iPhone 8(+) Why am I receiving texts in airplane mode (with WiFi off)?

s54

Suspended
Original poster
Sep 25, 2012
505
582
iPhone 8 on latest iOS.

I turned on airplane mode. Some 30 seconds later I got a text notification. Sure enough, a new legit text message came through. This happened several times by now.

Before you ask, I checked and confirmed that Bluetooth and WiFi and everything else was off.

I thought airplane mode turned off all antennas and completely disengaged the phone from all networks and communications.
 

Cayden

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2014
786
383
Utah
It could be a bug, but I know airplane mode usually takes a while to fully turn off all the antennas and converters and everything (the hardware to control this stuff is very complex so it has to go through a semi-lengthy boot down process) and that notifications for text messages often take 10 to 20 seconds after they’re read in by the antenna to show up. It’s totally possible the message came in after you enabled airplane mode but before it fully turned on for the system, so you still got a notification for the text. With that said, if this happens often, it doesn’t seem that likely you’d just happen to get text messages right as you turn airplane mode on. Do the messages ever come in over 30 seconds after you enable airplane mode?
 
Last edited:

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,298
8,153
Here(-ish)
It could be a bug, but I know airplane mode usually takes a while to fully turn off all the antennas and converters or everything (the hardware to control this stuff is very complex so it has to go through a semi-lengthy boot down process) and that notifications for text messages often take 10 to 20 seconds after they’re read in by the antenna to show up. It’s totally possible the message came in after you enabled airplane mode but before it fully turned on for the system, so you still got a notification for the text. With that said, if this happens often, it doesn’t seem that likely you’d just happen to get text messages right as you turn airplane mode on. Do the messages ever come in over 30 seconds after you enable airplane mode?
This was going to be my guess as well.
 

Haquers

macrumors member
Sep 28, 2016
36
16
I’m having the same issue. I’m traveling internationally, and my iPhone 11 Pro (on iOS 13.3) is on airplane mode but still receiving text messages. The only way I can think to prevent it is to turn it off but I want to use it as a camera and when on WiFi. At least roaming texts are inexpensive on xfinity mobile, but still frustrating.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
7,336
3,468
I’m having the same issue. I’m traveling internationally, and my iPhone 11 Pro (on iOS 13.3) is on airplane mode but still receiving text messages. The only way I can think to prevent it is to turn it off but I want to use it as a camera and when on WiFi. At least roaming texts are inexpensive on xfinity mobile, but still frustrating.
Blue or green bubbles?

If it's blue, then that just uses wi-fi so should be free.
 

konqerror

macrumors 68000
Dec 31, 2013
1,583
2,569
If you have Wi-Fi calling, then texts and calls (of course) will come in over Wi-Fi.

I think xfinity mobile is one of those virtual carriers that forces Wi-Fi calling on you, so they avoid paying to rent others' networks.

Whether you get billed for Wi-Fi calls and texts while you're roaming depends on carrier policy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rui no onna and arn

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,549
1,874
You could have Calls over WiFi active, and also connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.


With Wi-Fi Calling, you can talk and text over Wi-Fi when cellular coverage is limited or unavailable.
 

Haquers

macrumors member
Sep 28, 2016
36
16
If you have Wi-Fi calling, then texts and calls (of course) will come in over Wi-Fi.

I think xfinity mobile is one of those virtual carriers that forces Wi-Fi calling on you, so they avoid paying to rent others' networks.

Whether you get billed for Wi-Fi calls and texts while you're roaming depends on carrier policy.
Looks like that’s exactly what’s happening. I see that xfinity mobile has only charged me for two international/roaming text messages (while on cellular network); all others have been free as I’ve been connected to WiFi. Thanks for helping solve the mystery.
 
  • Like
Reactions: konqerror

acorntoy

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2010
1,418
1,280
Airplane mode no longer disables WiFi, as others have pointed out WiFi can enable text and iMessage.
 

Haquers

macrumors member
Sep 28, 2016
36
16
Looks like that’s exactly what’s happening. I see that xfinity mobile has only charged me for two international/roaming text messages (while on cellular network); all others have been free as I’ve been connected to WiFi. Thanks for helping solve the mystery.
I also confirmed by turning off WiFi while in airplane mode and my text immediately failed. Apple may want to reconsider the name of its “WiFi calling” feature if it includes texting lol.
 

compwiz1202

macrumors 6502a
May 20, 2010
799
212
iPhone 8 on latest iOS.

I turned on airplane mode. Some 30 seconds later I got a text notification. Sure enough, a new legit text message came through. This happened several times by now.

Before you ask, I checked and confirmed that Bluetooth and WiFi and everything else was off.

I thought airplane mode turned off all antennas and completely disengaged the phone from all networks and communications.
Happened to me last month on an airplane. Everything was definitely off for me too.
- - Post merged: - -

Could you have been connected to WiFi? I had airplane mode on while on my cruise last week, but got iMessages via the ship WiFi.
I was on a plane and not subbed to their Wi-Fi. Maybe Wi-Fi calling/messaging still works through the free version you can use to watch the videos?
 

nickdalzell1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2019
557
217
FYI you can get SMS (green) texts over wifi too. Got that on my devices, including my iPad, MacBook Pro and a Watch that's just connected to wifi.
 

joeblow7777

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2010
6,083
7,033
FYI you can get SMS (green) texts over wifi too. Got that on my devices, including my iPad, MacBook Pro and a Watch that's just connected to wifi.
Isn’t it being forwarded from your phone which is receiving it via the cellular network? SMS messages don’t travel via the internet, but can be forwarded through it.
 

s54

Suspended
Original poster
Sep 25, 2012
505
582
I’d like to clarify some misconceptions in this thread.

Some people are under the impression that when my iPhone was in airplane mode, WiFi was still on. That’s not the case at all.

When I say airplane mode, I mean true airplane mode where all antennas are off and all signals are off. This includes WiFi and Bluetooth.

By default, airplane mode turns everything off, unless you turn your WiFi back on.

So, again, in full airplane mode (with WiFi off and Bluetooth off), I still receive text messages on occasion. Very strange.
- - Post merged: - -

Airplane mode no longer disables WiFi, as others have pointed out WiFi can enable text and iMessage.
That is false. On my iPhone 8, turning airplane mode to ON definitely turns off WiFi and Bluetooth automatically. I then have the option to keep airplane mode engaged and turn on WiFi.
 

imp3rator

macrumors member
Dec 25, 2019
35
12
Sometimes - if message has more words (or signs, diakritics, link etc) i get a notification and than after 20-30 sec. Notification again - it downloads additional letters or other signs because text consits of 2 and more sms... Or maybe download it in same time but notify later. So you can download a “first part” of texts before you go to airplane mode and than get notification about “connected” that texts together.
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 68000
Feb 22, 2015
1,543
349
When I turn Airplane mode on it does NOT affect WiFi. Remains on. Text msg works as do phone calls.

Tried on iPhone 11 and X. So stop with the blanket statements.
 

VineRider

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2018
408
263
When I turn Airplane mode on it does NOT affect WiFi. Remains on. Text msg works as do phone calls.

Tried on iPhone 11 and X. So stop with the blanket statements.
On my 11 Pro, Wi-Fi in airplane mode is a toggle

turn on airplane mode via control center. If Wi-Fi is on, the next time you turn on airplane mode Wi-Fi will be on

Conversely, if in airplane mode you turn off Wi-Fi or if it is already off, it will stay off the next time you turn on airplane mode. When you turn off airplane mode Wi-Fi turns back on
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,766
7,323
Florida, USA
Happened to me last month on an airplane. Everything was definitely off for me too.
- - Post merged: - -


I was on a plane and not subbed to their Wi-Fi. Maybe Wi-Fi calling/messaging still works through the free version you can use to watch the videos?
A lot of airlines allow usage of messaging without paying for in-flight WiFi.
 

s54

Suspended
Original poster
Sep 25, 2012
505
582
When I turn Airplane mode on it does NOT affect WiFi. Remains on. Text msg works as do phone calls.

Tried on iPhone 11 and X. So stop with the blanket statements.
You're misinformed. It does not affect WiFi because you set it up that way. You can make airplane mode turn everything off.

On my 11 Pro, Wi-Fi in airplane mode is a toggle

turn on airplane mode via control center. If Wi-Fi is on, the next time you turn on airplane mode Wi-Fi will be on

Conversely, if in airplane mode you turn off Wi-Fi or if it is already off, it will stay off the next time you turn on airplane mode. When you turn off airplane mode Wi-Fi turns back on
Exactly.