How private is flight mode?

Can I ask how guaranteed private is flight mode? I have a windows 10 laptop. I reinstalled the OS from the system restore option some time ago and let it update over WiFi. Then I deleted my home WiFi pass code from the laptop and switched it to flight mode which is how it has stayed. I store pictures and documents and have no need to go online with this machine. Is my laptop fully private on flight mode or can it leak anything for example at startup or shutdown even though it has no WiFi pass code?

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Sorry to be that guy, but why not use Linux on that computer? Also, why not just use an external hard drive if you are simply storing pictures and videos?

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Thank you for your response. In answer to your question, I have a couple of applications that I use which are not available on Linux. I have an old copy of Photoshop which I find useful for editing and design, and Sony Music Centre to manage songs on my Walkman. Therefore it is used as a computer as well simply storage. Sorry I didn’t make that clear up front.

I have a Fedora Linux machine for online access and a GrapheneOS phone for communication but it gives me great peace of mind to have a machine that is 100% only accessible when sitting in front of it.

Therefore, I would like to know if I can be 100% certain on flight mode with no stored passcode or do I need to remove the WiFi card to achieve that?

I’ve heard of iOS (or something else?) that periodically probes for available WiFi hotspots even when in flight mode, but that might just be a stupid misrecollection of mine.

If WiFi is enabled (with or without the user’s knowledge or control), it will probe for available WiFi hotspots around the device.

If you need to be very sure that your device does not transmit, I wouldn’t trust the flight mode. I suggest removing the transmitting parts of your device, putting your device in a Faraday bag or removing the device’s battery. Depending on the device, powering it off might be enough though.

Ive heard (not tested) that this is not enough in newer (X up) iPhones. I dont know if this is true.

Anyone with an iPhone here to confirm/deny?

Is flight mode the same thing as airplane mode? If that’s the case all airplane mode does is disable RF transmission. According to Apple that doesn’t include bluetooth though.[1]

[1] Use Airplane Mode on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch - Apple Support

I can’t answer your question with full certainty, but if you are very concerned about it you could remove the wifi card from the computer.

If physical disassembly is not possible/daunting; then disabling WiFi, Bluetooth and LAN may be sufficient to prevent unwanted traffic to or from the device.


Yes I think flight mode and aeroplane mode are the same thing

Thank you for the link. I had not thought of switching off components in the device manager which may be a good solution

Thanks for the responses. I will try the device manager initially. This is a fairly old laptop, perhaps 10 years. The battery has failed some time ago and I did not replace it so when it is off and unplugged, I know it is off.
I am not suffering any major threat to my existence I am just looking for a little peace of mind when it feels increasingly more difficult to remain a private citizen.