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Using Bluetooth while flying


Sitting at 36,000 feet this afternoon I read the welcome news that the Federal Aviation Authority (the Pied Piper for other national regulatory bodies, I hope) is in the process of relaxing the rules for use of electronic devices while flying. This article in Techhive explains the nitty gritty and the reason why the change might not actually happen until next year.

In the meantime, did you know that you can (rather than may) use Bluetooth or wifi even when your device is in airplane mode? Since the arrival of iOS 7 with its neat pull-up control panel, you can now click on the buttons for the two local wireless radios immediately after selecting airplane mode.

While connection to a cellular network during a flight will continue to be forbidden, there is now hope that airlines throughout the world will be able to relax the petty restrictions we have all become familiar with. In my case it will be useful to be able to use my Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad, something that is not possible under present regulations. This is one of the few instances of iPad inferiority in comparison with the traditional laptop with its built-in keyboard.

I am all in favour of relaxing the rules like this. I just don’t want to have to sit next to a self-important business type babbling on the phone throughout a flight. Thankfully, this will not happen.