Aeroplane mode is baked into nearly all of our devices, ready to be toggled on whenever we board an aircraft. Usually when you’re not flying, it’s of limited utility (unless you really don’t want someone to call you). After all, why would you purposely disconnect yourself from the internet ? Well, a couple reason, actually, when it comes to your Nintendo Switch: battery life and loading speed.
The Switch is a very internet-reliant device. You need to be on wifi to download new updates, play games online, and check-in on your friends. That said, probably aren’t doing those things most of the time you’re using it. Unless you exclusively game online, you’re more likely to be playing by yourself, and playing something you can easily play offline.
Connecting to the internet requires an expenditure of battery life — but not only when you’re actively using it. It makes sense that accessing the eShop, installing updates, or connecting to an online match with a friend would eat up some battery, but there’s a lot of other arguably more battery-intensive internet activity going on whenever your system is powered up.
Your Switch is constantly checking in with wifi, looking for those new updates, checking to see if friends are signing on and what they’re playing, and sending push notifications so you buy new stuff. What’s more, it will continue to do all that stuff even while in Sleep mode, which means unless you keep it docked all the time, you’ll have that much less battery life available when you wake it up. Simply turning on Aeroplane mode when you know you don’t need the internet stops all those processes from occurring.
There are other benefits to turning on Aeroplane mode that just boosting your battery life. It seems many games — even those that don’t need an internet connection to be played — check for one before finally booting up. This can slow down the loading process, especially when you aren’t in range of wifi but wifi is still enabled.
Aeroplane mode cuts out this internet check, which can result in your game booting up faster. Anecdotal evidence from this Reddit thread confirms as much, with one user reporting Super Mario Odyssey’s “play with detached Joy-Cons” screen moves much faster when Aeroplane mode is enabled. This benefit of Aeroplane mode might inspire you to enable it even when battery life isn’t an issue, such as when your Switch is docked or charging.
One caveat: If you’re a member of Nintendo Switch Online, which includes cloud saving, the prospect of slightly faster load times or a bit more battery life might not be worth sacrificing that capability — especially because you’re paying for it.
In addition, Aeroplane mode knocks out Bluetooth communications, which will result in a failed communication with your detached Joy-Cons. If you need to use the Joy-Cons while detached, you’ll need to manually enable Bluetooth from System Settings > Aeroplane Mode > Controller Connection (Bluetooth).
How to enable Aeroplane mode on Nintendo Switch
To switch the Switch into Aeroplane mode, hold down the Home button to access Quick Settings. From here, choose Aeroplane Mode, then press A to enable it. You can also activate Aeroplane mode from System Settings.