What to Do When Windows 10 Is Stuck in Airplane Mode

Get your connections back so you can move on

3D illustration of a commercial Aircraft

Aaron Foster / Getty Images

Airplane Mode comes in handy when you want to quickly disable all wireless communication on your PC, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and cellular data. This feature is enabled via its taskbar icon in the Notifications section, a keyboard shortcut, through the Network & Internet Settings interface, or even via an actual switch found on select computers.

Windows 10 can occasionally get stuck in Airplane Mode, putting you in a really tough spot as your PC can't get online or communicate with other devices. Follow the troubleshooting guide below if you find yourself in this frustrating situation. It starts with the simplest solutions and progresses into some advanced methods if those don't do the trick.

Turn off Airplane Mode With a Keyboard Shortcut

The simplest way to turn off Airplane Mode is with a keyboard shortcut. Check your keyboard for a key featuring an icon that looks like a radio tower emitting signals. This key varies across models and is typically one of the function keys (i.e., F3) or another key found along the top row such as PrtScr (PrintScreen). 

Not all computers have this key, so if you don't see it at first glance you may want to just move on to the next section.

Hold down the Function (Fn) key, then press the key containing the aforementioned icon. If successful, a notification appears in the upper left-hand corner of your screen stating Airplane mode off, and your Wi-Fi and other connectivity are instantly reinstated.

Turn Off Airplane Mode via the Windows 10 Action Center

Another easy way to turn off Airplane Mode is through the Windows 10 Action Center, located in the lower-left corner of your desktop. Click or tap on the Action Center icon (it looks like a message window), then select the Airplane Mode icon to toggle the feature off.

You can toggle Airplane Mode on and off in the Windows 10 Action Center

At this point, a list of available connections (Wi-Fi and others) appears. If any of your previously configured Wi-Fi networks are set to connect automatically and are in range, you should be back online within just a few seconds.

Turn off Airplane Mode Through System Settings

Airplane Mode can also be toggled off and on within the System Settings interface, easily accessible via the Windows 10 Search Box located in the lower left-hand side of your screen next to the Start button. 

  1. To get started, type the following text into the Search Box: airplane mode.

  2. When the results screen appears, select Airplane mode: System settings, located under the Best match header.

    You can find Airplane Mode settings using the Windows 10 search bar
  3. You should now see the Airplane Mode Settings interface. Toggle the button found under the Airplane mode heading, so that it switches from On to Off. You'll know it's successful if the button labeled Wi-Fi automatically changes from Off to On.

    You can turn Airplane Mode off or on in Windows 10 settings

Turn off Airplane Mode Through a Custom Button

Certain PCs (mainly laptops) actually come with an Airplane Mode button, sometimes referred to as the Network button, included somewhere on the device itself. Pressing this button enables and disables Airplane Mode.

See your PC manufacturer's manual for more details on whether or not you have this button and where it's located.

Depending on your model, this switch can sometimes override Windows settings and therefore must be set to the proper position to avoid getting truly stuck in Airplane Mode.

Other Troubleshooting Methods

If none of the above worked and you're still stuck in Airplane Mode, there are other things you can try as a last resort:

  • Reset your PC's BIOS to its default settings. This is only recommended for advanced users.
  • You can also reinstall Windows 10 via the Reset This PC feature, but that's a bigger project (so hopefully the ideas above worked out).