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How do you enable airplane mode on Mac?

In most situations, enabling airplane mode on your Mac isn’t necessary, even on a commercial flight.

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Image: KnowTechie

Quick Answer: While there is no specific “airplane mode” on a Mac, you can use System Settings to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s effectively the same thing.

If you’ve ever flown with a commercial airline, you’d be familiar with the obligatory yet somewhat inexplicable demand to switch all electronic devices into airplane mode.

Apparently, wireless signals can interfere with the plane’s navigation systems or something, so failing to enable some sort of airplane-friendly mode when instructed is practically an act of terrorism.

Do you want to be responsible for bringing down a plane with your unchecked Wi-Fi? Of course not! Let’s discuss how to enable airplane mode on your Mac.

Enabling airplane mode on Mac laptops

Did you know Airplane mode isn’t available on macOS? This is because Apple computers don’t emit cellular signals, so there’s no need to include Airplane Mode.

macOS doesn’t have airplane mode because Apple computers don’t emit cellular signals. Unlike mobile devices, it’s not as necessary to quickly disable all wireless communication on Macs.

However, there may be some situations where you do want to put your Mac into an airplane-mode-like state. You can achieve this by simply switching off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

How to turn on airplane mode on Mac

Open System Settings
Click the Apple menu and select System Settings (or open System Settings via your preferred method)
Select Wi-FI
Select Wi-Fi in the side menu
Disable Wi-Fi
Toggle Wi-Fi off
Disable Bluetooth
Now select Bluetooth in the side menu and toggle it off too

By switching off both of the wireless protocols your Mac uses, you’re effectively putting the device into airplane mode.

Bonus tip

Alternatively, you can quickly switch Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off from the Control Center or via the icons in your top menu bar. If the icons are missing, you can choose which features show in the top menu bar in System Settings Control Center.

Mac OS control Settings
Image: KnowTechie

Do you need to enable airplane mode on Mac?

In most situations, enabling airplane mode on your Mac isn’t necessary, even on a commercial flight. In fact, some airlines encourage the use of Wi-Fi by offering access to their onboard wireless networks.

Bluetooth likely isn’t an issue either. With wireless earphones and headphones quickly replacing their wired counterparts, most of us wouldn’t get far without Bluetooth enabled.

On most flights, you’ll see plenty of people using wireless peripherals with their devices.

Frankly, the whole “enable airplane mode” request likely started as a joke by the airline industry to see how gullible we are. As it turns out, we’re really gullible, and the joke has gone too far for them to back out now.

NOTE: In case airplane mode isn’t a grand conspiracy, you should always follow the instructions of your flight crew.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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