Why do you have to turn off your iPhone when a plane takes off?

As anyone who has been in the midst of a serious game of Doodle Jump while boarding the plane can attest, it can be frustrating to have to turn off your phone for take-off. Yet federal regulations clearly state that passengers on commercial airlines have to power down their devices until planes reach an altitude of 10,000 feet. Why is this the case? It turns out that there isn’t much of a reason.

A New York Times Bits blogger questioning this policy solicited a response from the Federal Aviation Administration, which admitted that there have never been any accidents reported from the use of an electronic device on a plane. The policy is in place because there is no evidence showing portable electronic devices can’t interfere with a plane, but there is also none saying that they can. Also, devices such as iPhones offer an Airplane mode that silences radio signals. The radio frequencies for consumer devices are different from those used in aviation controls anyway, a wireless industry representative said.

The worst potential effect of electronic devices could, in fact, come at the moment airlines allow passengers to turn them back on all at the same time during landing, the NY Times blog stated. Nonetheless, many are skeptical of the need for concern.

“Bottom line: you should be able to use your iPhone in Airplane Mode before you reach 10,000 feet,” wrote iDownloadBlog’s Alex Heath.

If a broken iPhone is holding you back from listening to music or playing games on the plane, iResQ’s iPhone repair service can get your device back up to cruising altitude.

Marcelina Hardy

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