Traveling Today


I wonder if my iPhone can track our air location on its GPS if the iPhone is in airplane mode?

Any quick answers would really be appreciated. Thx.


Nope, it won’t. Airplane Mode also disables the GPS. If the plane that you will be on has Wifi enabled, that is another story.



For the record, Airplane Mode also shuts off WiFi, 3G and Bluetooth, i.e. any and all RF emitters.


You can use a standalone portable GPS unit in flight.

After using one on many flights, here’s some tips I can pass on

  • make sure you are next to a window
  • A window over the wing degrades the satellite signal strength
  • you can place the unit on the fold down tray but make sure it has a good line of sight with the window
  • Reduce the display brightness to increase the battery life


Airplane Mode on iDevices leaves WiFi on.


That has not been my experience with any of my iDevices Mark.

Selecting airplane mode immediately drops the WiFi on my Touch and my daughter and SIL’s iPads.

From the Apple website: “While airplane mode is on, the Airplane icon appears in the status bar at the top of the screen. No Cellular Data, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth signals are emitted from iPad Wi-Fi + 3G, and Global Positioning System (GPS) reception is turned off, disabling some of the features of iPad Wi-Fi + 3G.”

While the above quote is for the iPad, the same is true for the Touch and iPhone. This “feature” can be circumvented by manually turning the WiFi back on after selecting airplane mode, but turning Airplane Mode off and then on again will again turn the WiFi off as that’s the default setting.


Confirmed on my iPad. I put it in airplane mode and it could not determine my location via GPS which was the posters question as I read it.

Took it out of airplane mode, turned off cell service AND wifi, GPS worked.

Key thing though is that Google maps were last access in Houston. since I turned off GPS and Wifi, local maps did not pull in so it would have needed to be cached for it to work.

Since I had Foreflight maps downloaded, it worked great for the aviation location services, put me right where I live on a sectional.