How to Use My iPad on an Airplane: Tips for a Smooth Flight

Using your iPad on an airplane is simple. Before your flight, ensure your device is fully charged and loaded with entertainment like movies or books. Once on board, switch your iPad to Airplane Mode to disable cellular signals, then connect to the plane’s Wi-Fi (if available) to access the internet. Enjoy your device for the duration of the flight, but remember to comply with crew instructions during takeoff and landing.

After completing these actions, you’ll be set to enjoy your iPad throughout the flight, keeping yourself entertained and making time fly by—pun intended!


In our fast-paced, digitally-driven world, going without our favorite devices even for a few hours can be unthinkable. This is especially true when it comes to air travel; a period when we’re confined to a small space for a prolonged time. The iPad, a favorite travel companion for many, offers a versatile solution to in-flight boredom, whether it’s by watching a movie, reading a book, or getting some work done. But, do you know how to make the most out of your iPad while flying tens of thousands of feet in the air?

It’s not as straightforward as you might think—there are regulations to follow, battery life to consider, and connectivity issues to troubleshoot. This article is vital for anyone planning to use their iPad on a plane, ensuring you’re prepared, compliant with regulations, and ready to enjoy a seamless entertainment experience.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Use My iPad on an Airplane

The following steps will guide you through using your iPad on an airplane, from preparing your device before the flight to enjoying it in the air.

Step 1: Charge Your iPad

Ensure your iPad is fully charged before your flight.

A fully charged iPad means you won’t be left scrambling for a power outlet in the airport or on the plane, which might be scarce or non-functional. It’s also worth noting that battery life depletes faster at higher altitudes, so a full charge is crucial for long flights.

Step 2: Load up on Entertainment

Download movies, books, or games onto your iPad.

Wi-Fi on airplanes can be expensive and unreliable, so downloading your entertainment beforehand is a smart move. Most streaming services offer a download option for offline viewing, so take advantage of this feature.

Step 3: Activate Airplane Mode

Switch your iPad to Airplane Mode before takeoff.

Airplane Mode disables the device’s cellular connections, which is mandatory during flights. This not only complies with regulations but also helps conserve battery life.

Step 4: Connect to Wi-Fi (If Available)

Connect to the airplane’s Wi-Fi network once it’s permissible to do so.

While not available on all flights, some airlines do offer in-flight Wi-Fi. Be prepared that it may come at an additional cost and could be slower than you’re accustomed to on the ground.

Step 5: Enjoy Your iPad

Use your iPad during the flight, but be aware of takeoff and landing.

Once you’re up in the air, you’re free to use your device. However, during takeoff and landing, the crew may ask you to either switch off your device or put it away, so always pay attention to their instructions.


Entertainment OptionsWith an iPad, you have a plethora of entertainment choices that can make a long flight feel shorter. From movies and series to games and books, you’ll never run out of things to do.
ProductivityFor those who like to stay productive, an iPad can be a mobile office in the sky, allowing you to work on documents, presentations, or emails while you’re en route to your destination.
Battery LifeiPads are known for their long battery life, which is perfect for those long-haul flights where you need your device to last the entire trip without a recharge.


Wi-Fi Cost and QualityIn-flight Wi-Fi can be expensive and often doesn’t offer the same quality as ground-level Wi-Fi, potentially leading to a frustrating experience if you’re trying to stream or work online.
Limited SpaceUsing an iPad in the confined space of an airplane seat can be cumbersome, especially if you don’t have a stand or a way to prop up your device comfortably.
Complying with RegulationsThere are times during the flight when you cannot use your iPad, which can be inconvenient if you’re in the middle of something important or particularly engrossing.

Additional Information

When using your iPad on an airplane, there are a few extra tips and considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, invest in a good quality pair of headphones or earbuds; this not only allows for a better audio experience but also shows courtesy to fellow passengers. Noise-canceling headphones can be particularly valuable on noisy flights. Additionally, consider bringing a portable battery pack or power bank in case your battery starts running low—especially on long flights without in-seat power.

It’s also wise to update your iPad and any apps you plan to use before departing. Updates can fix bugs and ensure all your software runs smoothly, which is essential when you’re dealing with the potential connectivity issues of in-flight Wi-Fi. Lastly, always ensure that you have set a strong lock on your device—security is paramount, especially when traveling.


  1. Charge your iPad to full battery
  2. Download necessary entertainment
  3. Put your iPad in Airplane Mode
  4. Connect to the plane’s Wi-Fi (if available)
  5. Comply with crew instructions during takeoff and landing

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Bluetooth on my iPad while on an airplane?

Yes, Bluetooth can typically be used in Airplane Mode, so you can connect to wireless headphones or a keyboard.

Do I have to purchase Wi-Fi to use my iPad on a plane?

No, you don’t have to purchase Wi-Fi to use pre-downloaded content or apps that don’t require an internet connection.

Can I charge my iPad on the airplane?

It depends on the airplane. Some have USB ports or power outlets for passengers, but it’s not guaranteed.

How can I improve my iPad’s battery life during the flight?

Dimming the screen, closing unnecessary apps, and avoiding intense gaming can help conserve battery life.

Are there any size restrictions for iPads on airplanes?

Generally, no. However, during takeoff and landing, you may be asked to stow larger devices.


Flying doesn’t have to be a drag—not when you have your trusty iPad by your side. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your iPad serves as an excellent travel companion, keeping you entertained, productive, and relaxed throughout your flight.

Just remember to charge up, download ahead, comply with in-flight regulations, and consider investing in a few accessories to make the journey even smoother. Happy flying, and may your iPad battery last as long as your adventure!

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