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Android 11's airplane mode will no longer kill your Bluetooth connection

Google improved Android 11 by adding new respect for Bluetooth. Switching to airplane mode no longer drops your headphones.

Published onFebruary 19, 2020

You know the drill. You’re on an airplane listening to some tunes on your favorite Bluetooth headphones to kill the time. The flight attendant comes on the horn to say the cabin door has been closed and you have to switch your devices to airplane mode. As a good passenger, you comply with the order and bzzttt! you lose your Bluetooth connection. So aggravating. Normally, you need to dive into the settings menu and re-enable the Bluetooth radio and hope your headphones auto-connect.

Good news, Android lovers: Google has solved this problem in Android 11.

XDA-Developers first spotted the potential feature last year in a commit to AOSP that suggested a “context-aware Bluetooth Airplane Mode” was in the works. Now that the first developer preview of Android 11 is here, the feature is live for testing.

The description is pretty clear:

Do not automatically turn off Bluetooth when airplane mode is turned on and Bluetooth is in one of the following situations:

  1. Bluetooth A2DP is connected.
  2. Bluetooth Hearing Aid profile is connected.

You can see the results of this addition to Android 11 in our short video clip. Turning on airplane mode clearly leaves the Bluetooth connection intact. This means you’ll no longer be cut off from your tunes or videos when doing as you’re told on an airplane.

Sadly, it will be some time before this feature is available to everyone. Google will keep Android 11 in developer preview status for the next few months before offering the first public beta in June. The full release of Android 11 isn’t expected until the fall months.

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