Near Field Communication, known as NFC, may sound like a dry technical specification. In many ways it is. However, the applications of NFC are worth considering.
Android smartphones have had access to NFC for many years, while Apple’s iPhones previously had a feature-limited version. However, both platforms use wireless technology for contactless payments, headphone pairing, and some degree of automation.
If you want to get the most out of NFC applications, we’ll show you how.
What is NFC
Near Field Communication (NFC) enables wireless communication between two electronic devices that use close to each other. Officially, NFC can support distances of up to 1.5 inches, but in practice it can be up to four inches.
Generally this comes in two forms; Device-to-device communication or readable tags. While it is possible for two devices to interact with each other using NFC, there are generally better methods of achieving this using either physical cables or other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
However, contactless payment is made possible via NFC. So when you enter your local business and pay with your phone using Google Pay or Apple Pay, the transaction is initiated via NFC.
So the primary method of interaction is between a device like a smartphone and a readable NFC tag. These tags are small, cheap and without electricity. This becomes possible because the reader, often your smartphone, can generate a radio frequency (RF) field that powers the tag.
Android devices have supported NFC since the beginning of the smartphone, but Apple decided to withhold support for the iPhone. However, when the company introduced Apple Pay, a contactless payment system made possible by NFC, they started incorporating these wireless chips into iPhones.
Before iOS 11, the company limited itself to Apple Pay. iPhone models from iPhone 7 and newer with iOS 13 and higher now support contactless payment, the ability to read and write NFC tags.
Both mobile platforms harmonize with each other so that you can use NFC on your Android smartphone or iPhone. However, the specifications of Android phones vary significantly so NFC support cannot be guaranteed. This is especially true at the affordable end of the market where other features are a priority.
What you will need
If you have an NFC-compatible smartphone, you’ll need to purchase some NFC tags before you can get started. There are many types of NFC tags, from affordable ones to expensive ones for industrial use.
To get the most out of the following NFC apps, consider investing in a range of rewritable NFC tags. Although there is a wide variety of tags available, Timeskey NFC sticker (pack of 10) are of great value, can be rewritten, and are easy to place anywhere you need them.
You will also need to download an NFC tag writer app on your smartphone. NFC-enabled iPhones can read tags without additional software, but your experience may vary on Android.
There are many apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store that can write tags, one of the best options is NXP’s NFC TagWriter. The app is available for both mobile platforms and is easy to use.
Download: NFC TagWriter from NXP for Android | iOS (For free)
The best ways to use NFC
Once you have a compatible smartphone, rewritable NFC tags, and downloaded a tag-writing app, you can start making the most of NFC’s possibilities. Since the tags can be rewritten, you can experiment with your own automated setup. However, there are plenty of NFC applications out there that you can get started with right away.
1. Immediate connection to a Wi-Fi network
WiFi passwords are tedious and complicated. This makes connecting to your network a problem. If you’d rather replace this cumbersome process with a single tap, you can write your WiFi password on an NFC tag. Android and iOS support this function. So if you tap on the tag it will pre-fill the WiFi connection details and get you online with no problem.
If you like this idea but prefer something more formal, consider a product like this Wifi doorman . The device is a well-designed, easy-to-use NFC device that does the same thing. Still not sure? Take a look at our Wifi Porter review before you invest.
2. Get out of bed
Waking up in the morning can be a big challenge. For some people, even the most relentless alarm clock won’t help. If so, consider using an NFC tag to motivate you out of bed instead. Apps like Sleep as Android Integrate alarms with NFC tags through the use of in-app captchas.
These are aimed at verifying that you have traded by interacting with a physical item. Use the app to write an NFC-based captcha. The only way to turn the alarm off is to venture out of bed, find the NFC sticker, and tap it with your phone.
3. Start a website
There are times when you want to redirect someone to a specific website. This can be a little tricky, especially if it isn’t a simple website address. Instead of having to type in a long random URL, you can write the URL in an NFC tag. When tapped, it loads the user’s mobile browser and directs them to the desired website.
4. Automatically Enter Driving mode
iPhone users know that their phone will automatically switch to drive mode when they get into the vehicle and connect to their in-car entertainment system. This will mute notifications and optimize your setup for your trip. Some Android smartphones can, but most cannot.
If you want to automate this process, you can write the tasks in an NFC tag. When you place it in the car, you can tap your phone to perform actions such as: B. Do not disturb, turn data on or off and open your navigation app.
Some apps for writing NFC tags, like deduction On Android, you can set up a toggle switch to reverse the actions. The first tap activates driving mode, while a second can deactivate it and return your phone to normal operation.
5. Make payments
As already mentioned, NFC enables contactless payment when using services such as Google Pay or Apple Pay. Contactless payment has become commonplace in many parts of the world. In fact, many grocery and convenience stores in the United States make contactless payments the preferred method of payment.
With both Apple Pay and Google Pay you can track your spending, analyze your habits and save coupons. In addition, opting for NFC payments means that you no longer have to carry any other payment methods besides your phone.
6. Automate common phone tasks
Android and iOS now have methods for automating regular tasks, but they don’t always offer the flexibility that you want. You can use NFC to set up shortcuts for actions, such as For example, call a specific friend or family member, open your camera, or play your favorite streaming service when you leave home.
If you want to automate these shortcuts more efficiently, you should invest in a number of DIMPLE Smart Buttons . These physical buttons are stuck to the back of your smartphone near the NFC chip. When pressed, they activate a custom NFC task that you can set using the DIMPLE app.
7. Share media
If you’re creating videos for YouTube, streaming on Twitch, or posting music on Spotify, one of the biggest challenges is getting people to see your content in the first place. You can overcome this hurdle with NFC.
It is possible to embed a link about your work on the NFC tag and then strategically place it in a place that piques people’s interest. Just explain what it says on the label as people might be wary of the notable NFC security issues.
The best uses for NFC
NFC chips have changed the way we interact with the world around us. These cheap electronic components have enabled contactless payment systems like Google Pay and Apple Pay, eliminated some physical tickets, and made home automation an affordable reality.
However, while NFC, like all technologies, is undoubtedly useful, it is also prone to security issues. Before you dive into wireless technology, it’s a good idea to learn how to protect yourself from a drive-by NFC hack.