5 Offline Apps to Use During Takeoff and Landing

by  Darren Murph | Dec 12, 2013
iPad / grinvalds/iStock

It's amazing how liberating one small change can be. The FAA has allowed carriers to let passengers keep their small, handheld electronics turned on during takeoff and landing (this generally includes iPads, iPhones, Kindles, e-readers, and smartphones). You still can’t have your data network enabled (and you can't use a laptop), but that doesn't mean you can't have a little touchscreen-tapping fun in the meantime. Below, we’ve assembled a quick list of apps to have at your disposal between 0 and 10,000 feet. Download away!

Pocket: This is my de facto news reader. The free app (available for Android, iPhone, and iPad) acts as a personal library, collecting and filing stories from around the Web. Beyond just keeping tabs on content that you’ve stored for future reading, it also re-formats things in order to strip away visual clutter and focus on the core words and images. It works by reformatting content from a specific URL that already lives on the internet  — not walled within an app or other ecosystem. Just download articles before leaving, and read away as you ascend.

Babbel: If you’re looking to learn a new language, this is the app to get. The company supports French, Spanish, and a handful of other popular languages, and a modest monthly subscription ($22 for three months) gets you offline access to dozens of useful tutorials. It was built from the ground-up to work best on a mobile device, and I’ve yet to find a more capable teaching tool.

Evernote: You know how those brilliant ideas and spontaneous to-dos seem to pop into your mind when you’re disconnected? Evernote is a free app for Android, iPad, iPhone, and Windows Phone that allows you to create notes and jot down anything that comes to mind. Be it a to-do list that you’ll need once you arrive, or just adding on to an existing list of people to contact, this note-taking program is best-in-class. Plus, once you reconnect to the Internet, it will automatically upload the changes you made while you were offline.

Snapseed: If you’re anything like me, you’ve got more photos on your smartphone’s camera roll than you have time to look at them. Cruising up or down in a plane is an ideal time to launch this free photo editing app, which allows you to add all sorts of tweaks to your photos. From black-and-white overlays to motion blur to enhanced saturation, this tool (available for iPhone and Android) can take a drab photo and make it Instagram- or Facebook-worthy. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to reminisce on some of the places that you’ve been fortunate enough to visit.

MOG: There are a plethora of radio apps out there (Spotify and Rdio are both excellent), but MOG is my personal favorite. It’s a streamlined app for Android, iPad, and iPhone, and it makes downloading playlists to your phone a cinch. You’ll need to pay $9.99 per month to use it, but if you do, you’ll have offline access to your mixes as you ascend and descend.

What apps are you enjoying during your climbs these days? Let us know in the comments section below!

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