night long, which can contribute to better sleep. And, as we all know, good sleep is key to good health.
If your phone must stay connected during the night, such as if you’re on call for your job or are just a worried parent with kids out of the house, keep your device at least four feet away from you while sleeping (not under your pillow or on your nightstand next to your head).
In addition, you can turn off your WiFi router at night to eliminate WiFi connections and ensure your kids aren’t staying up late watching YouTube or playing online video games.
3. Around Children
We get it: parenting today sometimes leads to electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets being used as a distraction for kids. Enabling airplane mode while your child enjoys screen time will prevent accidental calls, messages, or app purchases, stop notifications from interrupting their movie or game, and create a safer device with some level of parental-control on it.
Additionally, children are more susceptible than adults to the harmful effects of EMF radiation. While kids are still developing, radiation can more easily saturate their developing tissues and cause harmful changes at the cellular level.
Airplane mode can easily protect them from RF radiation while they are at their most vulnerable stage in life.
4. At Low Battery Life
If you are ever in the dreaded situation where your phone is almost dead and there is no charger or outlet around, turning on airplane mode helps to save battery life. Even while your phone is locked and the screen is off, it is constantly searching for and maintaining its cellular connection—and constantly emitting harmful EMF radiation.
Airplane mode disables the cellular connection and decreases the amount of power the battery transmits, thus lowering the amount of EMF radiation emitted.
5. While Traveling
Using airplane mode while traveling abroad is a smart, and financially-savvy, idea.
Because your cell phone will not be connected to a cellular network, you won’t rack up a huge phone bill with roaming charges. You can connect to WiFi when you choose, and use almost all the functions of your phone, all while avoiding an exorbitant bill for using international data.
Not only will you save money on your phone bill, but you will also limit your exposure to EMF radiation.
How Do You Use Airplane Mode?
Good news – using airplane mode is easy! When airplane mode is enabled, an airplane icon will appear in the notification bar at the top of your device to indicate that your device is disconnected from cellular network, WiFi, and Bluetooth connections.
For Apple’s older models of iPhones and iPads, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and simply press the airplane icon in the Control Center to enable airplane mode. If you have an iPhone X or later or an iPad with iOS 12 or later, swipe down from the upper-right corner to access the Control Center. When airplane mode is on, the airplane icon will be orange. Another way to enable airplane mode on Apple devices is to open Settings and tap the slider to green.
For Samsung devices, there are three ways to access airplane mode. Via the Settings menu, select Apps > Settings > Airplane mode > turn on (the switch will become green). Airplane mode can also be accessed through the Quick Panel. With two fingers, swipe down from the top of the screen. Tap the airplane mode icon to turn it on (it will become green). You can also press down the power key. After holding down the power key for two seconds, the device options menu will appear. Simply touch airplane mode to turn it on or off.
What Are Other Solutions to Reduce EMF Radiation Exposure?
We at DefenderShield know that cellular and WiFi connectivity is necessary to many peoples’ daily lives, so if keeping airplane mode enabled is not a realistic option for you, there are many other easy ways to decrease your exposure to EMF radiation exposure.
If you must always be connected, an EMF radiation protection cell phone case, tablet case, or laptop pad blocks EMF radiation emissions in the direction of the shield.
Using speaker phone for calls and keeping your device at least one foot away from you can also help decrease your EMF exposure.