What is an NFC tag reader and how to use it? (iPhone Example) [MiniTool Tips]
This article published by the MiniTool group is mainly about the communication protocol between two electronic devices – NFC. It deals with its meaning and applications, especially elaborated for iPhone use. Just read the following content for a thorough understanding.
What is NFC?
NFC, Near-Field Communication, is a set of communication protocols for communication between two electronic devices at a distance of 4 cm (1.5 inches) or less. It provides a low-cost connection with simple setup that can be used to introduce more capable wireless connections.
Electronic devices supporting NFC (NFC) can act as electronic IDs and cards. They are applied to contactless (CTLS) payment systems and enable mobile payments that complement or replace traditional payments such as credit cards and smart cards for electronic tickets.
Therefore, this technology is also known as CTLS NFC or NFC/CTLS. NFC can also be used to share files such as music and contacts, and a quick boot connection for sharing larger media such as photos and videos.
What is an NFC tag reader?
An NFC tag reader is an NFC device that works in NFC reader or write mode, which allows this NFC device to read information stored on low-cost NFC tags embedded in labels or smart posters. Cooperation with NFC-enabled application software is required for an NFC device to operate in NFC read/write mode.
NFC tags are passive data stores that can be read and, under certain circumstances, written to by NFC devices. They usually contain data and are read-only in normal use, but may be rewritable. Applications include secure storage of personal information such as credit or debit card information and personal identification numbers (PINs).
NFC tags can be custom encoded by their manufacturers or use industry specifications.
NFC enables one-way or two-way communication between endpoints, which is suitable for many programs. The application of NFC technology is wide and includes business, social networks, games, sports and many other fields.
Regardless of Android or iOS phones, all their modern editions support NFC technology.
In Android 4.4, Google introduced platform support for NFC-based transactions through Host Card Emulation (HCE) for payments, card access, transit passes, loyalty programs, and other proprietary services.
HCE allows any Android 4.4 app to emulate an NFC chip card, allowing people to initiate transactions with their devices. Apps can use the new reader mode to act as readers for HCE cards and other NFC-based transactions.
Samsung, Nokia, BlackBerry and Sony use NFC technology to pair Bluetooth headsets, speakers and media players with a single tap. BlackBerry devices support NFC using the BlackBerry Tag on devices running BlackBerry OS 7.0 and later. The same principle can be used to configure Wi-Fi networks.
MasterCard has added additional NFC support for PayPass for Android and BlackBerry platforms, allowing PayPass customers to make payments using their Android or BlackBerry phones. A partnership between Visa and Samsung has added the payWave app to the Galaxy S4 mobile phone.
In 2012, Microsoft added native NFC functionality to its mobile OS with Windows Phone 8 and the Windows 8 operating system (OS). Microsoft offers a “wallet hub” in Windows Phone 8 for NFC payments and can integrate multiple NFC payment services into a single application .
On September 9, 2014, Apple announced support for NFC-enabled transactions within Apple Pay. The first NFC-enabled device is the iPhone 6/6 Plus, released on September 19, 2014.
With the launch of iOS 11, Apple devices allow third-party developers to read data from NFC tags. As of September 2019, in iOS 13, Apple allows NFC tags to be read and marked using an NFC application.
NFC-equipped mobile phones can be paired with NFC tags or stickers that can be programmed using NFC applications. These applications may allow you to change phone settings, write SMS, launch applications or execute commands. They do not rely on a company or manufacturer, but can be used immediately with an NFC-equipped smartphone and an NFC tag.
The Nintendo Wii U was the first game system to use NFC technology out of the box via the GamePad. Later, the Nintendo 3DS line also includes NFC Tech; NFC is built into the New Nintendo 3DS/XL and a separately sold reader that uses an infrared interface to communicate with older 3DS family consoles. In addition, the Nintendo Amiibo line of accessories uses NFC technology to unlock features.
A soccer ball
The Adidas Telstar 18 soccer ball contains an NFC chip that allows players to interact with the ball using a mobile phone.
What is NFC tag reader for iPhone?
iOS apps running on supported devices can use NFC scanning to read data from electronic tags attached to real-world objects.
Reading tags in the app
An application can enable scanning of one or more objects while the application is active and display a scan sheet whenever the user is expected to scan something.
Reading signs in the background
Background tag reading allows users to scan tags without opening the app and starting a scan. It’s much faster. On devices that support background tag reading, the system automatically detects nearby compatible tags whenever the screen is illuminated. If you recognize and match the tag with the app, the system will show you a notification that you can tap to send the tag data to the app for processing.
However, background tag reading is disabled if the NFC scan sheet is visible, you are using Wallet or Apple Pay, cameras, the device is in airplane mode, and the device is locked after reboot.
How to use NFC on iPhone?
To use NFC on iPhone, you first need to know if your iPhone supports NFC. As mentioned in the content above, starting with the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, Apple starts supporting NFC for its Apple Pay. So if your iPhone is iPhone 6 / 6 Plus or later, you can use NFC.
After that, you need to turn on NFC in your iPhone’s settings to enable its functionality. Just go to Settings > General > NFC and turn on the NFC option.
You can also go to Settings > Control Center and move NFC Tag Reader to INCLUDED CONTROL to create a shortcut for the NFC tag reader in the control menu.
To open the control menu, swipe down from the top right of the screen. You will then see the NFC tag reader icon in the list.
Tip: The instruction above is based on iPhone X (iOS 14.6).