I turned Airplane Mode on, yet someone was still able to call me. How was this possible when Airplane Mode supposedly shuts off all airwaves?

  • What phone do you use and what Android version and security update state is installed? On Google Pixel phones that have installed update December 2022 Air plane mode now only affects cellular mode. Wifi is no longer disabled (stays as it is). If your phone and provider supports Wifi-calls and you are connected to a Wifi then it you can still be called.
    – Robert
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 12:22
  • Ok, Airplane Mode was turned on first, but then I turned on Wifi at home, which appears on the left-side. Is that all it takes to receive calls still with Airplane Mode on? I also notice that there's an icon for "Wifi Calling" that I enabled on the right-side
    – user610620
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 12:25
  • 2
    If that Wifi-calling icon appears then you the connection to your mobile network provider is established via Wifi and calling is possible no matter in which state the cellular system in the phone is.
    – Robert
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 12:36
  • But doesn't the SIM card (being on) supposed to process any calls to my 10-digit number? How can WiFi possibly process a call to a 10-digit number? And is Wifi Calling a work-around for global cellular roaming so that no roaming charges?
    – user610620
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 13:15
  • 1
    @Robert is talking about Voice over WiFi. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


That is VoWi-Fi. VoWi-Fi doesn't necessarily require your cellular radio to be "ON" in order to make calls. The SIM card being "present" in the device is enough

The content below is from a comment I wrote on the same question as a reply

The SIM card serves as an "identification module" which enables your "smartphone" to process phone calls, either via cellular radio, or via VoWIFI. Your SIM card being present and working (working as in it sort of informing the phone that you "are" subscribed to a plan) indicates your phone can make phone calls using your Telecom provider's exclusive network services, the device depending on the circumstances/configuration decides how to proceed with the call- either via VoLTE or HSPA or Edge (these three uses cellular radio) or via WiFi (VoWIFI aka WiFi calling)

Which means nothing is "bypassed" here. Your phone can't make/receive WiFi calls while in airplane mode if your SIM card isn't present or if your SIM card is present but you don't have any active subscriptions

  • When using Voice over Wifi the SIM card is active because it performs the authentication and transmission protection when communications over the internet with the mobile network provider. What you mean that is not on is the cellular radio.
    – Robert
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 21:21
  • All it says is "Wifi Calling". No one has ever heard of "VoWiFi". shrug emoji
    – user610620
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 21:56
  • Yes @Robert I meant cellular radio. Let me amend the answer. Thanks. Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 18:21
  • @user610620 VoWIFI is the technology behind WIFi calling Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 18:24
  • "Wifi Calling" appears on Android phones. "VoWifi" does not. No matter what it's called, if they're one and the same, please address how it is able to bypass the SIM Card, when it is the SIM Card that possesses and processes all transmissions to the 10-digit registered number!!!!
    – user610620
    Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 1:42

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