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Google could be working on a 'Connected Flight Mode' for Android

The feature would be able to detect when you're on a plane.

Published onJuly 14, 2023

Airplane mode on Android phone stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • A new patent from Google appears to detail something called “Connected Flight Mode.”
  • The feature would be able to automatically switch airplane mode on and off when it detects you’re on a plane.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections would still be supported in this mode.

Outside of apps specifically made for the purpose, Airplane mode has always been a feature you have to enable and disable manually on Android. But Google could be working on a new feature that will do it for you.

A new patent from Google has appeared online. According to the document, the patent is for a feature called “Connect Flight Mode,” which would work for mobile computing devices. That includes your phone, tablet, and laptop.

It appears the feature is capable of detecting when you’re on a plane. If the feature is triggered, it will automatically turn on Airplane mode for you and turn it back to normal mode when it detects that you’re back on the ground.

But this isn’t just a fancy way to turn Airplane mode on or off. This enhanced feature supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. So you can continue to be connected, whereas normal Airplane mode shuts these down along with the cellular network. The patent mentions that the feature will configure Wi-Fi settings to fit the specific type of connection the airplane accepts. However, it may also disconnect from a network if it detects that your battery is low or the quality of the network is bad.

connected flights mode

Additionally, the mode will let your device configure Wi-Fi settings to ensure a sustained experience. Things such as automatic backups, background app refreshes, and updates are turned off when this mode is activated.

If you’re wondering how this all works, it seems that pressure drops, ultrasonic signals, the Wi-Fi signal of a plane, and your travel booking activity would all work as potential triggers. As the document states, the process happens “in response to having determined that the sensor has detected information indicating that the mobile computing device is located on the airplane.”

Since this is just a patent, there’s no guarantee this feature will ever go public. Google and many other companies submit patents all the time and only a small percentage of those actually see the light of day. But if Google launches Connected Flight Mode, it could be a rather convenient feature.

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