NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and as the name implies, it is a short-range wireless communication technology that allows the exchange of information between devices. NFC works at a high frequency so devices close to each other can exchange data wirelessly.
For NFC to function, the devices must be in proximity with each other, because its transmissions are short-ranged. NFC only works at a distance of 4cm at most.
With (NFC) technology, your electronic devices can exchange digital content with a scan. NFC works on both Android (Android Beam on Samsung) and iOS devices (Apple Pay on iOS).
Now that we have an idea of what NFC is, let’s see what it is on iPhone.
Did you know that:
The Adidas Telstar 18 is an NFC-enabled soccer ball. The NFC chip inside it enables users to control the ball using a smartphone. You don’t need to kick the ball for it to move!
How NFC Works on iPhone
When Apple released the iPhone 6 in 2014, it was NFC-enabled. The release of the iPhone 13 has seen NFC improve so much that Apple now allows its products to read NFC tags using an NFC app. The iOS apps run on supported devices, and use NFC technology to read the data—from electronic tags—attached to a physical object.
We use NFC in our everyday lives: scanning a toy to connect it with a video game, a shopper can scan an in-store sign to access discounts or coupons, a retail employee can scan a product to check its price or track inventory.
- In-App Tag Reading
While using an NFC app, you can scan single or multiple objects. If you’re expected to scan the tag, and see something, a scanning sheet will come on your screen.
NFC doesn’t need physical contact with objects to work. All you need to do is simply place the iOS device within 4cm of the tag.
- Background Tag Reading
Background tag reading allows you to scan a tag while using another app. You can initiate a scan anytime without having to open the NFC app.
If your device supports background tag reading, the system automatically searches for nearby tags.
When it detects, scans, and matches a tag with an app, you get a notification on your phone. When you click on the notification, it takes you to the app to process the tag information.
NOTE: Background tag reading will not work in certain situations: An NFC scanning sheet is on your screen, Wallet or Apple Pay are in use, the camera is working, your device is in Airplane mode, and your device is locked after a restart.
Need developer guidance? See Core NFC.
6 Uses of NFC on iPhone
Are you still wondering why you should have an NFC-enabled phone?
We’ve compiled a few reasons to get you excited about having NFC on your phone.
1. NFC Card Emulation
You don’t need to save your credit/debit card details on any app you use, because NFC saves your details on your phone. If you’re making offline or online purchases, you only need to refer to your Wallet.
Pay bills wirelessly, and scan your phone against an NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminal. Use NFC, and ditch your physical wallet for a safer, faster digital one.
2. NFC-Enabled devices Can Work Like Smart Cards
You can use your phone to perform transactions, make payments and get a ticket. Your NFC-enabled device can work as a pass and an electronic traveling ticket on transport systems.
Contactless systems are already in use in developed parts of the world like the UK, Germany, and China. Simply scan the NFC reader with your phone. You don’t have to worry about forgetting or misplacing your ticket.
3. NFC Reader or Writer
The era of buying business cards and having to keep them in sight is gradually coming to an end. You can exchange business cards—with an unlimited number of people—virtually. NFC has created an easier, cheaper, and faster option. Simply place both phones close to each other, and let the phones do the transfer.
You can rewrite the data in your business cards with your phone after changing jobs or contact. If you use NFC, you don’t have to go through the trouble of printing and sharing new ones.
4. Information Exchange
NFC has got you covered if you need to send and receive links. With an NFC-enabled iPhone, you can share those great web pages—such as this one—with your friends.
With the link transfer feature on NFC, they don’t have to miss out on important info. All you need to do is hold your phone against their NFC-enabled phone.
5. NFC Location Technology
Apps that work with locations such as Foursquare, Dark Sky, Pokémon Go, and Curbside will find NFC technology quite helpful. Users don’t have to load the app every time they need to check-in. If you use an NFC-enabled phone, you only need to hold your phone to an NFC reader and let the system find and share your location.
6. Data Sharing
NFC allows digital devices to share content, from small files such as contacts to larger media such as photos, videos, and other files. With NFC, you can share content with your family, friends, and colleagues without an interruption in transmission. All you need to do is hold your phone against another NFC-enabled iPhone.
There you go! Six ways NFC on iPhone can help your day-to-day activities. NFC makes things a lot easier, saves time, and allows you to do other important stuff.
List of NFC-enabled mobile iOS devices
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE, and later iPhone models.
The first NFC chips on iPads were found in the 2013-14 iPad Air. Also, Apple Pay on iPad requires a website and mobile Safari.
Theoretically, iPads with the iOS 13 update should support Core NFC’s new features.
All Apple Watch versions—from the first version launched in 2015—are NFC-enabled.
NFC is a technology that’s been growing for a couple of years. And just like any other developing technology, it will need some more time to become part and parcel of world systems.
What’s your take on NFC? Have you used NFC before, how was your experience?
We appreciate your feedback, let us know what you think in the comments section.