Google is seemingly going to fix one of the biggest gripes with airplane mode in Android with the next release of the OS. Right now, enabling Airplane mode means cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity are completely disabled even if you have a Bluetooth headset connected to your phone.
Disabling all radios in a phone when airplane mode is enabled used to work earlier when all smartphones packed a 3.5mm headphone jack. With the headphone jack going out of fashion and users required to rely on Bluetooth earbuds, the blanket approach of airplane mode disabling Bluetooth can be quite irritating.
A new AOSP Gerrit titled "Context-aware Bluetooth airplane mode" entry points to Google tweaking the airplane mode functionality in Android 11 R to not disable Bluetooth whenever you are listening to music via Bluetooth or the Hearing Aid profile is active.
Below is what the Gerrit commit says:
Do not automatically turn off Bluetooth when airplane mode is turned on and Bluetooth is in one of the following situations:
- Bluetooth A2DP is connected.
- Bluetooth Hearing Aid profile is connected.
The commit has not been merged to AOSP yet but that will likely happen before the next major release of the OS, Android 11 R.
If this feature makes its way to Android 11 R, it would mean that your phone will be smart enough to not disable Bluetooth when you enable airplane mode while wirelessly listening to music or have a hearing aid connected to it. The commit does not mention anything about fitness bands or wearables so it is likely that in such scenarios, Bluetooth will be disabled.
Source: XDA Developers