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Let's say, I have time settings set to automatic update.

With airplane mode on and off (both cases), would my phone update timezone automatically?

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If your iPhone finds your location and you're in a new time zone, it'll change the time.

With Airplane Mode off: Your iPhone will be silently using location services and will update the time based on your location change.

With Airplane Mode on: GPS and Cellular (two of the three methods an iPhone uses to determine your location) are disabled, but you can enable wifi still. Even without connecting to in-flight wifi, but as long as there is in-flight wifi, your iPhone can determine a time zone change based on location info provided by that wifi network (which Gogo inflight does but I'm not sure about ViaSat).

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Yes, it will get the time from the cell towers, check this topic for details.

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  • The question asked for airplane mode on and airplane mode off cases. Are you suggesting it will get the time from cell towers when in airplane mode?
    – techraf
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:29

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