Updated "Time" while flying in Airplane Mode

Clint1583

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 4, 2011
154
9
Okay, somebody please explain this one to me. Just took a recent flight from Europe to the US West Coast. When leaving Germany I placed my iPhone in Airplane mode and was never connected to the planes wi-fi system.

During the flight I checked my phone of various reasons and each time the phone had the correct time for the current time zone, even while flying over the Arctic Circle. At the same time my Apple Watch showed the current time in Germany where I departed from.

Several time's during the flight I took my phone off airplane mode for a few seconds and it immediately updated my watches time also.

How exactly does this happen without any internet connection at 35,000 feet over the Arctic Circle or Atlantic Ocean?
 

bd4

macrumors member
Jan 26, 2014
60
19
Just a guess, but in iPhone 6 and newer, there is a built-in barometer, so the iPhone could figure out that you're in an airplane. Probably it then uses GPS to determine your location. Since GPS only receives data, it can be used safely in Airplane mode.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
47,538
16,039
As of iOS 8.3 GPS isn't disabled when airplane mode is enabled, so most likely it's that (as others have also suggested).
 

goudok

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2012
135
23
were you connected to planes wifi? Sometimes that can trigger a time update.