In the process of cellphone forensics, cellphones need to be put inside signal shielding bags to prevent data getting locked, changed or even erased remotely and to ensure the originality and objectivity of extracted data. In situations where signal shielding bags are unavailable, switching cellphones to flight mode can achieve the same purpose. In this issue, data recovery experts from the Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province will explain how to switch cellphones with and without screen-locks into flight mode.

I Background Information

1. What’s flight mode?

Flight mode of cellphone refers to the mode in which the GSM/GPRS module of is off and the cellphone does not actively send paging signals or contact with its base station. Paging signals sent by cellphones will interfere with the proper functioning of electronic equipment on planes, so it is not allowed to turn on cellphones while travelling by plane. However, cellphones in flight mode will have their signal-related functions disabled while enabling functions like accessing contacts, reading books, watching movies and playing games.

2. Why set cellphones on flight mode?

Flight mode is the mode in which communication module of a cellphone is closed and services including calling, texting, accessing to internet are all unavailable because of the lack of signal connection between the cellphone and its base station. This is the ‘anti-interference’ mode and also the original meaning of the name ‘Flight Mode’. A large part of the power consumption is caused by signal interaction and banning it in flight mode saves much power for the phone. From cellphone data recovery perspective, the closing of communication module makes wireless network unavailable and prevents cellphone data from being locked, tampered with or erased through communication network and ensures the originality and objectivity of extracted data.

II Switch Cellphones without Screen-locks into Flight Mode

For cellphones without screen-locks, the following three methods can be used to switch them into flight mode:

1. Cellphone Settings

On the main screen of a cellphone, select settings> wireless network> more. Enter flight mode by checking this item and turnoff flight mode by unchecking this item, as shown in Picture 1.


Picture 1: Switch through cellphone settings

 2. Notification bar

In the notification bar of cellphones, users can change flight mode status directly as shown in Picture 2.


Picture 2 Switch through notification bar

3.Power button

Touch and hold the power button and change flight mode status in the menu pops up, as shown in Picture 2.


Picture 3 Switch using power button

III Switch Phones with Screen-locks into Flight Mode

1. Power button

Many cellphones support changing flight mode status when they are locked, those phones include Sony, Konka, Daxian, Huawei, ZTE, One Plus, OPPO, HTC, Coolpad, VIVO Xplay3S system, and Funtouch OS 1.0. Touch and hold the power button and check the item flight mode in the menu pops up to switch the phone into flight mode, as in Picture 4.


Picture  4 Switch using power button

2. Switch through pull-down menu

Cellphones and systems including iPhone, Samsung, DOOV, MIUI, Lenovo (only when Lenovo phones are on emergency dialing interface) can enter flight mode through pull-down menu when they are screen-locked, as in Picture 5.


Picture 5 Switch through pull-down menu

When phones are screen-lock protected, the right method can be used to enter flight mode varies according to cellphone models and system versions. Thus, corresponding method should be chosen based on actual situation.


In the process of cellphone data extraction, switching phones into flight mode can prevent cellphone data from being remotely locked, tampered with or even erased through network. In this issue, data recovery experts from the Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province explained how to switch cellphones with and without screen-locks to flight mode, which would help cellphone data solidification.